Parson Russell Terrier

Type: Terrier

Height: Two variations: 9 - 12 inches; 12 - 15 inches.

Weight: Two variations: 9 - 15 lbs.; 12-18 lbs.

Life Span: 13 - 15 years.

Litter Size: 4 - 8 puppies.

Country of Origin: Great Britain

Activity: High. Parson Russell Terriers have quite a lot of energy; any potential owner should be aware of the Russell's exercise and activity needs.

Watch-dog: High. Parson Russell Terriers are very alert and active.

Guard-dog: High. Parson Russell Terriers are very alert and active.

Description: The Parson Russell Terrier is a small, agile, brave, principally white-bodied terrier that is known for fox hunting and other small animals. The Parson Russell Terrier's chest is the determining factor as to whether a terrier may follow its intended working attributes. If the Parson Russell Terrier's chest is too large, there is little use for quarry underground. At work, Parson Russell Terriers are a game hunter, tenacious and courageous. At home they are playful, exuberant and overwhelmingly affectionate. The Parson Russell Terrier is an independent and energetic terrier and requires their due portion of attention and training. The Parson/Jack Russell Terriers come in two distinct variations: the long-legged version and the short-legged version. Short-legged Russells are often called "shorties" and are recognized with the AKC-FSS as the Russell Terrier, or Jack Russell Terrier. The long-legged variation is called the  Parson Jack Russell Terrier. They are both small dogs and can be a variety of wiry, smooth, and multicolored coats. They are predominantly white, with patches of brown and black, often covering part of the face. These Terriers have short drop ears and a tail that is usually cropped just long enough to grab it out of a fox hole. They are sturdy and muscular, well adapted to work hard. Parson/Jack Russell Terriers often work so hard and are unafraid of anything that a farmer once gauged his terriers on his farm to live only about an average of 6 years. Otherwise, living in a normal household, the Parson/Jack Russell Terrier can live as long as 16 years. They are highly energetic, interactive and love to play with children. The Jack Russell Terrier is the ideal breed for a fun-loving family seeking a hard working little dog. Other than their legs, they are the same breed - fun loving, affectionate and full of energy.

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Other Names: Parson Jack Russell Terrier, Jack Russell Terrier

Colors: Predominantly white with tan, black or brown markings. Patches of color often appear on the main body, tail, and head. Ears are often colored, with a blaze up the front of the face. At least 51% of the body should be white.

Coat: Jack Russell Terrier coats can be rough, smooth or broken (very short wire). Body Outline: Approximately Square. Length in proportion to height.

Temperament: Parson Russell Terriers are vocal, alert, lively and bold. They are very affectionate and playful with family, and love attention. They require training or a job, as they need adequate exercise. They are very energetic and can be very excitable. Parson Russell Terriers can be scrappy with other dogs, but can be socialized and trained to be okay with other pets. They are friendly, courageous and do not like backing down from a fight. They are intelligent and stubborn. If trained well, this breed can harness all of its energy into training and become very obedient and worthwhile, but otherwise they are difficult to train, with the typical terrier stubbornness.

With Children: Yes, especially active children.

With Pets: Will chase anything small that moves. They also may be scrappy with other dogs or pets. Socialization is needed to be okay with other animals.

Special Skills: Hunting especially underground vermin and family pet.

Care and Training: Parson Russell Terriers need minimal brushing of their coat. Bathe only when necessary. Parson Russell Terriers should receive daily exercise or outdoor activity. If not given consistent exercise, training, or a job to do, the Parson Russell can become destructive and edgy if confined. Early firm training is necessary to prevent a hyperactive dog.

Learning Rate: High. Obedience - Low. Problem Solving - High.

Special Needs: Attention, exercise, job or activity to do, socialization, some grooming and training.

Living Environment: Will do okay in an apartment if exercised, but a house with a fenced backyard is better. Parson Russell Terriers can adapt to most living environments, provided there is a job to do, training or exercise is given. The best owner for this breed would be an active, terrier-experienced individual or family that are living in a suburban or rural environment.

Health Issues: Jack Russell Terrier can suffer from dislocated kneecaps (luxating patellas), eye problems, deafness, and Legg-Perthes disease, a disease of the hip joints.

History: In 1819 a fox runner and member of the British Kennel Club by the name of Reverend John Russell came across a terrier who he developed into the Jack Russell Terrier over the course of sixty years until his death at the age of 88. He owned a crossbred terrier by the name of "Trump", which he bred with bull-and-terrier breeds that were used for bull baiting to increase tenacity and aggression towards prey. He then bred in foxhounds, as well as "pocket beagles", which helped in evening out the temper of the breed. John Russell wanted a breed that was small enough to go to ground after a fox, but wouldn't kill the prey. Often times, however, the breed's tenacity overtook their ability to corner the prey, and sometimes Jack Russell Terriers would kill the fox - taking away the sport for the hunters. Over time, however, the breed developed into a dog that could simply corner its prey rather than kill it if told to do so. Some JRTs were bred simply to kill rats as well. Several strains of the breed were developed for different reasons. The long legged Jack (AKA Parson Jack Russell Terrier) were used to hunt, but still be able to follow and keep up with horses. The short-legged Jacks (simply Jack Russell Terrier) were bred to go to ground and follow and corner the prey. It is said that one Englishman and his pack of four Jack Russells cleared out three tons of rats from a chicken farm in one day! Even though there are many variations of the Jack Russell Terrier, the British Kennel Club in 1990 only recognized the Parson Jack Russell Terrier. Although there is much confusion and debate over the breed varieties today, the AKC accepts the long legged version, the Parson Jack Russell Terrier, and it is more popular in the U.S. In the U.K., however, the "shorties" are more popular, and were just recently recognized in 2001 by the UKC. Today both varieties of the breed are highly popular in North America and the United Kingdom.

First Registered by the AKC: 1997

AKC Group: Terrier Group

Class: Terrier

Registries: AKC, FCI (Group 9), KC (GB), UKC