Norwich Terrier

Table of Contents

The Norwich Terrier, originating from England, is a small, robust breed known for its spirited and affectionate nature. Originally bred for ratting and fox hunting, their tenacity and bravery are notable traits. Standing about 10 inches at the shoulder and weighing around 11 to 12 pounds, they are one of the smallest terrier breeds, yet they pack a lot of personality into their compact size.

Physically, Norwich Terriers are distinguished by their hard, wiry coat, which can be red, wheaten, black and tan, or grizzle, and requires regular grooming. Their small, erect ears and keen expression give them a look of alertness and eagerness. Despite their small stature, they are surprisingly sturdy and agile, embodying the classic terrier spirit.

Breed Snapshot

Life Expectancy:

12 to 15 years



Maintenance Level:


Shed Level


Best For

The Norwich Terrier is best for active individuals or families who appreciate a spirited and affectionate companion. They thrive in environments where they can receive ample exercise and mental stimulation, and are well-suited for those who can provide regular grooming for their medium-maintenance coat. Their adaptable size makes them a good fit for both urban and rural settings.

Norwich Terrier Traits

Breed Characteristics

The Norwich Terrier is a small, sturdy, and spirited breed with a hard, wiry coat in colors like red, wheaten, black and tan, or grizzle. Known for their alert expression, erect ears, and affectionate temperament, they are intelligent, energetic, and exhibit classic terrier traits of bravery and tenacity.


Exercise Needs
Health Issues
Barking Tendencies
Grooming Needs
Shedding Level
Training Needs
Good With Kids
Good With Cats
Good As A Service Dog
Good For Apartments & Small Homes
Biting Tendencies
Energy Level
Good With Other Dogs
Sensitive to Cold Weather
Sensitive to Warm Weather
Good For First Time Pet Parents

Breed Appearance

The Norwich Terrier is a small and sturdy breed with a distinctive hard, wiry coat that comes in red, wheaten, black and tan, or grizzle. They feature small, erect ears, an expressive face with keen eyes, and a compact, well-balanced body, embodying the classic terrier look in a small package.

1. Ears
Small, erect, and set high on the head, giving them an alert and perky appearance.
2. Eyes
Dark, small, and oval-shaped, conveying an intelligent and keen expression.
3. Nose
Black and well-defined, complementing their compact facial structure.
4. Height
Typically stands around 10 inches (25 cm) at the shoulder.
5. Coat Length
The coat is medium in length, wiry, and straight.
6. Coat Color
Comes in shades of red, wheaten, black and tan, or grizzle.
7. Tail
Traditionally docked, it’s carried erect, giving them a balanced and lively look.
8. Weight

Averages between 11 to 12 pounds (5 to 5.5 kg).

Norwich Terrier Temperament

The Norwich Terrier is known for its lively and affectionate temperament, embodying many classic terrier traits:

  • Energetic and Playful: These dogs are full of energy and enjoy engaging in play, making them great companions for active families or individuals.
  • Affectionate and Loyal: Norwich Terriers are known for their loyalty and affection towards their owners, often forming strong bonds.
  • Intelligent and Eager to Please: They are smart dogs who are generally eager to please, which can make training enjoyable, although their terrier stubbornness might show at times.
  • Social and Friendly: Typically, they are friendly and sociable with both people and other dogs, although early socialization is important to foster this trait.
  • Brave and Alert: True to their terrier heritage, they are courageous and alert, often serving as effective, albeit small, watchdogs.

Overall, the Norwich Terrier is a versatile and charming breed, suitable for a variety of homes, including those with children and other pets. Their size, combined with their robust and cheerful nature, makes them an adaptable and endearing companion.

How to Care for a Norwich Terrier

Caring for a Norwich Terrier involves providing them with regular exercise to match their energetic nature, engaging in consistent and positive training due to their intelligent yet sometimes independent temperament, and maintaining their wiry coat through routine grooming, including brushing and occasional stripping. It’s also important to ensure regular health check-ups to monitor for breed-specific concerns.

Grooming a Norwich Terrier is an essential part of their care routine:

  1. Brushing: Regular brushing, at least twice a week, is necessary to keep their wiry coat free of mats and to remove loose hair.

  2. Stripping: Unlike many other breeds, Norwich Terriers require hand-stripping a few times a year to maintain the texture and health of their coat. This process involves pulling out the dead outer coat by hand or with a stripping tool.

  3. Bathing: Bathe your Norwich Terrier as needed, but not too frequently, to preserve the natural oils in their coat. A dog-specific shampoo is recommended.

  4. Nail Trimming: Regular nail trimming is important to prevent discomfort and maintain good foot health. Check and trim their nails every few weeks.

  5. Ear Cleaning: Clean their ears regularly to prevent wax buildup and infections, especially considering their erect ears.

  6. Dental Care: Regular dental care, including teeth brushing and dental chews, is essential to prevent dental diseases.

Remember, grooming is not just about keeping your Norwich Terrier looking good; it’s also vital for their overall health and well-being.

Training a Norwich Terrier effectively involves understanding and catering to their specific breed characteristics:

  1. Positive Reinforcement: Norwich Terriers respond best to positive reinforcement techniques. Use treats, praise, and play to motivate and reward them during training sessions.

  2. Consistency is Key: Consistency in commands and expectations is crucial. Despite their small size, they are intelligent and can quickly learn to follow rules if they are applied consistently.

  3. Short, Engaging Sessions: Keep training sessions short and engaging. Their attention span might be limited, so it’s important to make training fun and varied to keep them interested.

  4. Early Socialization: Socialize them from a young age with different people, animals, and environments. This helps in developing a well-rounded, confident dog that is comfortable in various situations.

  5. Patience with Stubbornness: Norwich Terriers can sometimes be stubborn, so patience is important. If they become resistant, take a break and try again later with a different approach.

  6. Curb Barking Tendencies: They can be vocal, so it’s helpful to teach them commands like ‘quiet’ early on.

  7. Challenge Their Intelligence: Incorporate games and activities that challenge their intelligence, such as puzzle toys or hide-and-seek, to keep them mentally stimulated.

Remember, every Norwich Terrier is unique, so it’s important to adapt your training methods to fit your dog’s individual personality and learning style.

Caring for the diet and nutrition of a Norwich Terrier involves several key considerations:

  1. Balanced Diet: Provide a well-balanced diet that suits their size and energy level. High-quality commercial dog food formulated for small breeds is typically suitable. Consult with your veterinarian to ensure the food meets all their nutritional needs.

  2. Appropriate Portion Size: Monitor their portion sizes to prevent obesity, a common issue in small breeds. Follow feeding guidelines based on their age, weight, and activity level, and adjust as necessary.

  3. Consistent Feeding Schedule: Maintain a consistent feeding schedule, usually two meals a day for adult dogs. This regularity helps with digestion and weight management.

  4. Treats in Moderation: Treats should be given sparingly and should not constitute more than 10% of their daily calorie intake. Opt for healthy treat options.

  5. Access to Fresh Water: Ensure they always have access to fresh, clean water.

  6. Special Dietary Requirements: Be aware of any specific dietary needs or allergies your Norwich Terrier may have. Some may require special diets due to health issues.

  7. Regular Weight Checks: Keep an eye on their weight and adjust their diet as needed. Small breeds can quickly become overweight, which can lead to other health problems.

Each dog’s nutritional needs can vary, so it’s important to tailor their diet to their specific health status, activity level, and age. Regular consultations with a veterinarian can help ensure they are receiving optimal nutrition.

Caring for the exercise needs of a Norwich Terrier is important for their physical and mental well-being:

  1. Daily Exercise: Despite their small size, Norwich Terriers are energetic and need daily exercise. This can include walks, play sessions, and opportunities for off-leash running in a secure area.

  2. Mental Stimulation: They are intelligent dogs and require mental stimulation to prevent boredom. Puzzle toys, training exercises, and interactive play can help keep their minds active.

  3. Agility and Play: Their agility and enthusiasm for play can be channeled into activities like agility training, which is not only good exercise but also mentally stimulating.

  4. Socialization Opportunities: Including social interactions with other dogs in parks or playdates can be a great way for them to exercise and socialize simultaneously.

  5. Indoor Games: On days when outdoor activity is limited, indoor games like hide-and-seek or fetch can help them expend energy.

  6. Consistency: Regular exercise routine helps maintain their physical health and manage potential behavioral issues.

  7. Weather Considerations: Being a small breed, they might be sensitive to extreme weather conditions, so exercise routines should be adjusted accordingly.

Regular exercise tailored to their size and energy level is essential for keeping a Norwich Terrier healthy, happy, and well-behaved.

Creating an ideal environment for a Norwich Terrier involves considering their unique needs and characteristics:

  1. Safe and Stimulating Space: Provide a safe, secure, and stimulating environment. A home with a yard is great, but they can also adapt well to apartment living as long as their exercise needs are met.

  2. Regular Exercise Opportunities: Ensure they have access to daily exercise, including walks and playtime. This helps in managing their energy levels and keeping them mentally stimulated.

  3. Mental Enrichment: Provide plenty of mental stimulation through toys, puzzles, and regular training sessions. Their intelligent nature craves mental challenges.

  4. Social Interaction: They thrive on social interaction, so a household where they can spend plenty of time with family members or other pets is ideal.

  5. Comfortable Resting Area: Like all dogs, they need their own space where they can relax and sleep comfortably, such as a cozy dog bed in a quiet corner.

  6. Routine and Consistency: A consistent routine for feeding, exercise, and bathroom breaks helps them feel secure and content.

  7. Access to Outdoor Spaces: Having access to a secure outdoor area where they can explore and play safely is beneficial, especially for a breed that loves to sniff and dig.

  8. Weather Considerations: Their coat provides some protection against the elements, but they should not be exposed to extreme weather for prolonged periods.

By considering these factors, you can create a living environment that caters to a Norwich Terrier’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being, making them a happy and healthy companion.

Norwich Terrier Health

Norwich Terriers are generally known for their robust health, but like all dog breeds, they have certain hereditary conditions that owners should be aware of. Hip dysplasia, a condition where the hip joint doesn’t form properly, can be a concern in this breed. Similarly, patellar luxation, involving the dislocation of the kneecap, is another potential issue. Regular health screenings and maintaining a healthy weight can help manage these conditions.

Dental health is particularly important for Norwich Terriers due to their small mouths, which can lead to overcrowded teeth and associated problems. Regular dental check-ups and cleanings, along with proper dental hygiene practices at home, are essential for preventing dental diseases. Additionally, obesity is a common issue in small breeds like the Norwich Terrier, so monitoring their diet and exercise routine is crucial to prevent weight-related health problems.

With a typical lifespan of around 12 to 15 years, Norwich Terriers are generally long-lived when properly cared for. This includes regular veterinary visits for vaccinations and health checks, as well as proactive measures for parasite control. A balanced diet, regular exercise, and mental stimulation are key to maintaining their overall health and well-being. With the right care, Norwich Terriers can be lively, healthy companions for many years.

Norwich Terrier Breed Comparison and Consideration

When considering a Norwich Terrier in comparison to other breeds, it’s important to understand their unique traits and how they might fit into your lifestyle. Here’s a brief comparison with some popular breeds:

Norwich Terrier VS Labrador Retrievers:

  • Labradors are larger and generally more adaptable to various living situations, known for their gentle nature, making them well-suited for families with small children.
  • Norwich Terriers, being smaller and terrier-like, require less space but more grooming, and have a high energy level for their size.

Norwich Terrier VS German Shepherds:

  • German Shepherds are larger, more protective, and often used in working roles. They require extensive exercise and mental stimulation.
  • Norwich Terriers are smaller, less guarding, and more suited for a companion role, with moderate exercise needs and a friendly disposition.

Norwich Terrier VS Beagles:

  • Beagles are similar in size but have a stronger scent drive and may be more independent.
  • Norwich Terriers are more adaptable to various living conditions and might be easier to train, with a more manageable coat.

Norwich Terrier VS French Bulldogs:

  • French Bulldogs are more laid-back with lower exercise needs, making them suitable for less active owners.
  • Norwich Terriers, while also good for various living environments, require more physical activity and grooming.

Considerations for Choosing a Norwich Terrier:

  • Ideal for those seeking a small, energetic dog with a friendly and affectionate nature.
  • Suitable for various living environments, but they do require regular grooming and exercise.
  • Good for families, as they are generally good with children and other pets when socialized properly.
  • Prospective owners should be prepared for their terrier traits, including a potential for chasing and digging.

In summary, the Norwich Terrier is a versatile, affectionate companion, suitable for a wide range of households. They offer the spirited nature of a terrier in a small, manageable size, making them a great choice for many dog lovers.


The most notable difference is their ears: Norwich Terriers have erect, pointed ears, while Norfolk Terriers have dropped ears.

Despite their energy, Norwich Terriers can adapt well to apartment living as long as they receive adequate exercise and mental stimulation.

Yes, they are generally good with children, especially when socialized from a young age. Their playful and affectionate nature makes them a great family pet.

They require regular grooming, including brushing a few times a week and professional stripping of their coat a few times a year.

Absolutely! Their intelligence and energy make them well-suited for dog sports like agility, obedience, and earthdog trials.

They were bred as hunting dogs, so they may have a prey drive. Proper training and socialization can help manage this trait.

They are intelligent and generally eager to please, which can make training easier, but their terrier independence might require patience and consistency.

They need regular exercise, including daily walks and playtime, to keep them physically and mentally healthy.

While generally healthy, they can be prone to conditions like hip dysplasia, patellar luxation, and dental issues.

Yes, they generally get along well with other dogs and can live with cats when raised together or properly introduced.

Top Takeaways

When considering a Norwich Terrier, here are the top takeaways:

  1. Compact and Energetic: Norwich Terriers are small, robust dogs known for their lively and affectionate nature, making them great companions for a variety of living situations.

  2. Distinct Terrier Traits: They embody classic terrier traits such as bravery, energy, and a playful disposition, alongside a friendly and sociable personality.

  3. Grooming Needs: Regular grooming, including brushing and professional stripping, is essential to maintain their wiry coat’s condition.

  4. Exercise and Mental Stimulation: Despite their small size, they require daily exercise and mental stimulation to stay healthy and content.

  5. Good with Families: Generally good with children and other pets, especially when socialized early, making them suitable for family environments.

  6. Training and Socialization: Intelligent and eager to please, they respond well to positive training methods, but may exhibit some stubbornness typical of terriers.

  7. Adaptable to Living Spaces: They can adapt well to various living conditions, including apartments, as long as their exercise needs are met.

  8. Health Considerations: Generally a healthy breed, but prone to certain genetic conditions like hip dysplasia and dental issues, requiring regular veterinary check-ups.

  9. Longevity: With a lifespan of about 12 to 15 years, they are a long-term commitment, offering years of companionship.

  10. Ideal for Active Owners: Best suited for individuals or families who can meet their exercise and grooming needs and appreciate the lively, affectionate nature of terriers.

These takeaways highlight the Norwich Terrier as a versatile, spirited, and loving breed, ideal for those seeking an active and engaging small dog with a big personality.

Top Norwich Terrier Names

These names are chosen to match the lively and affectionate nature of Norwich Terriers, while also being unique and easy to recall.

Female Names











Male Names











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