Home   »   Breeds   »   Norwich Terrier   »   History

Norwich Terrier
History
Looking for a Norwich Terrier?

The roots of the Norwich were firmly planted in East Anglia, England. By the 1880's owning a small ratting terrier was a fad among the sporting undergraduates of Cambridge University. A popular strain developed of very small red and black-and-tan working crossbreeds from native, Yorkshire, and Irish den stock.

By the turn of the century one of these Trumpington Terriers moved to a stable near the city of Norwich. "Rags" was sandy colored, short of leg, stocky with cropped ears. A notorious ratter and dominant sire, he is the modern breed's progenitor. For the next two decades various horsemen bred other game terrier types to Rags and his descendants, including a half-sized brindle Staffordshire. So, from companions and barnyard ratters, there gradually developed a line of excellent fox bolters, and one of these introduced the breed to America in 1914.

Bred in Market Harborough by the noted Frank "Roughrider" Jones, "Willum" became the inseparable companion of a Philadelphia sportsman, Robert Strawbridge. This Jones terrier was also low legged, cropped and docked but his very hard coat had black shadings and his head showed a marked resemblance to a Bull Terrier. Willum proved a charming, muscular 12-pound ambassador, and a prolific sire of M.E H. Hunt Terriers in Vermont, New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. He died at 14 years of age defending his hearth from a vicious canine intruder just a few years before the breed was recognized in England in 1932. Though the AKC made Norwich Terriers official in 1936, there are still some Americans who associate Norwich with Willum's breeder and steadfastly call them Jones Terriers.

In 1964 England recognized the drop ear Norwich as a separate breed, terming them the Norfolk Terrier. The American Kennel Club took the same step effective January 1, 1979. The recognition of the two varieties as separate breeds is now the rule in all English-speaking countries and in Europe and Scandinavia.

Norwich are hardy, happy-go-lucky, weatherproof companions. Though game on vermin, they are usually gregarious with children, adults, and other domestic animals. Today they still weigh about 12 pounds, are short legged, sturdy and can be any shade from wheaten to dark red, black-and-tan or grizzle. They are very loyal, alert, and have a sensitive intelligence.





More Info