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  • Temperament: Friendly, Clever, Athletic
  • AKC Breed Popularity: Ranks 109 of 192
  • Height: 14 inches (male), 13 inches (female)
  • Weight: 13-17 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 13-15 years
  • Group: Terrier Group

    The AKC has grouped all of the breeds that it registers into seven categories, or groups, roughly based on function and heritage. Breeds are grouped together because they share traits of form and function or a common heritage.

Parson Russell Terrier standing in three-quarter view
Parson Russell Terrier head and shoulders in three-quarter view
Parson Russell Terrier

Find a Puppy: Parson Russell Terrier

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GENERAL APPEARANCE

To function as a working terrier, he must possess certain characteristics: a ready attitude, alert and confident; balance in height and length; medium in size and bone, suggesting strength and endurance. Important to breed type is a natural appearance: harsh, weatherproof coat with a compact construction and clean silhouette. The coat is broken or smooth. He has a small, flexible chest to enable him to pursue his quarry underground and sufficient length of leg to follow the hounds.

HEAD

Head is strong and in good proportion to the rest of the body, so the appearance of balance is maintained. Expression – Keen, direct, full of life and intelligence. Eyes -Almond shaped, dark in color, moderate in size, not protruding. Dark rims are desirable, however where the coat surrounding the eye is white, the eye rim may be pink. Ears -Small “V”- shaped drop ears of moderate thickness carried forward close to the head with the tip so as to cover the orifice and pointing toward the eye. Fold is level with the top of the skull or slightly above. When alert, ear tips do not extend below the corner of the eye.

NECK, BODY, TOPLINE

Neck – Clean and muscular, moderately arched, of fair length, gradually widening so as to blend well into the shoulders. Topline – Strong, straight, and level in motion, the loin of moderate length. Body – In overall length to height proportion, the dog appears approximately square and balanced. The back is neither short nor long. The back gives no appearance of slackness but is laterally flexible, so that he may turn around in an earth. Tuck-up is moderate. Chest: Narrow and of moderate depth, giving an athletic rather than heavily-chested appearance; must be flexible and compressible. The ribs are fairly well sprung, oval rather than round, not extending past the level of the elbow.

FOREQUARTERS

Shoulders – Long and sloping, well laid back, cleanly cut at the withers. Point of shoulder sits in a plane behind the point of the prosternum. The shoulder blade and upper arm are of approximately the same length; forelegs are placed well under the dog. Elbows hang perpendicular to the body, working free of the sides. Legs are strong and straight with good bone. Joints turn neither in nor out. Pasterns firm and nearly straight. Feet – Round, cat-like, very compact, the pads thick and tough, the toes moderately arched pointing forward, turned neither in nor out. Fault – Hare feet.

HINDQUARTERS

Strong and muscular, smoothly molded, with good angulation and bend of stifle. Hocks near the ground, parallel, and driving in action. Feet as in front.

COAT

Smooth and Broken: Whether smooth or broken, a double coat of good sheen, naturally harsh, close and dense, straight with no suggestion of kink. There is a clear outline with only a hint of eyebrows and beard if natural to the coat. No sculptured furnishings. The terrier is shown in his natural appearance not excessively groomed. Sculpturing is to be severely penalized. Faults – Soft, silky, woolly, or curly topcoat. Lacking undercoat. Excessive grooming and sculpturing.

TAIL

Docked so the tip is approximately level to the skull. Set on not too high, but so that a level topline, with a very slight arch over the loin, is maintained. Carried gaily when in motion, but when baiting or at rest may be held level but not below the horizontal. Faults – Chest not spannable or shallow; barrel ribs. Tail set low or carried low to or over the back, i.e. squirrel tail.

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Parson Russell Terrier

About the Parson Russell Terrier

PRTs stand 12–15 inches at the shoulder, and weigh 13–17 pounds when in peak condition. Their intelligent expression, mostly white coat, and beautifully balanced body give PRTs the adorable looks of a plush toy come to life. But don’t be fooled by all that cuteness—PRTs are tough little guys built for England’s traditional sport of foxhunting. They’re fast enough to follow the hounds and fearless enough to dig into the ground and flush a fox from his lair.

National Breed Clubs and Rescue

Want to connect with other people who love the same breed as much as you do? We have plenty of opportunities to get involved in your local community, thanks to AKC Breed Clubs located in every state, and more than 450 AKC Rescue Network groups across the country.
Parson Russell Terrier

Find a Puppy: Parson Russell Terrier

AKC Marketplace | PuppyFinder

AKC Marketplace is the only site to exclusively list 100% AKC puppies from AKC-Registered litters and the breeders who have cared for and raised these puppies are required to follow rules and regulations established by the AKC.
Find Parson Russell Terrier Puppies

Care

NUTRITION

The Parson Russell Terrier should do well on a high-quality dog food, whether commercially manufactured or home-prepared with your veterinarian’s supervision and approval. Any diet should be appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior). Some dogs are prone to getting overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.

GROOMING

The Parson Russell Terrier has two coat types: smooth and broken (rough). Both require regular brushing—the smooth with a thick brush or hound glove, and the rough with a pin or slicker brush. Rough coats will require plucking or clipping to avoid matting of the longer hairs. A monthly bath should be sufficient, unless the Parson follows his nature and ends up digging in the mud. The Parson’s nails should be trimmed monthly and his ears checked weekly for debris or excess wax, and cleaned as needed.

Grooming Frequency

Occasional Bath/Brush
Specialty/Professional
Weekly Brushing

Shedding

Infrequent
Frequent
Occasional

EXERCISE

Parson Russell Terriers are playful, affectionate, fun-loving companions. They have a great zest for life and are always ready to join in activities. They are also high-energy terriers with powerful hunting instincts—with their strong prey drive, keeping them on leash during outings is recommended, rather than letting them run loose, where the urge to go off on a chase may be irresistible. An ideal day for a pet Parson would include a long walk in the woods, where he could explore every hole and sniff every tree trunk. Exercise can also consist of play sessions in the backyard. A Parson is the dog for someone who is fairly active. He will not be satisfied to lie alone in the corner for long periods of time.

Energy Level

Couch Potato
Needs Lots of Activity
Needs Lots of Activity

TRAINING

Training the Parson Russell Terrier requires consistency, a gentle voice, and a great sense of humor. Smart, energetic, happy-go-lucky little dogs, they get bored easily, so training sessions must be kept fun and interesting. Positive training methods focused on giving praise and rewards for desired behavior yield the best results. The Parson Russell is a great choice for canine sports that require agility, speed, and intelligence. If properly socialized, he is wonderful with children, but he will not tolerate abuse.

Trainability

May be Stubborn
Eager to Please
Agreeable

Temperament/Demeanor

Aloof/Wary
Outgoing
Friendly

HEALTH

By far the majority of Parsons are very healthy dogs, and responsible breeders screen their stock for health conditions such as patellar luxation (loose kneecaps), congenital deafness, late onset ataxia, spinocerebellar ataxia, and certain eye disorders. Puppy buyers should always as for certification of screenings performed on a litter’s sire and dam.

Recommended Health Test from the National Breed Club:

  • Ophthalmologist Evaluation
  • Patella Evaluation
  • BAER Testing

Read the Official Breed Club Health Statement.

Parson Russell Terrier
Parson Russell Terrier
Parson Russell Terrier
Parson Russell Terrier
Parson Russell Terrier

History

The PRT was developed in the south of England in the 1800s to pursue fox both above and below the ground. The breed was named for Reverend John “The Sporting Parson” Russell, who had two passions in life: his ministry and his hunting dogs. His terriers were bred to work together with foxhounds in pursuit of the clever fox. Russell created them to be independent problem solvers, and to this day PRTs can have their own ideas about how to go about things.

Did You Know?

The Parson Russell Terrier is AKC's 145th breed.
The breed got its name from the most renowned of British huntsman, Reverend John Russell, "The Sporting Parson," whose passion for fox hunting, hounds, and working terriers is legendary.
After John Russell's death, the name "Jack Russell" was misused to describe all mix and manner of working and hunt terriers, many of which bore little, if any, similarity to Russell's own terriers.
The Parson Russell Terrier was first bred in the south of England in the mid-1800s to hunt European red fox, both over and underground, for the sport of kings.
Arthur Heinemann, who founded the Parson Jack Russell Terrier Club in 1914, drafted the first Jack Russell breed standard in 1904.
To date, the Parson Jack Russell has been recognized under the F.C.I. umbrella by news in Germany, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Italy, South Africa, and Australia.

The Breed Standard

GENERAL APPEARANCE

To function as a working terrier, he must possess certain characteristics: a ready attitude, alert and confident; balance in height and length; medium in size and bone, suggesting strength and endurance. Important to breed type is a natural appearance: harsh, weatherproof coat with a compact construction and clean silhouette. The coat is broken or smooth. He has a small, flexible chest to enable him to pursue his quarry underground and sufficient length of leg to follow the hounds.

HEAD

Head is strong and in good proportion to the rest of the body, so the appearance of balance is maintained. Expression – Keen, direct, full of life and intelligence. Eyes -Almond shaped, dark in color, moderate in size, not protruding. Dark rims are desirable, however where the coat surrounding the eye is white, the eye rim may be pink. Ears -Small “V”- shaped drop ears of moderate thickness carried forward close to the head with the tip so as to cover the orifice and pointing toward the eye. Fold is level with the top of the skull or slightly above. When alert, ear tips do not extend below the corner of the eye.

NECK, BODY, TOPLINE

Neck – Clean and muscular, moderately arched, of fair length, gradually widening so as to blend well into the shoulders. Topline – Strong, straight, and level in motion, the loin of moderate length. Body – In overall length to height proportion, the dog appears approximately square and balanced. The back is neither short nor long. The back gives no appearance of slackness but is laterally flexible, so that he may turn around in an earth. Tuck-up is moderate. Chest: Narrow and of moderate depth, giving an athletic rather than heavily-chested appearance; must be flexible and compressible. The ribs are fairly well sprung, oval rather than round, not extending past the level of the elbow.

FOREQUARTERS

Shoulders – Long and sloping, well laid back, cleanly cut at the withers. Point of shoulder sits in a plane behind the point of the prosternum. The shoulder blade and upper arm are of approximately the same length; forelegs are placed well under the dog. Elbows hang perpendicular to the body, working free of the sides. Legs are strong and straight with good bone. Joints turn neither in nor out. Pasterns firm and nearly straight. Feet – Round, cat-like, very compact, the pads thick and tough, the toes moderately arched pointing forward, turned neither in nor out. Fault – Hare feet.

HINDQUARTERS

Strong and muscular, smoothly molded, with good angulation and bend of stifle. Hocks near the ground, parallel, and driving in action. Feet as in front.

COAT

Smooth and Broken: Whether smooth or broken, a double coat of good sheen, naturally harsh, close and dense, straight with no suggestion of kink. There is a clear outline with only a hint of eyebrows and beard if natural to the coat. No sculptured furnishings. The terrier is shown in his natural appearance not excessively groomed. Sculpturing is to be severely penalized. Faults – Soft, silky, woolly, or curly topcoat. Lacking undercoat. Excessive grooming and sculpturing.

TAIL

Docked so the tip is approximately level to the skull. Set on not too high, but so that a level topline, with a very slight arch over the loin, is maintained. Carried gaily when in motion, but when baiting or at rest may be held level but not below the horizontal. Faults – Chest not spannable or shallow; barrel ribs. Tail set low or carried low to or over the back, i.e. squirrel tail.

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Parson Russell Terrier

Colors & Markings

Colors

Description Standard Colors Registration Code
White Check Mark For Standard Color 199

Markings

Description Standard Markings Registration Code
Black Markings Check Mark For Standard Mark 002
Brown Markings Check Mark For Standard Mark 022
Cream Markings Check Mark For Standard Mark 044
Tan Markings Check Mark For Standard Mark 012
Tri Color Markings Check Mark For Standard Mark 024
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