Articles Index/Buying and Selling
Do your homework: Before you decide you want a Norfolk Terrier, do your homework first. Get a copy of the breed standard from the AKC and read it. Read every article you can find on the breed before contacting a breeder for a dog. If you want a dog that doesn't bark, charge around and chase squirrels and small birds, or dig in your yard at the slightest provocation, then you don't want a Norfolk.
Reputable breeder: Look for a reputable breeder. Contact the Norwich and Norfolk Terrier Club for a list of breeders and contact the American Norfolk Terrier Association for referrals to breeders (Ed's Note: See Breeder List for latest ANTA Home Page information on this subject). If a breeder doesn't have any puppies available, ask for referrals. Most breeders know other breeders in their particular area and know who may have puppies for sale. Expect to make many telephone calls, long distance, on your nickle. Don't expect breeders to call you back long distance. Because of the number of calls and inquiries most receive, it is too expensive to call each person back.
Limited supply: You must understand the Norfolk Terrier is one of the most precious and protected of the terrier breeds. With only 300 to 400 of these dogs being born in the United States annually, there is a limited supply. Our dogs come to their new owners with the hope of a good home and the life long companionship of their human owners. They are not there to keep your other dogs company. If you have a dog that needs company, you probably need to be spending more time with it, not purchasing another dog.
Right dog to the right home: In most cases, you won't be given the opportunity to hand pick the puppy you want out of a litter of four or five. You will be able to specify male or female, pet quality or show quality. If you are looking for a show dog, be prepared to wait. True show quality cannot be determined until the dog's permanent teeth come in at the age of six months. Some breeders will sell you a dog in good faith, believing the dog is show quality at 12 weeks, but there are no guarantees.
Twelve weeks old: Our dogs have been lovingly raised and socialized to the extent that can be done without endangering them by exposing them to illness. Because of their small size (five to six pounds at this age), and to make sure they go to their new homes fully protected from rabies, parvo, and distemper, we keep our puppies until the age of 12 weeks. [Editor's Note: Shot schedules vary according to breeder, veterinarian and geographic considerations. Breeder preference and local custom vary in this regard.] They will be partially socialized, immunized, wormed, and somewhat trained.
Questionnaire: Be prepared to fill out a questionnaire about the home that you will provide this special dog, along with some references. Some breeders require a well-fenced yard, no swimming pools, no large aggressive breeds of other dogs, no small children, and many other limitations. Different breeders will have different requirements. They reserve the right to not sell their dogs to people they don't think will provide a lifetime home. A dog is a tremendous responsibility that can last 16 years or longer. Norfolk Terriers are active, fun loving companions for a family or an individual. We hope you are ready for that type of commitment.
Cost/contract: Norfolk sell for $650 to $1000 for males, usually more for females, depending on the area of the country. Show quality dogs, sold as show quality, can be more. Many breeders sell their dogs with contracts. Ask if they do and ask for a copy. Some contracts have provisoes which specify a puppy back from the first breeding; some expect to co-own the dog with you until it has finished its championship, or expect to breed back to the dog with no stud fee when the dog matures, and/or other specified contract provisions. Pet/companion quality dogs can be sold on a limited AKC registration. This means the dog cannot be bred or shown in an AKC conformation class. These dogs may, however, be shown in obedience, agility, or earthdog events. some breeders will ship their dogs to other states and some refuse to ship . . . that is a personal choice. New owners are expected to pay the shipping and cost for an airline approved crate.
Wait: Some breeders have planned breedings or have puppies on the ground they are evaluating for their own use in showing or breeding. Once you qualify and want to be put on a waiting list, expect to pay a non-refundable deposit. It is not fair to a breeder to tell them you are waiting for one of their puppies, have them decline other prospects, and then back out and buy a cute mixed breed puppy from a local shelter. If that is what you want, go there first.
Happiest day in your life: Remember that the reason Norfolks are the special breed they are today is because so many Norfolk owner/breeders have loved, cared for, and selectively bred these dogs for quality, personality, and continued improvements. Once you have made the grade, you have the most wonderful dog in the world. The happiest day in a breeder's life is seeing a puppy go to a qualified and loving home. The happiest day in your life is the day that puppy goes home with you. They are well worth the wait.
Tina Dennis, RegencyNorfolks
ANTIC, June 1997
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