Elsewhere in this issue is considerable space devoted to various earthdog activities. While we applaud all the successes earned by our members with their Norfolks in any variety of events, it's especially heartening to see so many of us "getting down and dirty" with our dogs.
One of the most asked questions I get from potential puppy buyers is, "Are Norfolks noisy?" To that, I usually answer that ours should never be a yappy breed, but that yes, Norfolks can and should bark when provoked. As is the case with any red-blooded terrier, a mouse or rat constitutes provocation! While most of us do not engage in hunting in the field, when a terrier in a natural habitat does go underground and out of sight of its handler, barking serves the important purpose of alerting folks above ground to the location of the dog. Thus, if it is necessary to rescue a stuck pup or retrieve injured quarry, hunters know just where to dog. In my opinion, if an individual can't put up with a bit of barking in appropriate circumstances, then he or she shouldn't consider purchasing a Norfolk or any other breed of Terrier.
This thought also brings to mind the fact that some breeders, in a variety of ways, seem to be telling puppy buyers that Norfolks should never be off lead, under any circumstance. While no one is more paranoid than I am about preventing my dogs from escaping from my securely fenced yard, I am amazed that anyone would suggest that a well trained Norfolk can't be off lead while engaging in a variety of supervised activities including:
Common sense is always a prerequisite, and if you believe your dog may be in danger if off lead, then keep it on lead. but, to suggest that this hardy breed of working terrier can never participate in activities off lead is misleading and fosters a false sense of what Norfolk character should be.
ANTIC, December 1997
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