Jack Russell Terrier

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The Parson Russell Terrier (sometimes also called the Parson Jack Russell Terrier) is a taller and more heavily boned animal than the dog referred to as the Jack Russell Terrier, his height being 12? to 15? with 13? considered ideal for bitches and 14? ideal for dogs. He also has a slightly different head with not so much stop as the typical Jack Russell Terrier and the length from nose to stop slightly shorter than from stop to occiput. In temperament the two dog frequently differ as the Parson Russell Terrier was, and continues to be, bred to BOLT and not to KILL. He is also bred to work with other dogs, including Fox Hounds and other terriers, as well as to remain steady with horses and people. He is not given to being a ?hard? dog or to ?riotous behavior? which John Russell specifically condemned. Woe be to the terrier that killed the fox and thus ended the days sport!Intelligence: Extremely intelligent and with powers of reasoning that are sometimes amazing to those unfamiliar with the breed, The Parson Russell Terrier is a bright and engaging companion, whether for work, home or show. He is bold and friendly and while he enjoys a regular routine, as a typical working terrier, he is always up for the unexpected. They are loyal companions and make very good watchdogs as they will alert the house to odd events, while learning which ordinary ones do not require their (and your) attention. They will certainly bark but they are not given to being ?yappy? without cause. They DO require both mental and physical exercise and a bored Parson WILL find ways to entertain himself, not always good ones.Energy: Parson Russell Terriers are high-energy dogs and excel in events requiring action. They can and are trained as Obedience dogs and make excellent Therapy dogs but they are simply fantastic Agility and Flyball dogs. And it goes without saying that they are wonderful hunters, although hunting to hounds is not an activity where they are employed as often now as they once were. Recognition by the Kennel Club certainly secured the survival of the breed while the future of hunting and the working of dogs seems to hang in the balance. Most Parsons? are food motivated but often a toy, such as a ball, makes as good a motivator. A secure, fenced play area is a necessity for most people owning one of these dogs. Remember, this dog was BRED to bark and to dig so make sure your fence has a good terrier-proof base. It is also a good idea to provide the dog with an area where he can be ENCOURAGED to dig.


"The Parson" in terrier circles means only one man. John Russell was born in Dartmouth, South Devon on December 12th 1795 of a fox hunting family and as a man of his class and time, it was inevitable that he should develop a passion for hunting himself. To say he was well known in the hunting fraternity would be a vast understatement.The Parson Russell Terrier and the modern Fox Terriers are all descended from the foxing terriers of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Indeed, John Russell was one of the breeders to first take the Fox Terrier into the Kennel club. However, he kept on with his breeding program with a clear purpose in mind until he had and developed a dog whose distinctive characteristics enabled them to be known, in his own time, as Parson Russell Terriers. It is almost impossible to find documented pedigrees of before 1860, but we do know, that John Russell acquired Trump, said to be his ?ideal terrier?, in the spring of 1819. She is described as the size of a full-grown vixen fox, this fox being the genus Vulpus Vulpus, standing 14? and weighing 12 to 15 pounds (the ?dog? fox being slightly larger).These terriers were essentially practical in their function, their white color distinguished them in the field, their conformation and height giving them flexibility and their harsh, double coats withstanding exposure to wind and weather. By the time of the Parson's death in 1883, three recognizable types of white working fox terriers were in evidence:1)The Fox Terrier, smooth and wire coated,2)Cross-bred white hunt terriers, indiscriminate in size, referred to as Russells, but without necessarily the length of leg or temperament of the Parson's dogs and often used for Badger digging,3)The older type of foxing terrier, the Parson Russell Terrier, which had been recognized and bred true to type, throughout his long life, by the Parson himself.

Country of origin: 
At the withers, Dogs - 36cms (14"); Bitches - 33cms (13"). 2.5cms (1") above or below the ideal is acceptable. The Parson is well balanced with the overall length (point of shoulder to point of hip) slightly longer than height from the withers to ground.

Types:ÿ Parson Russell Terriers are seen with 3 distinct coat types: smooth, broken and rough. All of these coats must be naturally harsh, close and dense double coats. Belly and undersides are coated. The skin must be thick and loose to allow for being grabbed by prey without serious damage to the dog.Shedding:ÿ Smooth dogs shed more than brokens and roughs shed very little ? but they DO shed.Grooming: ÿParson Russells are the original ?wash and wear? dogs. Their coats, all types, tend to shed dirt easily. Even a very dirty earth worker will come in for a nap, stand up and shake and have all the mud fall out of his coat, which will be it?s normal shining white underneath. Dogs should not be bathed frequently as this leads to dry skin and more shedding. A good brushing with a harsh brush or ?terrier pad? will give a healthy, shiny coat and less shedding. Broken and rough coated dogs that are shown are ?stripped? by hand, meaning the loose guard hairs are removed when they are ready by gentle ?plucking? between thumb and forefinger.Color:ÿ ÿThe coat is either entirely white or predominately white with tan, lemon, or black markings, or any combination of these colors, preferably confined to the head and/or root of tail. Ticking is permitted. Eyes should be dark and almond shaped and the nose completely black.

Common ailments: 

The Parson Russell Terrier is overall a healthy dog. As with any mostly white dog, deafness is not unheard of and all breeding stock should be BAER (Brain Auditory Evoked Response) tested for normal hearing. This test needs only be performed once. Also, some lines suffer from Juvenile Cataracts and Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) so all breeding stock should be CERF (Canine Eye Registry Foundation) tested for normal eyesight. This is done annually. Luxating Patella?s are sometimes seen so a licensed veterinarian should also perform a patella exam.


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Information supplied by: 

Laura Salomon - Dalwhinnie Farm