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  • Temperament: Fearless, Alert, Fun-Loving
  • AKC Breed Popularity: Ranks 134 of 194
  • Height: 9-10 inches
  • Weight: 11-12 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 12-16 years
  • Group: Terrier Group

    The AKC has grouped all of the breeds that it registers into seven categories, or groups, roughly based on function and heritage. Breeds are grouped together because they share traits of form and function or a common heritage.

Norfolk Terrier standing facing left
Norfolk Terrier head and shoulders facing forward
Norfolk Terrier sitting facing forward
Norfolk Terrier

Find a Puppy: Norfolk Terrier

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GENERAL APPEARANCE

The Norfolk Terrier, game and hardy, with expressive dropped ears, is one of the smallest of the working terriers. It is active and compact, free-moving, with good substance and bone. With its natural, weather-resistant coat and short legs, it is a “perfect demon” in the field. This versatile, agreeable breed can go to ground, bolt a fox and tackle or dispatch other small vermin, working alone or with a pack. Honorable scars from wear and tear are acceptable in the ring.

HEAD

Eyes small, dark and oval, with black rims. Placed well apart with a sparkling, keen and intelligent expression. Ears neatly dropped, small, with a break at the skull line, carried close to the cheek and not falling lower than the outer corner of the eye. V-shaped, slightly rounded at the tip, smooth and velvety to the touch. Skullwide, slightly rounded, with good width between the ears. Muzzle is strong and wedge shaped. Its length is one-third less than a measurement from the occiput to the well-defined stop. Jaw clean and strong. Tight-lipped with a scissor bite and large teeth.

BODY

Neck of medium length, strong and blending into well laid back shoulders. Level topline. Good width of chest. Ribs well sprung, chest moderately deep. Strong loins. Tail medium docked, of sufficient length to ensure a balanced outline. Straight, set on high, the base level with the topline. Not a squirrel tail.

FOREQUARTERS

Well laid back shoulders. Elbows close to ribs. Short, powerful legs, as straight as is consistent with the digging terrier. Pasterns firm. Feet round, pads thick, with strong, black nails.

COAT

The protective coat is hard, wiry and straight, about 1½ to 2 inches long, lying close to the body, with a definite undercoat. The mane on neck and shoulders is longer and also forms a ruff at the base of the ears and the throat. Moderate furnishings of harsh texture on legs. Hair on the head and ears is short and smooth, except for slight eyebrows and whiskers. Some tidying is necessary to keep the dog neat, but shaping should be heavily penalized.

HINDQUARTERS

Broad with strong, muscular thighs. Good turn of stifle. Hocks well let down and straight when viewed from the rear. Feet as in front.

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About the Norfolk Terrier

Norfolk Terriers are among the smallest working terriers, standing no higher than 10 inches at the shoulder. The coat is hard, wiry, and straight. They share many traits with their close cousins, Norwich Terriers. To tell them apart, look at the ears: The Norwich has erect, pointed ears; Norfolk ears are neatly folded over.

Bred to work in packs, Norfolks are more gregarious than a typical terrier, but they have plenty of the old terrier pep. Few Norfolks these days earn their living hunting rodents, but a good one will fearlessly do so when given a chance. Norfolks bond closely, sometimes jealously, with their owners and make nice watchdogs. They have a reputation as a good traveler: portable, adaptable, and up for anything.

National Breed Clubs and Rescue

Want to connect with other people who love the same breed as much as you do? We have plenty of opportunities to get involved in your local community, thanks to AKC Breed Clubs located in every state, and more than 450 AKC Rescue Network groups across the country.
Norfolk Terrier

Find a Puppy: Norfolk Terrier

AKC Marketplace | PuppyFinder

AKC Marketplace is the only site to exclusively list 100% AKC puppies from AKC-Registered litters and the breeders who have cared for and raised these puppies are required to follow rules and regulations established by the AKC.
Find Norfolk Terrier Puppies

Care

NUTRITION

The Norfolk Terrier should do well on a high-quality dog food, whether commercially manufactured or home-prepared with your veterinarian’s supervision and approval. Any diet should be appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior). Some dogs are prone to getting overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.

GROOMING

A Norfolk Terrier should have a double coat consisting of a hard outer coat and a soft undercoat that insulates the body from heat and cold. Hand-stripping removes old outer hairs and excess undercoat so that new hair can grow in. Wire coats that are cared for properly by hand-stripping have a beautiful shine and rich color. Learning to hand-strip, or finding a groomer who will hand-strip, is an important consideration in choosing this breed.

Grooming Frequency

Occasional Bath/Brush
Specialty/Professional
Weekly Brushing

EXERCISE

Long walks, socializing, and games of fetch with his owner will expend some of the Norfolk’s boundless energy. With his active nature and extremely high prey drive, the Norfolk should be on leash while on outings, and his yard should be fenced.

Energy Level

Couch Potato
Needs Lots of Activity
Regular Exercise

TRAINING

Created to hunt in packs, Norfolks are geared to be more gregarious than the typical independent terrier. They are very smart and bond closely with their families, but they may challenge their owner’s limits, so obedience training is a must. They have a very strong prey drive and pose a danger to small pets in the home, such as ferrets and hamsters. For this reason they should not be allowed off leash in areas that are not securely fenced. Early socialization and puppy training classes are recommended to ensure that the dog grows into a well-adjusted, well-mannered companion. A Norfolk travels well: He’s portable, adaptable, and up for anything.

Trainability

May be Stubborn
Eager to Please
Agreeable

Temperament/Demeanor

Aloof/Wary
Outgoing
Friendly

HEALTH

Norfolk Terriers are generally healthy dogs, and responsible breeders test their stock for health conditions such as heart and eye issues and patellar luxation. A Norfolk’s teeth should be brushed often using a toothpaste formulated for dogs. Regular visits to the vet for checkups and parasite control help to ensure your dog will have a long, healthy life.

Recommended Health Tests from the National Breed Club:

  • Patella Evaluation
  • Cardiac Exam
  • Ophthalmologist Evaluation

Read the Official Breed Club Health Statement.

Norfolk Terrier
Norfolk Terrier
Norfolk Terrier
Norfolk Terrier
Norfolk Terrier
Norfolk Terrier

History

Frank “Roughrider” Jones, an English dog breeder and horseman of the early 20th century, developed little red terriers as ratters and fox bolters. In the beginning, the Norwich (ears up) and Norfolk (ears down) were considered one breed. In England and North America both dogs were first classified as Norwich Terriers, sometimes called Jones Terriers.

Over time, the two types diverged. In 1964, after much debate among fanciers, the Kennel Club (England) recognized the Norfolk as a distinct breed. But, as a British authority of the time explained, “Actually, there is nothing new about the Norfolk Terrier, but simply the name under which it is registered. The Eastern counties have always produced these principally wheaten, red, and otherwise black-and-tan or grizzle good-ribbed short-legged terriers. … They go to ground readily and are famous ratters.” The Canadian Kennel Club officially accepted the Norfolk and Norwich as separate breeds in 1977, as did the AKC two years later.

The names of both breeds refer to their place of origin, the East Anglia town of Norwich in the county of Norfolk that lies just north of London. Among the older terrier breeds thought to factor into the fearless and fun-loving Norfolk’s development include the Border, Cairn, and Glen of Imaal terriers.

Did You Know?

The Norfolk Terrier is a small, sturdy, alert, and fearless dog with sporting instincts and an even temperament.
The Norfolk Terrier is a game and hardy little dog originally bred to go to ground after vermin and catch a fox.
The Norfolk Terrier has drop ears.
Prior to 1979 the Norfolk Terrier was known as the Norwich Terrier with drop ears. In 1979, it became a separate breed and known as the Norfolk Terrier.
Although Norfolk and Norwich Terriers share the same ancestry, there has been little interbreeding of ear types since ring competition resumed after World War II.
In America, the terrier authority William Ross Proctor suggested separate classes for each ear type in 1962; and this division was used in American Club sponsored shows and matches until 1979.

The Breed Standard

GENERAL APPEARANCE

The Norfolk Terrier, game and hardy, with expressive dropped ears, is one of the smallest of the working terriers. It is active and compact, free-moving, with good substance and bone. With its natural, weather-resistant coat and short legs, it is a “perfect demon” in the field. This versatile, agreeable breed can go to ground, bolt a fox and tackle or dispatch other small vermin, working alone or with a pack. Honorable scars from wear and tear are acceptable in the ring.

HEAD

Eyes small, dark and oval, with black rims. Placed well apart with a sparkling, keen and intelligent expression. Ears neatly dropped, small, with a break at the skull line, carried close to the cheek and not falling lower than the outer corner of the eye. V-shaped, slightly rounded at the tip, smooth and velvety to the touch. Skullwide, slightly rounded, with good width between the ears. Muzzle is strong and wedge shaped. Its length is one-third less than a measurement from the occiput to the well-defined stop. Jaw clean and strong. Tight-lipped with a scissor bite and large teeth.

BODY

Neck of medium length, strong and blending into well laid back shoulders. Level topline. Good width of chest. Ribs well sprung, chest moderately deep. Strong loins. Tail medium docked, of sufficient length to ensure a balanced outline. Straight, set on high, the base level with the topline. Not a squirrel tail.

FOREQUARTERS

Well laid back shoulders. Elbows close to ribs. Short, powerful legs, as straight as is consistent with the digging terrier. Pasterns firm. Feet round, pads thick, with strong, black nails.

COAT

The protective coat is hard, wiry and straight, about 1½ to 2 inches long, lying close to the body, with a definite undercoat. The mane on neck and shoulders is longer and also forms a ruff at the base of the ears and the throat. Moderate furnishings of harsh texture on legs. Hair on the head and ears is short and smooth, except for slight eyebrows and whiskers. Some tidying is necessary to keep the dog neat, but shaping should be heavily penalized.

HINDQUARTERS

Broad with strong, muscular thighs. Good turn of stifle. Hocks well let down and straight when viewed from the rear. Feet as in front.

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Colors & Markings

Colors

Description Standard Colors Registration Code
Black & Tan Check Mark For Standard Color 018
Grizzle Check Mark For Standard Color 109
Red Check Mark For Standard Color 140
Red Wheaten Check Mark For Standard Color 156
Brown 061
Wheaten 224

Markings

Description Standard Markings Registration Code
Black Markings 002
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