Parson Russell Terrier illustration
Terrier

Parson Russell Terrier

Small, racy with great stamina, part of the legacy of Rev John Russell

Breed characteristics

Size
Small
Exercise
Up to 1 hour per day
Size of home
Small house
Grooming
Once a week
Coat length
Short
Sheds
Yes
Lifespan
Over 12 years
Vulnerable native breed
No
Town or country
Either
Size of garden
Small/ medium garden

About this breed

The Parson Russell Terrier takes its name from the Reverend John Russell, a hunting clergyman, who inherited his interest in hunting and terriers from his father.

In 1819, John Russell bought Trump, a white bodied terrier with head and tail markings who sired a legacy of sporting terriers, and is regarded as the founder of the breed. The Parson Russell Terrier was bred to go to ground and was often used as the earth dog for badger or fox. It is said that he had to be a handy size to go to ground, but also had to possess stamina and be sufficiently racy to keep up with hounds. Devotees of the breed formed clubs, kept their own registry with recorded pedigrees and ran their shows outside The Kennel Club's jurisdiction. However, some fanciers of the breed who wanted to join with The Kennel Club split away, and in 1983 drew up a breed standard based on that of Arthur Heinemann, who had been a disciple of the Reverend John Russell. The new club stated as its aim the promotion of the “genuine Jack Russell”.

The Breed was formally recognised by The Kennel Club in 1990 as the Parson Jack Russell Terrier. However, in 1999, the breed name was changed to the Parson Russell Terrier to differentiate the two breeds. The Parson Russell is now well established in the show ring and retains its working abilities as a ‘fox’ terrier (see also Jack Russell Terrier).

Read the breed standard

Images for this breed

The Terrier breed group

Dogs originally bred and used for hunting vermin. 'Terrier' comes from the Latin word Terra, meaning earth. This hardy collection of dogs were selectively bred to be extremely brave and tough, and to pursue fox, badger, rat and otter (to name but a few) above and below ground. Dogs of terrier type have been known here since ancient times, and as early as the Middle Ages, these game breeds were portrayed by writers and painters.

 

Breed standard colours

Breed standard colour means that the colour is accepted within the breed standard and is a traditional and well-known colour in this breed.

Breed standard colours in this breed include:

  • Black & White
  • Lemon & White
  • Lemon Tan & White
  • Tan & White
  • Tricolour
  • White
  • White & Tan
  • White Black & Tan

Other colour/s

'Other' means you consider your puppy to be a colour not currently known within the breed and one that does not appear on either the breed standard or non-breed standard list. In this instance you would be directed through our registrations process to contact a breed club and/or council to support you on identifying and correctly listing the new colour.

Non-breed-standard colours

Non-breed-standard colour means that the colour is not accepted within the breed standard and whilst some dogs within the breed may be this colour it is advised to only select a dog that fits within the breed standards for all points.

Colour is only one consideration when picking a breed or individual dog, health and temperament should always be a priority over colour.

Health

Whether you’re thinking of buying a puppy, or breeding from your dog, it’s essential that you know what health issues may be found in your breed. To tackle these issues we advise that breeders use DNA tests, screening schemes and inbreeding coefficient calculators to help breed the healthiest dogs possible.

More about health

Priority health schemes and tests

The Kennel Club Assured Breeders must use the following schemes, tests and advice. All other breeders are strongly advised to also use these.

Important health schemes and tests

We strongly recommend that all breeders, both assured breeders (ABs) and non ABs, use the following schemes, tests and advice.

*CombiBreed - simple to use and easy to organise all-in-one DNA tests for breeders

The DNA tests listed above marked with an * are included in our CombiBreed health test package. This includes:

  • Late Onset Ataxia (LOA)
  • Spinocerebellar Ataxia (SCA)
  • Primary Lens Luxation (PLL)

As part of this package, all three of these tests are carried out from a single swab for a total of £135 (incl. VAT). Assured breeders receive a 10% discount (£121.50 incl. VAT).

Find out more about our CombiBreed health packages.

Find out about a particular dog's results

Please visit our Health Test Results Finder to discover the DNA or screening scheme test results for any dog on The Kennel Club's Breed Register.

You can also view the inbreeding coefficient calculation for a puppy's parents, or for a dog you're thinking of breeding from.

Have any questions about health in your breed?

If you have any concerns about a particular health condition in your breed then you may wish to speak to your vet or you could contact your breed health co-ordinator.

Breed health co-ordinators are individuals working on behalf of breed clubs and councils who are advocates for the health and welfare of their chosen breed. They acts as a spokesperson on matters of health and will collaborate with The Kennel Club on any health concerns the breed may have.

Contact the breed health co-ordinator for the Parsons Russell Terrier.

Breed watch

Category 1        

Currently no points of concern specific to this breed have been identified for special attention by judges, other than those covered routinely by The Kennel Club breed standard.

Read more about Breed Watch

Breeding restrictions

There are a number of The Kennel Club rules and regulations that may prevent a litter from being registered, find out about our general and breed specific breeding restrictions below.

More about breeding

There are not currently any additional breed specific restrictions in place for this breed.

More information

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