Norfolk Terrier Breed Information and Buying advice

Norfolk Terrier

Are You Looking to Buy or Adopt a Norfolk Terrier?

Quick Norfolk Terrier Facts

Average Size of Adult
Small (2/5)
Puppy Puppy Puppy Puppy Puppy
Grooming Requirement
Low (1/3)
Puppy Puppy Puppy
High (3/3)
Puppy Puppy Puppy
Average Life Span
12-14 years (5/8)
Exercise Requirements
High (3/3)
Puppy Puppy Puppy
High (3/3)
Puppy Puppy Puppy
Low (1/3)
Puppy Puppy Puppy
Child friendly
Yes (1/2)
High (3/3)
Puppy Puppy Puppy
Breed Group
Terrier (4/8)
Yes (1/2)

Why Norfolk Terrier’s are great

Norfolk Terrier puppies and dogs are often known for being small, yet having a large personality. They’re alert, loyal, loving and hard-working, despite their small size. The Norfolk Terrier is extremely cute, with dark eyes, wiry coat and charming personality mixing together to get a lovely dog all around. If you are wanting a loving and affectionate companion as a dog, who is also fearless and at times protective, the Norfolk Terrier is for you. Some highlights:

  1. The Norfolk terrier is loving and compassionate

  2. They are playful and sociable

  3. They have low shedding coats

  4. Norfolk Terrier’s are hypoallergenic

  5. They are low maintenance when grooming

  6. They can manage being left along for periods


Things to consider when looking at Norfolk Terrier’s for Sale

Having mentioned these great factors, the Norfolk Terrier, as all breeds, does have some factors to consider when considering buying a puppy. Some downsides to the Norfolk Terrier:

  1. They have a high prey drive- Meaning Norfolk Terrier’s will often chase small animals- it’s in their blood

  2. Be very careful where you let them off the lead

  3. They need a very secure garden as their small terrier nature means they can escape small spaces

  4. The Norfolk Terrier need daily exercise

  5. They’re known to dig holes- so if you have a lovely garden, be careful

  6. Norfolk Terriers need to be watched around small pets.


History of Norfolk Terrier’s

In the late 1800’s, a working terrier, known for its’ ratting skills (that is ability to track and kill vermin, usually on farms) was developed in East Anglia, Norfolk. This breed of dog was known as the Norwich Terrier and this later developed into a drop-eared variety which is now known as a Norfolk Terrier. It is believed that the Norwich Terrier and Norfolk Terrier was developed by crossing Border Terriers, Cairn Terriers and Irish Terrier breeds, with the small red terriers used by the Gypsy ratter community of Norfolk and Norwich. The Norfolk Terrier had a few name changes over the year, with Cantab Terrier being commonly used when they became fashionable for students to keep them at Cambridge University. Later known as the Jones Terrier, after Frank Jones who was a prominent Irish horse rider just prior to World War 1 who sold the short-legged terrier to the United States. In 1932 the Norwich Terrier was granted acceptance into the English Kennel Club and then in 1964 re-classified the drop-ear variety as the breed we know today, the Norfolk Terrier, with the stiff ear version still being known as the Norwich Terrier. After many generations, these once very similar breeds have now developed very distinct physical looks and different temperaments.  


How big is the Norfolk Terrier?

We rate the Norfolk Terrier as a small dog. Specifically they will be around 23-25 centimetres tall at the withers once fully grown.  

How heavy is a Norfolk Terrier?

The optimal weight is between 5kg and 5.4kg for both male and female  

What Colour is the Norfolk Terrier?

The Kennel Club accepts these colours for registrations: Black & Tan, Grizzle, Red, Red Grizzle, Red Wheaten, Wheaten. Some Norfolk Terriers will also have white in their coat and, whilst not desirable, is allowed as part of the Kennel Club Registration  


Do Norfolk Terrier’s make good guard dogs?

Due to their terrier instincts, Norfolk Terriers are very alert dogs, and will always notice animals moving, and people as well. They will actively let their owners know if an intruder is present- but rarely aggressively, and will just do this through barking and agitated behaviour.  

Do Norfolk Terrier’s bark a lot?

Norfolk Terriers, like most dogs, will make use of the bark when rattled. They are, however, not ‘yappy’ dogs. It is important when you have a puppy, to stop the terrier instinct as soon as possible. When young, they will bark at every new sight and sound, so establishing who the leader is from early is important.  

Are Norfolk Terrier’s easy to train?

Norfolk Terriers are known for being intelligent dogs, who enjoy constant learning. This means that they can often become restless if not trained well, especially not trained who is the boss or leader of a household. They can be stubborn to train in the beginning, but if firm positive instruction is given, the average Norfolk Terrier will be medium difficulty to train.  

Are Norfolk Terrier’s playful?

Yes. Norfolk Terriers have a very playful nature, which means you should provide some toys to keep them busy. They are known to be a fan of digging, so if you don’t keep them distracted, beware, your garden will become the toy for them.  

Are Norfolk Terrier’s good with children?

Norfolk Terriers are very good with children, and will happily live in a family environment. Because of their small size- it is usually best to have children over the age of 10 before being left alone with them, as they are less likely to step on, or cause damage to the small Norfolk Terrier.  

Are Norfolk Terrier’s good with other pets?

With regard to other dogs, the Norfolk has a good nature, and will behave well. The ideal situation for a Norfolk Terrier, is to be in a family pack where they know exactly where they stand in the hierarchy, as the Norfolk Terrier as the alpha dog can often behave undesirably. With regard to other small pets, the Norfolk Terrier cannot be trusted. They are Terrier dogs and often cannot suppress their prey drive, and will chase hamsters, birds and the like.  

Can I leave a Norfolk Terrier Alone?

With its inquisitive and intelligent personality, the Norfolk will find ways to occupy its time. You can indeed leave them alone, but this would not be recommended for long periods of time. For example, if left alone all do without much to occupy its time, the Norfolk Terrier will begin to dig, bark and be mischievous. Always remember, they will form very strong ties with their families.  

Do Norfolk Terrier’s like water?

Most Norfolk Terriers will indeed enjoy swimming, especially if it’s warm. Some Norfolk Terriers are known to leap into water at any time, again, especially if they are chasing something. Be careful where you let them off the lead, in case a chase begins, and they leap into water with touch access to save them.  


How long do Norfolk Terrier’s live?

The Norfolk Terrier will live for between 14 and 16 years if fed and exercised well.  

How much exercise does a Norfolk Terrier need?

The Norfolk Terrier is an energetic dog with terrier intelligence, meaning they must be kept busy and mentally stimulated. In safe environments, Norfolk Terrier should be given plenty of off the lead time, so they can discover things themselves, along with around 40-60 minutes of daily exercise. Norfolk Terriers will appreciate some garden time, so if you can provide outdoor space this is very important. However, ensure the area is fenced well and no small gaps to escape from as they will find a way to dig their way out. If not given adequate stimulation and exercise the Norfolk Terrier will lead to finding entertainment themselves by being mischievous or digging holes, which is their way of relieving stress or taking exercise into their own hands, not just being naughty. When puppies, ensure not too much exercise as this can affect their joints and bones. Being small dogs, jumping up and down from the sofa and up and down stairs can also put a lot of pressure on the puppies, so should be avoided to prevent issues with bones and joints.  

What are Norfolk Terrier’s Common health issues?

Hip dyplasia. This can manifest itself with pain or lameness on one or both rear legs, and can exist with or without clinical signs. Vaccination sensitivity. We recommend that you watch your Norfolk closely once been vaccinated and call the vet if anything is unusual. Some reports state that symptoms include facial swelling or lethargy. Weight Issues. Keep an eye on your Norfolk’s waistline after that have been spayed or neutered as this can sometime lead them to put on weight. If your dog does seem to have an increased waistline, then adjust their calorie intake and exercise accordingly. If your dog is getting older, keep a particular eye on your dog’s weight as age can mean weight is gained easier. Allergies. It is important to take your dog to the vet if you notice anything similar to an allergic reaction  


How much space do I need for a Norfolk Terrier?

Being a small dog, Norfolk Terriers do not require a huge amount of space. They enjoy enough space to run around and entertain themselves, but the important thing about the space is that it must have adequate fencing, as using their terrier like instincts, they will find ways to break holes in fencing and escape.  

What should I feed my Norfolk Terrier?

We recommend using dry dog food with the Norfolk Terrier and a full grown adult will take around 85 grams per meal 3 times a day. The best advice we can provide on diet is to make sure you are providing a diet that suits their age, lifestyle and health requirements. The perfect test is the following: place your hands on your Norfolk Terrier’s back, thumbs on the spine, and fingers down on the ribs. You should be able to feel ribs, pressing fairly hard, but not be able to see. When you get your Norfolk Terrier Puppy, the breeder will give you a schedule and routine for feeding, as well as sometimes a small food sample. It is imperative to stick to the same foods and schedules for at least a few months to avoid any digestion problems.  

How much grooming do Norfolk Terrier’s need?

We would rate the Norfolk Terrier as medium difficulty. They have a long and wiry coat mainly around the neck, shoulders and legs. To prevent knotting of the coat, you should weekly groom lightly, and the coat will benefit from a professional hand 2 to 3 times a year. The ears should also be checked regularly, and remove excess wax as this can often lead to ear infections.

Do Norfolk Terrier’s shed?

In terms of shedding, they will shed lightly throughout the year, but not very much. Norfolk Terriers will increase the amount they shed in Spring and Autumn, and so a weekly brush of the coat in these times will be beneficial.  

Average costs

How much does it cost to keep a Norfolk Terrier?

As a rough guide in pricing: Cost to buy: roughly £500-£1000 for a well-bred Norfolk Terrier Puppy Food: £20-30 per month Vet Costs: £800-1000 per year  

Specific Buying Guide for Norfolk Terrier Puppies

You can read our general buying guide here (/advice-on-buying-a-puppy/), with the most important thing being going to view your Norfolk Terrier Puppy, seeing it with its mother, and checking the quality of the breeder. More specifically, here is some Norfolk Terrier puppy buying advice:

  1. These dogs are popular and hard to come by. You can check the Norfolk Terrier club breeders list and sign up for updates, which we would recommend, as farmed puppies of this breed are common. The club is very helpful so you can ask them if you need any help.

  General Questions to ask a Norfolk Terrier Breeder:

  1. Could I meet the litter’s parents if at all possible? It is always a good idea to take a good look at what the parents of the puppy or puppies we are interested in actually look like. Do they look in a good condition?

  2. How have you been socialising the pups so far? A question only relevant if the puppies are more than a couple of weeks old or so.

  3. Can I ask if the parents of the puppies are certified? This question will help specifically with matters concerning potentially inherited health problems from the parents such as hip conditions.

  4. How big and heavy are the parents of the pups? This question could help us gauge just how big our puppy or puppies could grow to.

  5. What vaccines has the puppy had? We should find out exactly how many shots the pup has already had and when it is due for its next injection.

  6. Have any of the puppies in this litter become ill up until now? Another good way to work out the likelihood of your puppy or puppies being of good health.

  7. Can you provide me with any recommendations from previous customers please? A good way to establish the integrity and reputation of the breeder.

  8. What are you currently feeding the puppies? It is wise to learn this important aspect as it is often ideal to continue with the diet at least for the first few days or so.

  9. Do you offer a guarantee with the sale of the puppies? If so, it might be a good idea to have a contract drawn up if one does not exist already and get it witnessed at singing.

  10. Do you belong to a dog breeding club? This is always a useful question as it often provides us with evidence of how professional the breeder actually is.


Other reading and Organisations

A big thank you to the following sources who helped to shape this article: