Norwich Terrier

Introduction | History & Health | Temperament & Personality | Breed Standard

Norwich Terrier

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Introduction

The Norwich Terrier, also known as the Trumpington Terrier, Cantab Terrier, Jones Terrier, Prick-Eared Norwich Terrier and the Norwich, is one of the smallest of all working terrier breeds. Farmers, hunters and families alike value the Norwich's gameness, loyalty, adaptability and great charm. Norwich Terriers were bred to hunt in packs or alone as ratters. They go to ground readily to seek and bolt their prey. Today, the Norwich remains more sociable and agreeable than many terrier breeds, although it retains its feistiness and "full of itself" attitude. Norwich Terriers make gregarious, happy-go-lucky companions for adults, children and other domestic animals, although they can be bossy. Norwich Terriers also tend to be "barky," love to dig and can be difficult to housebreak.
Adult male Norwich Terriers should not exceed 10 inches at the withers, with bitches tending to be slightly smaller. The mature Norwich typically weighs about 12 pounds in fit working condition. Their coat is hard, wiry and straight, lying close to the body with a definite undercoat. It normally is 1½ to 2 inches in length and comes in all shades of red, wheaten, black-and-tan and grizzle. Dark points are permissible under the American breed standard, but white markings are undesirable. The Norwich's coat requires regular brushing and should be hand-stripped several times a year. Their ears should be medium in size and held erect, with pointed tips. The tail is typically docked to a medium length, but many owners increasingly prefer to keep it natural.

History & Health

History

The Norwich Terrier originates from the east-central part of England called East Anglia, just north of London. The town of Norwich is in the county of Norfolk. By the 1880s, owning a small ratting terrier was fashionable among students attending Cambridge University, and the Norwich Terrier became their unofficial school mascot. At the start of the 20th century, Frank "Roughrider" Jones, and Englishman who had Glen of Imaal Terriers and a dark red brindle Cairn-type bitch, bred his dogs to a working terrier from Norwich, named Rags. Rags was a proficient ratter and a dominant sire. Jones and others crossed his offspring with working terriers from Norwich, Cambridge and Market Harborough to develop a small, sturdy and fearless breed later recognized by The Kennel Club (England) in 1932 as the Norwich Terrier. Contributing breeds probably included the Border Terrier, Cairn Terrier and unnamed red terriers from Ireland. Rags remains the undisputed founding sire of the Norwich Terrier breed.
Early in the breed's history, there was substantial variation and fancier controversy over appropriate breed size, color, coat, ear set and overall type. The original Norwich Terrier standard encompassed both the up-ear (prick) and the down-ear (drop) varieties. Mating a drop-eared dog with a prick-eared one produced an unattractive intermediate ear, which neither stood upright nor folded reliably. The drop-eared Norwich nearly disappeared during World War II and has always been less popular than its up-eared cousin. In 1957, Norwich breeders in England decided that the two varieties should be treated as separate breeds, so that they would not have to compete against each other at dog shows. The Kennel Club (England) thought this distinction too trivial and at first refused to make the change. Eventually, The Kennel Club relented. In 1964, it officially separated the Norfolk and the Norwich Terriers into two distinct breeds, with the prick-eared dog retaining the name Norwich Terrier and the drop-eared dog being renamed the Norfolk Terrier.

Temperament & Personality

Personality

The Norwich is a classic terrier breed: fearless, strong, sassy, loving and independent. Norwiches make excellent family dogs as they consider their family to be their "pack" and will want to be included in as many group activities as possible. They never tire of playing ball, and many owners report that their Norwich Terriers chased balls with the vigor of a puppy well into their older adult lifetimes. This breed has a zest for life, approaching new tasks and situations with vigor, and make an excellent family pet, though they shouldn't be raised alongside toddlers. Their trainability and generally even temperament makes them a good choice for first time dog owners.

Activity Requirements

Norwich Terriers need moderate exercise to maintain health and happiness. Daily walks and some active ball-chasing will meet his activity requirements. The Norwich's compact size makes them fine apartment dogs, and they are generally easier to handle than other noisy terrier breeds. These little dogs are not couch potatoes, however. Even indoors they are eager to engage in activity that works both mind and body, so make sure that your Norwich has lots of toys to keep him occupied, especially when you are gone for the day. If left alone too long with nothing to do, they will occupy themselves by barking, chewing and digging.
Norwichs should never be left off leash or in an unfenced area for exercise. They maintain a strong desire to chase, and will take off like a shot after small animals and they aren't likely to respond to calls home.

Trainability

Norwich Terriers like to be in charge, but when trained from a young age are not difficult to handle. They are incredibly smart, and repetition can bore them, so make sure sessions are mixed up and kept lively to maintain interest. Positive reinforcement and treats are the best method for training this breed, as treating a terrier harshly will only lead to defensive behavior.
When basic obedience has been mastered, Norwich Terriers can graduate on to advanced training, agility or Earthdog activities. Agility courses allow Norwiches to exercise their minds and bodies, and Earthdog allows them to hunt and dig for vermin (who are kept safely out of reach of the dogs). They will enjoy the exercise, appreciate the time to use their sharp minds, and will eat up the extra time spent with you.

Behavioral Traits

Though they are less yappy than other terrier breeds, Norwich Terriers are still prone to barking, especially if left alone for long periods of time with nothing to do. Walking your dog before leaving the house, and leaving him with interesting toys to play with can cut down on the barking. Companion dogs also help. Norwiches are pack animals and when raised together, bond well with other canines.
Cats should not be introduced into the Norwich home. These little dogs will chase small animals, and can sometimes be aggressive. Introducing another dog into and adult Norwich's home can also be a challenge. The Norwich is fine in a multiple-dog home only when raised alongside other dogs from puppyhood.
Norwichs have the urge to dig in their DNA. They were originally used to chase foxes and other animals out of their dens, and modern Norwichs are still champion diggers. If left alone in a yard, they can make quick work of flower beds. Enrolling your Norwich in Earthdog activities can give him a constructive outlet for digging.

Breed Standard

General Appearance
The Norwich Terrier, spirited and stocky with sensitive prick ears and a slightly foxy expression, is one of the smallest working terriers. This sturdy descendent of ratting companions, eager to dispatch small vermin alone or in a pack, has good bone and substance and an almost weatherproof coat. A hardy hunt terrier-honorable scars from fair wear and tear are acceptable.

Size, Proportion, Substance
One of the smallest of the terriers, the ideal height should not exceed 10 inches at the withers. Distance from the top of the withers to the ground and from the withers to base of tail are approximately equal. Good bone and substance. Weight approximately 12 pounds. It should be in proportion to the individual dog's structure and balance. Fit working condition is a prime consideration.

Head
A slightly foxy expression. Eyes small, dark and oval shaped with black rims. Placed well apart with a bright and keen expression. Ears medium size and erect. Set well apart with pointed tips. Upright when alert. The skull is broad and slightly rounded with good width between the ears. The muzzle is wedge shaped and strong. Its length is about one-third less than the measurement from the occiput to the well-defined stop. The jaw is clean and strong. Nose and lip pigment black. Tight-lipped with large teeth. A scissor bite.

Neck, Topline, Body
Neck of medium length, strong and blending into well laid back shoulders. Level topline. Body moderately short. Compact and deep. Good width of chest. Well-sprung ribs and short loins. Tail medium docked. The terrier's working origin requires that the tail be of sufficient length to grasp. Base level with topline; carried erect.

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 with thick pads. Nails black. The feet point forward when standing or moving.

Hindquarters
Broad, strong and muscular with well-turned stifles. Hocks low set and straight when viewed from the rear. Feet as in front.

Coat
Hard, wiry and straight, lying close to the body with a definite undercoat. The coat on neck and shoulders forms a protective mane. The hair on head, ears and muzzle, except for slight eyebrows and whiskers, is short and smooth. This breed should be shown with as natural a coat as possible. A minimum of tidying is permissible but shaping should be heavily penalized.

Color
All shades of red, wheaten, black and tan or grizzle. White marks are not desirable.

Gait
The legs moving parallel, extending forward, showing great powers of propulsion. Good rear angulation with a true, yet driving movement. The forelegs move freely with feet and elbows the same distance apart, converging slightly with increased pace. Hind legs follow in the track of the forelegs, flexing well at the stifle and hock. The topline remains level.

Temperament
Gay, fearless, loyal and affectionate. Adaptable and sporting, they make ideal companions.

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