by Doris Donnerman
(last updated August 17, 2009)
The Norwich Terrier is not considered to be an old breed. Approximately 150 years ago a few British sportsman set about producing a small, working Terrier that would be game to the core, robust in constitution, and reasonably active for his size. At that time there were no Cairns, Sealyhams, or West Highland White Terriers before the public and sportsmen felt that it was necessary to have a small Terrier.
To create the breed, small Irish Terriers were crossed with some English or Scottish "earth dogs." (These may have been Border Terriers.) It is claimed by some authorities that the Staffordshire, Bull Terrier, and Bedlington shared in the ancestry of the breed. It was thought that the soft coats that occasionally appeared in the Norwich were the result of the Bedlington influence.
Most of the early breeders seem to have worked independently in the study and development of the Norwich, but it might be assumed that in later times they learned of each other and bred dogs together. The originator of the breed was aimed at producing a small terrier, red in color, and called his strain Norwich Terriers. The strain was taken up and promoted by a veterinary surgeon well known in the hunting field.
Many undergraduates were supplied with Cambridge Terriers. These became a fad, so much so that many fanciers believed that the breed should be known as the "Can tab" because of its collegiate beginnings. However, that may be, they were known around the campus at Cambridge as Trumpington Terriers in the 1880s.
All these Terriers had the reputation of being exceedingly game and to spell certain death to rats and rabbits. They were known for their adeptness at pointing grouse and pheasant and retrieving from land and water.
The breed was first introduced into the United States shortly after World War I when several dogs were sold to various hunt clubs. They were very popular with those who raised Foxhounds and became known as "Jones Terriers" in honor of their breeder.
The Norwich Terrier has a most lovable disposition. He is fearless in nature and very loyal and affectionate. The Norwich Terrier is ideal for human companionship as well as sporting. A general description of this dog is a small, low, keen dog, which is tremendously active. Usually, the color is a red, wheaten, black and tan or a grizzle coloring. The weight of this breed of dog is somewhere between 10-14 pounds with 11 pounds being the ideal weight. Their height is 10-12 inches at the withers.
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