Parson Russell Terrier

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Is the Parson Russell Terrier right for you?

Species group:

Other name(s): Parson, PRT

The basics:
The Parson Russell Terrier is a high-energy dog developed to dig right down into a fox den to corner its prey without killling it-- a task that demands intelligence, energy, and a will to dig. If you think you've seen this dog before under a different name, maybe you have. In 2003, the AKC changed its name from Jack Russell Terrier to Parson Russell Terrier, but the new name only applies to the longer-legged dogs that meet the exacting Parson Russell breed standards.

By any name, this dog demands an active owner who loves to get out and exercise with a canine companion. A bored Parson Russell Terrier will put its energy into finding trouble and digging holes where you need them least.

Appearance / health:
The PRT is the long-legged version of the breed formerly known as the Jack Russell Terrier. He is a small dog with an approximately square, muscular, sturdy body; color is principally white, with patches of brown and black, frequently covering part of the face. The head should be nicely balanced, proportionate to the body; the skull is flat; moderate width at the ears and narrowing to the eyes; the stop should be defined but not abrupt; muzzle length from the nose to the stop is to be slightly shorter than from the stop to the occiput; the nose is black. The jaw is powerful, well-boned and the cheeks strongly muscled. Eyes are dark, almond-shaped, and intelligent; ears are dropped, small "V" shaped carried forward and close to the head; the mouth has strong teeth with the top slightly overlapping the bottom; both level and scissor bites are acceptable, though scissor is preferred. The tail is set high, but not carried over the back, and is typically cropped to about 4” long to provide for a good hand-hold. The Parson Russell Terrier has a flexible and the most critical physical characteristic of the PRT is that the chest should be fairly small and easily spanned by the hand of the average man.

The Parson Russell has a very easy-care coat, regardless of coat variety, requiring nothing more than regular brushing. He is a consistent, year-round shedder.

The Parson Russell Terrier is a enjoyable companion when he has been properly exercised; however if he doesn’t get enough exercise, he may well become a nuisance. He needs to be taken on a long, daily, brisk walk. Additionally, he will be magnificent with space to hunt, run and play.

The PRT is a long-lived breed that has managed to avoid most health problems because of a wide and strong gene pool which creates no need for excessive line breeding or inbreeding. That being said, their recent popularity increase has caused some lines to have some genetic health issues crop up. Those issues include:

  • Eye issues, including Primary Lens Luxation (“PLL”), which happens when the lens of the eye suddenly shifts out of place; this causes immediate and extreme pain and must be surgically corrected very quickly or permanent blindness will occur.
  • Luxating Patella
  • Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease
  • Ataxia
  • Myasthenia Gravis
  • Cryptorchidism (retained testicle(s))
  • Congenital Deafness

A test can be performed on puppies that are over the age of five (5) weeks to check for congenital deafness: the BAER (“Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response”) test. Check with your breeder to determine if your potential puppy has had this test performed.

Behavior / temperament:
This playful, energetic breed makes an exceptional companion for an equally playful, energetic family. The PRT is a lively, happy, loyal, and loving dog; he is brave to the point of absolute fearlessness. He is amusing, enjoys games and toys and is so very intelligent that if you let him take an inch, he will easily become willful and single-minded in his quest to take the entire mile. It is vital that you are his pack leader. If you are not smarter than he is, he will take over. He must to be given rules and limitations as to what he is and is not allowed to do, else he fall into “Small Dog Syndrome,” and develop the belief that he is pack leader to all humans. Allowing him to fall into “Small Dog Syndrome” will bring on a myriad of degrees of behavior problems which can include separation anxiety, obsessive parking, guarding, and even snappishness.

Be vigilant in not allowing him off the lead unless they are very well-trained as he loves to chase and will chase anything that moves with a single-mindedness that excludes him paying any attention to his own safety. The PRT has a significant tendency to become destructive, including digging, if not kept occupied and exercised. Be aware that PRT’s are very adept at climbing and jumping! He can climb over nearly any fence if bored or believes he has a good reason to climb over, and he can easily jump over five feet high. With an alpha and understanding pack leader, the PRT can really excel; however, if you do not understand what it truly means to be a ‘pack leader,’ the PRT is not recommended for you. While the breed has multiple wonderful characteristics, the Parson Russell Terrier is not a good breed choice for the inexperienced dog owner.

The PRT is rated high in learning rate, high in problem solving and low in obedience. They are very trainable with a firm trainer with experience in handling a willful-minded dog. Without a trainer who can show authority, the PRT can be very difficult to train.
Parson Russells like to bark.


strong energetic body, long walks, real family dog, clever dog, children friendly dog


big fenced yard, genetic epilepsy, barks, highenergy dogs, traditionally yappy breed


natural curiosity, gentle mouth, little stumpy legs, smooth short coat

Helpful Parson Russell Terrier Review

Parson Russell Terrier

From tinbee Jan 14 2014 12:00PM


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