Norfolks are a classic terrier breed: fearless, strong, loving and independent. They are a bit more social than other terriers, as they were bred as pack dogs. They are still standoffish towards new people and other dogs, but they aren't as apt to bark their little heads off when they see something new. Norfolks make excellent family dogs as they consider their family to be their “pack” and will want to be included in as many group activities as possible. They never tire of playing ball, and many owners report that their Norfolks chased balls with the vigor of a puppy well into their older adult lifetimes. This breed has a zest for life, approaching new tasks and situations with vigor, and make an excellent family pet. Their trainability and generally even temperament makes them a good choice for first time dog owners.
Norfolk Terriers need moderate exercise to maintain health and happiness. Daily walks and some active ball-chasing will meet his activity requirements. The Norfolk's compact size makes them fine apartment dogs, and they are generally easier to handle than other noisy terrier breeds. These little dogs are not couch potatoes. Even indoors they are eager to engage in activity that works both mind and body, so make sure that your Norfolk has lots of toys to keep him occupied, especially when you are gone for the day. If left alone too long with nothing to do, they will occupy themselves by barking, chewing and digging.
Norfolks should never be left off leash or in an unfenced area for exercise. They still maintain a strong desire to chase, and will take off like a shot after small animals and they aren't likely to respond to calls home.
Norfolks are easier to train that other terrier breeds. They are incredibly smart, and repetition can bore them, so make sure sessions are mixed up and kept lively to maintain interest. Positive reinforcement and treats are the best method for training this breed, as treating a terrier harshly will only lead to defensive behavior.
When basic obedience has been mastered, Norfolks can graduate on to advanced training, agility or Earthdog activities. Agility courses allow Norfolks to exercise their minds and bodies, and Earthdog allows them to hunt and dig for vermin (who are kept safely out of reach of the dogs). They will enjoy the exercise, appreciate the time to use their sharp minds, and will eat up the extra time spent with you.
Though they are less yappy than other terrier breeds, Norfolks are still prone to barking, especially if left alone for long periods of time with nothing to do. Walking your dog before leaving the house, and leaving him with interesting toys to play with can cut down on the barking. Companion dogs also help. Norfolks are pack animals and when raised together, bond well with other canines.
Norfolks have the urge to dig in their DNA. They were originally used to chase foxes and other animals out of their dens, and modern Norfolks are still champion diggers. If left alone in a yard, they can make quick work of flower beds. Enrolling your Norfolk in Earthdog activities can give him a constructive outlet for digging.