Norfolk Terrier Dog Breed

Black & Tan Norfolk Terrier

The Norfolk Terrier is a small ratting and game flushing terrier. They are typically companions these day and are popular for their hypoallergenic coats, affectionate natures, plus their social and even tempered personalities. We can recommend this breed for pretty much any household! They are adaptable to city or country, any activity level and are good with other dogs. Perhaps the only homes this breed should not be considered for are those will small, non canine pets. Norfolk Terriers are hardy little dogs that usually live 13-15 years with few concerns.

Norfolk Terrier Breed Details

Breed Specs
Purebred13-18 yrs.9-10 in.10-11 lbs
  • Friendliness
  • Overall
  • Family Friendly
  • Kid Friendly
  • Pet Friendly
  • Stranger Friendly
  • Maintenance
  • Easy to Groom
  • Energy Level
  • Exercise Needs
  • General Health
  • Shedding Amount
  • Behavior
  • Barks / Howls
  • Easy to Train
  • Guard Dog
  • Playfulness
  • Watch Dog
  • Ownership
  • Apartment Friendly
  • Can Be Alone
  • Good for Busy Owners
  • Good for Novice Owners
  • Intelligence
* The more green the stronger the trait.

The Norfolk is a small sized dog and member of the AKC's Terrier group. They originated in the early 1990s in England and became quite popular for their ratting and flushing skills. This meant they were adaptable to both city and country living. This breed is quite social, affectionate and even-tempered for a terrier while still remaining alert, tenacious and extremely busy. We recommend the breed for most households-- except those with small rodent-like pets. You can browse the following Norfolk Terrier facts to get an idea of the pros and cons associated with ownership of this breed:


  • Affectionate, companionable
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Easily exercised
  • Fairly obedient
  • Good watch dog
  • Good for flushing small game
  • Will keep your home free of vermin
  • Social and even tempered
  • Good with other dogs
  • Adaptable to city or country
  • Apartments ok
  • No yard necessary


  • Excessive digging and barking when bored
  • Not an intensive exercise partner
  • Training will require moderate effort
  • Requires early socialization to get along with cats
  • Not suitable for homes with ferrets, mice, hamsters, etc.
  • Not a guard dog
  • Must be kept on leash when out for walks

Norfolk Terrier Breed Description

The Norfolk Terrier, known as the drop-eared variety of the Norwich Terrier until 1964, is a small but sturdy dog. They are also known for their round, dark eyes that display a keen and good-natured spirit. The legs are short and strong for digging into the dense of foxes or tackling varmint. Norfolk coats are medium length and weather resistant with excess around the neck ("ruff") and a slight set of beard and eyebrows. This page contains Norfolk Terrier information such as temperament, activity level and intelligence basics. To get the 101 on whether this breed is right for you keep reading.

Intelligence- This breed is pretty standard in the intelligence department. Luckily, they have a softer temper than many terriers, making them more likely to be obedient. We still recommend you be patient and consistent if considering this breed. A bored Norfolk can be quite a nuisance so make sure to give them plenty of training and attention.

Kids, Strangers, Pets- These dogs are usually good with kids if they are older and well behaved. They are more friendly towards strangers than many terriers and, while great watchdogs, will make poor guard dogs. Norfolk Terriers do very well with other dogs but may retain a prey drive towards cats unless socialized with them from puppy age. Small critters like reptiles, hamsters, mice, ferrets, etc. are not recommended to be around this breed.

Exercise- The Norfolk is easily exercised and adapts the the owners activity level. It is recommended they get at least 20 minutes of outdoor time daily if the form of short walks or playtime in a fenced yard. Make sure you keep a leash handy as these curious busybodies are known to take off.

Norfolk Terrier Breed History

The Norfolk Terrier was previously an alternate type of Norwich Terrier due to the drop ears. The Norwich Terrier was already recognized by the English Kennel Club in 1932 and were popular ratters as well as hunting companions to flush out small game like foxes. The AKC followed suit in 1936. Many years later due to a lack of interbreeding between the prick and drop-eared Norwich they were recognized as two separate breeds-- by the English Kennel Club in 1964 and the American Kennel Club in 1979.

Norfolk Terrier Coloring

The colors colors of Norfolk Terriers accepted by the UKC and AKC are nearly identical:

  • Red
  • Wheaten
  • Grizzle
  • Black and Tan

The AKC allows for black markings while the UKC allows for white but states these are undesirable. Black Norfolk Terriers are not solid but typically have the "black and tan" coat style.

Norfolk Terrier Size

A fully grown Norfolk Terrier is still a small sized dog. Due to their scraggly coat they look a little heftier than they actually are. The weight of a Norfolk is only 11-12 pounds and they often reach 9-10 inches at the shoulder. This makes them perfectly sized for small dwellings and they are certainly adaptable to either city or country life!

Average Adult Height

9-10 in
*Height is measured in inches from the front paws to the top of the shoulder while the dog is standing on all four legs.

Average Adult Weight

10-11 lbs

Norfolk Terrier Variations

This breed is already a small sized breed with few variations among purebred individuals. Be careful with breeders offering Teacup or Miniature Norfolk Terriers as they often select the smallest dogs (who often have more health issues) to breed down for size. There is also the chance these tiny Norfolks are not purebred as some breeders cross one Norfolk with an even smaller breed to create Minis-- one upside to this is that it does create healthier puppies.

Norfolk Terrier Temperament

The Norfolk Terrier's temperament is pretty textbook for a member of the Terrier group. They are alert, lively and determined and definitely require plenty of mental stimulation to keep them from developing nuisance behaviors out of boredom such as excess barking, digging and general meddling. They are indoor dogs that will be active inside patrolling the house and keeping vermin like mice away, but can also function as a hunting companion for small game their same size-- usually they are utilized to flush animals such as foxes out of their dens.

Members of this breed are independent but also desire to be in your presence. They aren't as content being outdoor dogs or in homes where people spend little time with them. Norfolk Terrier characteristics are slightly different from other Terriers in that they have a bit softer of a temperament and are a little more social than other types. This makes them good for homes with multiple dogs if they are socialized well. They may not do well with cats even if well socialized and shouldn't be considered in homes with rodent like pets due to their high prey drive.

Norfolk Terrier Photos

Below are pictures and images of the Norfolk Terrier.

Wheaten Norfolk Terrier
Black & Tan Norfolk Terrier
Grizzle Norfolk Terrier
Black & Tan Norfolk Terrier
Black & Tan Norfolk Terrier Head
Red Norfolk Terrier

Living Requirements

Norfolk Terriers are dogs that need plenty of attention and mental stimulation. They are indoor dogs and don't need a large walk or a ton of daily exercise. These busy little guys will be active indoors patrolling for vermin and alerting you to anyone that even thinks about approaching.

A couple daily walks will do the breed good but leashes are highly recommended since they have high prey drives and might end up 3 blocks away treeing squirrels. Keep in mind that Norfolks are independent and will probably require plenty of patience to train. They are naturally curious investigators and this can turn into messy meddling or excessive barking if they are lonely and bored.

Luckily, the Norfolk Terrier is hypoallergenic. They don't produce as much dander as most breeds and are pretty easy to groom. Regular brushing will further reduce the pet hair and dander floating around and keep their skin healthy!

Norfolk Terrier Health

Norfolk Terriers are usually quite healthy and, on average, live 13-15 years. The most common problems in the breed are:

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Patellar Luxation
  • Misaligned Teeth
  • Mitral Valve Disease

We recommend searching for a breeder that offers certifications for the hip and genetic testing for the heart. Establishing the health of the parents of the litter can be a very useful factor in ensuring you get the healthiest pup possible.