In Great Britain during the early 1800s a general type farm dog and hunting terrier existed in the area of Norfolk England near the town of Norwich. It is believed that his ancestry included Border, Cairn and Irish Terrier bloodlines. During the 1880s, he became popular with undergraduates at Cambridge University and his popularity soared. After World War I Frank Jones, a horseman, began breeding harsh-coated red progeny of the breed who established the foundation of the Norfolk/Norwich breed. He is one of the smallest of the working terriers.
Early specimens imported to the United States were called Jones Terriers. Bred to hunt in packs, they were used in America to aid foxhounds to go after prey that had gone to ground. The breed was officially recognized in the 1930s in both the United States and Great Britain. Within the breed were dogs with prick ears and some with drop ears. In 1965, the breeds split in Great Britain. The variety with prick ears became known as the Norwich Terrier and the drop-eared variety became the Norfolk Terrier. In 1975, they were recognized as separate breeds by the American Kennel Club. Aside from the ears, the breed standards are the similar.
The Norfolk Terrier has a loveable disposition and a hardy constitution. He is good natured and gregarious, affectionate and reasonably obedient. He is a fine housedog but needs sufficient exercise to offset his exuberance.
The Norfolk Terrier’s skull is wide and slightly rounded. Its muzzle is strong, with the length being one-third less than the skull and has a “foxy” appearance. The bite should be scissors. The ears are set high on the skull and fold down to be carried close to the cheeks. They have rounded tips and should not hang below eye level. The eyes are bright and dark with a keen, intelligent expression. The neck is of medium length. The back is short in length and level. The legs are short, solid, and straight with round toes. The tail is docked.
The coat is a harsh double coat that lies flat against the body. Eyebrows, whiskers, and a mane around the neck are desirable. Acceptable colors of coat are red, wheaten, black and tan, and grizzle. White markings do exist but are not desired.
Average height at the withers is ten inches and average weight is between eleven and twelve pounds.
They are great companions and excellent with children.
“They are SO cute and adorable. You can never get enough of them, they are great with children and are great watchdogs. They don’t shed and are small and compact. I love to hold them because they always have a smile on their face and they are so soft. They are also very affectionate so if I’m sick it always stays right by my side.”
A small dynamo of a working terrier.
“A friend once told me “Norfolks are like peanuts – you can’t stop at just one!” Norfolk Terriers are the smallest of the working terriers, and work well in a pack. Because they are still working terriers, the breed will still do what they were bred to do – hunt both independantly and cooperatively. They are bright, alert and intelligent. They have the usual terrier pros – being clean, small, game, friendly and merry. They will also do all the usual terrier “no-nos,” like dig, run off, hunt and bark. Being small, they are portable and easy to keep~~but also escape the best of fences with ease and have size-related whelping problems.”