Parson Russell Terrier

Dog Breed Profile
Parson Russell Terrier

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• High energy level
• High exercise needs
• Very playful
• Moderately affectionate
• Shy towards other dogs
• Shy around other pets
• Friendly around strangers
• Fairly easy to train
• Great watchdogs
• Not very protective
• Moderate grooming requirements
• Medium tolerance to heat
• Medium tolerance to cold


The Parson Russell Terrier is an adventurous dog breed, perfect for an active person who can appreciate this dog with a sense of humor. He’s a hunter by nature and loves to spend his time exploring, chasing and digging if given the opportunity. The Parson Russell Terrier is good with children but you may have issues with other pets in the home. He’s affectionate but cannot handle rough play, especially with young children.

He has long legs, which were much appreciated in the field while hunting alongside horses, but he has a slender build which enabled him to fit through small spaces. The Parson Russell Terrier is a breed that’s full of life and will do best in a family with similar tenancies.

  • Prefers to have access to the indoors and outdoors
  • Health conditions that need to be tested for are his knees and eyes
  • Grooming needs include weekly brushing and hand stripping for the broken coat type
  • The Parson Russell Terrier is an affectionate and friendly, playful animal that is fairly easy to train
  • Has a great relationship with family members but must be watched around young children, not very protective but do make great watchdogs
  • The average size of a male is 13 to 17lbs and 12 to 14 inches tall
  • The average size of a female is 13 to 17lbs and 12 to 14 inches tall

Care & Health:

The Parson Russell Terrier has a lot of energy and requires lots of exercise and mental stimulation to keep him from becoming bored and frustrated. He’s not suited for an apartment as he prefers to have access to the indoors and out.

You’ll need to brush his double coat once a week, and for the broken coat type he’ll need to be hand stripped occasionally as well.

Major Health Concerns:

– none

Minor Health Concerns:

– patellar luxation, lens luxation and occasionally glaucoma, ataxia, Legg-Calvés, deafness

Test for:

– knees and eyes

Life Span:

– 13 to 15 years

Breed History:

This energetic dog breed was originally created to hunt fox, and was named after Parson John Russell in the mid-19th century. The Parson Russell Terrier was not shown in shows and was kept as a field dog for many years. After the Parson’s death his dogs were bred with other terriers, which resulted in the Jack Russell terrier.

Although breeders did not want their dogs recognized, the AKC admitted them in 1998 nonetheless as Jack Russell terriers. The distinction was made between the long-legged Parson Russell terriers and the short-legged Jack Russell terriers in 2003. Media attention to the Parson Russell Terrier has now created a demand for them as pets and today their numbers are multiplying rapidly.

  • Family history is terrier
  • Originally from England
  • First bred in the 1800’s
  • Original purpose was fox bolting
  • Today they are used for earth dog trials
  • Also known as Parson Jack Russell Terrier, Jack Russell Terrier