Basics of Dog Breed: Parson Russell Terrier

Posted on April 10 2019

Basics of Dog Breed: Parson Russell Terrier-WOPET

The Parson Russell Terrier is a small working dog that is characterized by its toughness and hardiness. Lively, agile and well proportioned, it is cut for speed and long-term efforts. The Parson Russell Terrier is rather leggy and his chest is shallow. These specific points are among those that distinguish him from his close cousin, the  Jack Russell Terrier , who is a little more known to the general public. He is just a little taller. For the rest, it has the same characteristics. To know a dog adorable but who, with his natural wandering, does not necessarily correspond to the elderly. He is as gentle as he is full of energy and will be a perfect hunting companion. Its maintenance and diet are easy, its health very robust.

Race history

The Parson Russell Terrier comes straight from Britain, and from England more precisely. He owes part of his name to  Reverend John (Jack) Russell . The latter gives birth to this canine in 1795 on the side of Dartsmouth in Devon. The Parson Russell Terrier comes from exactly the same crosses as his mate the Jack Russell Terrier. With the difference that it is slightly bigger than its cousin.

Thus, it comes from a strain of Fox-Terriers. John Russell wanted a dog with the ability to go out and find the foxes in their den. This dog was very popular with hunters and riders. This is still the case since the end of the Second World War. The Federation Cynologique Internationale recognized the race definitively on June 4, 2001.

Physical characteristics

Its hair: rough by nature, flat, dense and tight, associated with a sufficiently provided undercoat. Its texture can be smooth or hard. All this gives it a great resistance to climatic conditions. Toilettée, the dress must keep a natural aspect.
Its color: totally white or predominantly white with black, tawny or lemon markings. These marks are ideally located on the head and the base of the tail.
Its head: wedge-shaped, relatively long and powerful. The skull is flat, moderately wide and narrowing gradually to the eyes. The stop is not very marked.
Its ears: V-shaped, falling forward, of adequate size with the head, with the end reaching the outer corner of the eye.
Its eyes : in almond, dark, displaying an expression of vivacity and intelligence.
Its body: well proportioned, slightly longer than the height of the withers to the ground. The back is strong and straight, the kidney strong and slightly curved, the chest shallow and the ribs well inclined back.
Its tail: of medium length, ideally straight, strong at its attachment and refined at the end, attached high and reach well raised in action (lower at rest). Shortened in the past.

Behavior with others

The Parson Russell Terrier is a dog awake, confident and happy . He is full of energy and boldness. Always inclined to work and persevering , he has all the qualities of a hunting dog and is particularly good at digging . It was for this task that he was selected. It is less common as a pet dog than its cousin, the Jack Russell Terrier, but the Parson Russell Terrier can also be a nice companion at home . Like the Jack Russell Terrier, he loves to play with children but can be a little abrupt.

His natural kindness helps him in this way. He is not necessarily hyperactive but needs to always have something to do. Although he is  independent , he does not appreciate loneliness . The trips do not bother at all. It is necessary to think to close his outside to avoid that this dog can flee . In addition, it is a dog very faithful to his master and his adoptive family. He will never be aggressive or even dangerous.


For this kind of active dog, it is recommended to teach him reminder and obedience at a very young age. The Parson Russell Terrier also has a dominant character, yet is endowed with remarkable intelligence and enthusiasm at work, which requires an education that is both firm and fair, without any balance of power.

Living conditions

Even though it has been very adaptable to urban life, the Parson Russell Terrier is primarily a born hunter who enjoys being able to move on natural terrain . He is therefore more of a country dog ​​than a town dog. The work and activity are its true purposes: keep cloistered between the 4 walls of an apartment all day would make it extremely unfortunate .

The Parson Russell Terrier is therefore for active people, who are often willing to take long walks in the countryside or in the woods.


Rustic and resistant dog , the Parson Russell Terrier does not fear the climatic conditions thanks to its dense dress. It has, moreover, a fairly solid health , since there is no particular predisposition associated with the breed. It will however watch his kneecap , very stressed during his long and intense efforts in hunting, as well as his eyes.

Maintenance and hygiene

The Parson Russell Terrier is not a dog with very difficult maintenance . In the smooth-hair variety, the moulting is almost permanent and the loss of hair too. This is to eliminate dead hair to preserve the natural appearance of the dog's dress.

It is recommended to brush the dog regularly using a picot rubber glove to remove dead hair. Grooming is not necessary, except possibly for the variety with hard coat that can be groomed 2 to 3 times a year. It is also not recommended to wash it too often so as not to alter the structure of its skin and its protective layer of sebum.


The Parson Russell Terrier diet should be adapted to its morphology and daily energy expenditure. He will be inclined to receive exclusively  industrial food . Whether it's  high quality pate or croquettes.

Physical activity

The Parson Russell Terrier needs a lot of exercise to spend and channel his energy. Simple daily walks are not enough for him. By his nature as a working dog, he needs to stay active . Activities such as agility can offer him all the sensations he is looking for. Of course, he is always up for a game of rodent hunting with his master.

Price and budget

The purchase price of a Parson Russell Terrier is between 700€ and 1200€.
The annual maintenance cost of a Parson Russell Terrier is between 950€ and 1000€.

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