Parson Russell Terrier

13-17 lbs
Parson Terrier, Parson "Jack" Russell Terrier

The Parson Russell Terrier is a small, sturdy dog with an intense personality and a fierce prey drive. They tend to be longer in the leg than their closest ancestor, the Jack Russell Terrier, and have a slightly higher energy level that requires at least an hour to an hour and a half of vigorous activity each day. These dogs can be stubborn and have very independent minds, but are at the same time extremely trainable if the proper positive training methods are utilized. This breed is typically too active and noisy for apartment living unless they have several hours of additional activity per day. 

purpose Purpose
Fox Hunting
history Date of Origin
ancestry Ancestry
Jack Russell Terrier

Parson Russell Terrier Health

Average Size
Male Parson Russell Terrier size stats
Height: 12-15 inches Weight: 13-17 lbs
Female Parson Russell Terrier size stats
Height: 12-15 inches Weight: 13-17 lbs
Major Concerns
  • Cerebellar Ataxia
Minor Concerns
  • Patellar Luxation
  • Myasthenia Gravis
  • Eye Conditions (Cataracts, Lens Luxation)
Occasional Diagnoses
  • Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease
  • Genetic Deafness
Occasional Tests
  • BAER Testing
  • Neurological Examination
  • X-rays or other radiographic imaging
  • Eye and Ear Examination

Parson Russell Terrier Breed History

In 1819, a man by the name of John Russell bought an adorable female Terrier from a passing milkman and named her Trump. Trump was mostly white with patches of darker fur on her head and rump areas and while she closely resembled the Wire-haired Fox Terrier of the time, she was said to have shorter legs and a broader head. John, also known as Jack by some, was so enamored with his new dog that when he returned home from studying in Oxford to be a reverend he used her as a foundation for a new breed of fox hunting dogs, a dog with long enough legs to keep up with the hounds and a more aggressive nature, yet small enough to flush a fox from their bolt holes. These dogs were known as Jack Russell Terriers. After the death of Reverend John “Jack” Russell, breeders of these dogs differed on their priorities and preferences and two distinct varieties became available: one bred to specific physical standards and the other bred for temperament and ability. The group that preferred governance by physical standards became the Parson “Jack” Russell Terrier, later shortened to just the Parson Russell or Parson Terrier. The result is that the Parson Russell Terrier is a square dog that is longer-legged than the Jack Russell Terrier. Neither the Parson Russell Terrier nor the Jack Russell Terrier should be confused with the Russell Terrier, a third variation with even shorter legs that was developed mainly in Australia. While the Parson Russell Terrier and the Russell Terrier breeds are both recognized by the American Kennel Club, the Jack Russell Terrier, the most commonly known of the three, is not. The Jack Russell Terrier Club of America has resisted having the breed recognized by the American Kennel Club in favor of retaining its working dog status. 

Parson Russell Terrier Breed Appearance

The Parson Russell Terrier is a square-shaped dog that stands between twelve and fifteen inches tall at the shoulder, unlike both the Jack Russell and Russell Terriers who are both longer than they are tall. Although the Parson Russell Terrier has a shorter back in relation to their legs, their backs are still particularly flexible, much like that of the other two breeds. The undocked tail of the Parson Russell Terrier is fairly long and strong, and it may curl up at the end, but the tails are often docked to about two-thirds their original length. They have strong, well-proportioned heads with a flat skull and muzzles that are just slightly shorter than the length of the skull. Their almond-shaped dark eyes typically have dark rims, although pink rims are still acceptable, and they have small V-shaped ears that fold forward and hang down with the tip often falling near to the corner of the eye. Both the smooth and broken coated varieties have similar coloration, a white coat with black, tan, or tricolor markings. 

Eye Color Possibilities
brown Parson Russell Terrier eyes
Nose Color Possibilities
black Parson Russell Terrier nose
Coat Color Possibilities
pied Parson Russell Terrier coat
white Parson Russell Terrier coat
Coat Length
Short Medium Long
Coat Density
coat density
Sparse Normal Dense
Coat Texture
coat texture
Parson Russell Terrier wiry coat texture
Straight Wiry Wavy Curly Corded

Parson Russell Terrier Breed Maintenance

The Parson Russell Terrier typically has an uncomplicated grooming routine. They generally only require bathing a few times each year as they have very little doggy odor and have coats that are fairly dirt resistant. Brushing is required a few times each week to help remove any remaining dust as well as any shed fur for either the smooth or broken coated varieties. Those Parson Russell Terriers with a broken coat will also need to have their coat stripped either by hand or with a special stripping comb two to three times a year in order to ensure that the coat maintains the proper texture. Trimming the nails once a month is advised in order to avoid breaks and tears. The teeth of this spunky canine should be brushed several times a week.

Brushes for Parson Russell Terrier
Pin Brush
Pin Brush
Slicker Brush
Slicker Brush
Nail Clipper
Nail Clipper
Brushing Frequency
fur daily fur weekly fur monthly
Parson Russell Terrier requires weekly brushing
Daily Weekly Monthly

Parson Russell Terrier Temperament

These dogs are both extremely active and highly intelligent, with an extremely high prey drive. While all interactions between dogs and small children should be supervised, Parson Russell Terriers can be good with babies, toddlers, and even other animals if socialized with them, particularly if socialization takes place as a puppy. Parson Russell Terriers that are not socialized or become startled may nip at younger children or knock them over in excitement, but are unlikely to be aggressive unless they are negatively conditioned. A great deal of socialization is required to suppress this breed’s instinct to chase small furry or feathered family members, and for some individuals, it may remain irresistible. When outdoors these Parson Terriers should be supervised, even in a fenced yard; it does not take a Terrier long to dig under a fence in pursuit of perceived prey. These dogs tend to be very trainable as long as positive methods are used and the routine doesn’t become too boring. Harsh training methods or overly simple training routines without enough variety may result in mischievous, stubborn, or even destructive behaviors.

Parson Russell Terrier Activity Requirements

While this breed is not particularly large, they do require a great deal of vigorous activity each day, typically at least an hour to an hour an a half per day. Activities that engage the Parson Russell Terrier’s mind, as well as their body, are the most effective way to expend this animal’s considerable energy. This dog should remain on lead at all times outside of a fenced yard or other secured area as their prey drive is often too strong to resist. Along with walks, jogs, and endless games of fetch, this breed often excels at earth dog trials, tracking, agility sports, and competitive obedience training. This is not typically a good choice for apartment dwellers unless the dog is given several hours of activity a day outside of the home. 

Activity Level
low activity medium activity high activity
Low Medium High
Rec. Walk Mileage Per Week
14 miles
walk mileage
Minutes of Activity Per Day
75 minutes
activity minutes

Parson Russell Terrier Food Consumption

Cups Per Day
1 cups
cup per day cost
Daily Cost
$0.90 - $1.00
food bowls daily cost
Monthly Cost
$25.00 - $30.00
food bag monthly cost

Parson Russell Terrier Height & Weight

6 Months
Male Parson Russell Terrier size stats at six months
Height: 12.5 inches Weight: 11.5 lbs
Female Parson Russell Terrier size stats at six months
Height: 12.5 inches Weight: 11.5 lbs
12 Months
Male Parson Russell Terrier size stats at 12 months
Height: 13.5 inches Weight: 15.0 lbs
Female Parson Russell Terrier size stats at 12 months
Height: 13.5 inches Weight: 15.0 lbs
18 Months
Male Parson Russell Terrier size stats at 18 months
Height: 13.5 inches Weight: 15.0 lbs
Female Parson Russell Terrier size stats at 18 months
Height: 13.5 inches Weight: 15.0 lbs

Parson Russell Terrier Owner Experiences

Becky Jagduniversal
5 Years
8 People
very active dog, loves people and children, but dislikes dogs. aggressive to the cat, but tolerant with a cat at home.
1 year, 9 months ago
Iggy Pop
4 Years
2 People
House & Yard
Energetic, clever, funny and lovley. Very twitchy and has sajy legs
2 years, 11 months ago
7 Months
2 People
House & Yard
My dog is a poodle parson russell mix. He is super friendly, wants to play with EVERY dog especially. He is super active. Bitey still. Working on training him.
4 years, 9 months ago
2 Years
2 People
House & Yard
Gizmo is a rescue dog and we have only had him for about 6 months. He is not social with other people or other dogs and seems super anxious all the time. We really enjoy him and hope to get some help with his socialization skills.
3 years, 6 months ago
Book me a walkiee?
Sketch of smiling australian shepherd