22 Terrier Dog Breeds

By Leah Lopez Cardenas. Reviewed by Veronica Higgs, DVM on Dec. 20, 2023
jack russell terrier with tongue out on a trail outside

Terrier dogs are a high-energy group. Many of them are playful, affectionate, and love physical activity whenever they can get it. If you’re considering adding a terrier to your family, prepare for a loyal friend with tons of energy and personality.

If you’re wondering which type of terrier is best suited for you, read on to learn more about some of the most popular terrier breeds.

Caring for Terrier Breeds

Terriers are usually social, energetic dogs that need regular exercise and mental stimulation. A daily walk is a must, and frequent outdoor family activities are recommended to keep these pups happy and healthy. Terriers also benefit from a home with a fenced yard to play in.

Many terriers have coarse, wiry coats that stay relatively clean. Grooming is generally low-maintenance for these breeds (with a few exceptions—notably longhaired dogs like the Yorkshire Terrier). Most terriers require just a monthly bath, brushing a few times per week, and professional grooming once every few months to keep their coat’s shape.

Many terriers were bred to chase down vermin and hunt small game, like squirrels. Because of this, terrier dogs tend to do the same at home. They may dig and/or bark when left alone for long periods. To avoid undesired behaviors, provide your terrier with plenty of enrichment toys and positive reinforcement training to keep their mind and body healthy.

Types of Terriers

1. Airedale Terrier

airedale terrier standing beside yellow flowers
Photo credit: Adobe/anastas_

The largest terrier breed, the Airedale Terrier prefers an active lifestyle and makes the perfect companion for people who enjoy running, hiking, and other outdoor activities. They also don’t shed much, which can make them good pets for people with allergies.

2. American Hairless Terrier

speckled american hairless terrier standing in grass
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While soft and cuddly may not be the first words to come to mind when describing the American Hairless Terrier, they are a playful breed that has a lot of love to give. Unlike some other hairless dog breeds that have tufts of hair here and there, this dog is completely hairless. That makes it extra important to keep their skin clean and protected from the sun.

3. American Staffordshire Terrier

tan and white american staffordshire terrier sitting
Photo credit: Adobe/SasaStock

The American Staffordshire Terrier, also called AmStaff, is a loyal terrier breed that typically loves their people. Socialization from a young age and plenty of positive reinforcement training is recommended for these dogs, especially if you have small children or other pets in your family.

4. Bedlington Terrier

white bedlington terrier standing and looking up
Photo credit: Adobe/Rita Kochmarjova

With a unique appearance and long, slender legs, the Bedlington Terrier is a sight to behold. Those legs aren’t just for looks, though: This type of terrier is one of the fastest and most agile of the bunch. Their speed helps the breed succeed as a hunting dog for smaller game like rabbits and foxes, and it makes them excel at competitive dog sports like agility, rally, and dock diving.

5. Border Terrier

scruffy border terrier sitting in grass
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The Border Terrier is a small terrier breed, weighing in at an average of 15 pounds. They make up for their small stature with a loud, reverberating bark they use to announce something they deem suspicious. Though they don’t bark often, positive reinforcement training to avoid undesired behaviors doesn’t hurt—and it’ll keep your pup active and engaged, too.

6. Bull Terrier

brown brindle bull terrier lying on a bed and looking to the side
Photo credit: Adobe/Michelle

Maybe most famous for being the Target mascot, the Bull Terrier makes a loving family dog. Because of their extreme white piebald genes, Bull Terriers have a higher chance of being born deaf than other terrier breeds on this list. That means pet parents may need to focus on visual versus auditory cues when it comes to training.

7. Cairn Terrier

person holding a black cairn terrier
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Small but mighty, the Cairn Terrier was first bred to be a working dog. Originating from the Isle of Skye and the Scottish Highlands, Cairn Terriers were expert vermin hunters for farmers, according to the Cairn Terrier Club of America. Today, these pups thrive in homes with a fenced yard, since they’re prone to chase thanks to their high prey drive.

8. Irish Terrier

red irish terrier lying on a path outside
Photo credit: Adobe/bagicat

If you’re looking for an adventure buddy, the Irish Terrier might be your best match. This dog’s long legs and body help them thrive during athletic activities like running, hunting, and exploring your neighborhood dog park. Just make sure their natural curiosity doesn’t get the best of them, and keep them on a leash while out and about.

9. Kerry Blue Terrier

close-up of a kerry blue terrier with a big beard lying in a field
Photo credit: Adobe/Simone Capozzi

The Kerry Blue Terrier has roots in Ireland, where the breed made ideal farm dogs back in the day. Today, Kerry Blues are still active dogs that enjoy long walks, swimming, and games of fetch with their families. Among the things that make this breed unique is their soft, blue-gray coat. Pet parents typically groom this pup’s hair short all over the body, with a long beard on the face for that signature Kerry Blue look.

10. Miniature Bull Terrier

brown miniature bull terrier dog standing
Photo credit: Adobe/Masarik

Don’t confuse the Miniature Bull Terrier with the larger Bull Terrier. While they look similar and share a common ancestry, they’re two separate breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC). The Mini Bull gets bored easily, according to the Miniature Bull Terrier Club of America (MBTCA), so they need regular playtime and plenty of entertaining enrichment toys to stay happy.

11. Miniature Schnauzer

salt and pepper miniature schnauzer
Photo credit: Adobe/everydoghasastory

Miniature Schnauzers got their start as far back as the 1400s. Today, they’re beloved pets that can adapt to just about any home environment with a loving family, whether you live in a small space or a home with a big backyard. But no matter where you live, your Miniature Schnauzer needs plenty of exercise and attention, indoors and out.

12. Norfolk Terrier

norfolk terrier with tongue out
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Norfolk Terriers were bred to hunt vermin in farm fields. But today, these tiny pups are better suited to indoor living with attentive, playful people. Like most breeds in the terrier group, the Norfolk Terrier has a wiry coat that doesn’t shed much, making them low-maintenance dogs for allergy-prone pet parents.

13. Norwich Terrier

norwich terrier trotting across grass
Photo credit: Adobe/Елена Вырыпаева

Norwich Terriers are similar in appearance and temperament to their Norfolk Terrier cousins, but they tend to have slightly longer coats and ears that stand up rather than fold over. These pups bark often, so getting started with positive reinforcement training classes from a young age can help redirect undesirable behaviors.

14. Parson Russell Terrier

parson russell terrier running through a gray beach
Photo credit: Adobe/annaav

The Parson Russell Terrier, also known as the Jack Russell, was named after Reverend John Russell, who helped develop the breed for fox hunting. These pups are famously good pets, but also have a claim to fame from popular TV and movies. You might remember Wishbone from the PBS show of the same name, while Jim Carrey fans might have seen Milo the Jack Russell in the 1994 movie “The Mask.”

15. Rat Terrier

tricolor rat terrier standing outside
Photo credit: Adobe/Tanya

Rat Terriers are well-rounded dogs that make as good of hunters and canine athletes as they do lovable lap dogs. They typically get along with kids and other pets as long as they’re introduced to them from a young age, and they enjoy the spotlight, surrounded by loved ones.

16. Russell Terrier

young russell terrier standing in grass
Photo credit: Adobe/otsphoto

Russell Terriers look a lot like Parson Russell Terriers, and the two were once considered the same breed before Russells broke off to become their own line. The dogs look nearly identical, but the Russell Terrier is slightly smaller. Like the Parson Russell, this high-energy dog breed needs lots of exercise and stimulation.

17. Scottish Terrier

black scottish terrier running with a red ball in his mouth
Photo credit: Adobe/OlgaOvcharenko

Scottish Terriers got their start as vermin hunters in 1800s Scotland. This is another adorable, bearded breed with a thick, wiry outercoat and dense undercoat that needs brushing at least twice a week. Scotties love their humans, but they might not be best friends with other pets without proper introductions.

18. Smooth Fox Terrier

smooth fox terrier pointing in the snow
Photo credit: Adobe/lexuss

Smooth Fox Terriers and Wire Fox Terriers are similar breeds with one defining difference: their coat texture. You guessed it: The Smooth Fox Terrier has a smooth coat that’s usually mostly white with blue, black, or red mixed in. That smooth coat needs to be brushed weekly, and they shed more than their wiry-haired cousin.

19. Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier

wheat-colored soft coated wheaten terrier standing outside
Photo credit: Adobe/lisa gray

This terrier breed is named for its soft, wavy, wheat-colored coat. Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers were bred as farm dogs in Ireland and still enjoy having plenty of space to roam today. They thrive with a fenced yard to play in.

20. Staffordshire Bull Terrier

black staffordshire bull terrier lying in grass with a tennis ball
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Staffordshire Bull Terriers are sometimes called a “nanny dog” due to their gentle and loving treatment of children. This terrier breed is often misunderstood: It’s important to remember that breed only influences about 9% of a dog’s overall behavior and that each dog is an individual. Consistent socialization and positive reinforcement training from puppyhood is important for every dog, Staffies or otherwise, to feel safe and loved.

21. West Highland White Terrier

westie running through grass
Photo credit: hemlep

The West Highland White Terrier, or Westie as they’re affectionately named, is another Scottish terrier breed. Originally bred to hunt rodents, today’s Westies make better indoor dogs. They’re affectionate and high-energy, so they need pet parents who make plenty of time to play together.

22. Wire Fox Terrier

wire fox terrier smiling
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Wire Fox Terriers have a dense, wiry overcoat that needs regular shaping at the groomer. However, that coat texture helps these pups stay clean and dry (compared to longer-haired dogs) when they’re exploring the outdoors. But if they’re swimming in a pond or rolling in mud, they’ll probably need a bath afterward.

Featured Image: Adobe/Lubo Ivanko


Leah Lopez Cardenas

Freelance Writer

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