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Norfolk Terrier Dog Breed… Everything You Need to Know at a Glance!

Aw…don’t you want to cuddle with him?   After all, the Norfolk Terrier is one of the cutest dogs out there.  But don’t tell him that!  You see, even though this little cutie only stands around 10 inches tall, at his “core,” this little guy is still a “Terrier,” so in his mind, that 10 inches is 10 feet!

Or, in other words…

This little dog has the courage of a lion. He isn’t afraid of anyone or anything and can take on much larger dogs. And while he may be small, he is physically solid, with a robust and muscular physique.  This, combined with his fiery attitude and fierce devotion to his family and woe betide anyone who casts an evil eye on the people he has sworn to protect! That’s why everyone loves this cute little dog from Norwich, England.

The Perfect Family Dog

Norfolk terriers are perfect family dogs. These working terriers are loyal to their human family and will typically go to any extent to defend you in a dangerous situation when you’re under attack.  And they’re usually really good with children, but like with most dogs, it is usually best to wait until your child is five years old, at least, before bringing a Norfolk puppy home; this way, your child will be ready to be a good owner as well.

But we should…

These little “firecrackers” may not be suitable for a house with many pets.


The Norfolk terrier is a working terrier, meaning he has been bred to kill rats. He is biologically wired to kill rats and other small animals. So if you have multiple pets at home, the last thing you want is for this Terrier to proudly display a hamster or a goldfish he has just killed when you’re at dinner with your family!

This brings us to…

Why we chose to write this article, you see, we here at IndulgeYourPet love these little guys, but that doesn’t mean that they’ll automatically be the right “kind” of dog for you.  So, we hope that after reading this article, you might better understand what it might be like to own one of these little guys.  So if you ever get to make a Norfolk Terrier your own, you’ll know if it’s a good idea!

Norfolk Terrier Dog Fast Facts

Country of Origin: The UK

Original Purpose:  Fox bolting and ratter

Height: 9 to 10 inches at the shoulder

Weight: 11 to 12 pounds

Dog Breed Classification:  Terrier group

Life Span: 12 to 15 years

Origin of the Norfolk Terrier Dog Breed

The Norfolk Terrier comes from a long line of “Terrier” dog breeds that have existed for hundreds of years in England and beyond.  This is why this breed’s actual “origin” remains somewhat of a mystery.  What is known is that the breed began to grow in popularity right around the late 1800s when this little guy started to become quite popular with Cambridge students studying in the East Anglia region of England.

During this time…

The “Norfolk” Terrier and his close cousin, the “Norwich” Terrier, were essentially indistinguishable from one another and generally considered the same breed.  In fact, “Officially” remained this way until 1979, when the American Kennel Club finally decided to split the breed and officially recognize the Norfolk Terrier as its distinct breed.

Physical Characteristics

The Norfolk Terriers are small; they are only 9 to 10 inches at shoulder height and weigh 11 to 12 pounds. They have a longish body structure – they are longer rather than taller.  The Norfolk also has a wiry double coat, which has somewhat of a shaggy look and feel. The skin is red, black and tan, wheaten or grizzle, and is water resistant. He wears a long, bushy whisker and thick eyebrows that hide his eyes.

He is notable for the expressive look on his face, always curious and up to something. This breed is separated from its close cousin, the Norwich Terrier, because of its drop ears.

Comparisons dog breeds

You may compare the Norfolk Terriers to other dogs, such as the Black and Tan Terrier, Manchester Terrier, and Lakeland Terrier. He is the smallest of the working terriers.

Temperament and Personality

The Norfolk Terrier is a fearless breed, affectionate and strong.  But remember, like many “terriers,” these little guys can also be quite stubborn and independent. But he loves human company and is easy to socialize with.  We should also point out that while he is devoted to the members of his human family, he doesn’t get too friendly with strangers or other dogs. He must get to know you well before accepting you as a friend.

Keeping these little guys on a leash whenever you take them out would also be a good idea. This is very important. Otherwise, he could chase any small animal crossing his path.

Norfolk Terrier Training

He is an intelligent dog and easy to train. He is very proud of his abilities and always wants to impress you. So he loves learning new tricks.

Norfolks are highly active breeds, always digging for something and running around the house, but they are fun to be with.

Potential Health Problems

The Norfolk Terrier is incredibly healthy. He lives twice as long as some of the larger breeds. He has a life expectancy of 12 to 15 years but can live longer, provided he gets the right medical treatment whenever needed.  He is known to suffer from the following health problems…

And while many of these conditions may not be life-threatening, they can become quite expensive, particularly if they become recurring issues.  This is why we here at IndulgeYourPet also recommend that any new pet owner take a moment and see what it might cost for you to purchase a pet insurance policy for your new animal.

Now will a pet insurance policy be suitable for everyone?

No, probably not.  But until you fully understand what these policies “will” and “won’t” cover and how much these pet insurance policies cost, how will you know if one might be right for you?

For more information on who we feel currently offers the “best” pet insurance policies out there, we would encourage you to check out our Best Pet Insurance Policies article.

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