The Parson Russell Terrier

The Parson Russell Terrier is energetic, affectionate, and intelligent. This dog was originally bred from the Fox Terrier and was known as the Jack Russell Terrier by the American Kennel Club until the name was updated in 2004.  They are a hunting breed and with a high prey drive they need lots of exercise.

Parson Russell Terrier
Parson Russell Terrier

Parson Russell Terrier, Bred for Hunting

These terriers were bred for fox hunting, both above and below ground. They are fast enough to keep up with the fox hounds and small enough to burrow in after a fox to flush him out. Eager and bold, they make excellent huntsman. Known for their strong natural hunting instincts, they have been known to go after small domestic animals as well; such as cats, rabbits, birds, hamsters, gerbils and other pet Rodentia.

Parson Russell Terriers were developed in the mid-1800s by the Reverend John “The Sporting Parson” Russell in the south of England. His passions in life were the ministry and his hunting dogs. He bred terriers to work together with fox hounds to catch their European red fox quarry.

The Parson Russell Terrier is very similar to a Jack Russell Terrier, which was first recognized as a breed by the American Kennel Club in 1997. The breeds have a similar history. The Parson Russell Terrier was known as the Jack Russell Terrier until 2004 when the breed standard was updated by the American Kennel Club. The most striking difference is their size. The Jack Russell is slightly smaller.

The Parson Russell stands twelve to fifteen inches at the withers and weighs thirteen to seventeen pounds. They live an average of thirteen to fifteen years. They have an athletic and balanced body. This means they are as tall as they are long.

High Energy and Low Maintenance

The Parson Russell Terrier has a mostly white coat with black, brown or tri-color markings. There are two types of coats; the smooth coat and the broken or rough coat. Minimal grooming is required. They need only a regular weekly brushing and a monthly bath. Unless there are unusual circumstances, this should be sufficient. This breed sheds minimally and their double coat protects them from the elements.

Rough coated Parson Russell Terrier
Rough coated Parson Russell Terrier

Although obedient and clever, on walks, they may not be able to resist running off and chasing small animals. Outdoors, they love to explore every hole, tree trunk and smell. They are friendly and playful dogs who like to join in. They make great family dogs, but should be watched around young children as terriers do not like rough play.

Rewards based training works best with the Parson Russell. Be sure to keep training sessions short as they get bored easily. They are independent problem solvers and have their own ideas on how things should be done. Be patient in training. Starting with an obedience class is recommended. This breed does well in canine sports like agility and flyball.

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