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Parson Russell Terrier:Key Characteristics of Parson Russell Terrier Dog Breed

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About Parson Russell Terrier

Country of Origin, History of Parson Russell Terriers

The Parson Russell Terrier has descended from the 18th century white-bodied fox-working Terriers used in the hunt field. It was once listed as Jack Russell Terrier - until the 1980s.

They were actively bred by Revered John Russell from 1819. By the 1850s they were recognized as a distinct type of Fox Terrier.

It was only in 1990, though, that the Parson Jack Russell Terrier was recognized as a separate breed.

In 1999, the name got changed to Parson Russell Terrier. The AKC recognized it in 2003 and the UKC recognized it in 2008.

Parson Russell Terrier Tools

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Parson Russell Terrier Calorie Calculator

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This breed is small, rugged, well-balanced, compact, flexible and athletic dog. White (at least 51%) with reddish black, tan, or brown markings, especially in the head and tail. The skull is flat between the ears, then tapering. The nose is black and the almond-shaped eyes are dark. The v-shaped button ears fold forward. The docked tail is carried gaily and set fairly high.


Comes in smooth, broken, and wire-haired varieties. The broken coat is a cross of rough and smooth coat - long body hair, a slightly fuzzy face and a smooth head.

Height: 12-14 inches (31-36 cm)

Weight: 14-18 pounds (6-8 kg)

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Parson Russell Terrier Personality Traits

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Temperament of the Breed

The Parson Russell Terrier is a perky, alert, bold, energetic, intelligent, willful, determined, spirited, careful, amusing, playful, obedient, fearless, merry, devoted, and loving dog. They are friendly and generally kind to children. The Parson Russell can be aggressive with other dogs if not well trained and socialized. They have strong hunting instincts and should not be trusted with other small animals. They like to chase, explore, bark, climb, jump and dig.

Living Conditions

The Parson Russell Terrier will do okay in an apartment if it is sufficiently exercised. They are very active indoors and will do best with at least an average-sized yard. If the Parson is kept in an apartment, the dog should have a person home with it during the day unless the dog is crate trained. If leaving the Parson home all day while one works, leaving a radio or TV on and/or having a playmate for your Terrier is suggested, as the Parsons are very social creatures.


They need to be taken on a long, daily, brisk walk. In addition, he will be in his glory with space to run, hunt and play. The owner better expect to get some exercise or be pestered to death for belly rubs and tug of war games when he/she gets home. They can be slightly difficult to train and need a firm, experienced trainer. Be careful not to let them off the lead unless they are very well trained. They tend to get restless and destructive if not kept fruitfully occupied and well exercised. Many dogs of this breed excel in activities such as obedience, agility, conformation, and earthdog.

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Comb and brush regularly with a firm bristle brush, and bathe only when necessary. To show, owners must strip the coat. Like the rough coat, the broken coated Parson needs to be stripped out also.

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Free Parson Russell Terrier Training Secrets

Free Course on Parson Russell Terrier Training & Obedience
Stop All Bad Behavior, Excessive Barking and Biting

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Health and Care

While the SWD seems to be a very healthy breed there are some issues that the SWD have, just like all other breeds. There are cases of Hip Dysplasia in the breed, so choose your breeder carefully.

All breeding dogs should have their hips tested, either by OFA or PennHIP. There have been a few cases of PRA reported in Europe so it is advised that all breeders should test their breeding stock for PRA and other such genetic eye diseases with a yearly CERF exam. A responsible breeder will be able to produce the results in writing.

Like other Water Dogs and related breeds, they grow hair in their ear canals and can be prone to ear infections. The ears must be kept dry and clean. . Because these dogs are (as a general rule) so active and energetic as puppies, they may seriously injure themselves from too much running and jumping when their skeletal structure is still developing.

National Breed Clubs

Breed Club:

Rescue Link:

Group: Terrier Group.

AKC Popularity Ranking: 117

Also Known As: Parson Jack Russell Terrier, Hunt Terrier.

Train Your Parson Russell Terrier To Listen To You

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Whereas other dog training related web sites and books offer generic information for dogs in general, ours is the ONLY web site that offers Parson Russell information specifically, from a renowned panel of experts - because as you probably know, Parson Russells have their own special training requirements that other dogs don't have.

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Our Dog Experts

The Parson Russell Terrier training information you will read here was developed by a panel of renowned dog training experts whose combined wisdom represents nearly 100 years of specialist experience training dogs.

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