The Smallest Terrier – Norfolk Terrier
Norfolk Terriers, like all terrier breeds, were bred to hunt and eliminate vermin from barns and farms in the English country side. This instinct can kick in at any time, so it is best to keep your Norfolk on a lease when in the open.
While the prey drive may not be as pronounced in this dog as with other terriers, it is still a terrier. These dogs are very quick and fast, so they can get away quickly. Being terriers, they are prone to digging, however, this is not as pronounced as with other terriers. If you provide some vigorous exercise for about 30 minutes a day and then some additional game playing for a couple 15 minutes’ sessions each day, the exercise needs are met.
Meeting the exercise needs of the Norfolk Terrier will help reduce the entertainment of digging and barking. Despite the small stature of the dog, it is not prone to be a “yappy” little dog. They will bark to alert you to people and animals, but are not overly vocal. This makes them a good apartment dweller, however, remember the exercise requirements!
A healthy breed, the Norfolk Terrier, lives 10 to 14 years, with records indicating some live to be 17! There are very few health conditions with the dogs. Despite being only about 10 inches tall and weighing about 12 pounds, they are very strong and active. This is not just a lap dog, so be prepared to exercise the animal.
The coat is a double coat, a rough, wiry, outer coat and a smooth, soft inner coat. This is typical of many terriers. Because part of the charm of the Norfolk Terrier is the ‘scruffy” look and because cutting off the outer coat will remove the markings and coloring of the animal, they are not groomed as significantly as other terriers. The fur is left longer and somewhat unkempt intentionally.
They do shed year around, but have a lower potential to be allergy causing than other dogs. Regular weekly brushings should help keep the Norfolk Terrier shedding under control. Many show dogs are hand stripped to make the coats a little more pleasant to the eye. This basically, involves combing the dog with a comb that will cut the longer hair and remove the dead, shed hair.
Norfolk Terriers define the terms of big things coming in small packages! This little dog has a large personality. It loves people, children, and other dogs. it also loves to play, so keep plenty of toys around! These dogs are very agile and enjoy learning, so they make good agility course dogs.
They love to accompany humans in every aspect of your life. They are relatively easily trained, however, like other terriers, they can become stubborn. For first time dog owners, the Norfolk Terrier is a consideration and could be a good choice, remembering that the dog will live longer than most! Norfolk Terriers are generally a happy and affectionate dog and ready to play at any time. While they like to be active and participate in walks and play, they will also join you on the couch and relax as long as it is with you.