Norwich Terrier

Norwich Terrier pup

Norwich Terrier

Breed: Norwich Terrier
Temperament: alert, active, keen
Lifespan: 13 to 14 years
Recommended for: families
Dumpage rate: low
Maintenance: low


Norwich Terriers are small, low, rugged little dogs which may be red, black and tan, wheaten or grizzle (mingled red and black) in colour. They have short, powerful legs and harsh, wiry coats. The coat may be striped for show but is never clipped or shaped.

The ideal height for a Norwich Terrier is 10 inches (25cm) at the withers and the ideal weight is approximately 12 pounds (5 kg). The Norwich Terrier is shorter in the legs and sturdier than the Norfolk Terrier. The face sports jaunty whiskers and eyebrows and the eyes are dark and expressive. The ears of the Norwich Terrier stand erect.


The Norwich and Norfolk Terriers share an identical history as they started out as one breed. Eventually they were divided by ear carriage into two breeds, the Norwich which has the prick ear and the Norfolk which has the drop ear. Norwich Terriers were developed in England, soaring in popularity in the 1880s when they became the rage as pets for students at Cambridge University.


Bred to hunt in packs, they are sociable dogs. Owners describe them as friendly and alert. Breeders describe the temperament of the breed as active and balanced (not nervous or looking for a fight). Owners say they are more sociable than many other terriers and that they prefer the company of humans to other dogs.

Health and Lifespan

Overall, Norwich and Norfolk Terriers are extremely healthy breeds. Some individuals can be prone to skin problems in hot weather (socalled “summer eczema”). This is usually a flea bite allergy or allergic reaction to some antigen in their environment.

Norwich Terriers have an average lifespan of 13 to 14 years.


It is important not to overfeed Norwich Terriers as obesity can lead to back problems. Breeders recommend a mixed diet of fresh meat and dry food, with water. Vegetables, rice and chicken can be used to supplement meals.


Because of the short legs and conformation of the breed, assistance in sometimes required for mating. Average litter size is two to three pups. Breeder Patricia Bunter says that for some reason the Norwich Terriers in this country tend to throw dogs rather than bitches.


Although the hard, close coat does not collect dirt, they still require regular grooming. The shaggy, medium length, waterproof coat is relatively easy to care for, but daily brushing and combing is important.

Housepet Potential

Their size makes them ideal for living inside the house although information in some texts says they can be hard to housebreak. They are fairly inactive indoors and will do alright in an apartment but must receive sufficient exercise. They do shed a light amount of hair.

Space and exercise

These little dogs were bred to work. They are energetic and thrive on an active life. They will dig and bark if left outside for long periods of time with nothing to occupy their minds. They love toys and balls but should not be let off their lead unless secure.


Both the Norwich and the Norfolk Terrier go to ground and are good ratters and rabbit dogs. Although they were originally bred for hunting, they are now more commonly kept as companions.


There are only two people in Australia breeding the Norwich Terrier at present. People can expect to join a waiting list for this breed.


A working breed, the Norwich Terrier performs well in obedience training. Some owners report that they are difficult to housebreak.

Ideal Owner

Norwich Terriers make excellent family dogs. Owners say they make good watchdogs, and a small backyard provides ample space provided they are walked regularly.

National contacts

To find up-to-date contacts for breeders, contact the following organisations.

Dogs NSW
Phone: 1300 728 022 (NSW only) or (02) 9834 3022
Fax: (02) 9834 3872

Dogs Victoria
Phone: (03) 9788 2500
Fax: (03) 9788 2599

Dogs ACT
Phone: (02) 6241 4404 – Fax: (02) 6241 1129.

Dogs West
Phone: (08) 9455 1188
Fax: (08) 9455 1190

Dogs SA
Phone: (08) 8349 4797

Canine Control Council of Queensland
Phone: (07) 3252 2661
Fax: (07) 3252 3864

Tasmanian Canine Association
Phone: (03) 6272 9443
Fax: (03) 6273 0844

Dogs NT
Phone: (08) 8984 3570
Fax: (08) 8984 3409