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10 Things You Need To Know About The Parson Russell Terrier Before You Buy One

The Parson Russell terrier is one of several small, lively and feisty terrier dog breeds that are really popular all across the UK, and as you might have gathered from the name of the breed, one that has a historical connection to the somewhat better-known Jack Russell.

However, the Parson Russell terrier is very much a breed in its own right, and one that needs to be treated as such. Like all dog breeds and particularly, terriers, Parson Russells aren’t dogs to be taken lightly, and if you’re considering buying a Parson Russell terrier or are trying to learn more about them to see if they might be a good fit for you, you need to take your time and do plenty of research.

With this in mind, this article will tell you ten things you need to know about the Parson Russell terrier dog breed as a basis for your research, before you make the decision to buy a dog of this type for yourself. Read on to learn more.

The Parson Russell terrier is a historical relative of the Jack Russell

Reverend John (Jack) Russell is responsible for the development of both the Parson Russell and the Jack Russell dog breeds back in the 1800s, and it is fair to say that the two breeds have a lot in common and a lot of crossover.

However, there are numerous subtle differences between the breeds in both appearance and temperament, although it is certainly worth considering both and weighing up their respective pros and cons if you’re still on the fence about the right choice for you.

Parson Russell terriers are very high-energy dogs

The Parson Russell terrier is, like most terriers, a very energetic dog breed that needs plenty of exercise and to spend a significant amount of time each day running around and lots of time dedicated to taking them for walks.

A Parson Russell that doesn’t get enough exercise will soon become hard to manage and may take themselves off on adventures!

The Parson Russell has a very strong prey drive

Like most terrier dogs, the Parson Russell has an incredibly strong prey drive, and they’re very tenacious when they fixate on prey. This means that you will need to take care to protect other people’s pets like cats and rabbits with proper training, control, use of the lead, and if necessary, muzzles. 

The latter holds when allowing the dog to run freely, which should only take place in safely enclosed spaces where this is permitted.

Parson Russell terriers are hardy and robust

The Parson Russell terrier tends to enjoy robust good health and a long life, and they’re not a breed that tends to pick up a lot of minor ills or make a big fuss if they take a knock or a scrape.

They are generally hardy dogs, although there are of course limits to this, and like all small dogs, they can and do feel the cold and need to be properly cared for and provided with the appropriate home comforts.


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The Parson Russell can be quite stubborn and wilful

Parson Russells have a stubborn streak a mile wide and are often said to suffer from selective deafness! This is particularly the case if they’re pursuing prey, and it can be very hard to train dogs of the breed for reliable recall. 

Parson Russell owners need to begin working on their dog’s recall from an early age, and training should be kept varied and interesting, as otherwise the dog will soon find something else to entertain themselves with!

Parson Russell terriers can be quite destructive!

The Parson Russell terrier is a breed that is not at all afraid of getting their feet dirty, and they put 110% enthusiasm into everything that they do.

They can also be quite destructive around the home and garden, having a tendency to both chew things and dig holes, so may not be a good pet if you like everything to be perfect!

Dogs of the breed can be prone to dominance

The Parson Russell terrier can be prone to being dominant if not provided with appropriate handling and clear direction, and they need to have an empathic but clear pack leader that can provide an appropriate environment for a dog of this type and that vitally, can earn their respect.

Parson Russell terriers need to be properly socialised from a young age

The Parson Russell can also be rather dominant with other dogs, as well as possessive and territorial, and so they need to be socialised with other dogs from an early age to ensure that they learn the parameters of appropriate behaviour and do not become unruly, pushy, or snappy with other dogs.

Parson Russell terriers need clear leadership

The Parson Russell needs quite a specific lifestyle in order to be a good companion, and when this is achieved they are one of the most rewarding of all dog breeds to own, and are cheerful, energetic, affectionate and keen to get involved in everything that you do.

However, if the dog doesn’t have a proper routine, guidance and boundaries in place they are apt to become quite unpleasant, and may be quite unpredictable in terms of their temperament and behaviour.

They’re not a good pick for the first-time dog owner

Parson Russell terriers are a breed that can fit into a lot of different homes due to their small size, but this is a breed that has a huge personality and often, large ego too! They are best suited to experienced dog owners and specifically, those familiar with terriers and that can provide for all of their needs, stay one step ahead of their thought processes, and keep their dogs under control and responsive to commands at all times.


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