The Norwich Terrier, classified in the terrier group, is well known for its friendly personality, relatively rare availability and their appearance in the Christopher Guest comedy film, “Best in Show.” The Norwich Terrier, which was initially bred in England, was specifically bred small in order to hunt down rodents and other types of small vermin.
A brief history of the Norwich Terrier
The Norwich Terrier was originally developed in England as a small working terrier, which was used in several different capacities, including hunting down rats and other types of vermin, assisting in fox hunts, as well as living as family companions. Some historians believe that the Norwich Terrier is a decedent of the Irish Terrier; while others believe the breed was originally developed from a now existent breed called the Trumpington Terrier.
The breed was officially recognized by the English Kennel Club in 1932. Until cropping ears became illegal in England, the Norwich Terrier was often shown with cropped ears; this generated intense controversy over whether or not dogs with drop-ears should be allowed in dog shows, or the show ring, as some breeders believed that terriers with drop ears had significant differences from terriers with upright, or “pricked” ears. However, in 1964 the Kennel Club classified drop-eared Norwich Terriers as a separate breed, now called the Norfolk Terrier.
The Norwich Terrier is considered to be one of the smallest of the terrier breeds. Adult Norwich Terriers typically measure about 9 to 10 inches in height at the shoulders and weigh between 11 and 12 lbs. Both males and females are typically of the same stature. The breed, which has a double coat, comes in mostly solid colors of black, red, tan, and wheat.
Personality wise, the Norwich Terrier is considered to be an assertive–but not necessarily aggressive–and energetic breed. They are considered to be companion dogs that should not be kept outside, like some larger breeds, and are usually eager to please their owners while maintaining their own independence. If they are socialized with children and pets at an early age, they can make excellent companions in a home with children and other pets–however, caution is required when it comes to household pets such as rats, mice, hamsters or other rodents, as the Norwich Terrier may instinctively consider them prey.
Although they are small, Norwich Terriers are active dogs who need at least one hour of daily exercise, such as a walk, run, or heavy play session. The breed is also unique because of its sensitivity to boredom; Norwich Terriers may get easily bored by routine exercise, such as a walk down the same stretch of road every day.
Did you know? Trivia
- It is difficult to breed Norwich Terriers. Because of this, they are considered to be a relatively rare breed. Most Norwich Terriers are born using Caesarean sections, and the average litter size for the breed is just two puppies—on average, only 750 Norwich Terriers are born each year.