Parson Russell



Life span

15 Years


8 Kg

Breed Group

Terrier Dogs

Thinking of buying or adopting a Parson Russell?


The Parson Russell Terrier is a medium-sized working terrier, compact and athletic. It features a flat, moderately broad head that narrows gradually to the eyes. It has a black nose, deeply set, almond-shaped eyes of dark colouring, small, v-shaped ears that drops forward and carried close to the head, and muscular jaws with regular scissor bite. The muscular neck is thick at the base, provides adequate support for the broad head. The legs of the Parson Russell Terrier are straight and muscular; supporting a body with a fairly small chest (can be easily spanned by average sized hands) and an appearance that is slightly longer than it is tall. The feet are firmly padded which cushion the breed effectively in any terrain. The highly-set tail is customarily docked and is carried gaily. The harsh coat is close and dense and comes entirely white or white with tan, lemon or black markings, or any combination of these colours.

Parson Russell

History & Origin

The Parson Russell Terrier is the former Jack Russell Terrier. The name change was requested by the Jack Russell Terrier Association of America (now known as the Parson Russell Terrier Association of America) effective April 1, 2003 to narrow the Jack Russell standard. The breed was developed by The Reverend John “Jack” Russell (December 12, 1795 – April 28, 1883) from a white terrier bitch named “Trump” that he bought from a milkman. This bitch became the foundation stock of a line of fox hunting terriers which would later become the Jack Russells. This energetic little terrier was bred to hunt fox by bolting the game out of its den. Emphasis was made in the breed’s working ability and not so much on its aesthetic qualities. However, the Parson Russell Terrier is principally a show dog, and not so much of a hunter.


Because it was originally developed as a working terrier that will bark at prey, the Parson Russell Terrier is absolutely a vocal dog. It is very intelligent, packing a lot of energy which are required in the field. This breed can be aggressive with other dogs, especially towards the same sex if not socialized and trained early. The Parson Russell Terrier has a very strong prey drive and it should not be trusted with small household animals. It likes to dig and is an excellent climber. A twelve-inch Parson Russell Terrier can easily scale a five-foot fence. It is also a very courageous and fearless breed and will most often disregard its size when confronting larger dogs. When out in the open, make sure that this breed is kept on-leash all the time.


The Parson Russell Terrier requires regular and consistent training in order to maintain its temperament and keep its mind active. It is known to be receptive in training if the Trainer/owner is effective and patient. It is not recommended for inexperienced pet owners since  setting rules and limitations is important to gain dominance over Parson Russell Terrier. It is important to set their boundaries while still young but making sure that their opportunity to socialize and explore will not be compromised.  It will do fine in an apartment or condominium provided that it is given sufficient exercise. It is very active indoors and a home with a medium-sized yard is a more suitable dwelling.


Grooming the breed is very straightforward. Regular brushing with a firm bristle brush to remove dead or loose hairs is all that is required. Occasional stripping of the coat is also necessary.


The Parson Russell Terrier is a long-lived breed, having an average lifespan of 14 to 16 years. Others have been known to reach an age way over 16. Some health issues that are known to affect the Parson Russell Terrier include:

  • Hereditary cataracts
  • Primary lens luxation
  • Congenital deafness
  • Medial patellar luxation – dislocation of the kneecap
  • Spinocerebellar ataxia - is one of a group of genetic disorders characterized by slowly progressive in-coordination of gait and often results in unsteady and clumsy motion of the body due to poor coordination of muscles;
  • Legg-Calve-Perthes disease - a degenerative disease that causes some degree of collapse of the hip joint;
  • Myasthenia gravis - a neuromuscular disease in which there is a failure of the nerves' ability to stimulate and control the actions of certain muscles;
  • Atropy – progressive loss of muscle mass
  • Von Willebrand’s disease – a hereditary blood disease which causes bleeding problems.

Make sure that the puppy you are buying has been BAER tested for hearing.


Thorough exercise should also be regular; typically taking the dog for daily long walks to keep it fit. Failure to train the breed on a regular basis or if it is not exercised regularly may lead to unmanageable and unsocial behaviour (i.e. excessive barking, too much digging inside and outside the home, over aggressiveness, escaping from the yard.)

Enjoys plenty of space for exercise like an open area, park or even a country home.

Children and other pets

It is generally good with children. It is described as being single minded and tenacious at work and playful and affectionate at home and requires regular attention.

It gets along with horses and loves to play with other dogs. Although it will not tolerate teasing or even innocent abuse.

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