Parson Russell Terrier

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Parson Russell Terrier

The Parson Russell Terrier is a bold and clever terrier. They are small with a mostly white coat, and this breed is named after the Reverend John “Jack” Russell who developed this type of dog in the 1800s. Parsons are suited to live with a family who has an active lifestyle and can spend time with their dog.

Other Names Parson, Parson Jack Russell Terrier
Color White
Height Males: 9-13 inches. Females: 9-13 inches.
Weight Males: 11-18 pounds. Females: 11-18 pounds.
Life Span 13-15 years
Personality Friendly, Clever, Athletic
Exercise Needs Lots of Activity
Popularity #118
Groom Needs Weekly
Kids Friendly Yes with supervision
Dog Friendly Yes
Watch Dog
Family Dog Yes
Litter Size 8-10

Parson Russell Terrier Pictures

Parson Russell Terrier Video


The Parson Russel Terrier is mostly white in color and comes in a smooth, rough, or broken coat. They are clever and feisty dogs with a tendency to get independent. Parson Russel Terriers (PRTs) are wonderful terrier dogs, exceptional for bolting foxes from their lairs. They appear larger than the older Jack Russel type, now having longer legs equivalent to the length of their bodies, larger head, and chest. Their mostly white coat may have black, tan, or tricolor markings.

Classed as members of the Terrier Group by the American Kennel Club, PRTs are fast and eager to please. A standard member of the breed is likely to stand 12-14 inches at the shoulder, regardless of the gender. They weigh between 13 and 18 pounds. Parson Russel Terriers have an average lifespan of 12-15 years.

Living with Parson Russell Terrier

Your Parson’s double coat requires brushing several times every week whether it is smooth or broken (rough). The dog with a broken coat needs to be plucked or clipped occasionally to prevent matting, and the smooth need to be brushed with a thick brush or hound gloves. And they need a bath every month to keep their coat healthy and pleasant smelling, or as needed.

Besides, the owner needs to brush your dog’s teeth several times a week to keep fresh breath and prevent gum disease. And check and clean the ears regularly for signs of wax buildup, irritation, or infection. Last, trim the nails every month to prevent cracking.

Parson Russell Terriers are high-energy dogs with powerful hunting instincts, the owner would better keep them on a leash during outdoors than let them run loose because they would be urgent to go off on chasing small animals. And an hour or two of vigorous physical activity every day could help the dog remain fit and calm. 

They are great athletes and excel in most dog sports, and their high energy levels and a robust personality make them good choices of dog breed for an outdoorsy family who wants companions when taking lots of hikes, bike rides, and long daily walks.

Generally, it is recommended to feed a Parson Russell Terrier with a half to two cups of high-quality dry dog food every day, divided into two meals. And there should be clean and fresh water at all times. More importantly, the food amount should depend on the dog’s weight, size, age, and activity level. 

Some dogs are easy to get overweight, so you need to watch their calorie consumption and weight level all the time. Treats may be an important aid in training, but excessive intake can lead to obesity. Also, owners need to distinguish which human food is safe for dogs and which are not. If you have any problems with your dog’s weight or diet, just consult from your veterinarian.

Parson Russell Terriers are prone to the following health conditions: deafness, patellar luxation, compulsive tendencies, Legg-Perthes disease, Von Willebrand disease eye issues, including glaucoma and lens luxation, ataxia, a loss of coordination due to sensory dysfunction, etc. 

Major concerns: none

Minor concerns: patellar luxation, lens luxation

Occasionally seen: ataxia, glaucoma, Legg–Perthes, compulsive behavior, deafness

Suggested tests:

BAER Testing

Patella Evaluation

Ophthalmologist Evaluation

Total Annual Cost: $2674

Cost is estimated for the first year and may vary depending on many factors, such as dog food, health care, leash, collar, licensing, possible fencing, crates, training and obedience classes, dog-walking, grooming, treats, toys, flea, tick, and heart-worm meds, microchips, etc.

Parson Russell Terriers are active, smart, and eager to please, but they have their own ideas and like going at their own pace. They are easy to get bored and distractible, so it is helpful to make training sessions fun and interesting. And positive training methods focused on giving praise and rewards for desired behavior yield the best results.

The athletic, lively Parson is a natural at most dog sports and agility training, and they are especially good at Earthdog trials. Besides, they are capable of advanced training which could help the breed’s more challenging behaviors in check.


Formerly identified in the United Kingdom as Parson Jack Russell Terrier towards the 21st century, the Parson Russel Terrier is a white terrier breed named for Reverend John Jack Russel who was credited with the development of this dog breed. It was the initial Fox Terrier of the 1800s in England. Around the late 1810s, John Russel bought a white and tan terrier bitch from Elmsford hamlet. This formed the foundation of a breed of dogs which later came to be associated with Russell’s name, and by the mid-19th century, they were distinct enough to be recognized as a breed of Fox Terriers.

Arthur Blake Heinemann founded the Devon and Somerset Badger Club towards the turn of the 20th century and drafted a breed standard for the Jack Russel’s breed. Even though the Jack Russel Terriers were popular as foxhunts, the club formed by Heinemann bred them for the purpose of digging Badgers from underground. After some time, the club name changed to Parson Jack Russell Terrier Club. It folded in the build-up to World War II. 

The Parson Jack Russell Terrier Club (PJRTC) returned in 1983 to pursue the recognition of the breed by kennel clubs. Initial petitions were turned down, and it wasn’t until 1990 that the Kennel Club of England recognized it. Other kennel clubs followed suit shortly — the United Kennel Club in 1991 and the American Kennel Club in 1997. The name for this breed up to this point was the Parson Jack Russel Terrier before it was changed to Parson Russel Terrier at the turn of the 21st century. The FCI recognized the Parson Russel Terrier breed in 2001.

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