An introduction to THE NORFOLK TERRIER
Year by year Norfolk Terriers are growing in popularity and no wonder. They are appealing, easily portable (their height at the shoulder is 10 inches, 25 cms) and cheap to feed. It is therefore important to realise that whilst this rose is a very beautiful and desirable one, there are a few greenfly to be found amongst the petals.
Norfolks, like all living creatures, need daily exercise - real exercise (not just a mooch around the garden) to keep fit. Norfolks are terriers, they dig, they catch mice and rats and have been known to dispatch a bird or two - although their temperament is generally true to the Standard, which is for a ‘lovable disposition, not quarrelsome’.
Many Norfolks adore water and never miss a chance to wallow in the muddiest puddle. Tragically too, they have been drowned in swimming pools and ponds, having fallen in and failed to get out. Another potential fatal danger lies in wait for Norfolk Terriers. They have no road sense and their subtle colouring and small size make them difficult to see and tragically liable to accidents. Extreme vigilance is needed at all times. Never believe that ‘heel’ is as good as a lead. If you have a garden it is essential that it be securely fenced for although not all Norfolks are escapologists, some love hunting or are just inquisitive, with possible dire consequences. Special care should be taken with the dog living in town to prevent accidents.
Regular grooming and hand stripping, not clipping, of the coat is needed to maintain a weatherproof coat. A routine of nail cutting and teeth cleaning will help to keep a Norfolk in good health. Norfolks as a breed are reasonably long lived - 16 years is not unusual.
Remember that Norfolks are terriers, originally bred as ratters and not as lap dogs, and puppies will need training from a young age. It pays to be a knowledgeable owner and to bring up the Norfolk puppy with firmness, love and understanding.
Still keen? Then if you are lucky enough to find a Norfolk Terrier, you will gain a delightful pet. He, or she will love you and your family and make a wonderful companion for years to come.
Leash your Norfolk...
GETTING YOUR NORFOLK TERRIER
Your first step will be to talk to a breeder. The Norfolk Terrier Club of Great Britain can supply a list of breeders. Breeders usually have a waiting list so do not expect to find a choice of puppies. Norfolks have small litters and are only bred in moderation. A visit to a breeder’s kennel gives a good idea of the Norfolk’s character and it also helps the owners to be sure that you will provide a good home for their puppy. Expect a rigorous examination and offer references if necessary. Breeders have to be certain that their puppies are not being passed on to unapproved markets in the Far East or other possibly undesirable destinations. You may have to wait your turn to buy a puppy but the waiting will be well rewarded.
The removal of dogs' tails is banned in England (6th April 2007) and Wales (28th March 2007) - excluding therapeutic and for working Norfolk Terriers, this is governed by regulation. Dogs born after 6th April 2007 cannot be shown with docked tails at fee paying shows in England and Wales - including overseas exhibits. All dogs that were legally docked before these dates may be exhibited in the United Kingdom.
In Scotland tail docking except for therapeutic reasons has been banned as from 30th April, 2007. Dogs born after 6th April 2007 cannot cross borders to be docked.
RESCUE AND WELFARE
Older Norfolk Terriers are at times available for re-homing, usually through bereavement, change of family circumstances and occasionally incompatibility. Sometimes a breeder will be looking for a pet home for a dog they no longer wish to show or breed from.
Re-homed Norfolks usually settle extremely well.
FEEDING YOUR NORFOLK TERRIER
There are so many excellent brands of dog food currently on the market that feeding any type of dog (least of all a Norfolk Terrier) should not be a problem. Depending on your circumstances and preference you can either go for a complete meal or the traditional meat and biscuits. Complete foods should be fed according to the manufacturer’s instructions, with fresh water always available.
Norfolk Terriers are very easy to please on the food front generally, so care must be taken not to over feed them, as they will quickly gain unwanted weight.
Obviously this is a very general guide to feeding; puppies and older dogs will have special requirements on which either your breeder or vet will advise you. Very much appreciated is the odd treat. Biscuits or raw carrots are always welcome.
Some chews may not be suitable for Norfolks. With their strong jaws they tend to demolish and swallow them rather than just chew.
THE NORFOLK COAT
The Norfolk Terrier Standard describes the coat as ‘hard, wiry, straight, lying close to the body. Longer and rougher on neck and shoulders. Hair on head and ears short and smooth, except for slight whisker and eyebrows. Excessive trimming undesirable.’
Norfolks with the correct hard coat should normally be hand stripped about twice a year, they should not be clipped as this will soften the hair and spoil the harsh wiry coat that is a feature of the breed. While this hard coat and hand stripping is the ideal, some Norfolks have softer and less harsh coats and they may find it too stressful to be hand stripped. In this case they can be kept tidy with a stripping rake (Coat King) or thinning scissors or the coat can be clipped by a professional. But clipping or cutting may soften the coat and make it woolly, very light in colour and no longer weather resistant.
Some older Norfolks may be sensitive to hand stripping and will find it more comfortable to be clipped.
Occasionally a Norfolk will have a very soft or fluffy coat which derives from a breed in the past. It is impossible and inhumane to strip such a coat and these dogs have to be clipped.
You can learn to strip your Norfolk yourself - contact the Norfolk Terrier Club for grooming/stripping teach-ins.
More detailed information can be found on this website and The Norfolk Terrier Club of Great Britain will be only too pleased to help as well.
NORFOLK TERRIERS AND CHILDREN
Norfolks are, in general, good with children but it is worth bearing in mind that they are terriers and were originally bred as ratters and definitely not as lap dogs.
Provided that children treat a puppy with respect and not as a toy or plaything there should be no problems, but owners should, from the start, insist on correct behaviour from the puppy and the children alike so that they will all grow up together in harmony.
Each animal is different and has its own individual temperament so if your puppy is to live with young children it is a good idea to discuss this with the breeder.
Many Norfolks are good with cats, especially if they are brought up with them, and some are trustworthy with other small animals but it is always better to be cautious. Remember, as with all terriers, that their instinct is to hunt and kill vermin. This is their nature.
Rescue and Welfare:
Mrs Linda Cooper
Cambs. PE14 7AG,
Tel: 01945 466691