Parson Russell Terrier

The Parson Russell Terrier is an active dog breed that was originally bred for hunting. Most of its history is closely intertwined with the Jack Russell Terrier. It is an active breed that loves being a part of active, adventurous families that can provide them with different activities they will adore.

The Parson Russell Terriers are often called just “Parsons” or “PRT”. They are typical Terriers with a strong prey drive, so make sure that they are not around small animals they can consider prey. These active dogs will make great hiking, jogging, or cycling partners that will have loads of energy and will never get tired or bored with your ideas.

Parson Russell Terrier Height


13-14 in (33–36 cm)

Parson Russell Terrier Weight


13-17 lb (6–8 kg)

Parson Russell Terrier Origin


Great Britain

Parson Russell Terrier Life Expectancy

Life Expectancy:

13-15 years

Breed History

The history of the Parson Russell Terrier begins with the history of the Jack Russell Terrier. The breed was created by the Reverand John “Jack” Russell who aside from being a theologist, was also a passionate hunter who loved hunting with dogs.

The official story says that one day in 1815, John Russell was strolling along the banks of the River Cherwell where he encountered a beautiful female Terrier. That dog’s name was funny enough - Trump. It is said that he was so fascinated with that dog that he had to have her so he decided to buy her off her owner.

That female Terrier was the foundation that John Russell used for the new breed. He started actively breeding dogs with the goal of endurance and feistiness. After the Reverend’s death, the two breeds started to diverge. Jack Russell Terrier and the Parson Russell Terrier are now registered as two separate breeds and the biggest difference between them is the length of their legs.

Dog Breed Characteristics

Energy Level
Grooming Needs
Exercise Needs
Kid Friendly
Dog Friendly
General Health

The Parson Russell Terriers’ characteristics are that of a small working Terrier. They are built for stamina and endurance. They give the impression of flexibility and that of a well-balanced dog. These dogs should have almond-shaped eyes and V-shaped ears that are in proportion to the rest of their body. Their backs should be strong and flexible and their chests should be moderately deep. The tail of the Parson Russell should be of medium length and straight.

Parson Russell Terrier standard


  • Group 3 (Terriers), Section 1 (Large and medium-sized Terriers).
  • height - males 14,2 in (36 cm), females 13 in (33 cm)
  • date of acceptance - 6/4/2001


  • Terrier Group
  • height - male 14 in (35,5 cm), females 13 in (33 cm)
  • weight- 13-17 lbs (6-8 kg)
  • year of acceptance - 1997

parson russell

Coat and grooming

The coat of the Parson Russell Terrier comes in two varieties - the smooth and the broken. Both varieties have coarse hair but the broken variety is usually a bit longer, with highlighted “mustache and beard” and eyebrows. It can come in white, white and tan, or with black or lemon markings.

The grooming of a Parson Russell Terrier is not particularly complicated. They are heavy shedders and brushing them a couple of times a week is a must. Make sure you clean your puppy’s teeth and check their ears regularly. They are active and most of the time they will ear their nails down naturally while running. However, make sure you regularly check their feet, paws, and pads for redness, tears, or signs of infection.


Just as you might expect from any Terrier breed, the Parson Russell’s temperament is strong and curious. These dogs are naturally playful and if they are well socialized, they will not only be playful with you but with other dogs as well. These dogs are brave, friendly, active, alert, and love exploring their surroundings.

Parson Russell and kids

Parson Russell Terriers are usually good with kids, especially with the older ones. It is important that children who approach this dog understand how to handle and interact with it because these dogs do not like being bothered or handled roughly. Younger kids often do not understand that and if this dog feels threatened, it can bite.

parson russell terrier

Training and socialization

The training of your Parson Russell should play a big part in their life. Such active dogs must have enough daily activities - both physical and mental. Make sure you train them using positive training methods. Keep the training sessions short and interesting, and make sure you include plenty of praise and treats.

Parson Russell Terrier should be properly socialized and that process should start as early as possible. This is a breed with a dominant character and high prey drive so you will have to make sure that they learn proper behavior as soon as possible. Take your dog to playdates or busy parks where they can encounter different sights, sounds, dogs, and people. Make sure it is a positive experience for them and that way your Parson will learn social rules and proper, good behavior.

Health issues

This is generally a healthy breed but like any other dog breed, it is prone to certain health issues. That doesn’t mean your Parson will suffer from any of these problems, it is just a good idea that you are aware of them if you own or you are thinking of getting a Parson Russell. Potential issues include Heritable Ataxia, Primary Lens Luxation, Patella Luxation, and Congenital Deafness.


World Dog Finder team


Updated at11.05.2021.