The Breed History
The Norwich and Norfolk terriers share a common background, originating in the Eastern Counties of Britain. Yorkshire and Irish terriers were used during breed development. They were classified as one breed until the mid 1960s in England, when they were split into two breeds based on ear carriage. The AKC split them into two breeds also in 1979. The Norfolk has folded ears, the Norwich prick ears.
Breeding for Function
They were valued as ratters, and were used in fox hunting, including going to ground (fox bolter). They were hunted singly or in packs. Today, they are valued as companion dogs and excel at earthdog and agility.
Height at Withers: 9-10" (24.5-25.5 cm)
Weight: 11-12 lb (5-5.5 kg)
Coat: The weather resistant coat is wiry and straight and about 1.5-2" (3.75-5 cm) in length, lies close, and the undercoat is short and dense. Coat colors in red, grizzle, black and tan and wheaten are accepted. The Norwich may have dark points. Regular brushing is important and stripping is usually performed twice a year.
Longevity: 12-15 years
Points of Conformation: The skull is wide and somewhat rounded, the muzzle wedge shaped, the face fox-like, and the stop is well defined. Eyes are small and oval in shape, dark, and the palpebral margins black. The ears, which are the distinguishing feature of the breed are small, pricked and triangular in shape, with slightly rounded tips. They possess a compact conformation, are longer than tall, and fairly heavily boned. The neck is medium in length and well muscled, the topline level, and thorax rounded with well-sprung ribs. The tail is high set and usually docked. They have short, fairly straight limbs, with short metacarpals and metatarsals. The feet are compact, round and nails are black. The gait is low and smooth.
Recognized Behavior Issues and Traits
Reported breed characteristics include: Enjoys the company of people, possesses a stable temperament, fearless, a good guard dog, good in both rural and urban environments. The Norwich is loyal with a charming personality, independently minded, and moderately trainable so it is important to start obedience training early. Introduce to children, cats and other pets early. This terrier will view small pets as prey. Generally, they are very good with children. A Norwich must be exercised in a fenced enclosure if off the leash. They are moderate shedding dogs. They enjoy playing and they have moderate exercise requirements. Norwich terriers like close human contact and have a moderate barking tendency. These dogs may bark or dig if bored. They are easy to housetrain.
Normal Physiologic Variations
In a UK study, 36.6% of litters were born via Cesarian section.
Hip Dysplasia: Polygenically inherited trait causing degenerative joint disease and hip arthritis. OFA reports 13.1% affected.
Patella Luxation: Polygenically inherited laxity of patellar ligaments, causing luxation, lameness, and later degenerative joint disease. Treat surgically if causing clinical signs. OFA reports 3.6% affected. Reported at a frequency of 4.5% in the 2003 Norwich Terrier General Health Survey.
Elbow Dysplasia: Polygenically inherited trait causing elbow arthritis. Too few Norwich Terriers have been screened by OFA to determine an accurate frequency.
Missing Teeth: Reported at a frequency of 20.9% in the 2003 Norwich Terrier General Health Survey. Unknown mode of inheritance.
Cataracts: Posterior and equatorial cortex intermediate cataracts predominate in the breed. Reported at a frequency of 10.5% in the 2003 Norwich Terrier General Health Survey. Identified in 2.26% of Norwich Terriers CERF examined by veterinary ophthalmologists between 2000-2005. CERF does not recommend breeding any Norwich Terrier with a cataract.
Idiopathic Epilepsy: Inherited seizures can be generalized or partial seizures. The breed has an epileptic condition called Epileptoid Cramping Syndrome, which presents as paroxysmal episodes of hypertonicity affecting the pelvic limbs and lumbar muscles. Control with anticonvulsant medication. Reported at a frequency of 9.9% in the 2003 Norwich Terrier General Health Survey.
Elongated Soft Palate: Can cause dyspnea, and is part of the Brachycephalic Complex. Surgery is indicated in severe cases. Reported at a frequency of 6.1% in the 2003 Norwich Terrier General Health Survey.
Allergic Dermatitis (Atopy): Inhalant or food allergy. Presents with pruritis and pyotraumatic dermatitis (hot spots). Reported at a frequency of 6.0% in the 2003 Norwich Terrier General Health Survey.
Persistent Pupillary Membranes: Strands of fetal remnant connecting; iris to iris, cornea, lens, or involving sheets of tissue. The later three forms can impair vision, and dogs affected with these forms should not be bred. Identified in 5.71% of Norwich Terriers CERF examined by veterinary ophthalmologists between 2000-2005.
Deafness: Congenital sensorineural deafness can be unilateral of bilateral. Diagnosed by BAER testing. Reported at a frequency of 3.6% in the 2003 Norwich Terrier General Health Survey. Unknown mode of inheritance.
Collapsing Trachea: Caused by diminished integrity of the cartilage rings in the trachea. Can produce increased coughing, stridor, and respiratory distress. Reported at a frequency of 2.1% in the 2003 Norwich Terrier General Health Survey. Unknown mode of inheritance.
Glaucoma: Primary, narrow angle glaucoma occurs in the breed. Can cause secondary lens luxation and blindness due to retinal degeneration. Screen with gonioscopy and tonometry. Frequency and mode of inheritance in the breed has not been determined.
Hypothyroidism: Inherited autoimmune thyroiditis. 2.8% positive for thyroid auto-antibodies based on testing at Michigan State University. (Ave. for all breeds is 7.5%). Reported at a frequency of 2.8% in the 2003 Norwich Terrier General Health Survey.
Portosystemic shunt (PSS, liver shunt): Congenital abnormal blood vessel connecting the portal and systemic circulation. More frequently intrahepatic in this breed versus extrahepatic. Causes stunting, abnormal behavior, possible seizures, and secondary ammonium urate urinary calculi in the breed. Treatment of PSS includes partial ligation and/or medical and dietary control of symptoms. Reported to occur at an increased frequency in the breed.
Corneal Dystrophy: Epithelial/stromal form causes opacities on the surface of the cornea. Unknown mode of inheritance. Identified in 0.93% of Norwich Terriers CERF examined by veterinary ophthalmologists between 2000-2005.
Brachygnathism and Prognathism are reported.
Isolated Case Studies
Tests of Genotype: none
Tests of Phenotype: CHIC Certification: CERF eye examination, hip radiographs, and patella evaluation. (See CHIC website; www.caninehealthinfo.org).
Recommend elbow radiographs, thyroid profile including autoantibodies, and cardiac examination.
- Breed name synonyms: Norwich, Jones Terrier.
- Registries: AKC, UKC, CKC, KCGB (Kennel Club of Great Britain), ANKC (Australian National Kennel Club), NKC (National Kennel Club).
- AKC rank (year 2008): 97 (616 dogs registered)
- Internet resources: The Norwich Terrier Club of America: www.norwichterrierclub.org
Norwich Terrier Club (UK): www.norwichterrierclub.co.uk/
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