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   FAQ - Norfolk Terriers



 Living with a Norfolk Terrier

Can a Norfolk terrier be trained to stay in my yard without a fence and to walk off leash?
Terriers are instinctive vermin hunters and, except in very controlled circumstances, cannot be trusted off leash or in an unfenced area AT ANY TIME!! A rabbit or squirrel is enough to send him chasing, which may lead to being lost or hit by a car. A fenced yard (or dog run) is a must, unless you are committed to "potty" walks multiple times a day. Tying a terrier out in the yard is not recommended, because it leaves him open to attacks by other dogs or theft. Nor is an "invisible" fence recommended. Many terriers will take the shock in their determination to hunt and don't return. An invisible fence also leaves them open to attacks and theft. If you do not have a fenced yard, your dog should ALWAYS be on-leash when outside.

Do Norfolk terriers shed?
Norfolk terriers have a double coat; a soft, downy undercoat and a hard top coat. Any double-coated dog sheds, but shedding can be minimized with proper grooming. If you want a dog that does not shed, you might consider a Bichon Frise or any of the varieties of Poodles.

How long do Norfolk terriers live?
12-15 years is the average lifespan.

Are Norfolk terriers good with children?
Norfolk terriers love children. However any dog requires supervision with children, especially when puppies are playing with younger children under 7 or 8. This is not only for the child's safety, but the puppy's since some young children may unintentionally harm a puppy. Never get a dog with the intention of teaching a child responsibility. Both children and puppies need an adult caretaker and parents need to accept this before getting a dog. The greatest concern with children and dogs is that children tend to leave doors and gates open, and the dog may get out and get lost or hit by a car. Strict rules must be enforced to insure that gates and doors are always kept closed to protect your dog.

Are Norfolk terriers easy to train?
Any owner must make the effort to train their dog - for a terrier breed it is even more important. Norfolk terriers are willing dogs who wish to please, but as terriers they are independent-minded. If your ambitions are to compete in AKC obedience trials, training becomes more challenging, though very rewarding. Norfolk terriers respond best to positive motivational methods using praise and treats (especially treats!).

To breed or not to breed?
Norfolk terriers who do not have excellent conformation and temperament should NEVER be used for breeding. Breeding is an enormous responsibility, costly, and often heartbreaking. Good breeders make a life-time commitment to each and every puppy they whelp. For most of us, it is best to leave breeding to others and simply enjoy the multitude of pleasures available with our dogs. It is strongly suggested that puppies or dogs that are not going to be shown be spayed or neutered. Spaying or neutering also makes them less prone to certain afflictions associated with their sexuality later in life; for example, mammary tumors or prostate disease. Spayed and neutered dogs can compete in all performance events and trials under AKC rules.

Are Norfolk terriers healthy breeds?
Norfolk terriers are generally healthy. A good diet, proper weight, plenty of exercise, regular grooming and routine veterinary care should keep a Norfolk in good health. One of the reasons Norfolk terriers are fairly healthy breeds is years of concerned, responsible breeding. Conscientious breeders screen for mitral valve disease, patella, and CERF (eyes).

What are Norfolk terrier's activity level?
A long walk or vigorous play within the yard for 20-30 minutes a day will keep your Norfolk happy and fit. These terriers also enjoy various activities such as agility, earthdog tests, tracking and obedience classes. Above all else, your Norfolk likes being with you.

Are Norfolk terriers good with other pets?
Generally, a Norfolk terrier should get along with other cats and dogs. A Norfolk will view gerbils, guinea pigs, hamsters, rabbits, birds and other small, caged pets, as vermin to be hunted. Therefore, they cannot be trusted around such creatures.

Do Norfolk terriers bark a lot? dig?
Although each puppy is different, most Norfolk terriers are not yappy. Some may bark, some not. They will keep an eye on things, and let you know if someone is at the door or walking by. Most dogs of any breed will bark if bored, left alone too much, or not exercised sufficiently. With sufficient exercise, digging is not a problem with these breeds. Accompanying your dog outside and giving positive reinforcement will help insure proper behavior.

Are Norfolk terriers easy to housebreak?
Norfolk terriers are very willing breeds who wish to please, making basic housebreaking easy to train. As with any puppy, frequent trips outdoors are in order, and puppies should always be crated or confined in a safe area when unattended. Consistency and a routine are extremely important in housebreaking. Your puppy should be taken out frequently especially after eating, drinking, playing and sleeping. Accompanying your dog outside will assure that he has done what you expected and hasn't gotten distracted by a leaf or some other object in the surroundings. Building a dog run (5'x5') is ideal for early morning and late evening outings. 

Should I crate train?
YES! Crating is not cruel, most dogs see their crate as their "den". Not only is a crate a useful housebreaking tool, but it gives your Norfolk (both young and old) a place to call home and get away from it all. Young puppies often need a break from zealous young owners, and as long as you don't use the crate for punishment, crating your dog for brief periods gives you a break as well. Additionally, a crate provides a safe environment for a Norfolk in the house, car, hotel rooms and even airplanes. An open crate in the house gives the dog a safe den. Even very young children can learn to respect the dog's "bedroom".

Do Norfolk terriers require a lot of grooming?
Norfolk terriers require regular maintenance to keep a consistently groomed coat. They should be brushed or combed weekly.  Ask a breeder for recommendations on grooming or possible groomers in your local area.

These terriers are usually "stripped" twice a year. "Stripping" involves pulling out the dead outer coat by hand or with the help of a stripping tool. Some owners choose the natural look, doing nothing to the coat except brushing it. With this look a Norfolk can be mistaken for a scruffy mixed breed, and the coat will shed more as it ages.

A few pet owners opt to have their pets clipped. Clipping is not a recommended method of grooming since it does not remove the dead hair, but merely shortens it, softening the texture and encouraging noticeable shedding.

What is the difference between a Norwich and a Norfolk terrier?
Norwich and Norfolk terriers were originally one breed, called Norwich terriers - but distinguished informally as "prick-ears" or "drop-ears". In England in 1964, the (British) Kennel Club separated the breed into two, with the drop-ears taking the name of Norfolk Terrier and the prick-ears retaining the name of Norwich Terrier. Effective 1 January 1979, the American Kennel Club took the same step.



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