The Norfolk Terrier is a lovable little dog that has made its way into the hearts of pet owners. Not quite a trendy dog, the Norfolk is popular with families and single dog owners based on its manageable size and its adorable features. Before you go out to buy a Norfolk, here is what you should know about the breed and how you should prepare yourself for owning one.
- Physical Characteristics. The Norfolk Terrier is the smallest of the working terriers. Its body is short and stable. Norfolk's faces have a semi-pronounced snout and ears that point at attention. A half-docked tail finishes off the wiry coated body of the animal.
- Disposition. The Norfolk are relatively easy to train provided they have constant commanding as young pups. They are good with children and are generally very affectionate. Norfolks can get jealous of other dogs when they are given more attention, but for the most part they can be called loyal, and not possessive. Norfolks always aim to please and will retrieve tennis balls and toys all day long if you let them.
- Physical Needs: Exercise. The Norfolk is a working dog. It was bred, years ago, to hunt small rodents and to chase animals of prey. Nowadays a Norfolk is less apt to dig you up a mole as he is to wake you up to play fetch with his favorite toy. Norfolks need space to sprint and places to dig (one of their favorite pastimes). A yard is not an absolute must for an owner of a Norfolk, but you should give your pooch at least two to three ample walks a day. Norfolks who do not get enough exercise often substitute barking spells for walks and can easily dig their way through Grandma's hand-me-down couch if given nothing better to do.
- Physical Needs: Space. Unlike larger breeds, the Norfolk is a good apartment dog, assuming you give him the exercise he needs. Terriers are known barkers, however, so if you live in close quarters with noise-sensitive neighbors, you may want to consider a pug or quieter dog.
- Physical Needs: Food. Consult your veterinarian for advice on the best food for your pooch. Dog foods can vary in quality so be sure to scrutinize the diet you will be feeding Fido. Take note of foods that cater to small dogs. Starting your puppy on a specially formulated puppy chow (instead of adult food) is recommended. Make sure you always have plenty of water for your dog as well. Norfolks can be creatures of habit, so having a daily food routine is a good idea. If you leave food out, your Norfolk may pig out until it is all gone-rationing is a good idea.
- Physical Needs: Grooming. It is a good idea to give your terrier a daily brushing. His waterproof coat can get mangy if not groomed properly. He is a light shedder, so the grooming remnants should not take over your whole house. Bi-monthly bathing and shampooing is a good idea, particularly in the summer months when your dog is getting down and dirty in your yard.
- Physical Needs: Sleeping Quarters. Norfolk terriers, even though they have thick waterproof coats, are inside dogs for the most part. If you have a heated dog house, that is one thing, but most Norfolks will do better sleeping indoors. Norfolks are also not the strongest jumpers, so your bed might be safe. Crates and/or dog sleeping pads are a good solution for sleeping quarters for your pooch.
- Health Considerations. Norfolk Terriers are very durable little dogs. The only common ailment, aside from some eye problems, is the life-threatening heart abnormality known as mitral valve disease. This disease attacks the heart in such a way that it creates a backflow of blood into one of the chambers of the heart. Take your dog to the vet for a regular check-up every year to see if there is a chance of this condition happening.
- Life Expectancy. Smaller dogs do tend to live longer than larger dogs. Your Norfolk will typically live 12-15 years.
The Norfolk Terrier has come a long way since the times of the early twentieth century when they were used to bait badgers and hunt rats. The Norfolk has shed its tenacious attitude and replaced it with a lovable, loyal, and yet still courageous demeanor. A perfect family dog, the Norfolk is loved for its portability and its willingness to please.