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Parson Russell Terrier Dog Breed Profile

Parson Russell Terrier

Other Names
Dog Group Kennel Club
Breed Classification
The Parson Russell Terrier is a member of the terrier group. They were originally used for ratting and hunting rabbits; today they are companions.  
Cost of Ownership
Average Food Cost
£4-7.50 per week
Feeding Requirements
As a breed the Parson Russell Terrier is easy to please, they are not fussy eaters. 
Other Expenses
On average, a Parson Russell Terrier puppy will cost between £300 - £500. 
9 - 15 years
The Parson Russell Terrier, on average, can live to 14 years or more. 
Average Litter Size
On average they usually have 4 to 8 puppies in a litter. 
General Physical Description
The Parson is a relatively small active and lively mainly white coloured terrier. As they were originally used with foxhounds to go to ground after foxes they are built accordingly. They have long legs, which were ideal for keeping up with the horses; but their body is shaped to allow them to be able to get into small spaces.

Height Min Max
Bitch 33cm (13") 33cm (13")
Dog 36cm (14") 36cm (14")
Weight Min Max
Bitch 5kg (11lbs) 8kg (18lbs)
Dog 5kg (11lbs) 8kg (18lbs)
Size Category
Weight Height Range
Dogs should ideally measure 36cms at the withers and weigh between 5-8kgs. Bitches should ideally measure 33cms and weigh between 5-8kgs. 
The Parson Russell Terrier is in general a healthy breed. There are a few hereditary eye problems so it is advisable to get a puppy from eye-tested stock.  
Common Ailments

Eye - Cataract - Hereditary
Eye - Luxated lens  
Susceptibility To Illness
The Parson Russell was developed and established in the 18th Century in Devon by the Reverend John Russell. John Russell was born into a fox hunting family in 1795, where his love of hunting was nurtured. He wanted a dog that could keep up with the horses, run with the foxhounds and was small enough to flush the foxes from their dens. While studying at Oxford he saw, and bought, the perfect dog for his purposes, belonging to the milkman. It is thought that this was this was the first dog to be known as a Jack Russell. During his time as a clergyman, John Russell devoted himself to both the church and breeding terriers suitable for fox hunting.  
The Parson is an intelligent little dog but can be a bit stubborn like most terriers. Training is relatively easy but owners must be consistent and firm. They do have a tendency to turn a deaf ear when on the scent of something and so must be trained to return to you on command. They can be quite dominant over other dogs, particularly other terriers, so should be properly socialised and trained as puppies. < 
Show Characteristics
The Parson Jack Russell Terrier should have a flat, moderately broad skull. The eyes should be deep set, almond shaped and dark in colour. The ears should be small, v-shaped, folding forward close to the head. The tips of the ears should reach the corner of the eye. The mouth should have a complete scissor bite with strong and muscular jaws. The neck should be relatively long and muscular. The chest should be fairly deep, not below the point of the elbow. The back should be straight and strong. The length of the dog should be slightly longer than the height to the withers. The front legs should be straight and strong; the back legs should be strong, muscular and show good angulation. The feet should be compact. The tail is relatively high set and carried high. If docked the tail should be strong, straight and the length should complement the overall conformation of the body. If undocked it should be as straight as possible, thick at the base and tapering to a point. The coat is naturally harsh, close and thick in both the rough and smooth coated Parsons. They are white or mainly white in colour with tan, lemon or black markings. These markings are preferred on the head or base of the tail. 
Country Of Origin
Great Britain 
Famous Examples
Records Held
Overall Exercise
60 - 80 minutes per day.
This dog, being an active little terrier, should have lots of exercise. They like nothing better than a long walk where they can get off the lead and can pick up a scent.  
Distress if Left Alone
Personal Protection
Guard Dog Suitability
Risk of Sheep Worrying
Tendency to Bark
Level of Aggression
Compatibility With Other Animals
Suitable For Children


General Character And Temperament
In general the Parson is a friendly, devoted and affectionate dog with lots of personality. They get on well with children and make good pets for the active family. They have to be socialised from an early age especially with cats and any other household pets. Gardeners will soon discover that this dog digs up the garden indiscriminately as digging is one of their favourite pastimes. 
Coat Length
Grooming Requirement
Once a week 
Requires Professional Groomer
The Parson Russell can be rough or smooth coated; both have a dense double coat. The rough coated Parson requires to be hand stripped. This will be necessary at least twice a year. The smooth coated Parson is much easier to groom, a rubber-grooming mitt will remove the dead and shedding hairs. Both types of coat should be brushed weekly. 
They are white or mainly white in colour with tan, lemon or black markings. These markings are normally seen on the head or tail. 
Suffers From Allergies

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