Meet: The Parson Jack Russell Terrier

You’ve no doubt heard of a Jack Russell Terrier, but what about a Parson Jack Russell Terrier? What sets this breed apart from its more common cousin, and does it make a good pet? In this post, we’ll tell you all about it.


‘The’ Jack Russell was actually John Russell who was, as it happens, a parson. Not only that, but he was a big fan of hunting and, well, that’s what terrier breeds are for. At one point in the early 1800s, he purchased a dog which he regarded as the perfect hunting companion, and this dog became the progenitor of the Jack Russell line. But over the years, this line would split in two, with the Jack Russell Terrier with its short, smooth coat and short legs, and the Parson Russell Terrier (or Parson Jack Russell) having a longer, curlier coat and much longer legs. In the late 1800s, the Parson Russell Terrier was used for digging out badger sets, and it would take almost another century for the breed to be recognised as a separate line to the Jack Russell.


As mentioned, these dogs have noticeably longer legs than their Jack Russell cousins, and a longer coat too, that is often wiry and curly. They are nearly completely white, though it’s very common for them to have black or tan patches, especially over their eyes. 


These are not shy dogs and typically adore people and other canines. They have an enormous amount of energy when it comes to greeting and making a fuss over guests, whether they’re on two legs or four. They’re good with children too, though their boisterous enthusiasm can make them a  bit of a handful around babies and toddlers. They are real talkers too, typically, and will often sulk if no-one wants to make them the centre of attention. Oh, and those jaws will rip through most toys (thanks to their hunter instincts) so unless you want to be buying them new toys every day, stick to strong and solidly made things.


A Parson Jack Russell Terrier needs at the very least an hour of good exercise a day, though 90 minutes will give you a far more docile animal when it gets home. They love tearing around and having a run, and their strong jaws make it a determined tug-o-war challenger. 

To keep those hard working jaws in good shape, why not pick up some delicious dental chews today?

1 thought on “Meet: The Parson Jack Russell Terrier”

  1. Great article about the Parson Jack Russell! It captures this unique little dog, very well. I got mine as a rescue dog – I think his previous owners probably found him a bit much to cope with: very very strong will so difficult to get him to do anything I want him to do. Also, they do like to bark rather a lot and if visitors come round, they better be dog lovers or they will find him a bit of a pest! However they are so good looking and so affectionate that you will forgive them everything! So thanks again for the article- I never knew this breed existed until I found him at the Blue Cross and I’m so glad I did.


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