Terrier Dog Breeds
Find The One That's Right For You!

Most of the terrier dog breeds were originally developed in the British Isles. Initially, they were working dogs used in hilly farmlands to hunt down small animals in dens or burrows or eradicate vermin. Their double coat, strong jaws, digging ability and quickness have equipped them well for these jobs.

The first comment people usually make about the terrier dogs is that they are a feisty bunch! And that is certainly true, but they are also very smart, alert, enthusiastic, energetic, loyal and fearless - emphasis on fearless.

They love to play and always look like they are ready and waiting for some exciting action. And if it doesn't happen, they will find a way to let you know they want some attention.

You'll never have a chance to get bored if you have a terrier around the house. I know this from first hand experience being bossed around by the largest of the terriers, an Airedale - nicknamed "the king of the terriers", a moniker my dog has really taken to heart!

Because the dogs in this group are so lively and engaging, it naturally evolved that in addition to their working abilities, they have also become beloved companions in family homes.

Meet the Terrier Dog Breeds

Airedale terrier illustration image
American-staffordshire terrier illustration
Australian terrier illustration image
Australian Terrier
Bedlington Terrier illustration
Glen Of Imaal dog breed illustration
Glen of Imaal
Irish Terrier dog illustration
Irish Terrier
kerry blue terrier dog illustration
Kerry Blue
Lakeland terrier dog illustration
Border Terrier dog illustration
Border Terrier
Bull Terrier dog breed illustration
Bull Terrier
Cairn Terrier dog breed illustration
Dandie Dinmont Terrier illustration
Dandie Dinmont
norwich terrier dog image
Norwich Terrier
Parson Russell terrier aka Jack Russell dog breed illustration
Parson Russell
Scottish Terrier dog breed illustration
Sealyham terrier dog breed illustration
Manchester terrier dog breed illustration
Manchester Terrier
Miniature Bull terrier illustration
Miniature Bull
Miniature Schnauzer dog illustration
Miniature Schnauzer
Norfolk Terrier dog breed illustration
Norfolk Terrier
Skye Terrier dog breed illustration
Skye Terrier
Smooth Fox Terrier dog breed illustration
Smooth Fox Terrier
Soft Coated Wheaten terrier illustration
Soft Coated
Staffordshire Bull terrier dog breed illustration
Bull Terrier
Welsh Terrier dog illustration
Welsh Terrier
West Highland white terrier dog illustration
West Highland
standing illustration of Wire Fox Terrier dog
Wire Fox Terrier

Terrier Dog Breed Traits

Don't expect to get a terrier's attention if they have spotted, or given chase to, a moving object! They will be completely focused on their target until their mission is resolved.

As a result, they need ongoing training to reinforce recall commands that are important to their safety.

While terriers are intelligent and have been trained for a variety of jobs, they can be a bit willful. The solution to this is ongoing training.

Terrier dog breeds in this AKC group are inherently alert in nature, have keen hearing and will cock an ear at the slightest sound. As such, they make excellent watch dogs.

This is not an aggressive breed, but they will vie for leadership with other dogs - though not in a vicious way.

When it comes to humans, you must demonstrate that you are the leader of the pack and this will be respected if you train your terrier in a firm yet kindly manner.

terrier playingTerrier Playtime

Terrier Dog Breeds As Family Pets

Around the home they are protective pets and will not back down if an outside threat to the family is perceived. The larger ones can certainly hold their own in a confrontation.

They are not in the least fragile, very adaptable and make great family dogs.

Some, like the Jack Russell Terrier have a lot of showmanship in them and in earlier times were circus performers.

Today, you are apt to see them frequently in television shows, commercials and definitely participating in the dog shows.

Terrier Health

Generally speaking terrier dog breeds are a pretty hardy bunch and quite healthy. They are not known to be subject to any unusual diseases.

That being said, it is important to make sure they were bred by a knowledgeable and responsible breeder.

However, terriers are tough and not ones to let on when they feel out of sorts, to the degree that they will often give no indication of any aches and pains or other health troubles.

Many times, they just go on about their business as if nothing is wrong. These dogs are no wimps!

A dog health handbook such as this excellent one - Dr. Pitcairn's Guide to Natural Health For Dogs can really help owners know what to look for when inspecting their terrier.

Terrier Dog Breeds Come In Many Sizes

This group has something for everyone when it comes to size! From the very small Cairn and West Highland Terriers, to the king of Terriers - the Airedale.

The small size terrier dogs include the Australian, Border, Cairn, Dandie Dinmont, Norfolk, Norwich, Sealyham. Skye, Scottish and West Highland White. Their lack of height does not denote a lack of spunk - far from it!

However, while some dog lovers find the smaller dog's bark a little on the high pitched side, they can't deny their cuteness.

The medium size terriers include the Bedlington, Smooth Fox and Wire Fox Terriers, Glen of Imaal, Irish, Kerry Blue, Lakeland, Manchester, Miniature Bull, Parson Russell, Staffordshire Bull, and Welsh.

The largest terriers in the group of includes the American Staffordshire Terrier, Irish Terrier, Kerry Blue, Bull Terrier, Soft Coated Wheaten, and of course the "king" Airedale.

Many of the terrier breeds have done very well in dog shows. For example, the Wire Fox Terrier has won more best in show titles at the famous Westminster Dog Show than any other breed.

Click on any of the terrier breeds within the table above to learn many more details about each of these wonderful dogs.

More AKC Dog Groups