Parson Russell Terrier

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Parson Russell Terrier
Parson Russell Terrier
FCI Standard No. 339
  • Group 3: Terriers
  • Section 1: Tall terriers
Origin :

Great Britain

Withers height:

Male : 34–38 cm.
Bitch: 31–35 cm

List of domestic dogs

The Parson Russell Terrier is an FCI recognized, predominantly white and high-legged British dog breed ( FCI Group 3, Section 1, Standard No. 339 ). Until 1999 these terriers were called Jack Russell Terriers or Parson Jack Russell Terriers, whereby the short-legged terriers of this type were also listed under these terms. In 1999 the English Kennel Club finally recognized the high-legged terriers of this type as a breed and approved a renaming to the Parson Russell Terrier. The FCI accepted this renaming when it recognized the breed in 2001. Breeding clubs that refuse recognition of this dog breed by the Kennel Club or the FCI and keep their own breed registers, such as the Jack Russell Terrier Club of Great Britain (JRTCGB) or the Jack Russell Terrier Club of America (JRTCA), designate both high and high short-legged terriers of this type called Jack Russell Terriers.

Origin and history

John Russell
Carlisle tack

John (nickname: Jack) Russell was an English pastor (English name: Parson) who died in 1883 at the age of 87. He was a passionate rider, hunter and dog breeder. For his passion, he spared neither expense nor reprimand from his church superiors. Despite high costs, he kept a pack of foxhounds . He bred Fox Terriers , which he used on horseback for fox hunting . The terriers from his kennel gained an excellent reputation, especially in terms of their hunting performance. Fox Terriers that came from his kennel or traced back to its lines were therefore called Jack Russell Terriers. Carlisle Tack (born 1884) was a Fox Terrier, whose ancestors go back to the terriers of John Russell. He is one of the earliest ancestors of today's Parson Russell Terrier.

Although John Russell became a member of the English Kennel Club in 1873, the year it was founded, he rarely showed his dogs at dog shows. Shortly after the death of John Russell in 1883, a split emerged between the old-fashioned Fox Terriers for hunting and the elegant Fox Terriers as they were shown at exhibitions. The biographer of John Russell, Dan Russell (born 1906), feared in a 1990 interview that the same development would be repeated for the Jack Russell Terrier if they became popular show dogs.

There are English cynologists who describe the influence of John Russell's dogs on today's Parson Russell Terrier as rather minor and claim that the name Jack Russell Terrier prevailed as the name for white working terriers with dubious ancestry.

The origin of the Parson Russell Terrier or Fox Terrier is believed to be in the now extinct breeds Old English Black and Tan Terrier and Old White English Terrier .


Checking tension

The length of the body is slightly greater than the height from the withers to the ground. The chest is no deeper than the elbows and can be held behind the shoulders by two hands of average size. This so-called tensionability is based on the anatomy of the fox . Every fox can be spanned as described. Since the hunting Parson Russell Terrier has to follow the fox everywhere in the burrow, a chest that is too large is an obstacle. The hair is rough or straight. In between there is the broken coated ( stick- haired) hair variant . Good fur is characterized by a dense undercoat, which is broken through by the hard, straight and waterproof top coat. The hair color is completely white or predominantly white with tan , yellow, or black markings, or any combination of these colors.


The Parson Russell Terrier is considered intelligent, fearless, friendly, and eager to work. These characteristics derive from its origin as a hunting dog . He has to be intrepid and intelligent to work in the burrow. He is never overly aggressive, but rather makes the fox leave the burrow by barking. But he also had to be friendly to people, horses and other dogs in order to make the fox hunt as smooth as possible. A Parson Russell Terrier must be challenged physically and mentally, otherwise it can become disobedient and destructive.


The breeding development of the Parson Russell Terrier is closely related to the different historical and national standards. The specifications for the height at the withers are exemplary:

Author of the standard Publication or status Information on height at the withers
Arthur Heinemann 1904 The ideal height at the withers for males is given as 35.56 cm (14 inches) and for bitches as 33 cm (13 inches). Upper and lower limits are not defined. The physique should resemble that of an adult vixen.
JRTCGB 1975 The height at the withers ranges from 25.4 cm to 38.1 cm.
Kennel Club As of Sep. 2007 The ideal is 33 cm for bitches and 36 cm for males. It is explicitly mentioned that smaller dogs are also necessary for both hunting and breeding.
American Kennel Club As of Sep. 2004 The ideal is 33 cm for bitches and 36 cm for males. Dogs under 30.5 cm or over 38.1 cm are not accepted.
FCI As of Nov. 2003 The ideal is 33 cm for bitches and 36 cm for males. An oversize or undersize of 2 cm is accepted.

All of the standards emphasize the importance of tension. There are countries like Germany where tension is rarely measured with the hands, but mostly with a tape measure. This means that a clear value can be assigned to the dog when it is approved for breeding. However, there is no value that was determined as an upper limit for breeding suitability. For experienced construction hunters, the ideal is in the 35 to 40 cm range. 45 to 48 cm is considered the upper limit.


Due to its origin, the Parson Russell Terrier is a hunting dog that must be challenged accordingly. His main field of work is construction hunting for foxes and badgers . His goal is to get the fox unharmed to leave the burrow (blow it up). In the fox hunt that was once common in England , it was desirable to bring the fox out of the den so that the hunt with horses and foxhounds could continue.

In Germany and other continental European countries, the Parson Russell Terrier is used more versatile than in the country of origin England. After the construction hunt, it is most often used for driven hunts for hoofed game . It is his job to find wild boar , roe deer or other game that can be hunted and to bring them close to the hunters' stands. Because of its good nose, the Parson Russell Terrier can also be used to search for injured game. With his love of water and fetching, he can also be trained to be a safe retriever for ducks.

Due to their great enthusiasm for work, intelligence, agility, speed and endurance, Parson Russell Terriers are suitable for many dog ​​sports such as agility , obedience , and tournament dog sports .


Not least because of its origin as a working dog, from which a lot of performance was demanded, the Parson Russell Terrier is a very vital dog with relatively few breed-specific diseases.

  • Cataract or cataract is a mostly hereditary clouding of the eye lenses and the most common eye disease in the Parson Russell Terrier. Surgical treatment is possible at any stage. Analogous to human medicine, phacoemulsification is used to smash the lens under a microscope using an artificial lens.
  • With lens dislocation , the eye lens is no longer held in the center of the eye, but is partially or completely displaced. The cause is hereditary in the Jack Russel Terrier and can be traced back to a genetic defect. A lens dislocation must be operated, otherwise glaucoma (glaucoma) develops. Treating glaucoma is significantly more complex.
  • Patellar dislocation is a hereditary displacement of the kneecap out of its guidance (trochlea). The dog holds up the barrel and at times only walks with three legs. This defect can be corrected surgically.
  • The ataxia and myelopathy of the terriers (hereditary ataxia) occurs in Fox terriers, as well as Jack Russell or Parson Russell terriers. This causes a breakdown of the white matter in the neck and chest area of ​​the spinal cord. It develops at the age of 2 to 6 months and is accompanied by sweeping movements ( hypermetry ) of the front legs, muscle tremors and a wide-legged position of the hind legs. The animals tend to fall over and can no longer stand up alone. Damage to the auditory nerve can occur as the numbness increases. This disease is very rare, but cannot be treated and has a poor prognosis.
  • Deafness on one or both sides occurs in the Parson Russell Terrier, as well as in other predominantly white dogs with the Piebald (piebald) gene, such as in the Dalmatian , Beagle or the bulldog . It is currently assumed that the inheritance is polygenic. One-sided deafness can only be determined by an audiometric examination, which should be carried out at least on every dog ​​used for breeding.

Parson Russell Terriers affected by any of these conditions are banned from breeding in most breeding clubs.

Art, film and television

His Master's Voice by Francis Barraud

Parson Russell Terriers are popular performers in movies, TV series, and commercials.


Sources and further links


  • Sheila Atter: Jack Russell Terriers Today. Howell Book House, New York NY 1995, ISBN 0-87605-194-8 .
  • Rawdon Briggs Lee: A History and Description, with Reminiscences, of the Fox Terrier. Horace Cox "The Field" Office, London 1889.
  • Eddie Chapman: The real Jack Russell. Kynos Verlag , Mürlenbach 1995, ISBN 3-924008-99-X .
  • Eddie Chapman: The Working Jack Russell Terrier. Self-published, Dorset 1985.
  • Jean Jackson, Frank Jackson: The Making of the Parson Jack Russell Terrier. The Boydell Press, Woodbridge et al. 1986, ISBN 0-85115-437-9 .
  • Dorothea Penižek: Jack Russell Terrier. (Choice, attitude, upbringing, employment). Kosmos, Stuttgart 1999, ISBN 3-440-07825-6 .
  • David Brian Plummer: The Complete Jack Russell Terrier. The Boydell Press, Woodbridge 1980, ISBN 0-85115-121-3 .
  • Dan Russell: Jack Russell and his Terriers. JA Allen, London 1979, ISBN 0-85131-276-4 .
  • Mary Strom (Ed.): The great Jack Russell Terrier book. Kynos-Verlag, Mürlenbach 2000, ISBN 3-933228-18-2 .

Individual evidence

  1. History of the breed ( Memento of the original from May 5, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  2. ^ Sheila Atter: Jack Russell Terriers Today. 1995, pp. 32-36.
  3. ^ Dan Russell: Jack Russell and his Terriers. 1979, p. 38 ff.
  4. Jean Jackson, Frank Jackson: The Making of the Parson Jack Russell Terrier. 1986, p. 38.
  5. Jean Jackson, Frank Jackson: The Making of the Parson Jack Russell Terrier. 1986, pp. 37-42.
  6. ^ Sheila Atter: Jack Russell Terriers Today. 1995.
  7. Eddie Chapman: The Real Jack Russell. 1995, p. 22.
  8. David Brian Plummer: The Complete Jack Russell Terrier. 1980, p. 12 ff.
  9. JRTCGB: History of the Jack Russell Terrier .
  10. Mary Strom (ed.): The great Jack Russell Terrier book. 2000, p. 156.
  11. Dorothea Penižek: Jack Russell Terrier. 1999, pp. 12-13.
  12. Mary Strom (ed.): The great Jack Russell Terrier book. 2000, pp. 142-144.
  13. Standard of JRTCGB .
  14. ^ Standard of the Kennel Club .
  15. Standard of the AKC .
  16. ↑ Breed standard No. 339 of the FCI: Parson Russell Terrier  (PDF)
  17. Chest and construction hunt .
  18. Gerhard Dupper: The gentleman among the terriers. In: Wild and Dog. Vol. 106, No. 15, 2003, ISSN  0043-5422 , pp. 50–55, online (PDF; 330 kB)  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. .@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /  
  19. Mary Strom (ed.): The great Jack Russell Terrier book. 2000, p. 88 ff.
  20. Dorothea Penižek: Jack Russell Terrier. 1999, p. 56 f.
  21. ^ Parson & Jack Russell Terrier Club Austria: Deafness

Web links

Commons : Parson Russell Terrier  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files