Terriers are a special dog breed known for their lively and determined nature. Bred for hunting, they're intelligent, loyal, and often enjoy digging. The various types of terrier come in different sizes and coats, but all are unique and can be wonderful companions for those who appreciate their spirited nature.
If you are looking for an outdoor dog or love dogs, these types of terriers will provide you with some of the best terrier dog breeds.
15 Types of Terrier
1. Airedale Terrier
Fun Fact: The Airedale Terrier is called the "King of Terriers" due to its size and confidence. They are all-around dogs and help in hunting, police work, and even military service.
The Airedale Terrier, also called Bingley Terrier and Waterside Terrier, is a terrier dog that originated from the River Aire Valley in West Riding, Yorkshire, England.
This breed has a thick, wiry coat, a charming mix of tan and black, and a noticeable saddle pattern. The coat is hypoallergenic and adds a refined touch that's hard to ignore. Their long, flat head and high-set tail enhance their courageous and lively disposition.
The Airedale Terrier is intelligent and trainable. However, their vibrant personalities come with a touch of stubbornness. While bold and adaptable, their loyalty and protective nature make them exceptional terriers and beloved family pets.
2. American Staffordshire Terrier
Fun Fact: This particular terrier breed is a war hero in World War I. One example was Sergeant Stubby, who saved soldiers and captured a spy.
The American Staffordshire Terrier, or AmStaff, is a strong and courageous dog breed. They are 17 to 19 inches tall and embody power and courage, featuring distinct facial muscles, broad heads, and short coats of various colors.
AmStaffs forge deep emotional bonds with families and love children. While they display affection, their protective instincts may lead to aggression with other dogs, emphasizing the need for early socialization. Intelligent and eager to please, they're highly trainable.
Effective AmStaff training involves positive reinforcement rather than force, as they're sensitive to harsh treatment. They require an active lifestyle to prevent boredom and destructive behavior, thriving in homes with yards due to their high energy levels.
3. Norwich Terrier
Fun Fact: Norwich Terrier dogs are known for their spirited nature, excelling as watchdogs and charming companions.
Norwich Terrier dogs are small and lively dogs from England, initially bred for rat hunting. They have wiry coats in different colors. Despite their size, they're bold and active, needing regular play. Training and socialization are essential due to their hunting instincts.
They have expressive and alert eyes that contribute to their charming appearance. Their small, dark eyes reflect their curious and attentive nature, making them excellent watchdogs as they keenly observe their surroundings.
4. Bedlington Terrier
Fun Fact: The Bedlington Terrier is a charming yet fearless hunter bred initially for vermin control.
The Bedlington Terrier, from Bedlington in Northumberland, has a distinctive lamb-like silhouette. With a pear-shaped head and almond-shaped eyes, they sport a curly, hypoallergenic coat in various colors, making them ideal for allergy sufferers.
Initially bred to hunt vermin, Bedlington Terriers remain agile companions. Energetic and eager for exercise, they thrive on walks, agility training, or home-based activities. Their gentle exterior conceals a protective terrier spirit that rises to challenges.
Their intelligent eyes reflect their quick-learning abilities. While they can quickly learn commands and tricks, take their stubbornness seriously. Positive reinforcement and persistent training can shape them into obedient pets.
5. Border Terrier
Fun Fact: Border Terriers are skilled escape artists known for their ability to slip through small gaps and dig under fences.
The tough Border Terrier, rooted in English-Scottish history, is known for its perseverance. It was initially bred to hunt foxes and vermin. Their distinctive otter-shaped heads and wiry double-layered coats suit their homeland's harsh conditions. They come in various colors, like grizzle and tan, red, wheaten, and striking blue and tan.
The Border Terriers are intelligent and obedient, fitting well into families. These active dogs thrive with ample, secure space and regular exercise, making them adaptable even in city situations. They require portion control during meals. A balanced diet matched to their size, age, and activity level is essential to prevent overeating. Monitor their weight closely due to potential hip dysplasia and heart concerns.
6. Bull Terrier
Fun Fact: The Bull Terrier stands out in pop culture for its one-of-a-kind look, featuring an egg-shaped head and triangular eyes.
The Bull Terrier originates from England during the 1800s by mixing the Old English Bulldog and Terrier. This resulted in a strong and muscular breed known for its toughness. The Bull Terrier stands out among terriers with its unique "egg-shaped" head. Their small triangular eyes are captivating, and their short coat comes in various colors, including white, brindle, fawn, red, black, and tri-color.
Under their lively exteriors, Bull Terriers form strong bonds with humans. They are playful companions that can also get along with other dogs. Bull Terriers are energetic and require space, exercise, and mental stimulation due to their intelligence and potential stubbornness. Patience and consistency are essential.
Though they once had a history as fighters, Bull Terriers are now loyal and sensitive companions. They offer protection and unwavering companionship at home, creating lasting relationships.
7. Boston Terrier
Fun Fact: The Boston Terrier is often called the "American Gentleman" due to its tuxedo-like coat markings and refined manners.
The Boston Terrier is a small and friendly breed that originated in the United States during the late 19th century. Its distinctive coat pattern features a white muzzle, a white chest, and markings resembling a tuxedo. Their short coat is low-maintenance and easy to care for.
With a compact build and a square appearance, Boston Terriers are known for their expressive round eyes and perky ears. Their tails are short and can be straight or screw-shaped. They are affectionate, friendly, and often lovingly called "people dogs." They are friendly and enjoy spending time with children and other pets.
Boston Terriers are intelligent and can be easily trained with positive reinforcement methods. Their alertness and adaptability make them suitable for various living situations, from apartments to houses with yards. While energetic and enjoy playtime, they also enjoy relaxing with their owners.
8. Cairn Terrier
Fun Fact: The Cairn Terrier inspired Toto in "The Wizard of Oz." Sir Walter Scott, the famous Scottish author, admired this breed and created Toto based on its playful and brave nature.
The Cairn Terrier emerged in the rugged Scottish Highlands, aiding farmers in rat and fox control. Its weather-resistant coat is cream, wheaten, red, gray, and black. The Cairn Terriers are intelligent and determined. Their history as working dogs can lead to occasional stubbornness. They possess the unique trait of favoring their left paw, enhancing scent-related tasks.
These terrier breeds are known to be quite vocal and express themselves through barking. They usually bark to indicate boredom or the need for exercise2. Although they are independent, they are also fiercely loyal watchdogs who will protect their owners.
9. Cesky Terrier
Fun Fact: The Cesky Terrier originated in the mid-20th century when Frantiek Horák bred it for hunting.
The Cesky Terrier, also called the Czech Terrier, is a rare breed from the Czech Republic, developed by Frantiek Horák in the mid-20th century for hunting. Notable for its elongated body and soft, wavy coat, the Cesky Terrier stands out among terriers. Coat colors include gray, blue-gray, light coffee, and light wheaten.
This breed's calm and composed temperament, along with its adaptability, suit various living environments. They are affectionate and loyal. They're gentle and patient with children, making it ideal for families.
10. Irish Terrier
Fun Fact: The Irish Terrier is known as the "Daredevil" for its fearless energy and spirited nature; it is always up for exciting adventures despite its small size.
The Irish Terrier, hailing from Ireland, is a proud and traditional breed dating back to the 17th century. They excel in hunting and retrieving, preserving their heritage while adapting over time. With agility and endurance, they embody their homeland's spirit.
Irish Terriers weigh 25 to 27 pounds. Their standout feature is a dense, wiry red or golden wheaten coat reminiscent of Irish landscapes. Unique traits like an elongated face, expressive eyes, and folded ears add to their distinct appearance.
They are intelligent and fiercely loyal. They're courageous hunters and cherished family companions, drawing from their protective histories. Beyond being dogs, they're a unique breed deeply tied to Irish roots.
11. Jack Russell Terrier
Fun Fact: The Jack Russell Terrier was named after its creator, Reverend John Russell, who bred it in 19th-century England for fox hunting. It's a small, agile, fearless dog that excels in hunting alongside horses.
The small Jack Russell Terrier comes from England's fox-hunting past and has a strong personality. Their lively and agile nature reflects their hunting history. They have a unique coat, primarily white with black or tan patches, covering a sturdy body built for chasing game.
Jack Russell Terriers are remarkably intelligent and excel at problem-solving. They learn quickly but can be stubborn, needing patience and consistent training. They're energetic and need exercise and mental engagement to avoid trouble. Due to their hunting instincts, they might not get along with smaller pets because of their chasing and digging tendencies.
Despite their spirited nature, a well-trained and exercised Jack Russell Terrier can be a lively and devoted addition to your family1. They have a fearless spirit and a vibrant personality that will win your heart.
12. Kerry Blue Terrier
Fun Fact: The Kerry Blue Terrier isn't born with a blue coat. These cute puppies start with a black coat that turns a beautiful blue as they grow up.
The Kerry Blue Terrier, also known as the "Irish Blue," is a playful breed from County Kerry's beautiful Irish landscapes. This breed is well-rounded and has many roles, such as hunting, herding, and watching over homes. However, let's focus on their stunning blue-gray coat.
Although born black, their coat transitions to a striking blue by 18 months. This soft, wavy, and dense coat also serves a functional purpose by protecting against Ireland's tough climates.
They have strong bones, a long head, and a height ranging from 17.5 to 19.5 inches at the shoulder, which makes up their well-balanced figure. The breed's weight ranges from 33 to 40 pounds. Despite their sturdy build, these terriers have an endearing blend of friendliness and liveliness that quickly wins people's hearts.
13. Scottish Terrier (Canis lupus familiaris)
Fun Fact: Did you know that the Scottish Terrier, also known as the "Scottie," has a rich history that dates back to the 18th century? These adorable little dogs were originally bred in Scotland to hunt small game-like rats and foxes.
Affectionately known as the "Scottie," the Scottish Terrier is a breed rooted in Scotland's rugged terrains. Born hunters, these terriers are adept at chasing down foxes and vermin alike. Their distinctive physical traits - a compact yet sturdy frame weighing 18 to 22 pounds, a hard coat resilient to harsh weather, and color options of black, brindle, or wheaten - set them apart from other breeds.
Interestingly, they were so skilled at their job that they were even used to hunting badgers, considered formidable opponents due to their strength and aggression. Despite their small size, Scottish Terriers were fearless and determined, making them excellent hunters. Today, they are cherished as loyal and loving companions, but their hunting instincts shine through occasionally!
14. West Highland White Terrier (Canis lupus familiaris)
Fun Fact: Did you know that the West Highland White Terrier, also known as the Westie, was initially bred to hunt small game such as rats and foxes? These feisty little dogs were specifically bred to have a strong prey drive and a keen sense of smell, making them excellent vermin hunters.
This terrier breed comes from the West Highlands of Scotland. This breed, commonly called 'Westie,' is known for its lively and engaging personality and signature white coat. Despite their small size, they possess a strong and energetic hunter's spirit, concealed beneath their fluffy exterior, always ready to act.
The Westie's face is adorned with intriguing eyes and sharp, upright ears, hinting at their sharp intellect. These features are a nod to their heritage, where they were bred to efficiently and determinedly hunt prey, such as rats and foxes. They are affable and vibrant, with a zest for life that makes them a cherished addition to any family.
15. Yorkshire Terrier (Canis lupus familiaris)
Fun Fact: Did you know that the Yorkshire Terrier, also known as the Yorkie, was initially bred to catch rats in clothing mills? These small but mighty dogs were highly valued for their ability to squeeze into tight spaces and get rid of pesky rodents.
Yorkshire Terriers were initially bred in England to catch rats in clothing mills. Despite their small size, they have big personalities and are known for being confident and courageous.
Yorkies’ fur is considered to be hypoallergenic, which means they are less likely to cause allergies in people who are sensitive to pet dander.
The breed was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1885. Yorkies are known for their long, silky, and straight coats, which require regular grooming to keep them healthy and free of mats.
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Serpell, J. A., & Duffy, D. L. (2014). Dog breeds and their behavior. In Springer eBooks (pp. 31–57).