Labs vs. Other Dog Breeds

Labrador Retriever vs. Norfolk Terrier

Jane Davis

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Welcome to another in-depth comparison, this time between two canine companions with vastly different statures but equally endearing qualities: the Labrador Retriever and the Norfolk Terrier.

Having spent time getting to know both breeds extensively, I’m excited to provide you with insights into their key features and real-life applications.

Labrador Retriever

Labradors are America’s darlings, known for their sweet faces and lovable nature. They are medium to large dogs, standing 21.5 to 24.5 inches at the shoulder and weighing 55 to 80 pounds.

Labs are friendly, outgoing, and high-spirited companions, making them perfect for families. Their dense, hard coat comes in yellow, black, and chocolate.

Labradors are famously friendly and sociable, and they require ample exercise to stay happy and healthy.

Thanks to their intelligence and enthusiasm, they excel in various roles, from family pets to working dogs.

read.. Labrador Traits and Characteristics

Norfolk Terrier

On the other end of the size spectrum, we have the Norfolk Terrier, one of the smallest working terriers. It stands no taller than 10 inches at the shoulder and weighs around 11 to 12 pounds.

These little dogs might be small, but they pack a feisty, confident, and adventurous punch.

Norfolk Terrier puppy looking at camera

Norfolk Terriers have hard, wiry, straight coats and neatly folded ears, distinguishing them from their close cousins, the Norwich Terriers.

Bred for hunting, they are gregarious, yet they retain that classic terrier pep.

read.. Labrador Retriever vs. Manchester Terrier

They are loyal, alert watchdogs and excellent companions for those looking for a portable, adaptable, and spirited pet.

Now, let’s delve into a feature-by-feature comparison based on our ‘personal experience.’

Comparison Table

FeatureLabrador RetrieverNorfolk Terrier
SizeMedium to Large: 21.5-24.5 inches (height), 55-80 pounds (weight)Small: Up to 10 inches (height), 11-12 pounds (weight)
TemperamentFriendly, outgoing, affectionate, patient with childrenFeisty, confident, spirited, loyal to owners
Intelligence and TrainabilityHighly intelligent, quick learners, easy to trainIntelligent, independent streak, requires patience in training
Exercise and Activity LevelsHigh-energy, requires regular exercise and outdoor activitiesModerate-energy, enjoys moderate exercise, adaptable
Specializations and RolesVersatile in various roles including search-and-rescue, service dogs, and huntingStrong hunting instincts, excels as watchdogs and loyal companions
Grooming and MaintenanceDense double coat that sheds, regular grooming neededWiry coat, requires regular brushing and hand-stripping
Family FriendlinessExcellent with families, patient with childrenGreat for families, but best for households without very young children
Unique TraitsVersatile, excellent retrievers and swimmersTenacious hunters, loyal watchdogs
Life Expectancy10-12 years12-16 years

Temperament and Family Friendliness

Labrador Retriever: Labradors are renowned for their friendly and outgoing temperament. They bond with the whole family and socialize well with other dogs and humans.

Their affectionate nature and patience with children make them exceptional family pets.

read.. Labrador Retriever vs. Russell Terrier

Norfolk Terrier: Despite their small size, Norfolk Terriers possess a terrier’s feisty spirit. They are confident and sturdy, which makes them more gregarious than typical terriers.

Beautiful shot of a Typical Norfolk Terrier outdoors during the day

They form close bonds with their owners and are alert watchdogs.

Expert Opinion: When it comes to family friendliness, Labradors shine with their patient and affectionate nature.

Norfolk Terriers are also great companions but might be better suited for households without very young children due to their feistier disposition.

Intelligence and Trainability

Labrador Retriever: Labradors are highly intelligent and eager to please. Their quick learning ability and enthusiasm make them relatively easy to train. They excel in obedience training and adapt well to various tasks.

Norfolk Terrier: Norfolk Terriers are intelligent, but they carry a strong terrier independence. Training requires patience and consistency. While they can learn, they may have moments of stubbornness.

Norfolk Terrier on fallen tree outside

Expert Opinion: Labradors have the upper hand when it comes to trainability. They are quick learners and more adaptable to obedience training.

Exercise and Activity Levels

Labrador Retriever: Labradors are high-energy dogs that require regular exercise to maintain their physical and mental well-being. They enjoy activities like swimming and playing fetch.

Norfolk Terrier: Norfolk Terriers are smaller and have lower exercise needs compared to Labs. They enjoy moderate exercise and are up for adventures but don’t require intense physical activity.

Expert Opinion: Labrador Retrievers are ideal for active families who love outdoor activities. Norfolk Terriers suit those with a more laid-back lifestyle or limited space.

Unique Traits and Roles

Labrador Retriever: Labradors are versatile and excel in various roles, including search-and-rescue, service and assistance dogs, and even as hunting companions. They are known for their retrieving and swimming abilities.

Norfolk Terrier: Norfolk Terriers were bred for hunting rodents, and they retain their tenacity for this task. They make great watchdogs and loyal companions.

Norfolk Terrier sits outside on a stone wall

Expert Opinion: If you’re seeking a dog with a specific specialization or working role, the Labrador Retriever’s versatility stands out. Norfolk Terriers are excellent for those who want a loyal and vigilant companion.

Grooming and Maintenance

Labrador Retriever: Labradors have a dense, water-repellent double coat that sheds regularly. Occasional baths and regular grooming are necessary to keep them clean.

Norfolk Terrier: Norfolk Terriers have a wiry coat that requires regular brushing and hand-stripping to maintain its texture and prevent matting.

Norfolk terrier dog having a meal.

Expert Opinion: Grooming needs differ between the two breeds, but neither is excessively demanding in this regard.


In summary, both Labrador Retrievers and Norfolk Terriers have their unique strengths and qualities. Your choice should align with your lifestyle, space, and the specific traits you value in a dog.

Labrador Retrievers are the go-to choice for active families who love outdoor adventures and want a highly trainable, affectionate, and adaptable companion.

Norfolk Terriers are perfect for those seeking a smaller, spirited dog that forms close bonds, serves as a loyal watchdog, and fits well in more compact living spaces.

Ultimately, consider your daily routine and preferences when deciding which breed is the best match for your life. Whichever you choose, you’ll find a loyal and loving companion in either the Labrador Retriever or the Norfolk Terrier.


Jane Davis

Hi, my name is Jane Davis, and I love dogs. I own a labrador retriever named Max. When I was growing up, we always had dogs at our house. They provide us with such unconditional love and companionship, and I can't imagine my life without one by my side.

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