Norfolk Terrier Dog Breed Information and Personality Traits

Like typical Terriers, the Norfolk is energetic, capable of mischief and needy of interaction. Norfolks are ideal for guardians who want a small, active dog not requiring a large yard.

Norfolk Terrier at a glance
The Norfolk Terrier Dog Breed

Norfolks generally mature at one year, but reach their full size around 6 to 8 months.


Weight Range:

Male: 11-12 lbs.
Female: 11-12 lbs.

Height at Withers:

Male: 10 in.

Female: 9 in.


Floppy ears (naturally)


Exercise Requirements: 20-40 minutes/day
Energy Level: Very energetic
Longevity Range: 13-15 yrs
Tendency to Drool: Low
Tendency to Snore: Low
Tendency to Bark: High
Tendency to Dig: High
Social/Attention Needs: Moderate

Bred For:

Ratting, fox bolting


Length: Medium
Characteristics: Hard coat
Colors: Red, wheaten, black and tan, grizzle
Overall Grooming Needs: Moderate

Club Recognition:

AKC Classification: Terrier
UKC Classification: Terrier
Prevalence: So-so

 Norfolk terriers are small-sized dogs weighing 11 to12 pounds (5 to 6 kilograms).

The height is nine to 10 inches at the shoulder. The body is long and the head is fox-like. The Norfolk has drop ears unlike their cousin the Norfolk, whose ears are pricked. Norfolks generally mature at 1 year, although they reach their full size around 6 to 8 months.

The Norfolk coat is short, harsh, wiry and straight. The breed has a definite undercoat. The Norfolk sheds twice yearly and requires brushing and combing twice a week. The color can be red, wheaten, black and tan, black and gray, or red and white mixed in a grizzled pattern.


Norfolk terriers are active, intelligent dogs. They do not make good kennel dogs; they prefer being with their guardians and characteristically are interested in everything their guardians do. Typical terriers, they are energetic and capable of much mischief, needing plenty of things to do or they will find something. They tend to be stubborn. They excel in earth dog and agility trials. Having the terrier instinct to roam, these dogs are generally untrustworthy off leash. Like all terriers, they may chew and dig if bored.

Living With:

Norfolk Terriers need a large amount of interaction with people. They tolerate other dogs and cats well, if raised with them. The Norfolk heritage of ridding vermin makes them apt to kill other small pets such as rodents, birds and reptiles, so these should be kept away from the Norfolk.

Norfolk Terriers make excellent watchdogs but poor guard dogs because of their size. Norfolks can bark excessively if not properly trained. They also will pull on the leash. They enjoy outside activities.

Norfolks are ideal for guardians who want a small, active dog who does not require a large yard and can be contented with frequent walks and games of fetch. They do not do well left alone for long periods. Nor can they be trusted off lead. Their hunting urge propels them to search every cranny for vermin.

Norfolk Terriers typically live from 13 to 15 years.


The Norfolk terrier, close cousin to the Norfolk terrier, originated in East Anglia, England. The two breeds were sought as ratters and by the 1880s were popular at Cambridge University among the students. One dog named Rags who lived at a stable near Norfolk became the founding sire for the Norfolk Terrier. Through selective breeding, horsemen bred other terriers to Rags and his offspring to produce a ratter and a fox hunter.

The Norfolk Terrier was introduced to America in 1914. The American Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1936. The Norfolk and the Norfolk terriers were considered the same breed until 1979 when the AKC recognized the drop ear Norfolk to be a separate breed.

The Norfolk Terrier is the quintessential Terrier. He is feisty and tough. He delights his guardian as a faithful companion as well as a accomplished ratter.