Norfolk Terrier

AKC Terrier Group


Photo copyright © Cook PhoDOGraphy. All rights reserved.

Photo copyright © Cook PhoDOGraphy. All rights reserved.

The Norwich and Norfolk Terriers started out as one breed, but were officially separated in England in 1964. The AKC followed suit in 1979. The Norwich has prick ears, and the Norfolk has dropped ears. The breeds were originally developed in England as small ratting dogs. Later, they were also used to bolt foxes that had gone to ground during a fox hunt, so the horses and hounds could resume the chase. This small terrier could get in and out of narrow burrows quite easily. As they were bred to hunt in packs, the Norfolk and Norwich Terriers tend to be more sociable than many other terriers. Today, the Norfolk Terrier serves primarily as a companion dog, but he can still take care of vermin.


A short-legged terrier with a harsh, wiry, straight coat and rounded drop ears. The body is sturdy and stocky, slightly longer than tall, with a level topline. The skull is broad and slightly rounded, with the muzzle tapering in a wedge shape. The large teeth should form a scissors bite. The small ears are dropped, folding forward, with slightly rounded tips. The small, oval eyes are dark, surrounded by black eye rims, and the nose is black. The tail is docked, but should be left long enough to make a balanced outline. It is set high and carried straight. The feet are rounded, with thick pads. The weather-resistant double coat comes in many shades of wheaten, red, black and tan, and grizzle. Dark points are permitted, but white markings are not desirable. Longer hair on the neck and chest forms a mane.

Key Facts

  • Height:  9 to 10 in.
  • Size:  Very small
  • Weight:  11 to 12 lbs.
  • Availability:  May take some effort to find
  • Talents:  Hunting, tracking, watchdog, earthdog, and agility


A very healthy breed. Will dig and/or bark if left outside for long periods of time with nothing to occupy his quick mind. Loves toys and balls. Can be difficult to housebreak. Don’t let off lead except in a secure area. Can jog for short distances.


Alert and devoted. Feisty. Charming and loving. Outgoing and brave, assertive but not aggressive. Some are one-person dogs; all want to be included in family life and activities. Training for the Norfolk is no different than for the Norwich. Both need consistent rules and basic obedience training. Socialize well with other breeds as a puppy to avoid a tendency to timidity.


  • Children:  Good with children
  • Friendliness:  Loves everyone
  • Trainability:  Easy to train
  • Independence:  Very independent
  • Dominance:  Low
  • Other Pets:  Generally good with other pets
  • Combativeness:  Not generally dog-aggressive
  • Noise:  Likes to bark
  • Indoors:  Fairly active indoors
  • Owner:  Good for novice owners


  • Grooming:  Regular grooming needed
  • Trimming and Stripping:  Skilled trimming or stripping needed
  • Coat:  Medium coat
  • Shedding:  Very light
  • Docking:  The tail is customarily docked
  • Exercise:  Moderate exercise needed
  • Jogging:  Small, but a fair jogging companion
  • Apartments:  Will be OK in an apartment if sufficiently exercised
  • Outdoor Space:  Does OK without a yard
  • Climate:  Does well in most climates
  • Longevity:  Moderately long lived (12 to 15 years)

Useful Links

AKC® Norfolk Terrier Breed Standard

Norfolk Terrier Breed Club

Search for a Breeder

Rescue Organizations

Books about the Norfolk Terrier

Norfolk Terrier Gifts