Terriers are known for their sassy personalities and their penchant for picking fights with much larger dogs. Most of the breeds in this group are small, such as the Norfolk and Cairn, but there are also large terriers in the mix, such as the regal Airedale. The name “terrier” comes from the Latin word “terra,” meaning earth. Terriers were originally bred to hunt and kill vermin, and their bodies were designed to get into tight places to track down their intended prey. Hunting vermin often involved digging in the dirt, and as many owners know, today’s Terriers still enjoy a good dig in the yard. These breeds are also territorial of the earth that they consider to be “theirs,” that is, their yard and their home. A terrier will bark up a storm at any person or animal who approaches their turf. The terrier’s instinctive desire to chase small animals makes them ideal for single-pet homes only. They will terrorize cats or other pets incessantly, and it’s nearly impossible to train the chase out of a terrier. These breeds typically do not enjoy the company of other dogs, unless they are raised together from a young age. It is not recommended that families with small children adopt terriers, either. They lack the patience for children, and they much prefer to be the center of attention at all times.
Terrier breeds can be a handful to train. They have minds of their own, and they like to choose whether or not they participate in an activity. If training is made to be a fun and exciting game full of praise and rewards, owners can make some headway. It helps to keep training sessions short with terriers, as well. Terriers require lots of exercise each day – even the small breeds. They are smart dogs, and when they get bored, they can become a handful. Exercise helps keep their bodies and their minds active. Regular exercise also staves off obesity, a common problem in small terrier breeds. For all of their quirks, Terriers do make excellent companions. They are often silly, and “perform” for their owners. They soak up attention, and have lots of love to give. When they are properly socialized, Terriers make ideal pets for seniors, empty-nesters, or families whose children are a bit older.
Featured Terrier Dogs