Norfolk Terrier Training
and Breed Information
Although the Norfolk Terrier is certainly one of the smallest working terriers, it is big on attitude. These mischievous and courageous companions are expert rat catchers and brilliant little hunters.
The AKC breed standard even allows for normal wear and tear scars on their bodies. When the AKC allows for scar tissue on a dog's body, that means that this dog is actually bred to work and injuries sustained while doing it's job cannot be held against it.
Norfolk Terriers are really high energy canines. They need to be able to exercise and burn some of the excess energy off. They are caring dogs and do like to cuddle, although they would never admit that to a stranger! They feel offended quite easily and need an understanding owner, or the Norfolk may become stubborn and obstinate. They usually love to play with other dogs regardless of their size and are rarely problematic with other pets.
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A Beautiful Little Norfolk Terrier Puppy
Norfolk Terrier History
The breed came into existence in approximately 1880. The Norfolk Terrier was developed by British sportsmen. The Norfolk gypsies had small red dogs that travelled with them. The sportsmen used those dogs and bred them with the Yorkshire Terrier, Cairn Terrier and a small Irish dog. The carefully selected breeding program gave us the wonderful Norfolk Terrier. The Norfolk Terrier was originally recognized as a drop-eared Norwich Terrier by the English Kennel Club in 1932.
The Norfolk Terrier was recognized by the American Kennel Club as its own breed in 1979.
Appearance of the Norfolk Terrier
Many people confuse the Norfolk Terrier with the Norwich Terrier. The easiest way to determine which breed is which is by looking at the ears. If the ears are dropped, you have seen a Norfolk Terrier. If the ears are erect, it is a Norwich Terrier. Although the two dogs are related, they are not the same breed.
The Norfolk Terrier will be between nine and ten inches at adulthood. He will be a little bit longer than he is tall and will weigh about twelve pounds. As in most breeds, females will be slightly smaller than male dogs. The eyes will be small and dark with an intelligent and alert expression.
The topline of the Norfolk Terrier should show a flat back without an arch or curve of any kind. The dog should have a high tail set and the tail should be docked at a medium length (depending where you are). His feet should be round and have thick pads and black nails. He should be well-muscled in order to perform the job he was bred to do.
The coat of the Norfolk Terrier is about 1.5 inches in length and it is hard and wiry. There is also an undercoat. The neck mane will create a ruff of fur below the ears and throat. There is a minor amount of feathering on the legs which has a hard texture. The coat on the face is short and may occasionally need to be trimmed. If your dog will be shown, excessive trimming will penalize him, if not cause him to be disqualified from the show ring.
The great thing about Norfolk Terriers is that they come in a variety of colors. The acceptable colors are red, black and tan, grizzle and wheaten. Darker points are allowed however, white markings are undesirable for the breed.
Norfolk Terrier Temperament
The Norfolk Terrier has a steady, happy-go-lucky attitude. They roll with the punches and rarely let anything bother them. They love spending time with their families and will be happy to chase a ball or Frisbee. Because they are very energetic little dogs, they love to play, be it indoors or outside. Playtime is essential for the well-being of a Norfolk Terrier. As much as they love to exercise and play, Norfolk Terriers also enjoy quiet time. They love to curl up on their owner's lap for petting and napping. When done simultaneously, your Norfolk Terrier puppy will feel like he is in heaven!
Just because they love to play and cuddle does not mean that they are wimpy dogs. Quite the contrary, they are very outgoing and courageous little dogs. They do not realize that they are diminutive in stature when they are hunting down rats. They certainly don't believe that they are small when they feel threatened or feel that a member of their human family is in danger. Do not misunderstand, they are not aggressive but they are not fearful either.
The Norfolk Terrier is a wonderful family pet. He will be happy in a small apartment or on a country estate. They are very versatile dogs that do well almost anywhere. They love children and make absolutely reliable companions. Many breeds of small dogs bark incessantly, the Norfolk Terrier does not. He will alert when someone is near or when the doorbell rings but is not a yapper canine.
Norfolk Terrier Health Issues
The breed is a generally healthy one. This is predominantly because most Norfolk Terrier breeders screen their dogs for potential problems. Because of their responsible breeders, the Norfolk Terrier has less genetic problems than many other breeds.
Norfolk Terriers can experience heart disorders. The biggest problem is Mitral Valve Heart Disease. The mitral valve splits the ventricle and left atrium chambers of the heart. The valve should not allow blood to flow backward but allow it to continue to flow through the chambers unimpeded. Backflow causes inefficiency in the heart's pumping ability. This valve issue will cause it to harden and shrivel earlier in life, causing an early onset of heart disease.
Epilepsy seems to become more and more of a problem in Norfolk Terriers. Seizures are very scary for pet owners. Seeing their beloved dog flailing about on the floor and being helpless to do anything about it is heartbreaking. Seizures can be a result of trauma but are usually genetic.
Responsible breeders do everything they can to eliminate these problems within the Norfolk Terrier breed. If they have a known carrier, they will have it spayed or neutered. They do testing on the hearts of potential breeding stock prior to using them in their breeding program. The average pet owner has a better chance of buying a problem-free puppy from a reputable breeder than they do getting a baby from someone who just bred two purebred Norfolk Terriers.
Norfolk Terriers are very eager to please and relatively easy to train if done in the right manner. These wonderful little canines do best using the reward system. Praise and treat when the dog responds appropriately to your command. Do not ever automatically think that he understands what you are asking of him. He must be shown what you mean by the word.
I recommend clicker training for Norfolk Terrier's (and most other breeds actually). It's a fantastic way to shape new behaviors and put a stop to problem behaviors.
Because they have minds of their own, a regular training session is important for the Norfolk Terrier. Consistent, regular sessions will not only improve his response time to the command but will keep him mentally stimulated and at the top of his game.
One of the good things about Norfolk Terriers is that they are not chewers. It is rare for an owner to complain that their baby has eaten the furniture and whatnot.
So all in all you'll find training your Norfolk Terrier to be a relatively straight forward process. With proper guidance and consistency your Norfolk will handle just about any training challenge you can throw at him. One piece of advice though, make sure you put your Norfolk Terrier puppy on a good puppy house training schedule as soon as he/she arrives at your home - you'll be pleased you did.
Izzie the cute Norfolk Terrier doing
some tricks and just goofing around.
Norfolk Terriers Are A Wonderful Breed
Norfolk Terriers make fabulous pets for a variety of reasons. They absolutely love children which is certainly a plus when selecting a breed of dog for your family. They are playful, loving, kind and courageous little characters. The temperament of the Norfolk Terrier is solid and safe. There should never be a concern about safety when it comes to this family-friendly breed. The Norfolk Terrier compliments his family and is a neighborly breed.
As long as you source your Norfolk from a respected breeder, provide adequate socialization and also some training you will have a beautiful, loyal lifelong friend.