Parson Russell Terrier
(AKC Terrier Group) (formerly Jack Russell Terrier)
Parson Russell Terrier

This small, compact, athletic dog looks like a less refined, working Fox Terrier. It is slightly taller than long, of medium bone. The double coat comes in white, or predominately white with black, tan, or black and tan markings. Markings tend to be on the head and tail. The skull is flat between the ears, then tapers slightly. The stop is defined, but not abrupt. The nose is black and the almond-shaped eyes dark. The V-shaped ears fold forward. The teeth should meet in a scissors bite. The feet are round and catlike. The Parson Russell has a flexible body and fairly small chest (easily spanned by the average man's hands) to enable him to go to ground after his prey. The tail is carried gaily, but not over the back, and is set fairly high. Comes in smooth and broken coated varieties.


NOTE: The AKC changed the name of this breed from Jack Russell Terrier to Parson Russell Terrier in April 2003.

Developed in nineteenth-century England by Parson John Russell, this feisty little terrier was used to hunt small game, particularly fox, by digging the quarry out of its den. Breeders have emphasized working ability, so physical characteristics vary, encompassing a wide range of accepted body types. On English hunts, they were supposed to be long-legged enough to keep up with the hounds. Later, short-legged Jack Russells became very popular, but controversial, as they are not according to the AKC or JRTCA breed standards. This energetic and playful terrier makes a good family companion.

Key Facts:



Perky, spirited, and loving. Absolutely fearless. Cheerful, clever, and amusing. Enjoys games and playing with toys. Friendly and generally kind to children who have been trained not to tease or strike the dog. Intelligent, yet willful and determined. Needs firm, experienced training. Can be aggressive with other dogs if not well trained and socialized. Some have killed or been killed in dogfights. Early socialization can help substantially moderate this trait. Strong hunting instinct—do not trust with small animals.