Parson Russell Terrier

Parson Russell Terrier

11 July 2023

Let's talk about Parson Russell Terriers: What are they?

  • Originally from England, the Parson Russell Terrier is a small and energetic breed.
  • They were bred to hunt the European red fox, both over and under ground.
  • These terriers are known for their tenacity, intelligence, and keen hunting skills.
  • They have a compact build, standing about 25 to 30 centimetres in height and weighing between 5 to 7 kilograms.
  • Their life expectancy typically ranges from 13 to 15 years.
  • Parson Russell Terriers have a distinct appearance, with a well-proportioned head, dark almond-shaped eyes, and V-shaped ears that fold forward.
Parson Russell Terrier  Exercise Needs 4/5 Grooming Ease 4/5 Trainability 3/5

What is the temperament of Parson Russell Terriers like?

  • Parson Russell Terriers are spirited and lively companions.
  • They are affectionate, devoted, and full of personality.
  • They form strong bonds with their families and thrive on human companionship.
  • Due to their hunting background, they have a natural instinct to chase small animals, so it's essential to provide proper training and socialisation from an early age.
  • They are generally good with children, if socialised from a young age, but supervision and proper introductions are necessary, especially if the dog is not accustomed to young kids.
Edgar, the Parson Russell Terrier

How much exercise do Parson Russell Terriers need?

  • Parson Russell Terriers are energetic dogs that require regular exercise to keep them physically and mentally stimulated, ideally 1-2 hours a day.
  • Although there is no scientific basis to the 5 minutes of exercise per month of age “rule”, it can be a guide to make sure you don’t over-exercise your puppy. Parson pups could get 5 minutes of exercise per month of age once or twice a day.
  • As well as walks though fun, mental stimulating games can entertain and tire an active pup.
  • Parsons have a lot of stamina and enjoy activities that allow them to burn off their energy.
  • Daily walks, playtime, and interactive games are crucial to their well-being.
  • Engaging their minds is just as important as physical exercise. Puzzle toys, obedience training, and interactive activities will help keep them mentally sharp and prevent boredom.
Evie, the Parson Russell Terrier

Do Parson Russell Terriers require a lot of grooming?

  • Their coats are usually smooth or wire-haired.
  • Colours can vary and include white with tan, black, or tan markings.
  • When it comes to grooming, Parson Russell Terriers are relatively low-maintenance. Their short coats are easy to care for, requiring occasional brushing to remove loose hairs.
  • Bathing is only necessary infrequently(every 1-2 months) or when they get dirty or start to smell.
  • Like any dog, regular tooth brushing with a dog-specific toothpaste twice daily is ideal. If you can’t manage that often, just do it as often as you can.
Lottie, the Parson Russell Terrier

Are Parson Russell Terriers easy to train?

  • Parson Russell Terriers are intelligent and eager to please, making them trainable.
  • However, they can also be stubborn and strong-willed at times which can sometimes make training challenging.
  • Early socialisation and consistent, positive reinforcement-based training are essential for their development. To make training sessions successful, keep them interesting and fun.
  • Use rewards like treats, praise, and playtime to motivate and reinforce good behaviour.
  • Remember to keep training sessions short and focused to prevent boredom and maintain their attention. Patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement methods are key to successful training sessions.
Nugget, the Parson Russell Terrier

What do Parson Russell Terriers eat?

  • A high-quality dog food formulated for small breeds is suitable for Parson Russell Terriers.
  • As puppies they should be fed 3-4 times a day, until 10-12 months old (this depends on the brand of food you are using) when you should move them on to adult small dog food.
  • Feeding them twice a day, following the recommended portion sizes, helps maintain their weight and overall health.
  • Avoid overfeeding, as this breed can be prone to weight gain. If you feed them the correct amount however and they exercise well they can be very fit and athletic little dogs.
  • Treats can be given as rewards during training, but be mindful of the calorie content to prevent excessive weight gain.

Are Parson Russell Terriers healthy?

Parson Russell Terriers are generally healthy dogs, but like all breeds, they can be prone to certain health conditions. Some of the potential health issues to be aware of include:

Bones and Joints

  • Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease - a hip condition that affects the blood supply to the head of the femur bone, leading to breakdown of the bone, pain and lameness.
  • Luxating Patella - this is when a dog’s kneecap moves out of where it should normally be


  • Cataracts - a common cause of blindness due to a clouding of the lens of the eye
  • Primary Lens Luxation (PLL) - the lens of the eye shifts from its normal position, which results in glaucoma and inflammation


  • Atopy - when the immune system overreacts to an allergen and results in skin irritation.

This list is by no means comprehensive, if you have any concerns about the health of your dog, or if you want to discuss further if a Parson Russell Terrier is right for you, consult with your vet.

BorrowMyDoggy loves Parson Russell Terriers

BorrowMyDoggy has 1,809 Parsons members.

Information on this page should never replace advice given by your veterinarian.  Potential health issues presented are given as a guide only and are not meant to be comprehensive.  If you ever have any concerns about your dog’s health contact your local vet.

Terrier Dog Breed Guides

Airedale Terrier

Bedlington Terrier

Manchester Terrier

Norfolk Terrier

Parson Russell Terrier

Patterdale Terrier

Smooth Fox Terrier

Welsh Terrier

West Highland White Terrier

Wire Fox Terrier

Yorkshire Terrier

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