OVERVIEW OF THE NORFOLK TERRIER
Norfolk Terriers are cute, affectionate, and love being part of the family action. With a height of only 9 to 10 inches and a weight of around 12 pounds, they are little bundles of energetic playfulness. With a true terrier nature, they love digging and chasing after small rodents or other little animals. This means they should be kept in a well-fenced yard and always walked on a leash. Although they can get on well with other dogs in the home, a home with hamsters or other small pets will not be a good match.
Norfolk Terriers can adapt well to apartment living, as long as they get plenty of time to play and go for walks to expend all their energy. Don’t mistake their small stature for being lap dogs.
Although they are not problem barkers, they will alert you when someone is approaching. They will also bark when they get excited, see a squirrel, are ready for dinner, want to play, or because you are not giving them enough attention.
They are wonderful family pets and can get very attached to their owners. They are best for families with children 10 years and older since they can easily get hurt. These good-natured pups are always up for an adventure. Make sure to include them in all your family activities since they already consider themselves part of the gang.
If you’re thinking of welcoming one of these brave and loyal furry companions to your home, here’s what you need to know to give them the care they deserve.
NORFOLK TERRIER FOOD AND HEALTH
A popular notion about Norfolk Terriers is that they will eat anything that doesn’t first eat them. Considering their small size, this makes them prone to fast weight gain and health problems as a result.
As an adult, your little terrier only needs half to one cup of food daily, divided into two portions. Feed your pet pal at consistent times daily and only put out the suitable portion size. Make sure your pet gets high-quality, well-balanced nutrition. Although these are recommended amounts, your pup’s activity level and lifestyle will impact how much food they should get.
Keep in mind that training snacks and kibble also count towards their daily calorie intake. Opt for low-calorie training treats or divide them into smaller pieces to last longer.
Regardless of the adorable puppy-face, your pet pal makes while you are eating dinner, don’t feed your dog table scraps. Besides one bite of your food likely containing half their caloric allowance for an entire day, there are also many human foods that are toxic to dogs. These include simple items like onions, garlic, raisins, chocolate, grapes, xylitol, and caffeine, among others. High fat, high sodium, and sugary foods should also be avoided.
If your dog is still a puppy, it should not be given adult dog food. Puppies have different nutritional needs. To meet these needs and ensure healthy development, get food specifically formulated for puppies and follow the recommended feeding guidelines on the packaging.
Although Norfolk Terriers are generally healthy dogs, ailments sometimes experienced in the breed are patellar luxation, mitral valve disease (MVD), and hip dysplasia.
Patellar luxation generally affects the hind legs and is common in smaller dog breeds. It happens when the knee joint slides out of place and can cause crippling pain. Patellar luxation can be treated with anti-inflammatories and sometimes with a leg brace and physical therapy. In severe cases, leg surgery may be required. Many dogs that experience patellar luxation go on to live happy, healthy lives after treatment.
Mitral valve disease (MVD) is a hereditary life-threatening heart abnormality. It is important to receive certification from your breeder that your puppy and the parents have been tested for the condition since dogs with the condition should not be bred.
Canine hip dysplasia is also a hereditary condition in which the hip bone doesn’t fit properly into the joint socket. As with MVD, dogs with hip dysplasia should not be bred. Ask your breeder for certification from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals that states the parents have been tested and cleared. Dogs that do have the disease can experience lameness or pain on the hind legs. Older dogs will likely develop arthritis.
Another health concern to be mindful of in your Norfolk Terrier is sensitivity to routine vaccinations. Dogs can develop fatal complications, so it is important to monitor them carefully a few hours after being vaccinated and get them to the vet immediately if unusual symptoms occur. They can develop hives, soreness, facial swelling, and lethargy.
LEASHES AND COLLARS FOR YOUR NORFOLK TERRIER
Your terrier needs at least 30 minutes of vigorous walking and playing daily. This can be divided into two sessions. Like most terriers, they are intelligent, naturally independent, and occasionally stubborn. They enjoy learning but need consistent and positive training to make it effective.
Norfolk Terriers can quickly become fearful or agitated if you use forceful commands or harsh training methods. This will negatively influence your relationship with them long-term. They are highly sensitive, so make sure training is always filled with encouragement, treats, and positive reinforcement.
Since they have an inherent chase instinct, it is important to always keep your pet pal on a leash when outside a secured area. A back-clip harness is the best choice for these small dogs since it eliminates any pressure against their neck or throat which is generally experienced with a collar. Walking your dog with the leash attached to the collar can cause permanent trachea, thyroid, and neck damage if there is sudden pulling or pressure.
If you want a collar for your dog, only use it for an identification tag in case your pup escapes out on a walk. Remove it in the evenings or when your pet is at home. Leaving the collar on can cause rashes or infections and cause hair to fall out or bald patches around the neck.
Check the size of the collar and harness frequently as your puppy grows so you can upsize before it becomes too tight and causes pain or choking.
BEST CRATES, BEDS, AND DOG HOUSES FOR NORFOLK TERRIERS
Norfolk Terriers are companion dogs who love being with their human family. Since they are small and don’t shed much they are ideal indoor dogs and likely won’t need an outdoor dog house.
A crate can be useful for training and serving as their own indoor retreat. If you are getting a crate, make it a comfortable place by adding a mattress or blanket and a toy. Although it will be used for training, never use it as punishment. Your pet should view it as a positive place where they can rest.
Crates are available in fabric, metal, and plastic types. Whichever type you choose, make sure it has allows for plenty of airflow and that your dog can turn around, stand, and stretch out comfortably inside. Take into account that the mattress or dog bed will also take up some space.
If you are going to continue using the crate after training, a crate cover for evenings can make it cozy. Choose a cover that is breathable and machine washable. Alternatively, you can also partially cover the crate with a soft blanket. The cover should have a flap door that allows your pup to enter and exit as needed.
There is a large range of dog beds available for small breeds in different styles, colors, fabrics, and designs. To make it easy for yourself, an odor-resistant bed with a removable cover that can be washed in the machine is a convenient option. Make sure your dog fits comfortably on the bed without any limbs hanging off the edge or over bolsters.
BEST TOYS FOR NORFOLK TERRIERS
Besides their daily walk, Norfolk Terriers need play time with you. They should also be socialized with other dogs at a young age. Bored Norfolk Terriers will entertain themselves by chewing, digging, and barking.
Starting from the puppy stage, good toy options are teething toys. These textured or flavored toys can help ease itchy and achy gums. They also give your puppy something to chew on rather than furniture. Once your pup is older, other chew toys such as flavored ropes and teeth cleaning toys are also great to have around. Even though they are good for your dog’s teeth, they do not replace the need for brushing.
These active dogs are great at lure-coursing and agility activities. An outdoor agility training kit will keep your pet pal physically and mentally engaged and make training a lot more fun. These sets can include a mix of hoops and tunnels as well as jump poles and weave poles.
Erratic balls and Kongs are fun for playing fetch since they bounce in unpredictable directions. Some snowman-shaped Kong toys can hold a treat inside. Once your furry pal retrieves the toy and returns it to you, they can enjoy the treat as a reward.
Since they love water, consider an outdoor pet pool or splash mat for your pup to run through if you live in a warm climate.
GROOMING INSIGHTS FOR NORFOLK TERRIER OWNERS
Norfolk Terriers have a double coat. The undercoat is soft and downy while the top coat is wiry and weather resistant. They come in various shades including black, tan, red, or grizzle. These terriers have a bit of a shaggy look with the fur around their shoulders and neck forming a ruff. Although they do need regular grooming they are fairly low maintenance.
Brush your terrier’s coat one to two times weekly. Use a pin brush or slicker brush to ensure you get down to the undercoat to remove dead hairs and tangles. Brush lightly against sensitive areas such as their legs, belly, ears, and whiskers.
During their weekly brush session, check your dog’s eyes, mouth, skin, and ears for irregularities. Catching infections, sores, or rashes before they become serious will save you both some tears. Depending on your pet pal’s environment and activities, they only need a bath once a month. Use gentle, pet-friendly shampoo when washing them.
They also need their nails clipped once a month if they don’t wear them down naturally. If you are doing the nail clipping, make sure you know how since dogs have blood vessels in their nails. This can make a slightly wrong clip bloody and painful.
Your dog’s teeth need to be brushed daily as far as possible to prevent gum disease and tartar build-up. Use a toothpaste specifically formulated for dogs since human toothpaste is harmful to them.
Get your Norfolk Terrier accustomed to being groomed and having its paws handled from the puppy stage. Always make grooming a positive experience with encouragement and praise. Not getting your terrier used to being checked can make grooming and vet visits unpleasant for both of you when they’re older.
BEST NORFOLK TERRIER ACCESSORIES
If you and your water-loving terrier enjoy playing at the beach or lake, a drying coat for your pet pal will keep your car upholstery from getting wet. Your pup will stay warm and dry quickly after a swim. The dog drying coat is made from absorbent toweling and wraps comfortably around your dog like a dog jacket. A coat that is machine washable will make it easy to keep clean.
For long days out in the park or even if you do a short hike, get a pet portable water bottle. The water bottle lid forms a small drinking bowl for your dog so they can stay well hydrated on the go.
If you often take walks before sunrise or after sunset, make sure your terrier’s leash and harness have reflective strips. You can also get them a reflective collar. This will keep your pup visible to traffic and other people.
To learn more about small breeds like the Norfolk Terrier, check out our breed hub page.