Breed Information Centre

Parson Russell Terrier


Illustration of Parson Russell Terrier

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 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).

Breed Group
Vulnerable Native Breed
How much exercise?
Up to 1 hour per day
Length of coat
How much grooming?
Once a week
Supposedly sheds? *
Town or Country
Type of home
Small House
Minimum Garden Size
Over 12 Years

* If you are asthmatic or have an allergy, you should consult your medical advisor before considering obtaining a dog. More information can also be found on the Kennel Club website.

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.

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