Showsight Presents the Norwich Terrier

History of the NORWICH TERRIER

D ogs come in more forms and sizes than any other mammal species, thanks to our selective breed- ing for specific traits. Description of any dog breed is intrinsically linked to its history, the why and when of the breed’s characteristics. Here are some main points of a timeline that has led to today’s Norwich Terrier. Late 1800s In East Anglia, a rural, “horse coun- try”, dogs are widely used for hunts and for rodent control. Many local huntsmen have large kennels housing harriers, hounds and terriers and it is not uncommon to freely cross breeds based on specific hunting traits. A few breeders start crossing terriers in search of a small, carry-in-the-saddlebag, throw-the-ratter-in-the-barn, gamey local breed. Dogs range from wire to smooth coats, from mutts to established breeds of the day, all choices driven primarily by tem- perament and working ability. All dogs are chosen for their size, tenac- ity, energy and gameness, and that selec- tion quickly establishes local lines: CanTab Terriers, the Trumpington Terriers, the Jones Terriers. Th e types are fluid though, and the associated names have more to do with places and people, than a breed type. Charles “Doggy” Lawrence, for exam- ple, a local dealer and breeder of hunting dogs, is associated with both CanTab and Trumpington Terriers, and the names are used interchangeably for the same dogs. If there is one overarching characteristic of the breed’s early beginnings it would be gameness and fearlessness in a small body. Turn of the 20th Century In Cambridge, locally bred Th rump- ington/CanTab Terriers become popular with students. In addition to their rat- ting abilities (helpful in dorm rooms), and their portable size, the local terriers have

By Magda Chiarella

Recognition of the New Breed by the Kennel Club in 1932 With the solidifying of the breed type, there finally comes an o ffi cial recogni- tion of the Norwich Terrier in England. Th e controversy over the ear carriage is addressed by dividing the breed into two types—a dropped ear and a prick ear vari- ety. Th e conflict flares up though once the ear cropping is banned in England. Th e two Norwich types are not inter- bred. As a result, as with all selective breeding, the di ff erences between prick and drop ear varieties extend to other fea- tures, and slowly distinctly two di ff erent terrier types emerge. Drop Ear Norwich is Recognized as a Separate Breed Norfolk Terrier in 1964 in England and 1979 in America. Norwich Terrier is now understood as only the prick ear variety. Separating the two types into two breeds results in redrafting of the breed standard. A changing role of the Norwich Terrier in owners’ lives brings about changes in features that reflect a shift from a work- ing terrier to a pleasing companion. Dogs are bred with more furnishings and fuller coats, larger heads and heavier bodies. Th e legs get increasingly shorter. Tempera- ment gets further shifted from gameness and tenacity to a friendly disposition, as the dog’s role drifts completely away from hunting and ratting.

softer temperament than some other rat- ters. Bred to hunt in large packs, they dis- play a perfect blend of tenacity and being enjoyable companions. Some students continue crossing the local terriers, among them Jodrell Hop- kins, a breeder of Rags, the first dog with what we identify today as a Norwich type. In the spirit of form following function, Hopkins bred a red silky-coated terrier cross to a black Scotty-like bitch. Th e coat color and texture was not that important as their temperament. Th at mating though produced a pup with a dominant red coat color and dominant harsh coat texture, in addition to the principal goal of that breed- ing, namely gentle yet tenacious working terrier temperament. Th e emphasis on what is inside the dog, rather than how it looks, continues. A red wirehaired Rags is mated several times to a smooth-coated white bitch Ninety. Th e main contribution of the “Cam- bridge period” is a temperament of a loyal and friendly companion. Early 20th Century in England & First Exports to America Huntsmen in Norfolk county continue refining the local terrier type and two ear carriages emerge. Bigger and floppy ears are cropped. Th e new breed’s popular- ity extends past Norfolk. People travel to East Anglia to buy the small friendly rat- ter. As the demand grows, more breeders get involved, Frank “Roughrider” Jones among them. He sells the first export to America. Dog buyers refer to their dogs as Jones Terriers, but Jones himself calls his dogs Norwich Terriers. Th e name sticks. Th e breed’s friendly disposition spreads their popularity beyond hunting circles. By early 1920s first drafts of breed standard emerge, and an accompanied conflict over the ear carriage. Th e emphasis on dogs’ temperament and working abilities give way to a new focus on the looks.

End of 20th & Beginning of 21st Century

Th e age of Internet shopping cre- ates a new demand for small, good look- ing, friendly companions. Unscrupulous breeders start crossing other small terriers with Norwich and selling them as pure- bred Norwich Terriers. Th e Norwich Ter- rier Club of America fights to preserve the integrity of the breed. What will the future bring?


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