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Norwich Terrier

 Photo of Norwich Terrier

Norwich Terrier Books

Group: Terrier - Breed Standard

Origins

The breed has existed since at least the late 1800s, as working terrier of East Anglia, England. The game and hardy little dogs were useful as ratters in the stable yard, bolters of fox for the hunt, and loving family companions. It was the mascot of students at Cambridge University. Small red terriers, descendants of Irish Terriers, had existed in the area since at least the 1860s, and these might be the ancestors of the Norwich, or it might have come from the Trumpington Terrier, a breed that no longer exists. In its earliest history, it was also known as the Jones Terrier and the Cantab Terrier.

Since its earliest identification as a breed, puppies have had either drop or prick ears, and both were allowed when the Norwich was first recognized in the show ring in 1932 by The Kennel Club (England). Drop ears were often cropped until it became illegal to do so. This intensified a long-standing controversy over whether drop-eared dogs should be allowed in the show ring and whether the primary difference was simply the ears or whether other, deeper, personality and structural differences marked the drop-eared variety. Starting in the 1930s, breeders increased their efforts to distinguish the breeds.

Both ear types continued to be allowed in the ring until The Kennel Club recognized the drop-eared variety as a separate breed, the Norfolk Terrier, in 1964.

Description

Ideal height at withers 25 cms (10 ins).

These terriers are the smallest terriers, with prick ears and a double coat, which come in red, tan, wheaten, black and tan, and grizzle.

Character/Temperament

These small but hardy dogs are courageous, remarkably intelligent and wonderfully affectionate. They can be assertive but it is untypical for them to be aggressive, quarrelsome or shy. They are energetic and thrive on an active life. They are eager to please but have definite minds of their own. They are sensitive to scolding but 100% Terrier. They should never be kept outside or in a kennel setting because they love the companionship of their owners too much. Norwich are not given to unnecessary barking but they will warn of a stranger approaching. Norwich are good with children. If introduced to other household pets as a puppy they generally co-habitate peacefully, though caution should be observed around rodent pets as they may be mistaken for prey.

Breed Health

The life expectancy of the Norwich Terrier is 12-16 years. While the Norwich Terrier is considered a healthy breed, there are some health issues for which responsible breeders do preventative genetic health testing, thereby reducing the incidences. For the Norwich, there are incidences of epilepsy, narrow tracheas, luxating patellas, hip dysplasia, mitral valve disease, and incorrect bites (how the teeth meet when the jaws are closed).

Exercise

Norwich Terriers are hardy, active dogs, bred for a working life of pursuing vermin and accompanying their farmer owners on horseback. A good daily walk is therefore the minimum needed to meet the exercise requirements of a healthy Norwich Terrier. They are excellent walking companions. They are reasonable joggers for those who like to jog with their dogs, and with appropriate training can even accompany mountain bikes off-lead. Norwich Terriers compete in Earthdog competitions, and are increasingly common in Agility competitions. Note that these dogs were bred as working terriers, and thrive best with at least one hour of real activity daily, such as a good walk, run, or working session. Norwich are curious, independent dogs who may become bored by routine, repetitive walks/routes; they need more than access to a backyard for their physical and mental health. While these dogs are the smallest of the working terriers, they are not lapdogs and should emphatically NOT be confused with the toy breeds, which do not have the same need for activity, stimulation, and excercise.

Inadequate exercise and stimulation for your Norwich can result in behavioral problems, ranging from a tendency to overexcitement, to destructive or neurotic behaviours.

Training

See our books on training


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Last link added: 16 Mar, 2008