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Norfolk Terrier

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Is the Norfolk Terrier right for you?

Species group:

The basics:
The Norwich and the Norfolk Terrier are two breeds developed from a small terrier kept by college undergraduates to catch rats around Cambridge University in the 1880s. The Norwich Terrier has prick ears, while the Norfolk Terrier has drop ears. Both breeds have that dogged terrier personality that once gave them the courage to chase rats and foxes right into their dens. Despite their small size, expect a spunky dog that demands to be included in family activities. A bored, badly socialized Norfolk Terrier will find plenty of ways to get into trouble, including chasing other animals or digging up your garden. But if you can provide loving guidance for a spirited dog that loves to be with you, then one of these confident if stubborn terriers could be the right choice.

Appearance / health:
Norfolk Terriers are one of the smallest working terriers with short, powerful, and straight legs. They are the smallest members of the AKC Terrier Club. The muzzle is wedge-shaped with a foxy expression. The teeth are big and meet in a scissors bite. The eyes are oval, small, expressive and dark. The small, drop ears are the distinguishing feature of the breed. The tail is usually docked.

Norfolks are average shedders. Weekly combing and brushing is sufficient to keep the coat healthy looking. They should be bathed at least once a month. Norfolk terriers are usually “stripped” twice a year, which involves vigorously pulling out the dead outer coat by hand or with the help of a stripping tool. The trademark drop ears should be checked for mites and cleaned regularly.

A long walk or vigorous play within the yard for 20-30 minutes a day is sufficient to keep Norfolks physically fit and mentally stimulated.

The most serious genetic disease observed in Norfolk Terriers is a life-threatening heart abnormality known as mitral valve disease, which severely affects blood flow and circulation. Norfolks are also prone to hip dysplasia and luxating patella. They are also susceptible to eye problems.

Behavior / temperament:
The Norfolk Terrier is active, alert, happy and spirited, and always ready to play. They have a natural lover of people and rarely aggressive. Wary in unfamiliar situations, they will gain a fearless quality through socialization. As a hardy descendent of ratting companions, they are eager to hunt small vermin, and are easily distracted by squirrels, small birds and even moving vehicles if left off leash and without proper training. It is strongly recommended that the terrier not be off lead outside of their home or fenced area.

Norfolks are alert, fearless, and sociable. They are loyal and devoted to their families, making them good family companions. They have a stable disposition and do not exhibit any unnecessary fears or aggression. They can be obstinate if left alone for more than a few hours as they thrive on human companionship.

Norfolks are capable, intelligent dogs, who wish to please their owners. However, they are strong-willed and may be a bit difficult to train. They respond best to positive reinforcement methods using praise and treats. Basic obedience training is necessary for all terriers.

Norfolks are not usually excessive barkers. They are quick to alert their owners if someone is at the door or passing by the house. They may bark incessantly if they are left alone for longer durations or are not provided with sufficient physical exercise or mental stimulation.

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