The smallest of the terrier breeds are the Norfolk Terriers.  Loveable, companion dogs, Norfolk Terriers are interested in their owner and everything their owner is doing.  They have high energy, but when exercised appropriately they can be great dogs for even apartment dwellers. 


Breed in Brief:

This breed is the smallest of the terriers. Very rare with only about 300 of them being born each year. 

  • Height: 9-10 inches
  • Weight: 11-12 lbs
  • Life expectancy: 12-15 years



Norfolk terriers are a good choice for anyone.  They are lovable, great with children and just want to be with their owners.  They are not good kennel dogs.  They are very high in energy and need to be exercised daily.  If left unexercised and alone for a long time they can cause mischief digging or barking incessantly.  If socialized appropriately they will not be shy with strangers.  Norfolk terriers are alert, and are great use of a guard dog, though they are not aggressive, they will just bark and let you know of trouble.  They are affectionate, and balanced and do not have the nervousness or the quarrelsome traits that some terrier breeds have.  


Overall Care


Half a cup to one cup of dry food per day.  Break the food up into tiny meals throughout the day.  


Norfolk terriers have shaggy medium length waterproof hair.  It needs little trimming, but will need daily combing and brushing.  These dogs are light shedders.  


These dogs are easy to train.  They need consistent rules.  They can be stubborn and hard to house train.  Norfolk terriers need a strong owner so they don’t think they rule the house. 


This breed is bred to work.  They are energetic and thrive when they are active.  They need daily walks between 20-40 minutes.  


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The Norfolk terrier is a relatively healthy breed.  The most common health issue they can have is mitral valve disease. 60% of Norfolk terriers in the United States show deterioration of the mitral valve.  This disease can lead to heart failure and death. Other conditions that can affect this breed are:

  • -glaucoma
  • -optic nerve hypoplasia
  • -patellar luxation
  • -chronic allergies
  • -collapsing trachea
  • -urinary stones
  • -hypothyroidism
  • -liver shunt

Breeders work with the Canine Health Information Center.  All breeders must get their Norfolk terriers tested for the health of their heart, eyes, and knees.  Getting a puppy from a breeder who has had both parents tested will minimize the risk of the puppy getting one of the above conditions, does not guarantee the dogs health. 



The Norfolk terrier is a close cousin to the Norwich terrier.  Until 1979 these two breeds were considered the same breed.  The Norfolk terrier originated in East Anglia, England.  They were bred to be ratters.  They were introduced to America in 1914.  In 1936 the American Kennel Club recognized the breed.  



Since this is such a rare breed the cost of one can be anywhere between $1500-$4000.  



Norfolk terriers are great dogs for anyone.  Whether you are a new dog owner, an empty nester, a family with children, live in an apartment, or have a huge house and yard.  As long as they get their daily exercise they are loving dogs who want to be with their owners all the time.  They are high energy and can get up to some mischief if left alone for too long of a time.  They are great watchdogs and will alert you when there’s trouble though they won’t be aggressive. 


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Norfolk Terriers are affectionate and balanced and do not have the nervousness or the quarrelsome traits that some terrier breeds have.