Parson Russell Terrier

Breed Rating

family friendly:
Dog friendly:
Watch/guard dog:
Affection / Dependance:
Exercise needed:
Space needed:
Tendency to bark:
Grooming Requirements:
Tendency to bark:
Grooming Requirements:

Breed Attributes


Breed group: Terrier    Type: Pure Breed    Talent: , , ,


Size: Small     Weight: 14-18 lbs     Fur length: Short    Ears: Flappy    Fur type: Straight    Fur Color: 3 Colors, Black & White, Brown & White, White / Cream


Life Expectancy: About 15 years    Rarity: Common    Availability: Easily available    Climate: Good for every climate.

Breed Details


The Parson Russell Terrier originated in England and was bred to hunt game and most commonly foxes. Originally these dogs were called the Jack Russell Terrier but due to a legal dispute of the name itself, were renamed Parson Russell Terrier. The Jack Russell Terrier and the Parson Russell Terrier are now known as 2 completely different breeds. It is said that this dog was named after its owner and original breeder, John Russell who was a pastor!

The Parson Russell Terrier is an alert, responsive and hard working dog making them excellent hunters as well as great family pets. They have an energetic and loyal disposition that appeals to many owners. These dogs are courageous, hearty, and have a stubborn streak that they will test their master with. The Parson loves affection and will make a good pet if they are raised with children. On the whole these dogs will be okay with other dogs but must be monitored around smaller family pets such as cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, etc. They have a very high prey drive and might chase down these thinking that they are fair game.

This breed is a compact muscular dog that is short yet solid. Most commonly their colouring is more than half white and the remainder being tan, black and red with patches on their tail or head. They have short legs and a slightly longer body compared to their height. Parson Russell Terriers have small triangular shaped ears and their tail is naturally long but will be docked for show purposes. The fur will be either a Short, Wire or Broken variety.


The Parson Russell Terrier will be white with patches of any combination of black, red or tan. The body must be at least half white and the color patterns are most commonly on their back end, tail and head.


This breed has 3 types of coat: the broken, short and the wire. The Short(smooth) coat is sleek and is hard to the touch. The Wire haired coat is rough and brittle to the touch. It is a bit longer than the short coat but is much more harsh to the touch while the Broken coat is a mixture of both. It will have a wiry coat covering the body but shorter smoother fur around their face and legs.


The Parson Russell Terrier is a happy, caring and free spirited breed. These dogs adore their master and are extremely loyal towards them. Although highly devoted, this dog will need an owner who can be firm with them especially when training. Parson Russell Terriers are not suggested for people that have never owned a dog before as they can be stubborn and a more difficult breed to train. House rules will need to be instilled immediately or this breed will walk all over their owners. These dogs are curious and love to explore and dig! They can entertain themselves well but prefer to be with the family. Parsons are not only great working dogs, they will also excel in obedience, tracking and hunting trials! Although they are little, they can be taught many different tricks or training methods and will work alongside their owner with pride. It is said that Parson Russell Terriers have a 'big dog complex' meaning they think they are a much larger breed that what they actually are!


The Parson Russell Terrier will need minimal grooming as their variety of coats do not require extensive work. The Short coated variety will need to be brushed about once every 2 weeks to remove the dead fur. The Broken and Wire haired coat variety should be brushed a few times per week to prevent tangles in the fur. Bathing should be done once every 2 months or at the owners discretion. This breed is prone to Legg Perthes syndrome, slipped stifles and eye diseases. Deafness may occur in some lines but for the most part, this breed is very healthy.


The Parson Russell Terrier will need a firm hand when being trained. This dog is known well for having a stubborn streak so consistency and repetition are the key elements for this dog to grasp the obedience concept. House rules will need to be taught as soon as this breed is brought home so the dog will know immediately what is okay to do and what is not. The Parson is not for an owner or family that has never had a dog before. They are great pets but will need owners who have experience raising and training other dogs first. Socialization of this breed with other dogs, animals and people will be needed as puppies so they will grow up to be well adjusted adults.


This breed will need about an hour of exercise per day to burn off their energy. A trip to an off-leash dog park so they can run around and play with other dogs, or a long walk would be perfect! These dogs are active inside and will play throughout the day. The Parson will do well in an apartment as long as they get their daily exercise. A backyard would be preferable so they can have an outdoor area to run around in.

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