Norwich Terrier

Considered one of the smallest terriers, the Norwich Terrier is an affectionate small dog breed with a big personality and drive. Similar in appearance to the Norfolk Terrier, this dog gets along with everybody and makes a wonderful companion for any active household.  


The Norwich Terrier originated in England. A mixed-breed female was bred to a Cantab Terrier between 1899 and 1902. Their offspring were called Trumington Terriers.  

One of the puppies was called Rags and he was bred with other Trumpington and Glen of Imaal terriers to produce the Jones Terriers (later called Norwich Terriers), named after their developer Frank Jones who moved to the United States.   

In this new land, these dogs were used as hunters of vermin and worked alongside Foxhounds to flush out foxes from their dens.  

England’s Kennel Club recognised the Norwich Terrier as a breed in 1964 and the American Kennel Club followed in 1979.  

Physical Characteristics

The Norwich Terrier has been confused with the Norfolk Terrier and were even once recognised as a similar breed. To differentiate between the two, the Norfolk Terrier has drop ears while the Norwich Terrier has prick ears, like a witch’s hat.  

This dog is double coated. The topcoat is hard, wiry and straight while the insulating undercoat is soft and downy. A protective mane of hair is on his neck and shoulders.  

Coat colors include:  

  • Any shade of red 
  • A mixture of black or red with white (grizzle) 
  • Pale yellow or fawn (wheaten) 
  • Black and tan


The stocky Norwich Terrier is one of the smallest terriers and matures to stand 10 inches (25cm) at the shoulder with a weight of up to 12 pounds (5kg).  

Character & abilities

The Norwich is affectionate, loyal, brave and alert. He has a well-balanced pleasant nature and is usually non-aggressive. He thrives on human companionship and makes a wonderful friend with his versatility and enthusiasm for life.  

This small dog breed has a high prey drive. He can be found chasing squirrels, bolting when off the leash, digging and barking. He cannot be trusted to be off the leash when walking or playing outside a fenced area.  

 Any suspicious noises or people will not evade this dog’s alert nature. He will bark and alarm making him an excellent watchdog.    

The Norwich Terrier loves everyone. He gets along well with children especially when raised together. When adopting an adult Norwich, the children in the home should be mature enough to interact safely.  

This dog enjoys life and aims to please. He loves to play alone or with his family. Because of his adorable size, some owners tend to overindulge and coddle him. This can lead to behavior problems and should be avoided.  

When properly socialized, this terrier can live well among other dogs and cats. 

Trainability & Intelligence

This terrier is trainable as he is intelligent and happy to do the work. All he needs are clear and consistent rules during fun and interesting training sessions.  

A good dog crate, time and patience are needed for housebreaking. Crate training is beneficial for toilet training and keeping the pup from getting into things he shouldn’t. The crate is also a safe retreat for when the terrier needs a nap. 

The Norwich excels in various dog sports like obedience and agility, rally and earth dog trials.  

Exercise Needs & Nutrition

The energetic Norwich Terrier needs regular exercise with a few walks per day or play sessions in a fenced-in yard. He is a wonderful walking companion as long as he is kept on a leash to keep from running in front of traffic.    

Mealtimes for this terrier depend on his age, metabolism and activity level.  High-quality dog food is ideal for complete wholesome nutrition. An adult Norwich can have ½ to 1 cup of dry dog food divided into two servings per day. Fresh drinking water should always be available.  

This breed is known to love eating and can become overweight. Table scraps should be avoided and treats given sparingly to prevent obesity. When unsure about the dog’s weight management, get guidelines from the dog’s vet.  


This terrier doesn’t shed a lot. He needs weekly brushing to remove dead hair and dirt. Unless he gets in something stinky, he doesn’t need frequent baths.  

To avoid a scruffy look, the coat can be stripped twice a year. This involves pulling out the dead topcoat hairs with a hand stripping tool or by hand. Stripping will keep the breed’s coat’s hard texture and reduce shedding.  

Clipping the Norwich Terrier will change the coat color and texture resulting in a lighter and softer coat that sheds more frequently.  

Other grooming needs include: 

  • Brushing the teeth regularly to remove the build-up of tartar and bacteria, prevent gum disease and bad breath 
  • Regular trimming of the nails to avoid tearing 
  • Cleaning of the outer ears to remove dirt and debris 
  • Examination of the body for sores, rashes, redness or inflammation to spot potential health problems  

Living Conditions & Adaptability

The Norwich can be noisy, especially if he has pent up energy, sees something suspicious or is bored. To prevent this, the dog should get enough physical and mental stimulation. A tired Norwich Terrier is a happy companion especially for apartment living.   

This terrier does not like to be left alone in the home for prolonged periods. He can be assigned a specific area in the yard to allow him to dig to his delight.  

He is not a good match for homes where rabbits, gerbils or small rodents are allowed to roam free.  


Like other dogs, the Norwich Terrier is generally healthy but predisposed to some health concerns: 

  • Epilepsy – causes seizures that can be managed with medication 
  • Tracheal epilepsy – caused by weak tracheal rings which flatten and obstruct the dog’s airway. Can be treated with medication and surgery 
  • Elongated soft palate – the extension of the roof of the dog’s mouth is too long and obstructs the airway making it difficult to breathe. Requires surgery to remove the excess palate 
  • Severe gingivitis 

 A healthy Norwich Terrier can live up to 14 years.  


Like most terriers, the Norwich is best suited for owners who can keep a check on his nuisance behaviors like chasing, bolting, digging and barking. Though he is a rare and expensive breed, he is a wonderful find. He is adorable, affectionate and lives well in multi-pet homes with children.  

Here at All The Small Dog Breeds, we understand how important the process is to find the ideal dog for your home. Our small dog breed descriptions supply details to help in the search, whether you want to adopt from the local animal shelter or use a breeder. Getting the right match can ensure your four-legged friend enjoys a long, happy life.  


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