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Posted 02/22/98


Norfolks have increased dramatically in popularity in the United States in the last six to eight years, and it has never been more important -- in the best interests of the bred -- for owners and breeders to review the Norfolk terrier standard. Behind each terrier breed have been many generations of thoughtful, selective breeding. And how timely Joan Read's The Norfolk Terrier was when it was published in 1989. We needed this exhaustive history of the breed and intelligent guide for all phases of Norfolk ownership. But, do we refer to it often enough?

Of course, there is a valid "working" purpose behind each part of the Norfolk's structure, and the judging of conformation and the way of going in the show ring is supposed to be about just that. But how many new (or old) people to the breed, whose priority is to have a fun terrier to show, have read "Notes From a Working Terrier Seminar" by Linda Plummer which appear on pages 276-277 of the second edition of Joan's book?

The photograph of Ch. Nanfan Ninety (also on page 276) is a classic example of a happy working Norfolk. These terriers -- game, tough, and alert -- should not be turned into pampered, pretty little dogs who are never allowed to get dirty or dig a hole or have the opportunity to test their intelligence by outwitting some kind of quarry, even it it's only an innocuous house mouse, the elusive squirrel in a tree, or the lure at an ANTA event. Even a city dwelling Norfolk can be given opportunities to act the way the breed was bred to act, with excursions to a park on the wonderful retractable leads, or a day in the country -- as important to a dog's mental health as to its owner's.

The breed we love and enjoy so much evolved for the purpose of rodent hunting. Yes, they are (ugh) RATTERS! Wouldn't it be terrific for the breed if all potential conformation champions also had to pass some form of performance test to "finish," such as lure coursing, racing, and most important, go-to-ground?

Debby Pritchard
ANTIC, December 1996

 Ch. Nanfan Ninety digging in the field, 1972
Photo © Sally Anne Thompson
Page 276, The Norfolk Terrier, 2nd Edition by Joan R. Read


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