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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Breeds > Parson Russell Terrier

Parson Russell Terrier

Origin: England

AKC Group: Terrier

Height: 13 inches (Male)

Weight: 13 inches (Male)

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Male height: 
13 inches
Male weight: 
13 inches
The coat comes in two types: smooth and broken. Both feature a double coat that is naturally harsh, straight and dense.
White, white with black or tan markings and tri-color (a combination of these).

This terrier was developed in southern England in the 1800s to assist in foxhunting. He is named after the man who did the most to develop his type, Parson John "Jack" Russell, himself an avid foxhunter who used his terriers to both help pursue the fox and bring it out from its den so that the hunt could be continued. The breed is most likely a cross between the Old English White Terrier (now extinct) and a black-and-tan terrier similar in type to the Manchester Terrier. What Parson Jack most desired was a terrier who could keep up with the Foxhounds (his legs needed to be long enough), who had a compact chest so that he could get into the fox's den, who was strong enough to keep a fox at bay, and whose temperament was fiery and intelligent. When his terriers began proving themselves, they became increasingly popular.

They came to the United States in the early 1900s and were called "Jack Russell Terriers", after the man who had developed them. During the 1980s, breeders of these terriers differed over size and structure and whether to apply for American Kennel Club (AKC) recognition. The pro-AKC group eventually got their terriers recognized in 1997 under the name "Jack Russell Terrier," but the name was later changed to "Parson Russell Terrier," and that is now the official name of the AKC-recognized breed. Jack Russell Terriers are registered with the United Kennel Club (UKC); the club recognizes a wider height range than the AKC does for the Parson and also accepts a rough coat.

The Parson Russell Terrier is a true terrier - bold and friendly, athletic and clever, stubborn and independent - he's up for any challenge and any game. If he's busy on the hunt, he is fearless and single-minded; at home, he is an enthusiastic companion, ready to explore and engage in any family activity. He isn't shy about requesting attention, and he will practically insist on being in the center of things. Badly managed, he can become quarrelsome or ill-tempered with other people or animals. But properly trained and socialized, the fun-loving and frisky Parson is a fine companion for someone who understands him and shares his enthusiasm for the outdoors and adventure.
At home: 
Although the Parson Russell Terrier retains his love of the hunt, he's equally at home in the country and city - as long as he gets plenty of exercise and attention. He does bark - it's part of the terrier package. He should not be left off-leash unless in a securely fenced area. He needs a fenced-in yard and will help you "redesign" your landscape with plenty of digging. He gets bored quickly, and if left alone too long, his quick intelligence will turn to destructive urges.
The Parson Russell Terrier is active and alert and requires plenty of exercise - the occasional stroll will not satisfy his physical or mental need for stimulation.
The high-spirited Parson Russell Terrier is a hearty eater whose weight should be monitored. A high-quality, age-appropriate diet is best. He can be possessive around his food bowl, so proper training is required.
This intelligent breed is also independent-minded. For training to work, it must be highly focused and keep him motivated. Short, frequent sessions with well-timed rewards are best. Socialization from puppyhood is important for his social skills and manners.
Parsons love to play and romp with children, but they do best in a family with older children who understand how to interact with a dog. As with most terriers, the Parson's high prey drive makes him quick to chase anything that moves, including small pets.
The average life span of the Parson Russell Terrier is 13 years or more. Health problems may include deafness; eye problems; Legg-Calve-Perthes disease; patellar luxation; thyroid problems and von Willebrand disease.
Fun fact: 

The father of the Parson Russell Terrier breed, Parson Jack Russell, was a founding member of the Kennel Club (KC), established in England in 1873.

Grooming blurb: 
The breed's harsh, dense coat is easy to keep clean with occasional brushing or going over with a hound glove - its nubs will stimulate his skin while loosening and removing dead hair.
Copyright by T.F.H. Publications, Inc. This document has been published with the intent to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter within. While every reasonable precaution has been taken in preparation of this document, the author and publisher expressly disclaim responsibility for any errors, omissions, or adverse effects arising from the use or application of the information contained herein. The techniques and suggestions are used at the reader's discretion.