The Parson Russell Terrier is a relatively small, active and lively terrier. They have fairly long legs, which were ideal for keeping up with the horses; but their body is shaped to allow them to be able to get into small spaces. They are white or mainly white in colour with tan, lemon or black markings (normally seen on the head or tail). Adult males measure about 36cm and adult females 33cm. They weigh approximately 5-8kg.
The Parson Russell Terrier dog breed was developed and established in the 18th century in Devon by the Reverend John Russell. John Russell was born into a fox hunting family in 1795. He wanted a dog that could keep up with the horses, run with the hounds and was small enough to flush the foxes from their dens. While studying at Oxford he saw, and bought, the perfect dog for his purposes, belonging to the milkman. It is thought that this was the first dog to be known as a Jack Russell. During his time as a clergyman, John Russell devoted himself to both the church and breeding terriers suitable for fox hunting.
In general the Parson Jack Russell Terrier is a friendly, devoted and affectionate dog with lots of personality. They can make good pets for the active family and must be socialised from an early age especially with cats and other dogs. Gardeners will soon discover that digging is one of this dog's favourite pastimes!
The Parson Russell Terrier is generally a hardy breed, like most terriers. As with many breeds, they can suffer from hereditary eye disorders, and so eye testing is recommended.
This dog, being an active little terrier, should have lots of exercise. They like nothing better than a long walk where they can get off the lead and can pick up a scent. Do work hard on a reliable recall before letting him off-lead, as the Parson Russell Terrier is prone to 'selective deafness'!
Small dogs have a fast metabolism, meaning they burn energy at a high rate, although their small stomachs mean that they must eat little and often. Small-breed foods are specifically designed with appropriate levels of key nutrients and smaller kibble sizes to suit smaller mouths. This also encourages chewing and improves digestion.
The Parson Russell Terrier can be rough, broken or smooth-coated, with a dense undercoat. Stripping is usually necessary at least twice a year, with the dead hairs being hand plucked. The breeder should give full instructions on what is required. A weekly brush through is also necessary.