Norfolk Terrier Breed Profile

Norfolk Terrier breed profile

KC Group Terrier

Size Small

Weight 6.5kg

Height 25cm

Average lifespan 13 years

Good with children? Yes

Good guard dogs? Would bark

Moulting level Low

Grooming Moderate

Exercise requirement Moderate

Jogging partner Short runs

Colours All shades of red, wheaten, black and tan, or grizzle (a mix of dark and white hairs); white patches are undesirable

Temperament Extremely lovable, alert and inquisitive.

Norfolk Terrier Breed Profile

The Norfolk has a delightful disposition. They are a true terrier - he loves to run, dig, and hunt. Training must be started early and be firm and consistent, but gentle - Norfolks can be sensitive little souls.

Norfolk Terrier health

The hardy Norfolk Terrier has no known breed-specific health problems and no compulsory health tests are required.

However, when looking at puppies, potential owners should consider the following: do they look healthy? Are they alert and inquisitive? Are their eyes and ears clean? Always ask to see the puppies with their mother. If in doubt, do not buy.

Norfolk Terrier temperament

  • The Norfolk has a delightful disposition.
  • Extremely lovable.
  • Alert and inquisitive.
  • Fearless and sometimes a little foolhardy.
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Norfolk Terrier lifestyle

  • The Norfolk is a true terrier - he loves to run, dig, and hunt.
  • He needs proper exercise and will happily walk with you in all weathers as far as you wish.
  • He will happily live in a city or the country, provided he is kept active, both physically and mentally.
  • This sturdy, robust little dog is perfect for an active family.
  • He is the perfect companion for children as long as they are properly socialised together.
  • A Norfolk can get on well with cats and small furries if brought up with them from an early age. However, he can never be trusted completely - he is a terrier after all.
  • He loves human company and won't do well when left alone for long periods of time.

Norfolk Terrier trainability

  • Training must be started early and be firm and consistent, but gentle - Norfolks can be sensitive little souls.
  • In typical terrier fashion he can be stubborn. He loves his food, so a tasty titbit may help convince him that what you want him to do is a good idea.
  • A solid recall is vital with the Norfolk, as his instinct to hunt combined with his complete lack of road sense can easily lead him into trouble.

Norfolk Terrier general care

  • The Norfolk has a harsh wiry coat which will require a thorough weekly brush.
  • To keep the natural texture of the coat he should be hand-stripped twice a year. Some Norfolks are extremely sensitive to hand-stripping - if they find it particularly stressful clipping may be the better option. It is also recommended that if your Norfolk is old or has a soft coat, he should be clipped.
  • The Norfolk isn't a fussy eater and will generally eat whatever is put in front of him. Monitor his diet closely to ensure there is no unwanted weight gain.


  • Healthy and hardy.
  • Good temperament.
  • Good size.


  • Can be reckless and get into trouble.

History of the Norfolk Terrier

In the early 1800s there was no distinction between the Norfolk and Norwich Terriers. They did not become separate breeds until 1964.

The Norwich Terrier has a long and fascinating intellectual history, as his ancestors went to Cambridge University! Back in the 1870s, it was fashionable for Cambridge undergraduates to have rough terrier dogs, which came from a particular stable yard in Trumpington Street. These became known as Trumpington Terriers, and they earned a reputation as excellent college ratters. In 1900, one of these Trumpington Terriers, called Rags, was given to the owner of a stable yard in Norwich. He was so impressed with this dog that he used him to found a new breed, the Norwich Terrier.

Despite being historically the same breed, the Norfolk Terrier, with his folded ears and softer look, has overtaken the original Norwich Terrier in popularity, and the Norwich is now a rare breed and included in the vulnerable native breeds list in the UK.

There are many ways to remember which of the two has the folded ears and which has the prick ears: some say that Nor‘folks’ ears fold; others say that Nor‘wichs’ ears prick up like a witch’s hat!

Norfolk Terrier facts

  • Norfolks are not as quarrelsome as some of the other terrier breeds.
  • Your Norfolk Terrier will love puddles - the muddier, the better!