Norwich Terrier vs Norfolk Terrier: What are the differences?

Written by Jeremiah Wright
Updated: October 11, 2022
Image Credit Lenkadan/Shutterstock.com
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Norwich Terriers and Norfolk Terriers are typical short-legged terriers with compact bodies. They share the same background, originating in the Eastern Counties of Britain. In the early 1800s, there was no distinction between these breeds; they were just general farm dogs. According to studies, they were brought to the U.S. in 1914.

Norwich Terriers are one of the smallest breeds in the terrier group. They are called “little demons,” but they are also jolly and fearless. Both are good hunters of rats, groundhogs, or even foxes. They were initially bred for this purpose. Norwich Terriers are charming, efficient working dogs and can be helpful in barnyards. During the late 19th century, hunting with a “pack of Norwiches” in Virginia and England was very common. 

While these two species typically look the same, the American Kennel Club separated them into two different breeds in 1979 because of a few distinctive features. This guide will tell you everything you need to know about these dogs.

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Comparing: Norwich Terrier vs. Norfolk Terrier

Norwich Terriers and Norfolk Terriers are typical short-legged terriers with compact bodies.

A-Z-Animals.com

Key DifferencesNorwich TerrierNorfolk Terrier
SizeWeight: 11 to 12 lbs
Height: 9 to 10 inches
Weight: 11 to 12 lbs
Height: 9 to 10 inches
Color VariationWheaten, black, tan, red, grizzleWheaten, black, tan, red, grizzle
CoatDouble coat; short, wiry, and softWire coat; short, wiry, and shaggy
TemperamentBrave, intelligent, loyal, energetic, and playful with humans and other animalsClingy to their owners, fearless but not aggressive, love digging up rodent holes
TrainabilityIntelligent and stubborn, but they will work well with rewards and treatsDifficult to train because they are easily distracted and can be disobedient during training
Life Expectancy13 to 15 years12-15 years

4 Main Differences Between Norwich Terrier vs. Norfolk Terrier

The appearance, size, and personality of the Norwich Terrier and the Norfolk Terrier may be similar, but despite their similarities, five distinct features set them apart. These cheerful and energetic small dogs have different physical appearances in terms of ear carriage, coat texture, exercise needs, yappiness or barking, and costs.

We will go over these differences in detail below.

Norwich Terrier vs. Norfolk Terrier: Ears

Norfolk Terrier dogs playing outside
Norfolk Terriers have medium-sized V-shaped ears that are slightly rounded at the tip and drop forward close to their cheeks.

Ricantimages/Shutterstock.com

When English breeders were breeding terriers, the appearance of their ear carriage was not their priority. Studies show that prick-eared and drop-eared were crossed during those years. Ears did not matter in those early years because breeders usually crop them. Instead, they prioritized breeding dogs with good temperaments, great abilities, and instincts to hunt down rodents and vermin.

Cropping dog ears is still allowed in the U.S. and remains a personal choice, but it is illegal in some European countries like Britain and England. Early breeders did not intend to make two different breeds, but The Kennel Club of the United Kingdom recognized these two varieties in 1964. After 15 years of argument and opposition, the American Kennel Club recognized the Norfolk Terrier as a separate breed. In 1979, AKC transferred all drop-eared Norwiches to their new Norfolk breed stud book.

According to the latest FCI standard published in 2010, the Norwich Terrier has medium-sized, pointed-tipped, erect ears that are set apart on top of the skull. While according to the latest FCI standard published in 2011, the Norfolk Terrier has medium-sized V-shaped ears that are slightly rounded at the tip that drop forward close to its cheeks.

Norwich Terrier vs. Norfolk Terrier: Coat

three norwich terriers standing in the grass
Norwich Terriers have a combination of wiry and soft hair.

Lenkadan/Shutterstock.com

Norwich Terriers and Norfolk Terriers have the same coat colors, which include wheaten, black, tan, red, and grizzle. Both Norwich and Norfolk have wiry double coats and shed moderately. However, the Norwich Terrier has a combination of wiry and soft hair, while the Norfolk Terrier has shaggy hair.

Although the Norwich Terrier and Norfolk Terrier are both hypoallergenic dogs, it is essential to know that they still shed. That is why they both require a grooming technique called hand-stripping to keep their coats healthy and free of matted hair. Hand-stripping is a grooming technique that removes dead hair from your pet’s coat using your hands. They also require weekly brushing.

Norwich Terrier vs. Norfolk Terrier: Exercise Needs

norwich terrier standing in the grass
Norwich Terriers are known for being energetic and agile.

Lenkadan/Shutterstock.com

Norwich Terriers are known for being energetic and agile. They have strong bones and powerful legs that require at least 30-60 minutes of exercise daily. Norfolk Terriers require 20-40 minutes of exercise daily. A lucky Norwich Terrier and Norfolk Terrier would live full lives in the countryside, especially in a barn. However, they will be content in an apartment if they get enough exercise.

Norwich Terrier vs. Norfolk Terrier: Cost

A purebred Norfolk Terrier costs around $1500 to $3500, while a purebred Norwich Terrier costs around $1500. When you buy a purebred dog, you should get a certificate from the American Kennel Club, a pedigree, and a health certificate from the breeder’s vet. Generally, Norwich Terriers and Norfolk Terriers are healthy dogs, but it is important that your breeder is following the recommended health tests. 

A responsible Norwich Terrier breeder will screen their dogs for any underlying health condition such as hip dysplasia, epilepsy, degenerative myelopathy, upper airway syndrome, or a respiratory condition. Here are the health test recommended by the National Breed Club:

Here are the recommended health tests for Norwich Terriers:

  • Patella Evaluation
  • Hip Evaluation
  • Ophthalmologist Evaluation

Responsible breeders of Norfolk Terriers should screen their dogs for heart and eye issues and patellar luxation. Diligent dental care is also a must. Their teeth should be brushed using toothpaste formulated for dogs.

Here are the recommended health tests for Norfolk Terriers:

  • Patella Evaluation
  • Cardiac Exam (must include color flow doppler ultrasound)
  • Ophthalmologist Exam
  • Hip Dysplasia (optional)
  • Ichthyosis (optional)

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norwich terrier standing in the grass
In addition to weekly brushing, a Norwich Terrier’s double coat needs a grooming technique called hand-stripping to keep it looking healthy.
Lenkadan/Shutterstock.com
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About the Author

I hold seven years of professional experience in the content world, focusing on real estate, nature, and wildlife. Asides from writing, I enjoy surfing the internet and listening to music.

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