parson russell terrier in front of white background

Parson Russell Terrier

Breed Characteristics

Demand a lot of attention from their owners. Excellent watchdogs. Some individuals are shy. Not reliable off leash. Most dig and bark. An excellent climber and jumper. Need an owner experienced with both terrier and hunting dogs.

Is the Parson Russell Terrier approved as a pet in a Singapore HDB flat?



England, late 1800s. The Parson Russell Terrier originated in England in the 1800’s due to the efforts of the Reverend John Russell. He developed a strain of Fox Terriers to suit his needs for a dog to run with his foxhounds and go to ground to bolt the fox and other quarry from their dens. Two varieties evolved with basically similar breed standards except for differences, mainly in height and proportions. The taller, more squarely built dog is now known as the Parson Russell Terrier and the shorter, slightly longer proportioned dog, is known as the Jack Russell Terrier.

Original Purpose

Bred to follow red foxes, both over- and underground.

Behaviour and Temperament

Cheeky, outgoing, playful, independent, spunky, fearless.

What are some Physical Features of the Parson Russell Terrier?

31 to 38 cm; 5 to 7.5 kg. All colours permitted; most are white with black, tan, or brown markings.

Coat Type and Recommended Grooming

Two types: smooth and broken. Minimal grooming for the smooth, more for the broken coat. Professional grooming not necessary for smooth but is optional for the broken coat.

Life Expectancy of the Parson Russell Terrier

14 to 16 years.

Have a Parson Russell Terrier?

Health Concerns

This is a very healthy breed and has no unusual health problems. Some individuals may be prone to kneecap dislocation, Legg-Calvé-Perthes Disease.

Exercise Needs

Very high. Will get fat if not given sufficient exercise, and they need a tremendous amount of it. They will hunt, play, chase, and run around all day long.


Not suitable for apartments unless his rigorous exercise requirements are met. Can become restless and destructive if not sufficiently exercised. If a Parson Russell Terrier is to be left alone at home during the day, he should be well exercised before and after his alone stint at home.


Likes to play with kids but is not especially tolerant and will not stand teasing; if irritated, they will nip. Children should be taught not to tease the dog. Reserved with strangers. May show same-sex aggression; prefers other Parson Russells. Russell Terriers have strong hunting instincts, not to be trusted with other small animals.


Average; can learn quickly but tends to be independent-minded. Needs a firm and experienced trainer.

Recommended Activities

Hunting, earthdog trials, agility.