Meet the Mighty Dogs of the Terrier Group

Terriers typically have a distinct personality: feisty, energetic and independent. Their ancestors were bred to hunt vermin and other small prey, so many Terriers enjoy barking, chasing small animals and, of course, digging. If you're looking for a spirited and fun-loving dog, who can be just as comfortable in a show ring as he is on an agility course, then a Terrier might be the breed for you.

Here's your chance to get to know all the Terriers, from the large and often-intelligent Airedale to the tiny and tenacious Westie.

The Feisty Faces of the Terrier Group

Airedale Terrier

Eva Maria Kramer, Animal Photography

Airedale Terrier

Lovingly deemed "the king of the Terriers" by his fans, the Airedale Terrier is one of the largest (generally weighing 40 to 65 pounds) of the Terrier breeds. He is, arguably, also one of the smartest: He was one of the first dogs trained for police work in Germany and Great Britain, and in World War I, he worked as a guard and messenger dog.

American Pit Bull Terrier

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American Staffordshire Terrier / American Pit Bull Terrier

American Staffordshire Terriers and American Pit Bull Terriers are the two main breeds usually considered to be Pit Bulls. Both breeds are very muscular — the Am Staff normally weighs up to 75 pounds, while the APBT commonly weighs less than 60 pounds — making these two of the most powerful dog breeds around.

Australian Terrier dog

Nick Ridley, Animal Photography

Australian Terrier

Normally weighing between 14 to 16 pounds, the typical Australian Terrier is humorous, affectionate, spunky and independent. Because of her size, the Australian Terrier can be suited for almost any size home, but she needs owners who can keep up with her high activity levels.

Bedlington Terrier

Ron Willbie, Animal Photography

Bedlington Terrier

The Bedlington Terrier may look like a lamb, but has the heart of a lion. Any opportunity to chase prey, such as rats or squirrels, usually brings out his inner earthdog nature. And his distinctive lamb-like look doesn't come naturally. The breed's Mohawk hairstyle and shaved ears requires regular grooming, brushing and styling.

Closeup of Border Terrier dog breed

Nick Ridley, Animal Photography

Border Terrier

The Border Terrier may be small — ordinarily 11.5 to 15.5 pounds — but she's typically quite sturdy and athletic. She's often more laid-back when it comes to her drive to hunt than other Terriers, but she can be athletic enough to keep up with just about anyone. In fact, Border Terriers hold more American Kennel Club Earthdog titles than any other breed.

Bull Terrier

Alice van Kempen, Animal Photography

Bull Terrier

There’s no mistaking the Bull Terrier. With his football-shaped head, muscular body and clownish personality, this breed attracts attention wherever he goes. The breed typically likes children and usually has strong attachments to his human family.

Cairn Terrier

Karin Newstrom, Animal Photography

Cairn Terrier

Toto, Dorothy’s beloved dog from The Wizard of Oz, is probably the most famous Cairn Terrier of all time. Bred in Scotland to dig into piles of rocks, or cairns, in search of vermin, the small breed spends modern days playing with his favorite humans and running his household with an iron paw.

Cesky Terrier dog breed

Sally Anne Thompson, Animal Photography

Cesky Terrier

The Cesky Terrier is a small dog (usually weighing 14 to 24 pounds) who was developed to hunt in the forests of Bohemia. Though he is the perfect size for a lap dog, he is usually far too energetic to sit still. The breed gained recognition by the AKC in 2011.

Dandie Dinmont

Sally Anne Thompson, Animal Photography

Dandie Dinmont Terrier

The Dandie Dinmont Terrier takes his endearing name from the character Dandie Dinmont in Sir Walter Scott’s Guy Mannering. He is known for his poufy topknot, dark shoe-button eyes and self-confident attitude. The Dandie is referred to as the “gentleman” of the Terrier group, but he's all Terrier when given the chance to chase prey.

Wire Fox Terrier

Sally Anne Thompson, Animal Photography

Smooth and Wire Fox Terrier

The Fox Terrier is typically a friendly and curious breed loaded with enthusiasm and energy. When the breed isn't winning dog shows, you can find him on hikes, competing in agility or doing almost any canine activity that puts him in the spotlight. Smooth and Wire Fox Terriers are considered separate breeds and differ primarily in coat and head shape, with the Smooth’s being more V-shaped.

Glen of Imaal Terrier

Ron Willbie, Animal Photography

Glen of Imaal Terrier

Named for an isolated valley in Ireland’s Wicklow Mountains, the Glen of Imaal Terrier usually weighs less than 40 pounds, but he carries himself like a big dog (even if he's on short legs). He's considered one of the quieter Terriers, but that doesn’t mean he won’t join in on a good group bark with his friends.

Irish Terrier

Eva Maria Kramer, Animal Photography

Irish Terrier

Bold and stylish, the Irish Terrier has been nicknamed the d’Artagnan of the show ring for his confidence and winning ways. His other nickname is "daredevil," for his typically fearless personality. Don't let this breed get bored or you may find him shredding paper, barking, digging or (most likely) chasing something small and furry.

Jack Russell Terrier on Bed

Leanne Graham, Animal Photography

Jack Russell Terrier / Parson Russell Terrier

If you've never owned a dog before, a Jack Russell Terrier (or Parson Russell Terrier as he's known in the AKC) is probably not the best breed for you. This tireless breed needs a full-time job or he'll dig up your yard or drive your neighbors crazy with his barking. Channel his energy with dog sports, hunting and plenty of exercise.

Kerry Blue Dog Breed

Sally Anne Thompson, Animal Photography

Kerry Blue Terrier

The Kerry Blue Terrier hails from Ireland's County Kerry and was originally a multipurpose farm dog used for hunting and herding. The Kerry normally weighs 33 to 40 pounds, and females are generally smaller. Though puppies are born black, the coat should reach its mature blue-grey color by 18 months.

Lakeland Terrier portrait

Sally Anne Thompson, Animal Photography

Lakeland Terrier

The Lakeland Terrier may not be the tallest, smallest or flashiest of the Terriers, but the spring in his step makes it clear that he thinks he’s as good as it gets. His hobbies include landscaping the yard, playing and getting rid of pesky vermin.

Manchester Terrier dog breed

Sally Anne Thompson, Animal Photography

Manchester Terrier

The Manchester Terrier comes in two varieties: Toy (less than 12 pounds) and Standard (ranging anywhere from 12 to 22 pounds). The two were registered as separate breeds until 1959, but they are now treated as one. The typical Manchester is curious, independent and intelligent and can be an excellent watchdog.

Miniature Bull Terrier lying on grass with a toy

Sally Anne Thompson, Animal Photography

Miniature Bull Terrier

As his name suggests, the Miniature Bull Terrier is a Bull Terrier in miniature, usually standing 10 to 14 inches and weighing 25 to 35 pounds. But don’t think the fact that he’s small means he will be less work; the Mini Bull Terrier generally has just as much energy and gumption as his big brother.

Salt and pepper Miniature Schnauzer standing on stairs

Karin Newstrom, Animal Photography

Miniature Schnauzer

Despite his small stature (only 11 to 20 pounds), the Miniature Schnauzer is typically not a lap dog. He’s usually athletic and energetic, and needs more daily exercise than just a trip around the block. The breed was once used to eradicate vermin on farms, but today he's more likely to be a companion. His vermin-hunting instincts can make him naturally successful in earthdog trials, and his generally intelligent and athletic nature often make him well suited for obedience and agility.

Norfolk Terrier with a ball

Sally Anne Thompson, Animal Photography

Norfolk Terrier

At 11 to 12 pounds, the Norfolk Terrier is one of the smallest Terriers, but he would never believe it if you told him. He's usually happiest when he can get a fair amount of exercise and play. Unlike many Terriers, the Norfolk is generally not a digger, but he still has the Terrier tendency to be stubborn and independent.

Norwich Terrier

Sally Anne Thompson, Animal Photography

Norwich Terrier

Like the Norfolk, the Norwich Terrier is one of the smaller Terrier breeds. But even at only 11 to 12 pounds, he is still a sturdy companion. So how do you tell the difference between the Norwich and the Norfolk? Their ears: The Norwich's are pointy; the Norfolk's fold forward.

Rat Terrier Dog Breed

Barbara O'Brien, Animal Photography

Rat Terrier

The Rat Terrier is a true made-in-the-USA breed that began as a variety of the Smooth Fox Terrier. He was bred with the Italian Greyhound, Whippet, Beagle, Miniature Pinscher and Chihuahua to create an ideal ratter for farms. He’s typically playful, silly and fearless, and he comes in two sizes: Miniature (10 to 13 inches tall) and Standard (13 to 18 inches tall).

White Scottish Terrier in driveway

Karin Newstrom, Animal Photography

Scottish Terrier

Thanks to his distinctive silhouette, the Scottish Terrier is one of the most recognizable breeds around. The famed breed is even a favorite in the White House. Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower and George W. Bush all owned Scotties.

Sealyham Terrier dog breed

Sally Anne Thompson, Animal Photography

Sealyham Terrier

The Sealyham Terrier has the look of a feisty Terrier, but he doesn't have the typical attitude. He's generally mellow and laid-back, with modest exercise needs. He can be a playful dog, and at only 20 to 25 pounds, he is the perfect size for apartment dwellers.

Skye Terrier

Sally Anne Thompson, Animal Photography

Skye Terrier

The Skye Terrier originated on the Isle of Skye in Scotland, where she chased foxes, badgers and otters. The Skye became a trend among the Victorian aristocracy, and today she is usually a show dog or pet. The breed weighs somewhere between 35 and 40 pounds, and her grooming needs are surprisingly modest considering her long, silky coat.

 Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier

Leesia Teh, Animal Photography

Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier

The typical Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is a little quieter than most Terriers, a little less scrappy and slightly less driven to dig. Most Wheaties adore people (even strangers) so much that there's a name for the way they greet people: "Wheaten Greeting."

Staffordshire Bull Terrier dog breed

Alice van Kempen, Animal Photography

Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Known in UK as "the children’s nursemaid," the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a small Pit Bull who tends to be good with children and people. Despite his size — less than 40 pounds — he is a powerful dog who can be difficult to walk on a leash if he's not properly trained.

Welsh Terrier in the forest

Sally Anne Thompson, Animal Photography

Welsh Terrier

Weighing in at 20 to 22 pounds, the Welsh Terrier can be an independent, somewhat stubborn breed. He knows he's adorable and will use his cuteness to get his way. So make sure you don't spoil this breed, or he could turn into a tyrannical Terrier.

West Highland White Terrier outdoors

Tara Gregg, Animal Photography

West Highland White Terrier

You may recognize the West Highland White Terrier from his long-running stint as the mascot for Cesar pet food, but he’s way more than just a cute face. He typically weighs between 15 and 22 pounds, but he won’t be content just being a lap dog. Most Westies are happiest when they're digging, running or pouncing on small, furry creatures.

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