A well-trained Parson Russell Terrier is an amazing little dog, capable of learning an impressive range of tricks, which is why they have been a popular choice for film and television.
They used to be known as the Jack Russell Terrier in the USA. They are a strong, compact and well proportioned little dog with V-shaped ears that fold forward. Their harsh double coat comes in smooth and wire-haired and is mainly white with coloured markings.
Many small terriers are rat-catchers but the Parson Russell Terrier is more of a hunting hound named after the Reverend John Russell. They were used for flushing out small game such as foxes.
They are wilful, fearless and extremely intelligent. In the right hands they are cheerful, loving, friendly and can be trained to a very high level. In inexperienced hands, or if allowed to get bored, they may be destructive, aggressive and noisy. They can be trained to get along well with strangers, children and other animals although they have very strong hunting instincts, stronger than most terriers, so may not be trusted around small wildlife. They are an active dog indoors but need a lot of physical and mental exercise. Gardens need to be secure: they are excellent climbers, leapers and diggers.
Brushing, combing and occasional stripping keep their coat looking good. They can be prone to dislocation of the kneecaps, eye diseases, deafness and Legg Calve Perthes disease.
Watch our videos about some of the dog breeds in the Terrier group