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Meet the Norwich Terrier Temperament (Hardy, Energetic, Intelligent…)

Bred as a Ratter in England’s East Anglia, the Norwich Terrier temperament is hardy, affectionate, and sensitive.Photo of Norwich Terriers |DogTemperament.com Although they were original purpose was as ratters on farms, they eventually ran foxes out of their dens during hunts.

Originally, when Norwich Terriers came to America after World War I, it was the attention of the horse enthusiasts and fox hunters they grabbed. However, in recent years the public has truly come to appreciate the wonders of this dog.

Today, the Norwich Terrier is a wonderful companion dog.

Norwich Terrier Temperament and Personality

The Embodiment of a Terrier

You can’t get much more “Terrier” than the Norwich Terrier. What I mean by this is, he is a fiery and stubborn little dog. But it’s that sassiness that makes us love him so much (not so much the stubbornness!).

They are outgoing.

Norwich Terriers are an outgoing breed who adore people. They adore attention and are always eager to meet new people.

Norwich Terriers do very well with children – and seniors.

This breed loves children and seniors. In fact, they are known for their love of everyone. Supervise young children with a Norwich Terrier puppy, though, as they can accidentally drop or injure them. Adult Norwich Terriers do best in a home with mature children who know how to handle them.

They also get along with other animals.

Norwich Terriers are great with other dogs and don’t often have other issues with them. They can get along with cats but do best when socialized properly.

However, some Norwichs have shown a proclivity for jealousy, as well as acting possessive of their owners and even bossy toward other animals. This more than likely stems from the desire to prove himself that many smaller animals are prone to.

But they have a strong prey drive.

Thanks to their origin, Norwich Terriers have a very strong prey drive. Don’t be surprised if they bolt out the door at the first sign of a squirrel or small animal. For this reason, you should not have a Norwich Terrier if you have other smaller pets at home, like gerbils or hamsters.

Always keep the Norwich on a leash or in a properly fenced-in yard. If he has the chance to chase an animal he believes is prey, he will.

So, don’t think that he won’t figure out there’s a hole in or space under your fence. He knows it’s there, and he’ll use it if he feels he must, so don’t delay in patching it up!

***Something important to note is that electric fences do not work with this dog. He grows used to the shock and eventually learns to ignore it in order to get to where he wants to go.

Norwich Terriers Love the Apartment Life

Their happy-go-lucky and affectionate nature mean they do well in any style home – as long as someone keeps them company.

He is very Adaptable.

The Norwich is an adaptable little dog, so long as you give him the exercise and companionship he needs. He’s just like a person in that way; in order for him to become a well-rounded dog, you must provide him with a well-rounded life.

Norwich Terriers make Excellent watchdogs.

Norwich Terriers are courageous and alert, making them great watchdogs. But, this is not an aggressive breed – so don’t expect them to be good guard dogs!

No one can doubt his love for you.

The Norwich has to be involved in everything you do. He is happiest when he is with his master, especially if his master involves him in everything his master does.

Going on an errand? Take him for a car ride. Going for a nature walk? Bring him along! There is nothing you could do that the Norwich wouldn’t want to be part of.

He’s a great communicator.

The Norwich is not usually a barker. Of course, every dog is different, but if your Norwich is acting “yappy,” then this is a clear indicator that he’s either bored or sees something he feels he should alert you to.

If you don’t see anything worth investigating in your immediate vicinity, then he probably just hasn’t had enough exercise yet. Take him for a walk or engage him in play and see if that works to calm him down.He’s a digger.

Lots of Norwiches love to dig. The key to dealing with a digging dog is to train him to dig in a certain spot in the yard, rather than trying to train him out of it altogether. You’ll have better luck and less frustration designating a spot in the yard for him to go to town on.

How Do You Train a Norwich Terrier?

Norwich Terriers are spirited and eager to please. They respond well to training – including housetraining.

Don’t use anything but Positive Reinforcement on a Norwich Terrier – they won’t respond otherwise. They will be quick learners with the use of praise and food rewards.

Leash training is a must for Norwich Terriers. Because of their strong prey drive, you shouldn’t leave them off-leash or alone in an unsecured backyard.

Make sure Norwich Terrier puppies are properly socialized so they grow into outgoing, personable adults.

This is a breed that also excels in dog sports such as obedience, agility, and barn hunting.

For help with training Norwich Terrier, you can do a free trial of  Doggy Dan's The Online Dog Trainer.

Top Norwich Terrier Mixes

If a mixed breed is more your style, there are several Norwich Terrier mixed breeds out there to tickle your fancy. Here are a few of the more common ones:

Finding the Perfect Norwich Terrier

Norwich Terriers make excellent family companions, but now you must decide how you want to add one to your family. Do you want to purchase a Norwich Terrier for sale from a breeder? Or would you rather adopt one from a rescue organization?

Photo of Norwich Terrier

Norwich Terrier puppies are cute – but they are hard work.

  • Do you have the time to train a puppy?
  • Do have the patience to raise a puppy?

If not, you should consider Norwich Terrier adoption. Dogs available for adoption are typically older and already have some training under their belt.

Norwich Terrier Puppies for Sale

Purebred Norwich Terrier puppies for sale will cost between $1400-$2000. While the Norwich Terrier cost depends on breeder location, availability, and pedigree, you can expect to pay closer to $2000 for a champion bloodline.
The Norwich Terrier price for rescue will be between $200-$500 depending on the rescue organization.

Norwich Terrier Rescue and Adoption

If you’ve decided Norwich Terrier rescue is right for you, check out the Norwich Terrier Club of America. They have a committee that rescues and re-homes purebred Norwich Terriers from public animal shelters.
Don’t want a purebred? Try contacting your local or nearby shelter if they have any Norwich Terrier mixes available for adoption.

Norwich Terrier Breeders

If you’d rather purchase a Norwich Terrier for sale from a breeder, the AKC Marketplace is the place to start. You can search by location, gender, whether puppies are available, and for breeders of distinction or with champion bloodlines.

Keep in mind that you won’t find the perfect breeder right away – it will take time and lots of research.

Plan visits to Norwich Terrier breeders in your area. Ask them questions about the breed and survey the area. Is their kennel area clean? Do they treat their dogs with love and compassion?

Reputable breeders will ask you questions in return to makes sure the Norwich terrier is, in fact, the right breed for you.

Caring for a Norwich Terrier

The Norwich Terrier size is small. They weigh around 12 pounds, stand around 10 inches tall, and live between 12-15 years.

How Do You Groom a Norwich Terrier?

Norwich Terriers have a wiry, hard, straight topcoat and a soft, insulating undercoat. The hair around their neck and shoulders, while incredibly cute, also acts as a protective mane.

Norwich Terrier colors include shades of red, grizzle (a mix of black, red, and white), wheaten (or pale yellow, fawn), or black and tan.

Norwich Terrier grooming requires weekly brushing to remove dead hair. With regular brushing, they don’t need frequent baths as they don’t get too dirty.

Strip their coat twice a year (by pulling the dead topcoat by hand or with a stripping tool) to avoid them looking scruffy.

Norwich Terrier shedding is minimal. They do shed, but not as much as some breeds.

If you're wondering if the Norwich Terrier is hypoallergenic, the answer is “yes.” Technically, no dog is hypoallergenic, but you are less likely to suffer from allergies around the Norwich Terrier than other breeds. The best way to know if you're allergic, though, is to spend time with one of these dogs.

Staying Healthy

The Norwich Terrier is generally healthy, but they are prone to:

Note: Don't let these issues above scare you. The best way to approach health problems is to prevent them in the first place. The Ultimate Guide to Dog Health is a great place to start. Get a copy to keep at home. It will help you prevent the painful health issues that can plague your lovely Norwich Terrier from expressing his winning personality and maximizing his life expectancy.


Norwich Terriers is moderately active. They were bred to work and do best with an active lifestyle. Daily walks are a necessity and can even go on short jogs.

Playtime in the backyard or dog park is another great way for Norwich Terriers to get their exercise.

In fact, the AKC recommends playtime in the yard over walks – though both are good for the dog. Playtime is just slightly better for him, that’s all. This is because playtime engages his mental muscles as well as his physical ones, and he is at his happiest (and least likely to make trouble!) when he exhausts both.

If, however, you don’t have time to play, then two long walks over the course of the day should be enough to help him use up his excess energy.

If a Norwich Terrier doesn’t get enough exercise, they could become bored and destructive. If you notice these behaviors read about the benefits of exercise for these exact problems here.

Norfolk Terrier vs Norwich Terrier

While the Norfolk and the Norwich are both Terriers, there are subtle differences between the two that can affect your opinion on which of them you would rather bring home. The main physical difference between the two is that the Norwich Terrier's ears stick up, while the Norfolk's ears fold down.

Insofar as their temperament is concerned, the Norwich is slightly better for those who are inexperienced at owning a dog. He is also slightly friendlier toward strangers and other animals than the Norfolk is.

Other than that, they're essentially the same dog. They're both fantastic with children, young and older, and they're both equally affectionate. They're both good with other dogs and cats, and they are both livable with respect to drooling or howling – neither breed particularly enjoys either of these things.

Some Norwich owners claim the Norwich temperament is calmer than that of the Norfolk, but really, they’re just like people – every dog has his own personality.

Conclusion: Why the Norwich Terrier?

The spirited, energetic and outgoing Norwich Terrier temperament makes him an affectionate and lively family companion.

Like other terriers, they are independent and stubborn but can be trained with a consistent routine.

Norwich Terriers get along with children and other dogs. In fact, they get along with everyone!

And if you’ve always wanted to have a dog, but your allergies stood in the way, fear not! The Norwich Terrier is “hypoallergenic,” so you are less likely to develop a reaction to his fur.

If you are looking for a happy-go-lucky, personable, and intelligent dog, the Norwich Terrier will make the perfect addition to your family.