Parson Russell Terrier: origins and characteristics

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Parson Russell Terrier

The Parson Russell Terrier, probably best known as the Jack Russel Terrier, was developed in England some 200 years ago. This little affectionate dog is pretty clever, lively, and independent.

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Parson Russell Terrier: origins and characteristics


The name of the Parson Russell Terrier comes from the name of its creator. Reverend Parson John “Jack” Russell developed it during the mid-1800s  He was seeking a dog that would hunt with hounds, forcing foxes out of their den so that hounds would chase them.

The Parson Jack Russell Terrier Club (PJRTC) was formed in 1983 with the purpose of gaining recognition for the dog breed, which, after many attempts, was obtained by the United Kennel in 1990. The AKC recognized the breed as the Jack Russel Terrier in 1997 but had to update its name to Parson Russel Terrier on 23 April 2008.

Physical characteristics

The Parson Russel Terrier can be considered a conformation show version of the Jack Russell Terrier. These dogs have rather long legs and their coat is predominantly white with black, tan, or tricolor markings. Their height can range from 10 to 15 inches and weigh 13 to 17 pounds.


This is a small body packed with a lot of energy, spirit, and life. This loving and devoted dog enjoys every second of his life. He is usually friendly with people but aggressive toward other dogs and animals that look like prey, including cats.

Caring for a Parson Russell Terrier

The Parson Russell Terrier is a dog with a lot of energy that he needs to vent off. A nice fenced yard is great for him. This dog fence should be impossible for him to climb. Provide 30-45 minutes of vigorous daily exercise for your Russell. It is important that you keep him busy and out of trouble. They are not suited for apartment life as they are recreational barkers.


This dog can be a handful to train thanks to the fact that he is intelligent and has a mind of his own. Training sessions should be short and effective as he will get bored pretty easily. Be firm and consistent, and overall, be patient.

Fun facts

  • Reverend John Russell was known as “The Sporting Parson“, from which the dog takes the name.
  • We do not recommend this dog for shy or first-time owners. This dog can be a challenge even for owners with experience.
  • This jumpy dog is capable of lifting his body higher than five feet.

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