Norfolk Terrier Q& A
“MY GOAL FOR THE BREED IS TO ENCOURAGE YOUNGER PEOPLE TO TAKE AN INTEREST IN NORFOLK WHETHER AS A CONFORMATION EXHIBITOR OR IN THE PERFORMANCE RING. If you look around you’ll see many of us are of the gray haired variety; we need young blood. I encourage new owners to get involved by having their Norfolk go through the good Citizen program so that the owner and dog can visit nursing homes and hospitals. Believe me it’s a tough sale.”
BARBARAMILLER I live in Old Brookville, Long Island where I raise my Norfolk Terriers. My children are grown with families of their own so it’s sort of nice being a Norfolk breeder and tending to puppies. Even at my age I still go to the office, a family business, most- ly every day. We’ve sold a major portion of our company but I’ve found that to be a gift as I’ve turned my attention to investigating and writing a history of the Long Island Kennel Club dating back to 1900. A number of my Norfolk, over the years, reside with their human parents in and around New York City. It’s kind of cute when they meet, comparing notes, and discover they bought their Nor- folk from Barbara Miller. I’ve never had a problem selling a pup as the waiting list is long. I always ask people making the query to try to visit me so they can see how my dogs are raised. This way I get to meet a perspective buyer and hopefully their family. People have visited from many corners of the world wanting a Norfolk. Promises are never made because I’m in line first as I keep a pup from every litter I breed. Most times I select the right pup and sometimes not. I not only litter register my Norfolk but I take it one step further and register each pup to myself. When the pup goes to its new home so does the AKC registration paperwork for transfer. I take great pride in knowing I’ve educated the new owner in care and maintenance of the pup. All pups leave with a microchip implanted and pups don’t leave my care until they are 12 weeks old. The Norfolk Terrier instinct holds true even today as they are definitely ratters. I see it when my pups are in their outdoor puppy run. For some reason moles like living under the pavers from time to time and the pups follow the scent as certain times of the year there seem to be more moles than at other times. Let an adult play in the garden and for sure they’re after a squirrel. The play equip- ment for dogs today follows in the footsteps of performance events. My pups love going through the tunnel again and again. People ask what the differences are between the Norfolk and Norwich aside from the ears. Both breeds started at the same point but early breeding to various canines produced either drop ear or prick. There are very subtle differences between the two. The Norwich is short backed with a foxy expression. The Norfolk is off square with more of a wedge shaped muzzle. Ask a Norwich breeder which one has a better disposition and for certain they’d say the Norwich. In actuality both have wonderful dispositions yet I do believe the Norwich is more likely to please where the Norfolk is a bit more independent making training more of an event.
A Norfolk requires a good walk on lead a few times a day. Ide- ally they love to romp in the fenced in back yard especially playing with kids. As a family pet they adore a seat on the sofa with their owner watching television. As a longtime breeder I don’t see any drawbacks to owning a Norfolk. The breed club has been diligent in advising new owners and breeders to test their dog for MVD; a heart leakage problem. These many years of testing it appears the situation is more under control than ever before. Less Norfolk are being independently registered with AKC than ever before. It’s one of the reason I register my pups in my name as stated above. I don’t think it’s just Norfolk as I firmly feel the Terrier situation is on a down slide. As president of the Long Island Kennel Club I’ve watched the entry numbers head downtown. A number of years ago I stopped marking the “limited registration” box on the AKC registration application. For the most part “pet” owners want to spay and/or neuter their dogs. I firmly feel they should wait until the pup has reached close to one year so that their potential develop- ment has been reached. I’m not a mind reader and even though I’ve been at this almost a lifetime I can only zero in on a potential pup once on its feet and close to eight weeks. I’ll keep my eye on that pup watching it mature; how he preforms at the end of the lead; is he outgoing; does he enjoy the ring. Of course the attitude must match the physical appearance as so stated in the breed standard. I’ve deviated some- what with reference to the tail. In the UK as in many other foreign countries docking isn’t allowed. I’ve imported some good dogs with tails to incorporate into my breeding line successfully. Judges have got to start opening their eyes and look at the tail set, the turn of stifle etc. before they discount a good dog because it has a natural tail. Presently I have the #1 Norfolk with a beautiful natural tail and I thank the judges who have awarded her top ribbons because she has the qualities admired in the breed. My goal for the breed is to encourage younger people to take an interest in Norfolk whether as a conformation exhibitor or in the performance ring. If you look around you’ll see many of us are of the gray haired variety; we need young blood. I encourage new owners to get involved by having their Norfolk go through the good Citizen program so that the owner and dog can visit nursing homes and hospitals. Believe me it’s a tough sale. My memories are many but an outstanding one is going Best in Show beating the #1 dog in the country. As for me I’ve collected honors that still stand out in my mind. Twice I was the Terrier Breeder of the year and in 2007 the AKC honored me with the top prize “Breeder of the Year.” It’s been a great ride.
S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , D ECEMBER 2019 • 307
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