The Parson Russell Terrier was first bred in the south of England in the mid-1800’s to hunt European red fox, both over and under the ground. The Parson Russell ran with horse and hound as the hunt trailed the fox across the Devon countryside. When the hounds drove a fox to ground the terrier followed, baying to bolt his quarry so that the chase could continue.
The Parson Russell Terrier was developed in the south of England in the 1800’s as a white terrier to work European red fox both above and below ground. The terrier was named for the Reverend John Russell, whose terriers trailed hounds and bolted foxes from dens so the hunt could ride on. To function as a working terrier, he must possess certain characteristics: a ready attitude, alert and confident; balance in height and length; medium in size and bone, suggesting strength and endurance. Important to breed type is a natural appearance: harsh, weatherproof coat with a compact construction and clean silhouette. The coat is broken or smooth. He has a small, flexible chest to enable him to pursue his quarry underground and sufficient length of leg to follow the hounds. Old scars and injuries, the result of honorable work or accident, should not be allowed to prejudice a terrier’s chance in the show ring, unless they interfere with movement or utility for work or breeding.
Bold and friendly. Athletic and clever. At work he is a game hunter, tenacious, courageous, and single minded. At home he is playful, exuberant and overwhelmingly affectionate. He is an independent and energetic terrier and requires his due portion of attention. He should not be quarrelsome. Shyness should not be confused with submissiveness. Submissiveness is not a fault.
The ideal height of a mature dog is 14 inches at the highest point of the shoulder blade, and bitches 13 inches.
Smooth and Broken: Whether smooth or broken, a double coat of good sheen, naturally harsh, close and dense, straight with no suggestion of kink. There is a clear outline with only a hint of eyebrows and beard if natural to the coat. No sculptured furnishings. The terrier is shown in his natural appearance not excessively groomed. Sculpturing is to be severely penalized. Faults – Soft, silky, woolly, or curly topcoat. Lacking undercoat.
White, white with black or tan markings, or a combination of these, tri-color. Colors are clear. As long as the terrier is predominantly white, moderate body markings are not to be faulted.
Learn more at the Parson Russell Terrier Association of America.