The Breed History
The Norwich and Norfolk terriers share a common background, originating in the Eastern Counties of Britain. Yorkshire and other terriers were used in breed development. First brought to the U.S. in 1914, they were classified as one breed until the mid 1960s in England at which time they were split into two breeds based on ear carriage. The AKC split them into two breeds in 1979. The Norfolk has folded ears, the Norwich has prick ears.
Breeding for Function
These dogs were valued as ratters and used for fox hunting-including going to ground (fox bolter). They hunted singly or in packs. Today, they are commonly kept for companionship. They enjoy playing games such as agility and earthdog trials.
Height at Withers: 9-11" (23-28 cm)
Weight: 11-12 lb (5-5.5 kg)
Coat: The weather resistant coat is wiry and straight and about 1.5-2" (3.75-5 cm) in length, lies close, and the undercoat is short and dense. Coat colors include red, grizzle, black and tan and wheaten. They may have dark points. White markings are undesirable. The male has a longer thick ruff. Regular brushing is important and stripping is usually performed twice a year. They are moderate shedding dogs.
Longevity: 12-15 years
Points of Conformation: The skull is wide and roundish, the muzzle wedge-shaped, the face fox-like and the stop is well defined. Eyes are small and oval in shape, dark, and the palpebral margins are black. The ears, which are the distinguishing feature of the breed fold forward and are small and triangular, with slightly rounded tips. They possess a compact conformation, are longer than tall, and fairly heavily boned. The neck is medium in length and well muscled, the topline level, and thorax rounded with well-sprung ribs. The tail is high set and usually docked. They have short fairly straight limbs, with short metacarpals and metatarsals. The feet are compact, round and nails are black. The gait is low and smooth.
Recognized Behavior Issues and Traits
Reported breed characteristics include: Enjoys the company of people, possesses a stable temperament, fearless, a good guard dog, good in both rural and urban environments. He is a loyal dog with a charming personality, independently minded, moderately trainable; one should start obedience training early. Introduce to children, cats and other pets early. This terrier will view small pets as prey. Generally, they are very good with children. A Norfolk must be exercised in a fenced enclosure if off the leash. They have moderate exercise requirements. Norfolk terriers need close human contact and have a moderate barking tendency. Norfolks may bark or dig if bored. They are easy to housetrain. They are high-energy dogs around the home.
Normal Physiologic Variations
Hip Dysplasia: Polygenically inherited trait causing degenerative joint disease and hip arthritis. OFA reports 33.1% affected.
Patella Luxation: Polygenically inherited laxity of patellar ligaments, causing luxation, lameness, and later degenerative joint disease. Treat surgically if causing clinical signs. OFA reports 6.4% affected.
Elbow Dysplasia: Polygenically inherited trait causing elbow arthritis. Too few Norfolk Terriers have been screened by OFA to determine an accurate frequency.
Epidermolytic Hyperkeratosis (Ichthyosis): An autosomal recessive cornification defect in Norfolk Terriers causing hyperpigmented skin with scaling following mild trauma. The lesions are generalized but most prominent in the glabrous skin of the axillary and inguinal regions. A genetic test is available.
Mitral Valve Disease (MVD): Norfolk Terriers are prone to early age mitral regurgitation. This condition may eventually lead to congestive heart disease, cardiac arrhythmias (irregular heart beats) and cardiac failure. Unknown mode of inheritance.
Persistent Pupillary Membranes: Strands of fetal remnant connecting; iris to iris, cornea, lens, or involving sheets of tissue. The later three forms can impair vision, and dogs affected with these forms should not be bred. Identified in 17.57% of Norfolk Terriers CERF examined by veterinary ophthalmologists between 2000-2005.
Cataracts: Posterior cortex punctate cataracts predominate in the breed. Identified in 3.38% of Norfolk Terriers CERF examined by veterinary ophthalmologists between 2000-2005. CERF does not recommend breeding any Norfolk Terrier with a cataract.
Optic Nerve Coloboma: A congenital cavity in the optic nerve which, if large, may cause blindness or vision impairment. Identified in 3.04% of Norfolk Terriers CERF examined by veterinary ophthalmologists between 2000-2005. CERF does not recommend breeding any affected Norfolk Terrier.
Optic Nerve Hypoplasia: A congenital defect of the optic nerve causing blindness. Reported in 2.70% of Norfolk Terriers CERF-examined by veterinary ophthalmologists between 2000-2005.
Hypothyroidism: Inherited autoimmune thyroiditis. 1.1% positive for thyroid auto-antibodies based on testing at Michigan State University. (Ave. for all breeds is 7.5%).
Retinal Dysplasia: Retinal folds are recognized in the breed. Can lead to retinal detachment and blindness. Reported in 1.01% of Norfolk Terriers CERF-examined by veterinary ophthalmologists between 2000-2005.
Portosystemic shunt (PSS, liver shunt): Congenital abnormal blood vessel connecting the portal and systemic circulation. More frequently intrahepatic in this breed versus extrahepatic. Causes stunting, abnormal behavior, possible seizures, and secondary ammonium urate urinary calculi in the breed. Treatment of PSS includes partial ligation and/or medical and dietary control of symptoms. Reported to occur at an increased frequency in the breed.
Glaucoma: Primary, narrow angle glaucoma occurs in the breed. Can cause secondary lens luxation. Screen with gonioscopy and tonometry. Frequency and mode of inheritance in the breed has not been determined.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): Inherited retinal degeneration leading to complete blindness. Onset between 2 and 3 years of age with initial loss of night vision. Undetermined mode of inheritance.
Allergic Inhalant Dermatitis, Brachygnathism, Inguinal Hernia, Micropapilla, and Prognathism are reported.
Isolated Case Studies
Tests of Genotype: Direct test for Ichthyosis is available from the Venta Lab at Michigan State University (517-355-6463 x1552).
Tests of Phenotype: CHIC Certification: Cardiac evaluation by a cardiologist with color doppler echocardiogram, CERF eye examination, and patella evaluation. Optional tests include hip evaluation, and genetic test for Ichthyosis.
Recommend elbow radiographs, and thyroid profile including autoantibodies.
- Breed name synonyms: Jones Terrier (historical), Norfolk.
- Registries: AKC, UKC, CKC, KCGB (Kennel Club of Great Britain), ANKC (Australian National Kennel Club).
- AKC rank (year 2008): 115 (314 dogs registered)
- Internet resources: The Norfolk Terrier Club: www.norfolkterrierclub.org
American Norfolk Terrier Association: http://www.norfolkterrier.org/
Norfolk Terrier Club of Great Britain: www.norfolkterrierclub.co.uk/
Norfolk Terrier Club of Canada: www.norfolkterrierclubofcanada.ca
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