Thoughts on the Norwich Terrier

We asked the following questions to our friends in the Norwich Terrier community. Here are their answers, taken from the November 2019 issue of  ShowSight, The Dog Show Magazine. Click to subscribe.  Above photo from the article “Living With Norwich Terriers”  by Alison Freehling. ShowSight Magazine, April 2014 Edition.

 

QUESTIONS

  1. Where do you live? What do you do “outside” of dogs?
  2. In popularity, Norwich currently rank #108 out of 192. Is this good or bad when it comes to finding breeding stock?
    Placing puppies?
  3. Small dogs can fit into about any situation. Is the Norwich the ideal household companion?
  4. Few terriers really “work” anymore. What about him serves him well in the living room? In the show ring?
  5. At what age do you start to see definite signs of show-worthiness (or lack thereof)?
  6. Showing dogs is not for the faint of heart. What is it that makes it all worthwhile?
  7. What is the most important thing about the breed for a novice to keep in mind when judging?
  8. What is your ultimate goal for the breed?
  9. What is your favorite dog show memory?
  10. Is there anything else you’d like to share about the breed? Please elaborate.

 

ANSWERS

Mark & Nancy Gustavson

Nancy Nosiglia is a second-generation breeder who’s parents started with Saint Bernards. Norwich Terriers have been running with the big dogs at BERIC Kennel since 1976. She and her husband Mark Gustavson have been together since 1984, breeding 14 generations of the BERIC line whose roots go back to the Legacy Kennels of Jericho, Chidley, and Barnstable.

We live in two locations in Upstate New York—one in the Hudson Valley, the other just East of Lake Ontario.

Nancy Nosiglia is a commercial photographer. Her husband, Mark Gustavson is VP Strategic for a Marketing Agency.

Is the breed’s popularity good or bad when it comes to finding breeding stock? It’s a GOOD thing. We appreciate the small community of dedicated breeders, and always have a waiting list for far more puppies than we can produce. That being said, we breed to advance our line as a first priority—puppy placement is never
a problem.

Is the Norwich the ideal household companion? Absolutely—but one has to be a ‘Terrier’ person. Norwich are exceptionally fun, although they can be spiteful as well. If you don’t appreciate that temperament, you won’t get a BERIC dog.

What about the breed serves them well in the living room and in the show ring? Norwich definitely “work”. You’ll never have a mouse in your home, you’ll always be alerted to anything out of the ordinary, and most importantly, you’ll never feel lonely. Their engaging, curious attitude and playfulness serves them in both the living room and the show ring.

At what age do I start to see definite signs of show-worthiness? We evaluate for conformation at eight weeks, and make our picks then. That determines who we keep in our breeding program. As for show-temperament, it’s a secondary concern. We don’t show everyone, and dogs that remain in our kennel are always Owner-Exhibited. We can usually spot a budding show prospect between four and seven weeks (and sometimes in the whelping box).

What is it that makes showing dogs all worthwhile?

Knowing that you breed a quality line. Health first, then temperament, then conformation. The exceptional examples make it to the show ring, but all end up in great homes.

What is the most important thing about the breed for a novice to keep in mind when judging? Know the Standard—always reward type, and form follows function. These little dogs should be able to run with the hounds and apply fearless gaminess to bolt a fox when it goes to ground. They may never actually do that in today’s world, but they need to have the physical attributes to be able to.

My ultimate goal for the breed? Stewarding the BERIC line as a foundation for solid breeding and exceptional dogs for the years to come.

My favorite dog show memory? Every year at Montgomery Week when we get to surround ourselves with people as crazy as we are. Oh, and going BOS at Eukenuba with GCH BERIC’s Taecini BBE.

Norwich are an exceptional breed. They deserve to only be bred responsibly, and always be placed in exceptional homes.

 

Mary Aggers

I started showing back in the seventies so I have seen a lot of changes. Unfortunately many people do not stay in the dog game very long. We need to change that.

I live in Tennessee and Ohio. Outside of dogs, I enjoy golf, reading and just about anything outdoors.

Is the breed’s popularity good or bad when it comes to finding breeding stock? One of the biggest issues is small litters and we have a limited number of people breeding.

Normally placing puppies is not an issue with such a small number of breeders demand exceeds the number of puppies.

Is the Norwich the ideal household companion? They live to be with you. Never far away and love attention.

What about the breed serves them well in the living room and in the show ring? They enjoy life have natural curiosity and enjoy a challenge. They enjoy our companionship which means everything to them.

At what age do I start to see definite signs of show-worthiness? You can have great confirmation but lack the fire that makes a great show dog. They always want to be the star the one you gravitate too. This you see very young the bite and confirmation takes time, puppies develop over time not like instant potatoes.

What is it that makes showing dogs all worthwhile? The love of the dogs. The camaraderie the joy of seeing beautiful sound dogs able to compete in all ways.

What is the most important thing about the breed for a novice to keep in mind when judging? If you’re a novice you need to learn, not judge. Be a sponge soak up everything you can about the breed.

My ultimate goal for the breed? They continue to get better with each breeding: the health the mental soundness is key.

My favorite dog show memory? Most of them are good and most important you bring the most important part of showing home with you—your dog!

This is for any breed; you get out of dog what you put into it. If you do not intend to make this a lifetime commitment to the dog don’t buy one. If you’re not willing to put in the time to train and enjoy doing it don’t get a pet.

 

Ellen Lucas

Born and raised in California. Graduated from UCLA. Served as Senior VP of Human Resources for May Department Stores and Carter Hawley Hale Stores. Retired to New Mexico with my husband Bill and moved to Tulsa Oklahoma in 2007.

I have had Norwich since 1990 with multiple ranked Champions including Isaac currently.

Also have Berger Picards since 2015, including nationally ranked Gulliver and now his daughter Nyxie. Both finished in the Top 10 Picards at the 2018 Elevage amongst 82 Picards.

In addition I have rescued two black Labs. Cody achieved his Obedience, Agility and Rally titles in AKC and UKC.

I live in Tulsa Oklahoma. Outside of dogs I support the University of Tulsa and Women’s Rowing Team and attend all their events. I used to row myself and started the first women’s Rowing Team at UCLA. I support all athletic events and attend Football and Basketball games. I’m a member of Mid Continent Kennel Club and Tulsa Dig Training Club and have served as President and Board of Director’s member for the Norwich and Norfolk Club of America and Norwich Terrier Club of America. I also have rescued over 400 Norwich and mixes for over ten years.

Is the breed’s popularity good or bad when it comes to finding breeding stock? Norwich have small litters so availability from reputable breeders is the best way to secure a puppy. Go to the NTCA Club site to look for reputable breeders. Do not go online.

Is the Norwich the ideal household companion? Yes. Their small compact suite makes them fun. They love their people. They are a pack breed so multiple dogs in a household develop a hierarchy. Of course males of the same age can posture and bitches can be dominant, they always are, but I have had multiple Norwich living in my house with little or no problems. A male and a female together are fine.

What about the breed serves them well in the living room and in the show ring? Their friendly, happy attitude and size makes them great in the living room. But, they can excel at other activities ie, agility, barn hunt, go to ground, Service dogs, confirmation. They are smart and affectionate. A great combination.

At what age do I start to see definite signs of show-worthiness? Most breeders evaluate structure at nine to eleven weeks old. You also are looking at attitude, which ones have the “it“ factor.

What is it that makes showing dogs all worthwhile? Dogs you breed or raise from puppies are always your super dogs. Seeing one of these excel and love doing is an amazing experience.

What is the most important thing about the breed for a novice to keep in mind when judging? Evaluate the whole dog but also focus on movement and angulation. Form follows function. If they can’t move out, something is not right with structure. They may be small, but when moving away you should see all four pads.

My ultimate goal for the breed? To be bred and owned by responsible breeders and owners who know our Standard. My goal is also to have none of these dogs get into the hands of volume breeders who just breed constantly to sell for profit.

My favorite dog show memory? Isaac winning Breed at Montgomery weekend every day plus getting a BIS Friday and Group 4 Sunday at Montgomery.

These little dogs are friends for life. They can live to be 15-16. Litters are usually small so there are not many. We must carefully breed them, be cognizant of getting the appropriate health testing, only sell to responsible homes and provide for our dogs in our wills so proper care occurs when we pass on. They count on us.

 

Cathy Rogers

In 1973, we purchased a Miniature Schnauzer on the condition it would be shown; something I knew nothing about. Thanks to a great mentor who is now a friend of 50 years, I learned. In the 80s I saw a Norwich at a show and was smitten. In the 90s during a hiatus from dogs, I bought a two year old Appaloosa. For ten years I lived and breathed horse shows. I learned so much about movement and structure during that time. Then, I bred my last Norwich, just once more to have a pet for myself. She ended up going WB at the Specialty from the Puppy Class. She is the dam of a Multiple Best in Show winner, a dog handled by myself. It’s been a wonderful ride!

I live in Northern Kentucky, near Cincinnati, Ohio. Outside of dogs, I am a retired Elementary School Teacher.

Is the breed’s popularity good or bad when it comes to finding breeding stock? There are not a lot of Norwich, so finding a stud dog can be challenging. For someone interested in finding a good bitch to start a breeding program, it can be a huge challenge, often with quite a wait. Because of their small size, and happy personality, Norwich are in pretty high demand and short supply. Thanks to a great Breeder Referral page on the NTCA website, usually there isn’t a problem placing puppies.

Is the Norwich the ideal household companion? I think they are! They are ready to go when you are, but if you are ready for a nap, they will curl up next to you and sleep. For me, they are just the perfect combination of spunky and lovable.

What about the breed serves them well in the living room and in the show ring? Their spunky attitude serves a Norwich well in the Terrier ring. And yet, they are able to shift gears pretty easily to being a homebody. By the way, mine do like to hunt. They have rid my lawn of moles, though it looks a bit like a minefield. It is also interesting to see litter mates, patrol the perimeter of the fenced area, one in front and one behind. I don’t know what there is in the longer grass, but something is. They continue to work together
to hunt.

At what age do I start to see definite signs of show-worthiness? I have seen “it” as young as five weeks, but also some that mature slowly can fool you and be real sleepers. I usually wait until four or five months for any that have good structure and movement. The heads go through many stages before they reach their adult potential. Patience is a must.

What is it that makes showing dogs all worthwhile? Breeding is not for the faint of heart in this breed either. Watching a litter of puppies develop and choosing one that turns out to be correct, makes it all worthwhile. The terrier ring is not full of breeder owner handlers. A big win in a ring full of professionals is very gratifying for someone who does this as a hobby.

What is the most important thing about the breed for a novice to keep in mind when judging? Norwich are the smallest of the short legged terriers. The length of back and distance from withers to ground should be approximately equal. So, they are a not “square”. They must have a happy attitude.

What is my ultimate goal for the breed? That’s an easy one. I hope we can breed healthy Norwich that are typey and sound. But, doesn’t every breeder wish for that?

My favorite dog show memory? The two All Breed Best in Shows I put on my homebred “Eddie” myself were beyond compare. It isn’t something most breeder owner handlers get to experience. But, nothing can top the day his mother was Winners Bitch at Montgomery from the 9-12 Month Puppy Class. After a ten year hiatus from showing dogs, I came back to Montgomery with her, just hoping for a placement in the classes. That day changed my life, and so did she. She is the behind everything I breed and show. She bequeathed upon them her wonderful showdog attitude.

For me, this breed is just right. They are the perfect combination of energy, tough terrier and just plain lovable. They can do just about anything. I have shown mine in both Agility and Conformation. But, I am sure they’d love to do other things, including lure coursing, nosework and barnhunt. My busy schedule hasn’t allowed me to do much with these. It takes a little creative thinking to convince a Norwich that Agility is their idea, but once they realize that, they make great partners. They are highly adaptable to any situation and that is the beauty of them for me.

 

Lisa Sons

I have been breeding and exhibiting Norwich Terriers for 15 years under the kennel prefix Taliesin. Taliesin has produced top winning Norwich Terriers including GCHS. Taliesin Twice As Nice, National Specialty winner, winner of Montgomery KC 2016, winner of the Terrier Group at The AKC National 2016, and winner of the Terrier Group at Westminster KC 2017.

I live in the suburbs of Chicago and I work full time as a Product Manager in the IT industry. This leaves little time of for much of anything outside of dogs.

Is the breed’s popularity good or bad when it comes to finding breeding stock? Small dogs can fit into about any situation. I believe that the Norwich is an ideal household companion because of it’s size, character and love of people. Portability makes them fantastic for people who do a lot of travel and they are wonderful with kids.

What about the breed serves them well in the living room and in the show ring? What serves a Norwich well in the living room is lots of toys that squeak and lots of interaction. Norwich really like their food so a good combination of bait and squeaky toys in the ring keep them focused.

At what age do I start to see definite signs of show-worthiness? I really start looking as soon as they are born but I think it takes until about 12-16 weeks to really know what you have.

What makes showing dogs all worth while to me is when I produce a dog that I think is beautiful and I see it bring a smile to the judge’s face. A big red white and blue ribbon isn’t so bad either.

What is the most important thing about the breed for a novice to keep in mind when judging? I think one of the most important things to keep in mind about the Norwich Terrier is that they are a square breed as measured from the withers to the tail.

My ultimate goal for Norwich is to continue to breed to the standard while making health my number one priority. Over the last five years we have learned a lot about the upper airway syndrome in our breed through research funded by our parent club, the Norwich Terrier Club of America, and from the Canine Health Institute. As we continue to improve our understanding this issue, my plan is to apply to this knowledge to my breeding strategies to continue to breed healthy dogs and improve upon the health
where possible.

My favorite dog show memory? Winning the Montgomery Kennel Club Terrier show in 2016.

My hope is that breeders make use of the tools (testing) available to us to help us improve the health of our breeding stock. It is through sharing the good, the bad and the indifferent that we can make the choices to collectively preserve and improve the health of the Norwich Terriers that we all love so much. 

 
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