Norfolk Terrier

  • Overview

    Norfolk Terriers are small working dogs who stand about 9 to 10 inches tall and shouldn't weigh more than 12 pounds. These scrappy little dogs retain many distinctive terrier traits that make them diligent, feisty and bold. The Norfolk Terrier's attitude is defined by his curiosity and alertness. These dogs are happiest when they feel involved and useful, so they will make excellent companions for owners who are amused by their busy personalities and deliberate antics.

  • Personality

    Although the Norfolk Terrier once shared a breed standard with the similar Norwich Terrier, they are distinguished today by the Norfolk's long, low body and his small, floppy ears. Despite their size, Norfolk Terriers are true terriers. They love nothing more than to spend time outdoors, digging, chasing and investigating. Their investigative instincts extend to indoor play as well. Norfolk Terriers cannot be expected to quickly calm down or relax. If they don't feel entertained, they might scurry about the house looking for mischief. Norfolk Terriers are not particularly yappy, but they will resort to barking if they feel they've been neglected.

    Norfolk Terriers form close attachments to their owners. This dependency can make them jealous, especially of other household pets, but frequent socialization can help them relinquish their monopoly on their owner's affections. Because these dogs learn quickly and they are eager to obey their owners, training can be very easy, as long as the Norfolk Terrier doesn't become distracted. Their attention spans are not long, so reward-based training and training that relates to fun and games will work best with these curious little dogs.

  • Coat Care

    The Norfolk's coat comes in red, wheaten, black and tan and grizzle. The coat is wiry and weather resistant and it can have an unkempt appearance. The coat protects the little dog from the elements and it lies close to the body. Most of the hair is about 1 ½ to 2 inches long, with a longer neck mane and a ruff around the ears and throat. Norfolk Terriers have slight eyebrows and whiskers, which give them their inquisitive expressions. There is some furnishing along the back legs and beneath the stomach. The hair on the legs is harsher than the body hair.

Norfolk Terrier
brushing icon


Norfolk Terriers need to have their wiry coats combed out with a metal comb to keep the hair healthy and to retain a neat appearance.

bathing icon


With preparation, perseverance and a positive attitude, bathing can become a fun and fulfilling part of the regular grooming cycle, while helping your dog avoid many diseases and infections.

The general rule of thumb for dog bathing is every three months but wire-coated dogs can be done with greater frequency, often within a four-to-six week range. The coat should end up fresh smelling, shiny, with no loose or shedding hair. First give the dog a good brushing to remove dead hair and mats. Place a rubber mat in the tub to provide secure footing and fill the tub with three to four inches of lukewarm water. Use a spray hose, pitcher or unbreakable cup to wet the dog, taking caution to avoid getting water in the eyes, ears and nose. Massage in pet shampoo, saving the head for last. Immediately rinse thoroughly, starting with the head to prevent soap from dripping into the eyes. Towel dry. The coat should be fresh smelling, with no loose or shedding hair.

hair clipping icon

Hair Clipping

Their hair can become slightly unruly and tangled if it is not maintained. Three or four times a year, the coat will need to be hand stripped to remove dead hair. Trimming around the footpads can help Norfolk Terriers stay comfortable and quick.

nails icon


Many dog owners are apprehensive about trimming their dog’s nails because they are nervous about cutting into the quick. But with the right conditioning and careful cutting, nail clipping can be a simple, stress-free activity for you and your dog.

Provide your dog with plenty of positive reinforcement and even treats to help associate nail clipping with a positive experience.  As you start to clip, gently press on your dog’s paws to help him become accustomed to the feeling of having his nails clipped. Then, work gradually, shaving down just a thin portion of the nail at first to make sure you don’t reach the quick. Clip one nail, reward your dog with a treat, and stop to give him some positive reinforcement before moving on. Gradually increase the number of nails you clip in one sitting to help your dog get used to the process. Never trim extremely long nails down to a short nail in one sitting, because this is an excellent way to accidently quick the dog’s nail. Instead, work gradually, shaving small portions of your dog’s nails off each time.

You can tell if you’re getting close to the quick by the texture of your dog’s nail. The nail is hard closer to the surface and becomes softer as you get closer to the quick. If your dog’s nail starts to feel softer, that’s a good indication that you’re getting close to the quick.

eyes/ears icon

Eyes / Ears

Not all breeds and coat styles require routine trimming in and around the eyes and ears but all should undergo regular inspection and cleaning around these sensitive areas. Doing so will help prevent the development of infections that could seriously damage these amazing organs.

It is always important to routinely clean your dog's eyes and ears, and examine for potential infections. Wire coated dogs have sensitive ears covered in hair that  need to be checked weekly for infection and cleaned with a cotton ball. Gently wipe a cotton ball moistened with mineral oil, olive oil or witch hazel in your dog's ear, being careful to avoid the ear canal. Never use a Q-Tip, which could cause damage to the inner ear if your dog suddenly shakes or jerks his head. Bushy hair growth within the ear can be thinned with tweezers or blunt scissors. Use a small trimmer to trim excess hair around the eyes, ears and face. West Highland Terriers and other small terriers with white coats are prone to developing tear stains around the eyes, so clean around their eyes with a cotton ball or soft cloth and use a small trimmer to trim excess hair around their eyes.

Teeth icon


Like all little dogs, Norfolk Terriers need to have their teeth brushed frequently. Help them become accustomed to getting their teeth cleaned by starting this activity when they are puppies.