HISTORY OF THE NORWICH TERRIER
by MAGDA CHIARELLA
D ogs come in more forms and sizes than any other mammal species, thanks to our selective breeding for specific traits. Description of any dog breed is intrinsically linked to its his- tory, 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. A rural, “horse country”. 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 ter- riers 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 choic- es driven primarily by temperament and working ability. LATE 1800S IN EAST ANGLIA All dogs are chosen for their size, tenacity, energy and gameness, and that selection quickly establishes local lines: CanTab Terriers, the Trumpington Ter- riers, the Jones Terriers. The types are fluid though, and the associated names have more to do with places and peo- ple, than a breed type. Charles “Doggy” Lawrence, for example, 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 charac- teristic of the breed’s early beginnings it would be gameness and fearlessness in a small body. TURN OF THE 20TH CEN- TURY IN CAMBRIDGE Locally bred Thrumpington/CanTab Terriers become popular with students. In addition to their ratting abilities (helpful in dorm rooms) and their por- table size, the local terriers have softer temperament than some other matters.
RECOGNITION OF THE NEW BREED BY THE KENNEL CLUB IN 1932 With the solidifying of the breed type, there finally comes an official rec- ognition of the Norwich Terrier in Eng- land. The controversy over the ear car- riage is addressed by dividing the breed into two types—a dropped ear and a prick ear variety. The conflict flares up though once the ear cropping is banned in England. The two Norwich types are not interbred. As a result, as with all selec- tive breeding, the differences between prick and drop ear varieties extend to other features, and slowly distinctly two different terrier types emerge. DROP EAR NORWICH IS RECOGNIZED AS A SEPA- RATE BREED Norfolk Terrier in 1964 in England and 1979 in America. Norwich Terrier is now understood as only the prick ear variety. Separat- ing the two types into two breeds results in redrafting of the breed standard. A changing role of the Nor- wich Terrier in owners’ lives brings about changes in features that reflect a shift from a working terrier to a pleasing companion. Dogs are bred with more furnishings and fuller coats, larger heads and heavier bod- ies. The legs get increasingly shorter. Temperament gets further shifted from gameness and tenacity to a friendly disposition, as the dog’s role drifts completely away from hunting and ratting. END OF 20TH AND BEGIN- NING OF 21ST CENTURY The age of Internet shopping cre- ates a new demand for small, good- looking, friendly companions. Unscru- pulous breeders start crossing other small terriers with Norwich and selling them as purebred Norwich Terriers. The Norwich Terrier Club of Ameri- ca fights to preserve the integrity of the breed. What will the future bring?
Bred to hunt in large packs, they display a perfect blend of tenacity and being enjoyable companions. Some students continue crossing the local terriers, among them Jodrell Hopkins, a breeder of Rags, the first dog with what we identify today as a Norwich type. In the spirit of form fol- lowing function, Hopkins bred a red silky-coated terrier cross to a black Scotty-like bitch. The coat color and texture was not that important as their temperament. That mating though produced a pup with a dominant red coat color and dominant harsh coat texture, in addition to the principal goal of that breeding, namely gentle yet tenacious working terrier tempera- ment. This is Rags, the forefather of the breed. The emphasis on what is inside the dog, rather than how it looks, contin- ues. A red wirehaired Rags is mated several times to a smooth-coated white bitch Ninety. The main contribution of the “Cam- bridge period” is a temperament of a loyal and friendly companion. EARLY 20TH CENTURY IN ENGLAND AND FIRST EX- PORTS TO AMERICA Huntsmen in Norfolk county con- tinue refining the local terrier type and two ear carriages emerge. Bigger and floppy ears are cropped. The new breed’s popularity extends past Norfolk. People travel to East Anglia to buy the small friendly ratter. 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. The name sticks. The breed’s friendly disposition spreads their popularity beyond hunt- ing circles. By early 1920s first drafts of breed standard emerge, and an accom- panied conflict over the ear carriage. The emphasis on dogs’ temperament and working abilities give way to a new focus on the looks.
280 • S how S ight M agazine , J une 2018
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