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Parson Russell Terrier


The Parson Russell Terrier is a scrappy member of the Terrier Group, always looking for excitement and adventure. These active little dogs love to hunt, chase anything that moves, and will explore any given space with vigor end intent. Parson Russell Terriers are equally as playful as they are energetic, making these dogs excellent to have around children.

The temperament of the Parson Russell Terrier can turn from fun-loving to reserved and aggressive when it comes to other pets or strange dogs. However, they are less weary around strange people, but make an excellent watchdog when the family sleeps at night. This is truly one breed that fits a family that loves a spunky, on-the-move kind of dog.

A Brief History Of The Parson Russell Terrier

The Parson Russell Terrier has its roots in England, dating back to the 1800s. The breed descended from one specific male terrier named Trump. Trump was owned by a man named John Russell, hence the breed’s name, who was an avid enthusiast of fox hunting.

John Russell’s personal mission was to develop a line of terrier dogs that could not only keep up with traveling horses on the go, but could also maintain its ability to quickly dispatch fox. This line of dogs became so popular and successful that they were coined the name “Parson Russell Terriers”.

Parson Russell Terrier dogs remained more useful in the field as opposed to the show ring. A long-standing tradition, proud owners of the breed kept them from competing at dog shows and instead continued to prove their reputation as hunters in the field. The breed received AKC recognition and in 1998 was admitted into the Terrier Group as the “Jack Russell Terrier”, which was later changed to the “Parson Russell Terrier” in 2003.

Upkeep Requirements For The Parson Russell Terrier

This is one dog breed that is best suited for people that enjoy an active lifestyle. Parson Russell terriers thrive off adventure and their energy levels are literally “through-the-roof”.  Therefore, they must have daily exercise and fun games to take care of its needs. Parson Russel Terriers must have at least two to three brisk walks during the day in addition to the freedom to run around outside.

The ideal living arrangement for this dog is to allow the Parson Russell to have access to a fenced-in yard during the day, but to sleep indoors at night. They have moderate tolerance to hot and cold temperatures, but should never be forced to sleep outside. This is also not the type of dog to have couped up in a small apartment. Grooming requirements are minimal, calling for a light brushing once per week to remove dead hairs.

Health Concerns

The average lifespan of the Parson Russell Terrier is between thirteen and fifteen years. There are no major health concerns in the breed and the only minor issues are patellar luxation and lens luxation. Veterinarians suggest that these dogs get specifically tested for knee and eye problems.


The original name of this breed was the Jack Russell Terrier; the Parson Jack Russell lived in Devon, England and was the original breeder of these terriers in the 1800′s. They were developed to sprint with the horses and to run foxes out of their dens. Thus, they were bred for sped and small size.

The AKC registered this bred in 1998. In 2003, the name was changed to the Parson Russell Terrier. The Jack Russell Terrier Association of America wanted the name change. They too changed their name. They are now, the Parson Russell Terrier Association.

General Looks

The Parsons Russell Terrier is compact, small, sturdy, and athletic in build.

Is This Your Breed?

This breed requires a lot of exercise and needs plenty of activity. If not leashed, the Parson Russell Terrier should be kept in a safe and fenced area or else his curiosity could lead to problems. Because these dogs need a good bit of stimulation and interaction, they aren’t for extremely busy people that can’t devote enough time to the dog. Lack of attention leads to boredom and destructive activity.

The shedding is medium. There are two types of coats: broken and smooth. Brush the broken coat once each week and clipping may be needed about every 3 or 4 months. The smooth coat only needs brushing periodically. It requires little maintenance.


The smooth and broken coats are both weatherproof.


The coloring can be white or white marked with tan or black. There is also a tricolor.  All colors should be pure and well-defined.


The gait should be untiring and exhibiting sufficient ground covering. An efficient front reach and great hind leg drive is required.


Parson Russell Terriers are independent, fearless, spirited, playful, alert, affectionate, inquisitive, energetic, and sociable. They do well with kids. But little kids should be watched, if playing with this dog because they don’t like being tousled around. They make good watch dogs. They have a lot of stamina. They are intelligent and assertive, but can be stubborn and training can be harder because of their assertive and stubborn traits. Being patient and consistent helps in their training. Giving praise and rewards encourages these dogs and makes training easier. An experienced dog owner does better with this breed.

They normally like strangers. The Parson Russell Terrier tends to be aggressive around other dogs. They chase cats and other small animals. They like to dig, so a fence lined with concrete is needed. And prevention from fence jumping is needed.


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