Our dog Wesley looks very much like a Norfolk Terrier but although there must be Norfolk blood in his ancestry, and he was born in a Norfolk village, he is officially a mutt or mongrel. He is also a little bit taller than a true Norfolk Terrier, and also slightly longer in the back.

The Norwich Terrier is very similar to a Norfolk Terrier, the difference being in the ears. Whereas the ears of the Norfolk Terrier droop the ears of the Norwich Terrier prick up. The Norwich Terrier is the older breed. Until the early 1960s there was only one breed known as the Norwich Terrier with two ear types. The Norwich Terrier was first recognised as a breed by the Kennel Club in 1932, and not in America until 1936. The two different breeds were recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1979 and in the UK some years earlier. Both  the Norwich and the Norfolk  terrier have the same jolly temperament.

This sort of terrier had been known for many years before, but without official recognition. They had earlier been known as the Cantab (i.e. Cambridge) Terrier as they had been fashionable pets kept by the undergraduates in the nineteenth century. The Cantab even became the unofficial mascot of the University. Things have changed, and I doubt that a student would be encouraged to keep a dog in his or her rooms today.

Another name was Trumpington Terriers after Trumpington Street in Cambridge. They were supplied by a dealer named Charles “Doggy” Lawrence who lived there. One of  Lawrence’s dogs sired a puppy called Rags who was acquired by Mr Jack Cooke, the Master of the Norwich Staghounds. Lewis “Podge” Low, the son of a Norwich vet had several litters sired by Rags with his white terrier bitch called Ninety. From a photograph of 1905, showing Ninety and one of her pups, it looks very like what came to known as a Norwich Terrier.

Wesley, a Norfolk mongrel.

Wesley, a Norfolk mongrel.

Thus the Norwich Terrier was developed in East Anglia from the last quarter of the 19th century but the breed was still evolving. They are the smallest of the working terriers; despite their companionable nature they were bred as rat catchers. Now, although they retain their hunting instincts, they are almost entirely used as pets. They are courageous dogs and not nervous.

Back in the early years of last century the First Whip of the Norwich Staghounds, Frank Jones, bought some of “Podge” Low’s dogs which he found popular with the sporting fraternity. He began breeding from his own dogs. He sold the pups all over the country and even exported them to America, where they were named after him as Jones Terriers. Several other breeders in Norfolk and further afield also experimented with breeding to produce a dog with the characteristics we now know as a Norwich Terrier.

In 1909 Mr R. J. Read acquired a pup of Rags and Ninety and proceeded to cross the offspring with a Bedlington, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier and a small Irish Terrier. When the Breed Club was established in England in the 1930s Mr Read became its first President.

CLICK HERE to read more on the history of the Norwich terrier and to see a picture of “Podge” Low and his dogs.




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