History of the Norfolk

In the 1880s, sportsmen of east Anglia developed a working terrier. The Norwich Terrier and later the drop-eared variety now known as the Norfolk Terrier, it is believed to have been developed by crossing local terrier-like dogs, small, short-legged breeds and the small red terriers used by the Gypsy ratters of Norfolk.
They were first called the Cantab Terrier when they became fashionable for students to keep in their rooms at Cambridge University. Later, they were called the Trumpington Terrier, after Trumpington Street where the breed was further developed at a Livery stable. Then, just prior to WW1, a prominent Irish horse rider Frank Jones sold quantities of the short-legged terriers to the USA, so there they were called Jones Terriers. It was Jones who designated the terriers were from Norwich.

In 1932, the Norwich was granted acceptance into the English Kennel Club and the first written standard was created. The Kennel Club reclassified the drop-ear variety as it its own breed, the Norfolk Terrier, and the prick-eared variety retained the name Norwich Terrier. After many generations, these two breeds have developed as two distinct breeds both in physical looks and in temperament. Of note, there is literature that suggests that the Norfolk and Norwich were always two distinct breeds and the original mistake was classifying them as one


The Norfolk Terrier is a strong, sturdy, short, little dog. The head is slightly rounded, and wide with a good amount of space between the ears. The wedge-shaped muzzle is strong, with a well-defined stop. The small, oval shaped eyes are dark in color. The ears are small, hanging tight to the cheeks. The legs are straight and the feet are round with black toenails. The medium-sized tail is set high, level with the topline and is usually docked by half. Note: it is illegal to dock tails in most of Europe. The wiry, straight coat is about one and a half to two inches long. Coat colors include red, wheaten, tan, black and tan, or grizzle with or without dark points and occasionally with white markings.


The Norfolk Terrier is among the smallest of the working terriers. Active, courageous, affectionate, balanced and without any nervousness or quarrelsomeness.

Norfolks are a classic terrier breed: fearless, strong, loving and independent. They are a bit more social than other terriers, as they were bred as pack dogs. They are still standoffish towards new people and other dogs, but they aren't as apt to bark their little heads off when they see something new. Norfolks make excellent family dogs as they consider their family to be their “pack” and will want to be included in as many group activities as possible. This breed has a zest for life, approaching new tasks and situations with vigor, and make an excellent family pet. Their trainability and generally even temperament makes them a good choice for first time dog owners.

Activity Requirements
Norfolk Terriers need moderate exercise to maintain health and happiness.They will do what you want to do go for a walk or just stay in. The Norfolk's compact size makes them fine apartment dogs, and they are generally easier to handle than other noisy terrier breeds. These little dogs are not couch potatoes. Even indoors they are eager to engage in activity that works both mind and body, so make sure that your Norfolk has lots of toys to keep him occupied, especially when you are gone for the day. If left alone too long with nothing to do, they will occupy themselves by barking, chewing and digging.
Norfolks should never be left off leash or in an unfenced area for exercise. They still maintain a strong desire to chase, and will take off like a shot after small animals and they aren't likely to respond to calls home and have no road sense at all.

Norfolks are easier to train that other terrier breeds. They are incredibly smart, and repetition can bore them, so make sure sessions are mixed up and kept lively to maintain interest. Positive reinforcement and treats are the best method for training this breed, as treating a terrier harshly will only lead to defensive behavior.
When basic obedience has been mastered, Norfolks can graduate on to advanced training, agility or Earthdog activities. Agility courses allow Norfolks to exercise their minds and bodies, and Earthdog allows them to hunt and dig for vermin (who are kept safely out of reach of the dogs). They will enjoy the exercise, appreciate the time to use their sharp minds, and will eat up the extra time spent with you.

Behavioral Traits
Though they are less yappy than other terrier breeds, Norfolks are still prone to barking, especially if left alone for long periods of time with nothing to do. Walking your dog before leaving the house, and leaving him with interesting toys to play with can cut down on the barking. Companion dogs also help. Norfolks are pack animals and when raised together, bond well with other canines.
Norfolks have the urge to dig in their DNA. They were originally used to chase foxes and other animals out of their dens, and modern Norfolks are still champion diggers. If left alone in a yard, they can make quick work of flower beds. Enrolling your Norfolk in Earthdog activities can give him a constructive outlet for digging.


Working style

Norfolks were originally bred as barn dogs to rid the barn of vermin. Some literature suggest that they were also occasionally used on the hunt to bolt animals of equal size from their den. To some extent they are still used in that capacity in continental Europe.

Norfolks are pack animals and hence expected to get along with other dogs while working or in the home. As a pack dog, they take turns working their prey.

They are fearless and their courage is incredible. Today, of course, they are household companions and must have an agreeable disposition for living with people.


The Norfolk Terrier is one of the smallest terriers, with a hardy constitution.  A “demon” for its size, it is not quarrelsome and has a lovable disposition. 
The Norfolk Terrier is not known for exaggerated physical features of any kind.
The Norfolk Terrier has no known breed-specific health problems and, therefore, no breed-specific health tests or schemes administered by the Kennel Club.
The Belleville Norfolk Terrier show Kennel is committed to assuring the continued good health of the breed.