In hopes that I can give my readers some insight into dog breeds’ personalities, I am featuring a couple of different breeds each week. I will give a little history about the breed, i.e., what they were bred to do, talk about their personalities, and provide advice on the lifestyle needs of the breed. Remember, as I always say, every dog is an individual. Some dogs will exactly fit the breed characteristics while others may be nothing like it.

I have to admit that I have never met the Norfolk Terrier but I have worked with the Norwich Terrier and they are quite similar. Actually, the Norfolk was bred from the Norwich.

The Norfolk Terrier is a very recently recognized breed, just 1960 was it acknowledged by the American Kennel Club. The Norwich has perked up ears whereas the Norfolk has dropped ears. The Norwich Terrier has its origins in 1880s Britain, bred to hunt vermin in barns and to flush out prey with other dogs. Consequently, like most terriers, they are hunters and love to chase after small animals.

The Norfolk is the smallest of the terrier group of dogs but it still possesses the same terrier qualities as the larger ones. They are strong-willed, fearless, feisty, active, and very smart. Because of their genetic inclination to hunt, they need to be socialized at a young age to small animals. Have a cat and want to get a Norfolk? Make sure you expose the pup to the cat as early as possible! Also due to their hunting nature, be careful about allowing them to run off-leash in open areas. They will run if they spot something to chase.

Of all of the terriers, the Norfolk is probably the most gregarious to people and other dogs. They make excellent companions and love to be around other dogs, as they were bred to work in a pack. They can make great therapy dogs if trained early because of their size and love of people. But they can be a bit standoffish and reserved with strangers if not socialized at a young age. Given this trait, they can be good watchdogs if that is what you desire.

As described in previous posts about terriers, Norfolks must get a lot of exercise and have a “job.” Since they are so smart and were bred to work, they can be prone to boredom if not given enough to do. Digging is a common problem with Norfolks for two reasons: They were bred to dig after their prey and they may be bored. All the more reasons for giving them lots of exercise and things to do. Dog sports like agility and Earthdog (a game that involves hunting and digging) are perfect for Norfolks.

Norfolks are not easy to find. It is essential to look for a good breeder if you are considering one. They have genetic health issues which need to be carefully screened. They can have mitral valve (heart) issues, luxating patellas (knees), and hip dysplasia. Please, like all breeds, stay away from pet stores, Internet sites, and farm-raised dogs. Do your research!!