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 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. 

Size Small
Colour They are white or mainly white in colour with tan, lemon or black markings. These markings are normally seen on the head or tail.
Coat Length Short Smooth
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.
Ailments 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.
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.

Feeding & Ownership


As a breed the Parson Russell Terrier is easy to please, they are not fussy eaters.
Food Cost $5 to $10



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.


Intelligence 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.   
Energy High
Suitability for Children Medium
Tendency to Bark Medium
Overall Exercise Requirement 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.    
Suitability as a Guard Dog Low
Ease of Transportation High
Level of Aggression Low
Other Animal Compatibility Low



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.

Grooming RequirementsOnce a week
Amount of Hair ShedLittle

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