Small But Fearless
If you’re looking for a canine companion that is fearless yet affectionate, charming yet tenacious, and eager for an adventure, then the Norfolk terrier may be perfect for you.
Often described as a big dog in a small package, the Norfolk terrier is a people pleaser with a lot of game. That perky little bundle of pup is hard working and would prefer to be on the go with you than taking up residence on the couch.
The Norfolk terrier is an English breed, with strong ancestral ties to the Norwich terrier. The Norwich terrier is a breed that originated in the early 19th century in Norwich, a town in the county of Norfolk which is located just north of London.
Nearly extinct by the end of World War II, breeders revived the Norwich terrier and decided to impose stricter breeding standards: dogs with up-ears (prick) and down-ears (drop) were to be bred separately to generate a distinct look between the two. As a result, around 1964, the breed line split into the Norwich (up-ears) and the Norfolk (down-ears).
The terriers were bred to hunt mainly small prey, like rats, on farms and in stables and to occasionally dig out badgers and “bolt” foxes during a hunt.
Norfolk terriers thrive on human contact and are known to be excellent family pets.
Bred to work well in packs, the breed usually gets along well with other dogs, especially if introduced to other pets at a young age.
Described as a happy, confident and spirited dog, the Norfolk terrier can get into mischief if left alone too long, and can also become very vocal at times, barking to get attention. This small breed is also an active one, and benefits greatly from daily activities like walking or playing at a dog park.
Norfolk terriers, along with the Norwich terrier, are one of the smallest working terriers and usually weigh between nine and 12 pounds.
This breed’s face is often characterized by its longhaired eyebrows, long whiskers and drop ears.
Norfolk terriers have a medium-length double coat; their top coat is harsh and wiry to the touch while the undercoat is soft and downy. Weekly grooming is recommended to prevent the dog’s coat from becoming matted.
The Norfolk terrier’s coat can be one of four colors: black and tan, grizzle (a combination of black, red and white hairs), red or red wheaten.
While these may be common medical conditions, your Norfolk terrier will not necessarily develop any of those listed below.
- Cataracts is an opacity of the lens of the eye and may cause blindness if not treated surgically.
- Glaucoma is an increase in the pressure of the fluid in the eye which, if left untreated, can cause visual impairment and eventual loss of sight. The condition can be inherited (primary glaucoma) or a secondary condition to a variety of other eye issues including tumors or lens luxation.
- Hip dysplasia is a malformation of the hips that cause arthritis. Norfolk terriers often have shallow hip sockets; responsible breeders should be testing for dysplasia. Dogs with this condition usually display an obvious limp — they may hold the leg out from the body while walking, or even attempt to carry the rear leg completely, putting no weight on it at all. Signs may be noted as early as four months of age. Although considered a lifelong problem, some dogs can be helped with surgery which, in some cases, can eliminate the problem totally.
- Lens luxation occurs when structures that hold the ocular lens in position weaken or break, causing the lens to dislocate. This condition is more commonly diagnosed in terrier breeds. It is therefore important to watch for any signs of discomfort or change in appearance of your Norfolk terrier’s eye and call your veterinarian immediately if you see any changes. Surgical removal of the lens is the only effective treatment to alleviate pain and restore vision.
- Luxating patella is caused by anatomical defects of the bones that make up the knee joint. It is manifested by the kneecap (patella) slipping in and out of its normal location in the knee. Mildly affected dogs may carry the leg for 2 or 3 steps while walking. Severely affected dogs may become severely lame and refuse to use their rear legs. Surgical correction of this condition is very rewarding.
- Mitral valve disease occurs when there is a malformation or degeneration of the left heart valves. This condition may eventually lead to congestive heart failure.