dispatch small vermin.” Th ese abstract words/phrases o ff er valuable insights about living with a real-life Norwich. “Gay” (in the word’s original mean- ing) captures the breed’s sunny, play- ful disposition. A happy-go-lucky, joie de vivre outlook on life is the hallmark of the Norwich breed. If they have been properly socialized as young puppies, Norwich will be social butter fl ies, ami- able with children and adults (and usu- ally with other dogs) inside and outside their family circle. Along with this cheery personality comes abundant energy (“tre- mendously active”), a trait that makes exercise an important part of living with a Norwich. Daily walks, “fetch” games, agility and other performance/companion events, etc., are all recommended outlets for these lively little terriers. “Fearless” connotes brave, plucky, game—traits that were essential to the breed’s original function as barnyard rat- ters and go-to-ground fox bolters in the East Anglia region of England (encompass- ing the city of Norwich). When combined with the breed’s keen hunting instincts (“eager to dispatch small vermin”), fear- less can also mean foolhardy and rash. If a Norwich spots a squirrel or other
potential quarry while out walking, males and females alike would dash o ff in fren- zied pursuit, mindless of dangers posed by cars, unfriendly big dogs, getting lost, etc. For your dog’s own safety, living with a Norwich requires either a well-fenced yard, secure from digging under, or an owner willing to walk their Norwich on lead. To allow a small hunt terrier to explore out- side the con fi nes of a fenced yard or to go on walks o ff lead invites tragedy. “Loyal and a ff ectionate” suggest the breed’s people-loving qualities. Norwich are an exceptionally gregarious breed, always wanting to be with their people. Like tag-along “little shadows”, they will follow you everywhere. Invariably, they are by your side when you are reading or watching TV and underfoot when you are gardening, cooking, cleaning. Both pup- pies and adults need lots of attention and love. If left home alone all day every day, Norwich will not be happy. And if pup- pies are not properly socialized, they may develop shy, fearful, wimpy personalities. If zest for life personi fi es correct Nor- wich temperament, zest for food is equally characteristic of the breed. All my Norwich have been consummate beggars, plead- ing for another biscuit, another morsel of
bacon from my breakfast plate. Lest your Norwich balloon from a svelte 12 pounder to a hefty 16-plus pounder, owners must resist their dog’s begging. Overweight Norwich are a far too common phenome- non and, just as humans, are more likely to develop health problems linked to obesity. One fi nal aspect of living with Norwich involves grooming. As the breed standard states, the correct Norwich coat is “hard, wiry and straight, lying close to the body with a de fi nite undercoat.” To retain the coat’s correct appearance requires strip- ping (by hand or with a stripping tool) the long, dead outer hair about every 6-8 months. Some owners learn to strip their own dogs. Others fi nd professional terrier groomers or other Norwich owners to do the job. Still other pet owners opt to have their dog’s coat clipped. A clipped coat will lose its hard texture and rich color, but if you do not intend to show your Norwich in conformation and are not concerned about correct looks, then clipping the coat works fi ne and is easier on the dog. Norwich generally live to be 13-15 years old. Th ey adapt happily to city, suburban and country life and make wonderful com- panions for owners looking for an “on the go”, gregarious small breed.
“A happy-go-lucky, joie de vivre outlook on life is the
HALLMARK OF THE NORWICH BREED.”
256 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , A PRIL 2014
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