Terrier

Canis lupus

Last updated: April 11, 2021
Verified by: AZ Animals Staff

Terriers were once the greatest dogs in the world.



Terrier Scientific Classification

Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Mammalia
Order
Carnivora
Family
Canidae
Genus
Canis
Scientific Name
Canis lupus

Terrier Conservation Status

Terrier Locations

Terrier Locations

Terrier Facts

Fun Fact
Terriers were once the greatest dogs in the world.
Temperament
Protective, loyal, lively, intelligent, playful, fearless
Water type
Saltwater
Diet
Omnivore

Terrier Physical Characteristics

Colour
  • Brown
  • Grey
  • Red
  • Blue
  • Black
  • White
  • Brindle
Skin Type
Hair
Lifespan
13-15years
Weight
6 - 80lbs

Terrier as a Pet:

General Health
Energy Level
Shedability
Trainability
Intelligence
Tendency to Chew
Size
Family and kid friendliness
Yappiness / Barking
High
Seperation Anxiety
Moderate
Preferred Temperature
Average climate
Exercise Needs
High
Friendly With Other Dogs
Poor
Pure bred cost to own
$300-4,000
Dog group
Terrier
Male weight
6-80 lbs
Female weight
6-80 lbs

Terrier Images

Click through all of our Terrier images in the gallery.

View all of the Terrier images!



The Terrier is not a dog breed in and of itself, but a dog group of breeds that share common features. They range from small to large sizes with coats that range from short and wiry to long and smooth and personalities that are fearless, lively, protective, loyal, intelligent, and playful.

They are bred to hunt, kill vermin, and guard family homes and barns. They are further categorized by size and function, with there being 5 different groups of Terrier. The name “terrier” comes from the Latin word for “earth” (terra) because these dogs burrow and “go to ground” to catch field vermin such as chipmunks, mice, rats, moles, voles, badgers, otters, and even foxes. This group of dogs originated in the British Isles from a small selection of ancestors. Although they’re fairly new, they’re extremely popular all over the world as working dogs, companion animals, and family pets.

See all of our expert product reviews.

Different Types of Terrier Breeds

There are hunting, short-legged, bull-type, toy, and large breeds. They are all working breeds with the exception of the Boston Terrier, which originated in the United States and the American Kennel Club accepted it in 1893 as a non-sporting breed. Rat-baiting, bull-baiting, and dog-fighting have been popular blood sports involving various types and breeds.

Terrier Mixes

Terrier mixes are the result of breeding two Terrier breeds or a Terrier and another purebred (such as the large Airedale Terrier) or a hybrid dog (such as the Terrier Poodle, also known as the Terripoo). The most popular purebred dogs to breed with these dogs are the Chihuahua, Poodle, Labrador, Beagle, Dachshund, and Schnauzer, while popular Terriers to have as one parent to breed with another purebred or a hybrid dog breed are the Silky Terrier, Smooth Fox Terrier, Black Russian Terrier, Wire Fox Terrier, Miniature Bull Terrier, and Teddy Roosevelt Terrier. These and other well-known mixes were further bred for consistency, achieving specific results in coat, physical appearance, and temperament with qualities from both parents.

Here are some examples of popular Terrier mixes, in alphabetical order:


Articles Mentioning Terrier

See all of our entertaining and insightful animal articles.


3 Pros and Cons of Owning a Terrier

Pros!Cons!
They’re social and lively. They enjoy being around people. Although they can make new friends, they prefer their owners and families.They have separation anxiety. These dogs tend to be prone to negative behaviors such as excessive barking, chewing, and digging when left alone. It is very important to socialize and train them early; otherwise, it will be very difficult to do so later on.
They love to work. These dogs thrive on having tasks or jobs to do.Overall, they don’t get along with other dogs and other animals. They have a high prey drive so they are prone to chasing smaller animals. They are also territorial and should never be off-leash outside.
They’re intelligent. Curious dogs, take to training as long as there are variety and consistent, positive rewards. Although they’re also stubborn, this means they won’t give up what they’ve learned easily.They shouldn’t be left unsupervised around small children. Some breeds are very possessive of their food and toys. Teach children how to handle them gently and never leave them unsupervised.
Staffordshire bull terrier lying on a bench
There are more than 40 types of Terrier mixes, such as the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, pictured here.

Terriers Size and Weight

These dogs are a dog group of small to large size breeds with a coat that ranges from short and wiry to long and silky, or even hairless, such as the American Hairless Terrier, which is derived from the Rat Terrier. Some other examples of breeds are Silk y Terrier, Smooth Fox Terrier, Black Russian Terrier, Wire Fox Terrier, Miniature Bull Terrier, and Teddy Roosevelt Terrier. Due to their variety, they can weigh as little as 2.7 kg (6 lb) such as with the English Toy Terrier to up to 80lbs such as with the Bull Terrier. Their height can range from 10 to 24 inches. In some breeds, males are larger than females in both weight and height, while there is little to no difference in others. All puppies are considered adults at approximately 12-18 months but they don’t reach their full growth until 2 or even 3 years of age.

Height (Male)10-24″
Height (Female)10-24″
Weight (Male)6-80lbs, fully grown
Weight (Female)6-80lbs, fully grown

Common Health Issues in Terriers

These dogs as a whole tend to be fairly healthy dogs. Smaller breeds are especially hardy, although specific small breeds have unique health issues; for example, Yorkshire Terriers have a higher risk of hypoglycemia in their first five months after birth, and many small breeds are at risk of blindness and other vision problems. The Boston Terrier is prone to respiratory issues due to brachycephalism and larger breeds, especially with deep chests (such as bull-type terriers) are more vulnerable to bloat (gastric torsion).

Health and Entertainment for your Terrier

See all of our expert product reviews.

However, all of these dogs generally tend to Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, which in dogs is called Dog Compulsive Disorder. Behaviors include excessive barking, chewing, digging, and other destructive or negative behaviors. Breeds that are actively working are prone to arthritis and joint dysplasia. Cancer is also a risk. In short, the most common health issues about these dogs are:

  • OCD
  • Arthritis
  • Joint dysplasia
  • Cancer

Terrier Temperament

The temperament for this dog group is generally described as lively. Their general personality is social and playful, with traits of fearlessness, intelligence, and protectiveness. They also tend towards having separation anxiety, with behaviors of excessive barking, chewing, and digging. They prefer people over other dogs or animals. Some breeds are more possessive and snappish than others. They also tend towards having a high prey drive and so will chase cats and other smaller animals.

How To Take Care of Terriers

New pet owners looking for how to care for these dogs, especially puppies, must consider the specific breed. Whether it’s behavioral or stress issues like separation anxiety and OCD, health issues like hypoglycemia and trouble breathing, or different care related to their coat and size, each breed has unique needs that must be considered.

Terrier Food and Diet

These dogs, especially puppies, have unique health considerations depending on the breed. Therefore new owners should consider these factors when choosing a food for their pet:

Puppy food: Puppies should have puppy food for their age, size, and nutritional needs. All puppies need nutritionally complete puppy food and to be fed according to the directions of the food or the recommendations for their breed.

Adult dog food: Similar to puppy food considerations, adult dog food should be nutritionally complete. Adding supplements is a good idea if your dog is prone to specific health issues. Because these dogs remain active well into adulthood, it is best for them to have an active dog food variety that combines the main ingredient of animal protein with carbohydrates, fats, and vegetables.

Terriers Maintenance And Grooming

Maintenance and grooming for these dogs depend on the coat of the breed you have. Airedale Terriers are best suited for warm climates, the Australian Terrier adapts to any climate, and the Bedlington Terrier is best suited for cold climates. Short-haired breeds have one coat and so only need brushing a couple of times a week, while longer-haired breeds will need more frequent brushing and more than one type of brush. Those with long fur, which sheds often, or who are prone to matting, need daily brushing.

Terriers Training

These dogs are intelligent but stubborn. If they are bored due to lack of variety in their training or are punished as negative reinforcement, they will refuse to do the tasks and act out. Early training and socialization at 3-4 months with firm and consistent directions and positive rewards is a must.

Terriers Exercise

Like other dogs, playtime for puppies should be limited, with 5 minutes for every month of age. Once they are adults, however, these dogs need a lot of exercise. Smaller breeds do not need nearly as much space as larger ones and do not require heavy exercise. Generally, they need a high amount of exercise every day. They also need variety to keep them happy and engaged. Aim for 60-90 minutes of exercise with 30 minutes of moderate to intense play.

Terrier Puppies

Puppies will display signs of separation anxiety early on, even when not left alone for long. Crate training is recommended along with leaving toys. If socialized early, they will do well being left alone with other puppies or other dogs of any age.

Cute happy Jack Russell Terrier puppy dog lying in the grass
The Jack Russell Terrier is a cute and playful Terrier breed.

Terriers and Children

Certain breeds tend to be very possessive of food and toys, and may bark, growl, or snap at children in the same way they would adults. They are also defensive and hence, should not be left unsupervised with children and with children who do not know how to be gentle with them.

Dogs Similar to Terriers

Dog breeds similar to those in this dog group include Beagles, Poodles and Dachshunds. Additional dog breeds similar to Terriers include:

  • Chihuahua – They’re lively and energetic dogs. They’re also similar in size to many of these dog breeds.
  • Shih Tzu – As a companion animal, it’s as loyal to its owners as Terriers are. It’s also a couch potato like these dogs.
  • Schnauzer – This breed has several size possibilities like those found in this dog group. It’s likewise been used as a hardworking farm dog.

Famous Terriers

Several breeds have been used in advertising. Here are 3 different breeds that have been the most popular in video commercials and ads:

  • Spuds Mackenzie: This white English bull terrier with a black mark around her left eye was the mascot for Anheuser-Busch in a 1987 Super Bowl ad. Although the name and character were supposed to be male, the dog in the commercials was a female named Honey Tree Evil Eye. She traveled the world for the next 2 years after a series of highly popular commercials, stopping in 1989 with the Bud Bowl and dying of kidney failure in 1993.
  • Nipper: This dog was so named due to his biting visitors’ legs. 3 years after he died, his owner (English painter Francis Barraud) painted a picture of him staring into a phonograph machine entitled, “His Master’s Voice.” The Gramophone Company bought the image after convincing Barraud to alter it to resemble one of its machines. Patented in 1990, the image of Nipper became posthumously famous starting in 1901. It has extended to being used to promote products for several other companies, including Victor and RCA.
  • Bullseye: This white bull terrier with a target painted over its left eye became the mascot for Target stores in 1990, with several other similar dogs replacing it as mascot over the years.

Popular names for these dogs are often those of flowers, actors and actresses, or gemstones. Some examples are:

  • Swayze
  • Stud
  • Goliath
  • Napoleon
  • Bandit
  • Molly
  • Nellie
  • Melody
  • Trixie
  • Snowflake

View all 49 animals that start with T

Terrier FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

How many terrier mixes are there?

There are more than 40, but there are 21 which are the most popular breeds.

Do terrier dogs bark a lot?

They bark to alert their owners of strange noises, but they can bark excessively if they are bored or neglected.

What is a terrier personality?

A terrier personality is a go-getter and one that often “goes to ground” to hunt vermin.

Are Terriers good pets?

Yes, terriers are great working dogs as well as companion and family pets.

Why are dogs called terriers?

Dogs called terriers belong to the Terrier group of breeds which were created to hunt, kill vermin and guard family homes and farms.

Sources
  1. Wikipedia, Available here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terrier
  2. Five Thirty Eight, Available here: https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/terriers-were-once-the-greatest-dogs-in-the-world-westminster-dog-show/
  3. American Kennel Club, Available here: https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/terrier/
  4. Tea Cup Dog Daily, Available here: https://teacupdogdaily.com/terrier-mixes/
  5. The Happy Puppy Site, Available here: https://thehappypuppysite.com/terrier-mix/
  6. Barkley and Paws, Available here: https://www.barkleyandpaws.com/dogs/breeds/nasty-a-sweet-the-pros-and-cons-of-owning-a-terrier
  7. Fairmount Pet Service, Available here: https://fairmountpetservice.com/Blog/pet-services-blog/dog-walking/dog-exercise-needs-breed-guide-chart/
  8. Pet Educate, Available here: https://peteducate.com/how-much-do-rat-terriers-cost/
  9. Dog MD, Available here: https://www.dogmd.net/terriers/
  10. Dogster, Available here: https://www.dogster.com/dog-health-care/dog-exercise-how-much-exercise-does-a-dog-need-every-day

Latest Product Reviews

Latest Animal Blogs

Newly Added Animals

A Fiddler Crab
Fiddler Crab

The fiddler crab gets its name from the motion the males make with their over-sized claw during the mating ritual.

A Hardhead Catfish
Hardhead Catfish

The hardhead catfish has a sharp spine near its fin to inject venom

A Woodlouse Spider
Woodlouse Spider

Unlike most spiders, woodlouse spiders don’t build a web.

Most Recently Updated Animals

A Fiddler Crab
Fiddler Crab

The fiddler crab gets its name from the motion the males make with their over-sized claw during the mating ritual.

A Panther
Panther

Prefers to hunt at night than during the day!

A Electric Eel
Electric Eel

Despite its powerful shock, electric eels have terrible vision.