Parson Russell Terrier

Parson Russell Terrier dog breed
What is the difference between the Parson Russell Terrier, the Russell Terrier and the Jack Russell Terrier? Photography ©Jozef Polc / Alamy Stock Photo.
Last Updated on August 10, 2021 by

Quick Facts

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The Look of a Parson Russell Terrier

Parson Russell Terriers have small, compact and athletic frames covered in smooth or broken coats. Both coat varieties are close and dense, and they usually come in white, white & tan, white & black or tri-colored. They have broad, flat heads with rectangular muzzles. Their small, V-shaped ears usually bend forward, and their dark eyes have an intelligent expression. Their tails are usually held high, but not over the back. Overall, the Parson Russell Terrier has a sturdy and balanced look.


  • Intelligent
  • Bold
  • Strong
  • Friendly
  • Independent

Ideal Human Companion

  • Experienced dog handlers
  • Active, sporty types
  • Families

What They Are Like to Live With

Full of zest and life, Parson Russell Terriers are athletic, friendly and bursting with energy. Not only are they perky and outgoing, they are also fiercely protective of their environments: Strangers approaching the house will most likely be greeted with lots of barking. With the proper focus and training, Parson Russell Terriers make excellent members of the family: loyal, loving and fun.

Things You Should Know

Parson Russell Terriers can live 15 years or longer. Common health issues include eye problems, dislocated kneecaps and joint problems. Both coat varieties are easy to groom: Brush your Parson Russell Terrier regularly and bathe when needed.

Parson Russell Terrier History

Parson Russell Terriers were developed several hundred years ago in southern England. Most likely a cross between the now-extinct Old English White Terrier and a black-and-tan terrier, the Parson Russell was bred to hunt foxes across the English countryside. Like the Jack Russell, the Parson Russell Terrier was named after the breeder Reverend John Russell.

Read more about the Parson Russell Terrier on Get to Know the Parson Russell Terrier: A Dog of Many Names

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