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Terrier Breeds for New and Experienced Owners
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Terrier Breeds for New and Experienced Owners

Amelia, Critter Culture Staff
Updated Sep 4, 2020

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Terriers have unmistakeable personality traits, more so than other types of dogs. They’re energetic, athletic, and fiercely independent. If your idea of a perfect canine companion is a pet that will obey you without question and curl up in your lap, you might consider another type of dog. Many terrier breeds are too busy to cuddle, and training is non-negotiable due to their headstrong nature. But if you have the time and patience to devote to these canines, they’ll reward you with years of loyal, loving companionship.

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1

Yorkshire terriers (Yorkies) aren’t so fragile

feisty dainty yorkshire terrier yorkie alexey_ds / Getty Images

These feisty little terriers may look dainty and fragile, but underneath this breed’s long, luxurious coat is a strong-willed dog with tons of personality. The Yorkie coat is more like human hair than a normal canine’s coat. This breed needs weekly baths and daily brushings. An adult weighs no more than 7 pounds and reaches a height of between 7 and 8 inches.

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2

Miniature schnauzers are strong, but obedient

obedient terrier miniature schnauzer Diego Sene / Getty Images

This breed may not have “terrier” in its official name, but it’s a true terrier in its build and appearance. Athletic and inquisitive, the miniature schnauzer tends to be more obedient than other terrier breeds. These muscular canines grow to about 14 inches at the shoulder blade and weigh up to 20 pounds as adults. People love their human-like expression. Of the terriers, the miniature schnauzer is one of the best family dogs.

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3

West Highland white terriers (Westies) are happy-go-lucky

quirky west highland white westie Salima Senyavskaya / Getty Images

For those quirky people seeking a pet that will match their personality, look no further than the upbeat and adorable Westie. This all-white Scottish dog has the face of an innocent, dark-eyed angel, but don’t let that fool you. Westies are full of vim and vigor, but get along great with kids and other pets alike. Adults seldom weigh more than 20 pounds or grow taller than 11 inches at the shoulder. Westies are great pets for apartment dwellers, as long as they get plenty of exercise.

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4

Soft-coated wheaten terriers are people-lovers

larger terrier soft coated wheaten LottaVess / Getty Images

Larger than the previous breeds, the soft-coated wheaten terrier reaches 17 to 19 inches in height when fully grown. They’ll weigh between 35 and 40 pounds. The first thing you may notice about a wheaten is a front fringe that falls forward over their eyes and the goatee that hangs off of their chins. Soft-coated wheaten terriers, native to Ireland, love people. They are great competitors in dog sports such as tracking and herding competitions.

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5

Scottish terriers (Scotties) are highly confident

scottish terrier fearless headstrong scottie Nemyrivskyi Viacheslav / Getty Images

Perhaps one of the most recognizable terriers, the Scottish terrier, or Scottie, is a giant dog in a little dog’s body. Though Scotties only reach a height of 10 inches and weigh no more than 22 pounds when full-grown, they are fearless watchdogs. The breed’s wiry outer coat, which may be solid black, wheaten, or brindle, requires regular grooming and hand stripping. Once the Scottie matures, it becomes quite headstrong and feisty. Experts do not recommend this breed for novice dog owners or families with young children.

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6

Airedale terriers are the “kings” of terriers

black tan kings largest airedale CaptureLight / Getty Images

One of the largest terrier breeds, the black-and-tan-coated Airedale reaches 24 inches at the shoulder when full grown and can weigh up to 70 pounds. Their high energy levels and need for lots of exercise may challenge novice pet owners. Airedales aren’t great apartment dogs. They need a fenced yard where they can run and play. They’re great companions for children and are the perfect pet for athletic owners who enjoy an active lifestyle.

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7

Bull terriers are natural-born comedians

comedic good natured bull terrier bruev / Getty Images

With its egg-shaped head, tiny eyes, and stout build, the comedic bull terrier exudes a good-natured attitude. This highly protective terrier breed loves affection and is great with kids, but tends to be a bit stubborn when it comes to training. They can weigh up to 70 pounds and reach a height of 22 inches. If you like the demeanor of the breed but prefer a smaller dog, consider the miniature bull terrier, which is also an AKC-recognized breed.

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8

Cairn terriers are low-maintenance

playful intelligent dig train cairn Sima_ha / Getty Images

Longer than they are tall, the Cairn terrier is a playful, intelligent pet who loves to explore their surroundings. Leave them alone in the yard for too long, and they’ll likely dig up something you didn’t know was there. Adult Cairns weigh between 13 and 14 pounds as adults. In comparison to other terriers, they’re much easier to train and groom. The breed has a variety of coat colors and variations, from solid black to wheaten, silver, gray, red, cream, or brindle.

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9

Russell terriers are full of life

exercise alert inquisitive russell terrier heidijpix / Getty Images

Like the Cairn terrier, the Russell terrier loves to dig. These fun-loving, enthusiastic little dogs can do a lot of damage in a short amount of time if they get bored. Tons of exercise and consistent training is essential for these quick-minded canines. Once accomplished, owners discover an alert, inquisitive pet who loves to please their human. The Russell terrier only reaches a height of around 11 inches and a weight of nine to 15 pounds. People often confuse them with the taller, heavier, Parson Russell terrier.

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10

Staffordshire bull terriers are sweetly courageous

A front view close-up shot of a cute Staffordshire bull terrier, he can be seen lying down on a sofa with a chew toy in a living room. SolStock / Getty Images

They may not be huge dogs, but the Staffordshire bull terrier is one of the most courageous, yet cheerful terriers you’ll find. They weigh between 24 and 38 pounds once they’ve reached adulthood. Most are between 14 and 16-inches tall. Their bodies are compact and muscular, which underscores the need to thoroughly socialize these powerful dogs from an early age. Staffordshire bull terriers have a sweet, affectionate nature and they love children.

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