Parson Russell Terrier

History

The PRT was developed by Parson John Russell (Jack to his friends) in the early 1800's as he wanted a dog specifically for fox/badger digging. After crossing a white and tan terrier with other breeds, the PRT was born. Unlike it's close comparison the Jack Russell Terrier, the Parson's has noticeably longer legs. It is predominantly white with black, tan or tricolour marking and has a smooth or broken coat with a black nose. They were finally recognised by the Kennel Club in 1990.

Behaviour

The PRT is a feisty, energetic and amusing dog. They have a spirited personality and high energy at all times. They love being around people and are usually fine with families and respectful children. They will bark when someone is at the door, but welcome strangers into the home and are rarely aggressive towards people. As hunters, they like to seek out rodents, so the family hamster doesn't really stand a chance. They are also known for chasing cats and anything else that moves. It is possible for them to live with cats if brought up with them. PRTs are fun dogs who always seem to be up to mischief like their counterparts the Jack Russell Terrier. They are happy to curl up in a ball on your lap and will want attention from you, but not overly so. Early socialisation with a variety of people will produce a well rounded, friendly dog. Parson Russell Terriers are clever and need firm, consistent training. They get bored easily, so training should be done in short sessions, avoiding repetition. Games and treat/reward based training works best, but you will need patience as it takes a long time to train them. They do well in agility, Flyball and anything that involves running around like a lunatic. They have boundless energy and will always be dropping the ball at your feet for 'another game'. Due to their prey drive, recall is hit and miss, so best walked on a lead or in a secure area. Due to their high energy, they need plenty of walks. A few short walk a day will usually be enough to keep them happy. They are expert diggers, so if they go missing, they can usually be found down a rabbit hole. Your garden fencing needs to be high, as they are wonderful climbers and jumpers. If digging becomes a problem, then provide them with a sand pit of their own. PRTs can be aggressive towards strange dogs and don't realise their size when it comes to a challenge. They need early socialisation with a variety of other dogs to prevent future problems arising.

They are easy to look after and only require a regular brush to keep the coat looking good. The broken coat will require stripping a couple of times a year. Parson Russell Terriers are hardy little dogs and suffer few health concerns, however, lens and Patellar Luxation are sometimes seen.

Temperament

Parson Russell Terriers have a mischievious and playful temperament. Driven by a high prey drive they have been bred for years to go to ground after all types of pest. This makes them unsuitable to keep with small pets and cats as they will be more than likely to see them as prey.

Fearless dogs that have huge pride they won't back down from a fight so much care is needed on walks and early socialisation is very important if you don't wan't a scrappy little thug. That said they make great companions and thrive on your attention. Always up for a game or an adventure the Jack Russell is certainly not a dog for a sofa slob.

Health Problems

Health problems that may affect Parson Russell Terriers include canine hip dysplasia (CHD), elbow dysplasia, luxating patellar (dislocation of the knee cap), lens luxation (lens detatchment in eye ball), progressive retinal atrophy (PRA: degeneration of the retina that can lead to blindness).

Breed Details

  • Status: Common
  • Life Expectancy: 13 - 15 years
  • Weight: 5.9 - 7.7 kg
  • Height: 12 - 14"
  • Rare: No
  • Coat: Short
  • Grooming Requirements: Once a week
  • Town or Country: Country
  • Minimum Home Size: Small House
  • Minimum Garden Size: Small to Medium Garden
  • Breed Type: Pest Control Dog
  • Size: Small
  • Energy Level: High
  • Exercise Required: Up to 1 hour

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