When you’re looking for a new addition to your family that is loyal and energetic, the Parson Russell Terrier, also known as the Jack Russell Terrier, is the perfect pet to consider. This particular breed of terrier is full of surprises, offering a satisfying bundle of characteristics to explore.

When it comes to owning a Parson Russell, you should know that understanding and respecting the breed is the first step towards truly learning that big rewards come in small packages.

History of the Parson Russell Terrier

Between the mid-to-late 1800s, the Parson Russell Terrier was bred to make fox hunting a much easier task. The Reverend John Russell wanted a hunting companion to track foxes both on top and below ground. By crossing the English Black and Tan Terrier with the English White Terrier, he came up with the perfect breed for fox retrieval.

Everything from the character, intelligence and mindset of the Parson Russell was bred to accommodate fox hunting. John Russell also believed that creating a stark white terrier satisfied numerous hunting dilemmas. A white dog easily sticks out against the green of a forest. Different from previous foxhunting terriers, the Parson Russell would never be confused with the hunted.

Today, the Parson Russell breed weighs about 15 pounds and stands 10 to 15 inches tall. When it comes to this dog, one of their distinguishing physical characteristics deals with their coat. There are three varieties to consider: wire haired, rough or short coat terriers. More than 50% of their coat coloring is white, decorated with tan, brown or black markings.


One of the main things to consider when purchasing a dog is how they will fit within your living arrangements. There are certain dog breeds that better complement particular households. When it comes to the Parson Russell, their intense energy and activeness demands attention and focus from owners. Keeping this in mind, Parson Russells are perfect for the family scene.

This playful dog breed is filled with a spirit that captures the interest of children, as well as adult owners. For a daily pick-me-up or relief from rainy weather, the Parson Russell provides the most entertaining distraction.

As for getting along with other dogs, obedience training is needed to achieve proper socialization. This will cure your Parson Russell of any instinctive aggression they may hold towards other dogs and animals. Remember, Parson Russells are natural hunters! They can’t help but to surrender to their inherited habits if they don’t know it is unacceptable within your home setting.

Taking Care of a Parson Russell Terrier

Since the Parson Russell is a high-energy companion, apartment life may put a damper on their spirit. Regardless of their small size, they need room to burn up their energy. Apartment-life leads to endless hours of boredom, which the Parson Russell may choose to take out on your furniture and shoes.

One of the best environments for a Parson Russell offers access to a nicely sized yard with a fence. Allowing this breed to run freely and burn off excess energy is a great way to keep your dog happy and healthy. So, if you’re not ready for daily walks with a little bit of running thrown in, the Parson Russell breed may not be for you. Always keep in mind that this is an intensely active dog breed.

When it comes to the appearance of your dog, you may find delight that minimal grooming is needed. Removing dirt from the coat of a Parson Russell is quite simple. Using a sturdy bristle brush about once or twice a week on the coat of your dog will keep him or her comfortable.

Health Concerns

Where other dog breeds face a wide range of health issues, the Parson Russell is a hearty, healthy breed. Most of the medical concerns associated with the Parson Russell involve the eyes and ears. Special care should especially be taken with the ears and hearing of your dog. This is because, over time, the threat of deafness becomes of issue.


If you’re looking for a dog breed that can keep up with the hustle and bustle of an energetic and fun family, the Parson Russell is for you. Like to go for runs and take walks to the end of the earth? The Parson Russell is the perfect dog to have by your side. All you have to do is make sure you have what it takes to properly care for this loyal breed and many years of satisfying companionship await your commitment.

  • Friendly, Clever, Athletic
  • AKC Breed Popularity: Ranks 117 of 191
  • Height: 14 inches (male), 13 inches (female)
  • Weight: 13-17 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 13-15 years
  • Group: Terrier Group

Parson Russell Terrier Association of America