The Parson Russell Terrier is a white-colored dog which is said to be a descendant of the foxhound. It shares its history with the Jack Russell terrier. The Jack Russell terrier was first developed by Reverend John 'Jack' Russell in the 1800s. It was recognized as a type of fox terrier, used in fox hunting. However, the Parson Russell terrier was developed as a separate breed by Arthur Blake Heinemann in 1894. The original purpose for developing the breed was hunting badger rather than fox.
He founded the Devon and Sommerset Badger Club which was later renamed as the Parson Jack Russell Terrier Club. After years of petitioning on part of this club, this breed was recognized by its name in 2001 by the international kennel organization, the Fèdèration Cynologique Internationale. The American and United Kennel Clubs followed suit in 2003 and 2008 respectively. It was eventually adopted as a separate breed by all international kennel clubs.
Unlike the Jack Russell terrier, this breed has longer legs. The body is basically white, with tan, black, or tricolor markings on it. The coat is either smooth or broken, and easy to groom. Curly coats are not recognized. The ears are V-shaped and dropped. Nose should be black in color. Its height ranges between 13 to 14 inches (33 to 36 cm), and weight between 13 to 17 pounds (5 to 7 kg). Comparatively, the Jack Russell has more variation in height, ranging from 10 to 15 inches.
The broken coat has a rough texture and the smooth coat is close fitting and silky. The broken coat needs to be brushed at least once a week, and it needs to be clipped every couple of months to keep it in top condition. For show dogs, the coat needs to be stripped. On the other hand, the smooth coat needs very little grooming. It only needs to be brushed about once a week to keep it in top condition. This dog sheds all year round.
This breed is active and has a lot of spunk. It is high on stamina and is generally known as a courageous dog. Due to this nature, it may take on a considerably larger dog. It loves to be a part of the family and be actively involved in what everyone is doing. It is very loving and affectionate, but also has a stubborn streak. It needs a lot of exercise, but letting it out in a properly-fenced yard is recommended. It needs attention and love, so buy this breed only if you can give it time. When bored, it will most likely become destructive and may start chewing things. It also likes to bark, making it a good watchdog.
This is a smart dog that can learn things really fast. However, training can become difficult due to its stubborn nature. It is most suitable for those who have some experience working with dogs. When training, it is best to motivate it with praise and play along with having some reward system. However, it will take time and patience to get anything accomplished. Never leave this breed alone with small animals such as hamsters and cats, or even other dogs.
The life expectancy of this breed is 13 to 15 years. It is commonly affected by a hereditary disorder known as lens luxation, wherein the fibers that support the lens of the eye begin to disintegrate. Other health concerns are cataract, corneal dystrophy, progressive retinal atrophy, or deafness.
The Parson Russell terrier can be a good house pet if properly socialized and given a lot of time and patience. Its loyalty and watch dog qualities make it a suitable family pet.