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Norwich Terrier - Fun Facts and Crate Size

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Norwich Terrier - Fun Facts and Crate Size

Norwich Terrier

Quick Facts:

  • AKC recognized in 1936
  • Lifespan: 12-15 years
  • Size: Small
  • Energy: High
  • Recommended Crate Size: 24" dog crate*

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Cheers, mate!  Meet the perky pint-sized pup from the great Down Under, the Norwich Terrier.  He’s cute, charming, and simply irresistible.  Folks in the United Kingdom have found him to be right on up there with stubbies, the Barbie, and vegemite sandwiches.  He’s truly adored in Australian, England, and all over the UK and has found his way into America’s heart as well.

What makes the Norwich Terrier so beloved?  He’s got it all.  One of the smallest dogs in the Terrier group, he’s handsome, happy, and full of zest.  And...those ears!

If you think your life needs a little pick-me-up, you might just want to pick this pup up...permanently.  But wait, before you do, there are a few things you should know about the Norwich.  Read on to find out if he’s a keen idea, or not.


The Norwich Terrier hails from the United Kingdom and England where he was created to rid the farm of small rodents, fox, and an assortment of vermin in the late 19th century.  Cambridge students took to the little Norwiches so much that they often kept them in their dorms and even deemed the dog breed the Cambridge mascot.

The exact origin of the Norwich isn’t confirmed but it is believed they came from small red Terriers who were offshoots of Irish Terriers since those dogs had lived in the area since the 1860s and beyond.  It is also speculated that these working terriers may have been akin to the now extinct Trumpington Terrier. 

What is known is that the Norwich was once known as the Cantab Terrier.  They were also once referred to as the Jones Terrier breed because a man named “Roughrider” Jones who played a huge role in distributing the beloved dog to America.

The Norwich Terrier breed is often mistaken for his near-identical twin, the Norfolk Terrier.  In fact, at one time, they were considered to be one and the same.  The main difference in appearance is that the Norwich sports prick ears while the Norfolk has drop ears. 

It was not unusual for one liter of pups to contain a mix of drop and prick-eared dogs.  What made things even more confusing in distinguishing them was the fact that back then, drop eared pups typically had their ears cropped. Eventually, it became illegal to crop their ears and they could be told apart more easily.

Both the drop eared and the prick eared dogs were allowed to compete in the show ring by the Kennel Club in England in 1932.  They were both known as the Norwich.  But a long-time heated debated about the differences that separated the two types which went beyond just the ears.  The personalities, structural differences, and energy levels were different and by the 1930s. many insisted they be classified as two distinct breeds. To further the cause, breeders set about to make each type more notable.  

The efforts were successful.  In 1964, the Norwich Terrier was recognized by The Kennel Club is a class all his own, separate from its near twin Terrier.  The American Kennel Club, Canadian Kennel Club, and United Kennel Club eventually followed suit in 1979.

Finally, the Norwich had arrived with a name to call his own.  He’s gone from a ratter to a lapper too.  Seven hundred and fifty of its kind have been bred in the USA alone since 2007.  No wonder he’s such a happy go lucky fellow! 

Don’t get the wrong idea.  This pup isn’t perfect.  The little fireball can be overly feisty and doesn’t know or care how small he is.

He can be a barker.  He’s not actually trying to be obnoxious when he gets on a roll, but it certainly can get on your nerves and that of your neighbor’s.  He’ll bark to alert his family of an intruder, or at least what he thinks is one. 

Other than his vocal cords, this breed makes an excellent choice for those who live in small space dwellings like apartments and compact condos.

The Norwich is given to dig digging.  Again, that was a skill needed in his hunt of small creatures.  It can be very destructive to your newly landscaped lawn and is also a security risk.  If left unattended, he can easily and quickly dig an escape route under the fence.

This dog was once an outside dog but he isn’t anymore.  He loves being outside with his people but needs to be indoors when unattended and at night.

The Norwich is known to get into tiffs because he refuses to back down when challenged.  That, no doubt, is a trait leftover from his days as an avid hunter.  His willful, independent side is too.  While tenacity runs through his blood, he is also quite trainable.  Nip those bad habits in the bud early on and this dog is a keeper.  But, if left to his own devices, he may not turn out to be the ideal pup at all.

Although this breed is gaining in popularity, he’s not overflowing in availability.  That makes him a sought-after dog which turns into temptation for shady breeders who are full of greed.  It is far better to get on a waiting list and be patient rather than fall victim to an irresponsible breeder who may sell you a sickly dog.  Some even try to pass non-Norwiches off as the real deal.  These pups fetch a pretty price tag too.  Proceed with caution.  If you are set on a Norwich, wait your turn and the right one will grace your life in due time.

All said and done, the potential of this breed is huge for being a near-perfect small dog.  He’s loveable, social, and super smart.  Bringing out the best of him, however, is in your hands.


The Norwich Terrier is similar to the Norfolk Terrier, with the exception of prick ears, rather than the dropped variety found in the Norfolk.  He is small, standing only 9 to 10 inches and weighing in at around 11 to 12 pounds. 

His head is nice and round with a somewhat wide skull.  His muzzle is tapered.  His eyes are oval - dark, brown or black in color, and are quite expressive.  The rims of his eyes are outlined.

He has very strong jaws and teeth that can cut like scissors, much to the chagrin of his small prey.  His ears should be pricked, pointy, and perky.  The tail of this breed is sometimes docked.

The body of the Norwich is short in height but strong and sturdy.  His bone structure is excellent for his size.  He is a bit longer than he is high.  The Norwich has more drive and reach than the Norfolk and sports a stronger rear angulation as well.  Oddly though even though his body is more powerful in many respects, he is more calm in nature than the Norfolk.

The Norry has a double coat.  The top is a wiry coat, which is harsh, and somewhat shaggy looking.  Don’t worry though, it’s designed to be that way (within reason).  His undercoat is thick, downy and soft.  The usual coat colors are all shade of wheaten, red, black and tan, or grizzle. 

Since this pup is bred to be agile, it is ideal that he be moderately proportioned.  If he is too refined, he is a Toy breed yet if he’s too heavy, he won’t have the agility desired.  His side gait is to be good, with a touch of grace, and his balance should be good as well.


It is recommended to provide dog food that is specially formulated to small size breeds and if possible, to the Terrier family. It is highly recommended that you take the time to discuss your dog’s feeding regime with your veterinarian and/or breeder in order to determine the size and frequency of meals in order to ensure a healthy, happy, long life.

Initially, when he’s a puppy, your vet or breeder may recommend you feed your Norwich Terrier small, frequent meals because of his small size.  Most likely the schedule will change once he gets a bit older.

Although they are small in stature, the Norwich can be a little piggy when it comes to food.  It is best to limit his in-between meal snacking and treat time so he fills up on what is most nutritious...his high-quality dog food.

As with all pets, it is also important to ensure that clean, fresh water is always available. Encourage him to keep well hydrated.


The Norwich Terrier has longer hair that coats its neck, shoulders, and legs. He is given to lightly shed the entire year round but more so with the change of seasons.

Brushing maintenance is needed to prevent your Norwich from developing problematic skin and to keep his coat as tame as possible.

Extra grooming by way of brushing is needed in Spring and Autumn will coincide with shedding seasons. While once or twice a week is usually good throughout most of the year, in the spring and fall you may even want to brush him daily to keep his hair from getting everywhere.

The Norwich doesn’t have to be bathed often for it will dry his outer coat and his skin out.  You will want to once every few months though.  Use a conditioning hypoallergenic dog shampoo for best results.

Trimming should be done as needed.  Some strip Norwich Terriers once or twice per year.  Others argue that it is a painstaking chore that is unnecessary.  Others say excess trimming causes the coat to become too soft, making it shed more and changing the overall appearance of the breed.  But all that is a matter for you as a pet parent to decide.

The Norwich Terrier needs regular ear cleaning.  Especially with his ears standing erect, they are apt to collect dirt, debris, and bacteria.  If you notice that he is pawing at them or if they are red or swollen on the inside, take him into the vet clinic to check for infection. Ear infections that go untreated can become severe enough it warrants surgery or leads to deafness.

If you are outside with him a good bit, he may wear his toenails down naturally.  If not, you will need to trim them on a regular basis.  Either way, you’ll also need to check for splitting, cracking, and chipping and tend to any such problems immediately.

Brushing his teeth at least once per week is advised in order to keep his teeth free of tartar and cavities and to prevent gum disease as well.  Using a doggie toothpaste and toothbrush will help in the task and a nice dog-friendly flavored toothpaste will usually gain his full cooperation.


The Norwich Terrier is known as high energy and intelligent pet. It is recommended to provide plenty of daily exercise to keep him happy and healthy and also to keep him out of trouble.  If he doesn’t get his energy out, he is given to get into mischief. 

Take 60 minutes per day to do activities such as walking, jogging or playing fetch. His formal walk should be at least 30-40 minutes every day with ample chances to exert his energy in between.

When walking this breed, be aware of his size.  He is not one to frighten easy so you’ll need to be prepared to scoop him up if an aggressive dog comes his way.  Also, be cautious not to pull on his leash and that he doesn’t tug due to his neck being small and somewhat fragile.  Be sure to keep him on a leash lest he takes off after a little critter.

Since he’s a hunter at heart, this dog loves to chase balls.  Doing so is a great way to bond with him and get his exercise out at the same time.

Don’t forget to exercise this little guy’s mind too.  He’s very smart and sharp so he needs to be challenged with brain games and other activities that require him to problem solve.

Be sure to keep his toy box full.  He loves to have fun and he adores his playtime so keep him occupied, mentally and physically, with a good variety of toys.

Pet Crate Size

Are you looking the correct size for Norwich Terrier crate? The recommended standard is the 24 inch dog crate*.

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You might say this little dog is full of pee and vinegar.  While he sometimes likes to put on a show, pretending to be Mr. Bad Boy, he’s really a lover of pets and people once you get through that gruff exterior he sometimes portrays.

Stubborn and assertive are two traits this pup may initially present but, it’s all in jest.  He’s a little dog who can, at times, suffer from a touch of small dog syndrome.  All in all, he is typically more pleasant and agreeable than most other Terrier types.

He is an active fellow who demands daily exercise and adores the outdoors.  But at the end of the day, he’s all about snuggling.  The Norwich is good with people, young and old alike, but shouldn’t be trusted with extremely young children who might taunt or tease him or who also might hurt him.  He does have a defensive side and isn’t immune from protecting himself...or his food or space.

He gets along well with other dogs, especially if he’s been raised with them.  He should be kept away from aggressive or overly energetic large dogs though because he is quite small.  Cats are “iffy”.  If he’s raised with one (or two), he will probably do fine with them but when a strange cat appears, he is likely to give chase.  It’s just in his genes.

Don’t think your Norwich will let you just leave the house without him all day every day.  He won’t have it.  You’ll come home to a shredded sofa and Lord knows what else.  He’s a social guy who longs to be with his family.  If you or someone in the family won’t be able to be with him a good bit of the time, it would be best to let him go into a home where he wouldn’t be alone much.  He suffers from separation anxiety and it can easily bring out the worst side of him.

He’s also a dog with strong pack instincts.  In order for this breed to shine, he’ll need a firm, but loving, alpha leader.  That would  You will need to establish the pecking order and make sure he knows you are the boss.  After that, everything should fall into place.


Norwich Terriers like to be in charge and that’s just a fact.  When he was in the fields and barns, exterminating the area of rodents, fox, and pesky rabbits, being in charge was a must.  But during his training time, it is far from the trait you’d want a good student to possess while being taught.

The earlier, the better for this pup’s training.  Establish yourself as the pack leader calmly and assertively from the moment you bring him home.  Only use positive training techniques, like praise, pats, and occasional treats or he will only buck your authority.

This dog is smart so he’ll get bored if not challenged.  Keep the lessons short, sweet and interesting.

Potty training should be a breeze.  This dog doesn’t like to “go” in his surroundings so show him his spot and he’ll probably master the lesson right away.  He is small and can’t hold his bladder too long so having an alternative place to pee and poop indoors is ideal.

Socialization should come early for this pup.  Exposure to a wide variety of sights, sounds, and smells will help him expand his world.  Introduce him to noisy places and places of quiet solitude too.  Take him around people of all ages and temperaments and let him get used to other dogs and cats as well.

Obedience lessons are imperative.  He must learn to obey you for his own sake and for that of other animals and humans too.  Sit, stay, and heal are some of the lessons you want to teach him but don’t stop there, this dog can handle a good number of commands.

Agility is great for the Norwich.  He is limber and quick so he’ll have a blast flying through hoops.  He’s a natural, so let him shine.  You can even build an agility course for him in your backyard with a little imagination.

Earthdog is another training you might consider.  It allows him to hunt and dig and to do all the other activities hunting dogs crave to do.

Don’t forget brain game training time.  The Norwich needs a lot of mental stimulation. 

This dog will amaze you when you teach him fun, cute tricks like playing dead or rolling over.  He’s quick to catch on and eager to please his human.


The average life span of the Norwich Terrier is 12 to 15 years.   He’s known to be a pretty healthy dog.  There are some health problems, however.  Watching for any signs and symptoms of such ailments will help ensure you catch them right away and seek treatment for him so he can hopefully jump right back in the saddle again.

First of all, start him off right.  Be sure to go through a reputable breeder and to ask for the paperwork and tests that should accompany him.  Rescue organizations are good places to get Norwiches too because many people get this cute little dog and find he’s just too much for them to handle.

Muscular cramping is a problem with the Norwich Terrier.  In fact, it seems to be related to an emerging syndrome called “Epileptoid Cramping” or “Spike’s Disease” that is surfacing more and m+ore in Norwiches and in the Terrier family.  The characteristics are episodes of cramps and spasm that affect more than one of his body parts.  The spasms take place at the same time or very close together.  Staggering, dizziness, trembling, methodical walking, and contractions of the muscles are other symptoms of the disease.  If you at all think your Norwich might have this condition, get your dog in the see his vet immediately.

Collapsing Trachea is, unfortunately, all too common in small dogs.  Interbreeding may play a part in the problem.  A collapsed trachea is due to a cartilage in the windpipe.  It becomes unable to hold the trachea open.  Older dogs are much more likely to experience the full blown symptoms.  Signs of this condition include a whistling of the windpipe, a cough that sounds like a honk, and difficulty in breathing.  The implications ca come in clusters or can come on one at a time.  If your dog is showing symptoms, get him to the vet right away.  There are a number of treatments that may be very successful.

Elongated Soft Palate is when the skull bones in a dog’s brachycephalic is pushed in which gives his face a pushed in look.  Pugs are infamous for having the condition but Norwiches can suffer from it as well.  It makes it difficult to breathe at times and causes snorting and other conditions to arise due to the compromised bone structure.  If you feel your dog may have this condition, you’ll want to discuss it with his vet. 

Norwich Upper Airway Syndrome is a respiratory condition that is complex in nature.  It can have symptoms ranging from noisy breathing to distress of a serious nature.  It has to do with the larynx, the structure in the lungs which is in control of the amount of air that enters the lungs and trachea.  It can come on suddenly without any prior symptoms or it can be ongoing.  This is a severe disease seen in Norwiches and it warrants immediate attention as it can be fatal.

Neurological issues can occur in the Norwich which may affect his spine, brain, and/or nerves.  The signs and symptoms can range from confusion and a change in personality to trouble getting comfortable or difficulty in walking.  Any suspicion you have of your dog having any of the signs of such ailments should be addressed with his vet. 

Epilepsy is another problem seen in the breed.  It can be inherited or caused by such things as toxins, brain, trauma, brain tumors, liver disease, or brain failure.  Your dog might be completely normal one minute and having a seizure the next.  It is important to have him checked by the vet so the underlying reason can be discovered and treatment can get underway.

Glaucoma and Cataracts are not unusual in the breed.  These conditions of the eyes have promising treatments if they are caught early on.  Glaucoma has to do with the pressure in the eyes and can be quite painful and can also lead to blindness.  Cataracts are a film that covers the lens of the eye.  It can be a tiny spot or it can cover the entire lens.  If you think your dog has either of these maladies, have his eyes checked as soon as you can.

Another eye abnormality seen in the Norwich Terrier is Lens Luxation.  It is basically a dislocated eye lens.  The condition can be very painful and can lead to blindness so treatment must be sought.  Your vet will speak to you further about the condition and the options you have if your dog does indeed have it.

This breed is also prone to hip dysplasia and should not jump from higher levels than necessary. So higher beds may need a dog step to assist in easy access.

Skin allergies seem to bother this breed a lot.  Being on or around grass or weeds, laying on bedding that has laundry soap residue, and even being on the carpet are all things that can irritate his skin.  If he is sensitive to such things, your vet can recommend an ointment to put on him.

Food allergies are common in the Terrier group.  If you feed him anything different at meal time or even for a snack, watch him for any signs of respiratory distress, itching, or any other odd behavior and take him to the vet clinic immediately if he seems to be having trouble.

Just because there is a long list of breed-related conditions to keep an eye out for does not me in any way that your dog will get any of them. Prevention is a great measure and speedy action if he does come down with something is helpful too.

Is a Norwich Terrier the Right Dog for Me?

If you have read all about the Norwich Terrier and have decided that this is the dog of your dreams, there are a few things you might ask yourself to make sure the match would indeed be made in heaven.

Do you have extremely young children or rowdy pets in the family already?  If so, he might get hurt (or, vice versa).  This dog does well with humans and with other animals too as long as he is raised with them and that they are not high strung or a threat.

Are you willing to exercise this fiery, feisty little pup so he can come home and relax with you and be the good boy (or girl)?  He will always be out of control if you cannot offer him that.  He loves to go when you go which gives him even more activity time after your walks.  He’s very flexible and portable so, he’d love to accompany you to the ends of the earth...or on a hike or trip to the park.

This little dog is in high demand.  Are you agreeable to being patient and waiting for a pup who is from a responsible, reputable breeder?  Are you willing to dish out a hefty price for a Norwich?  Most of all, are you willing to take him in, for better or for worse, for as long as you both shall live?  Having any dog is a commitment for his entire lifetime.  Be sure you are up for that.  You owe it to him to be or to pass on having a dog.

The Norwich Terrier is a jewel.  He’s a prize just waiting to be enjoyed and embraced.  If you would like to take on this diamond in the ruff, it’s a decision you’ll most likely treasure forever.

 * Links for crate sizes will bring you to the most appropriate Amazon page.

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