Parson Russell Terrier

The Parson Russell Terrier, is a breed of small white terrier that originates from the Fox Terriers of the 18th century. The breed is named after the person credited with the creation of this type of dog, Parson John "Jack" Russell. It is the recognised conformation show variety of the Jack Russell Terrier, with it first being recognised in 1990 as the Parson Jack Russell Terrier in the UK. In America, it was first recognised as the Jack Russell Terrier in 1997. The name was changed to its current form in 1999 in the UK, and by 2008 all international kennel clubs recognised it under the new name.

A mostly white breed with either a smooth or broken coat, it conforms to a smaller range of sizes than the Jack Russell. It is a feisty, energetic terrier, suited to sports and can get along with children and other animals. It has a range of breed related health issues, mainly relating to eye disorders.

Description

The Parson Russell Terrier is a breed that is bred to conform to a conformation show standard. It is a predominantly white breed with black, tan or tricolour markings and with an easy to groom coat which is either smooth or broken. The breed standard does not recognise a Parson Russell with a curly or rough coat. There is a clear outline with only a hint of eyebrows and beard if natural to the coat. They possess moderatly thick small "V" shaped drop ears with the tip pointed towards the eyes. The nose of the dog should be black. The normal range of sizes is between 13–14 inches (33–36 cm) tall at the withers, and weighing around 13–17 pounds (5.9–7.7 kg).

The Parson Russell has a relatively square outline, with a body about as long as the dog is tall. Compared to the Jack Russell Terrier, the Parson Russell has a longer head and a larger chest along with overall a slightly larger body size. The Parson retains the flat skull but not the elongated shape of the Fox Terrier, and with lower set ears. In addition, the Jack Russell Terrier has a greater variation in size, ranging between 10–15 inches (25–38 cm) in height at the withers. Two hands should be able to span the chest of the dog behind it's elbows, with the thumbs at the withers. This is required in show judging, with the judge lifting the dog's front legs gently off the ground in this motion in order to measure the size of the chest. The judges fingers should meet under the chest and the thumbs on top of the spine. The American Kennel Club describes this as a "significant factor and a critical part of the judging process."

Under the show standard, there are several physical points which would be treated as faults in the show ring. These are for the height of the dog at the withers to be outside of the standard range, or for the dog to possess either pricked up ears, a liver or brown coloured nose, an overshot or undershot jawline or to have brindle markings.

Temperament

The Parson is a feisty and energetic type of Terrier. They can excel in dog sports such as flyball or agility and will require vigerous exercise in order to prevent them from becoming bored and potentially destructive in the home. They can be suited to live with children but as they have a typical Terrier temperament, they will not tolerate rough handling. At work, they can be single minded, tenacious and courageous whilst at home they can be exuberant, playful and affectionate.

They can be playful with other dogs, and get along with horses. The breed standard requires that shyness is treated as a fault, although states that this should not be confused with submissiveness which is not treated as such. Overt agression towards another dog is not accepted and is a criteria for disqualification in the show ring.

History

This breed shares a common history with the Jack Russell Terrier until the early 1980s

This type of small white terrier dates back to the work of the Reverend John Russell, born in 1795. In 1819 he purchased a small white and tan female terrier named Trump from a milkman in the hamlet of Elmsford. She formed the basis for his breeding program, and by the 1850s the dogs were recognised as a distinct type of Fox Terrier.

In 1894, the Devon and Somerset Badger Club was founded by Arthur Blake Heinemann. By the turn of the 20th century, the name of Parson John Russell had become associated with this type of terrier. The Devon and Somerset Badger Club would go on to be renamed the Parson Jack Russell Terrier Club and continued until just before World War II when the club folded. The Jack Russell Terrier Club of Great Britain was established in 1974 as the parent club for the Jack Russell Terrier in the UK, which actively opposed recognition by Kennel Club (UK). In 1983, the Parson Jack Russell Terrier Club (PJRTC) was reformed with the aim of seeking Kennel Club recognition for the breed. The initial application was turned down, after several further rejections, the Parson Jack Russell Terrier was recognised on 9 January 1990 as a variant of the Fox Terrier, with the United Kennel Club following suit in 1991. The American Kennel Club recognised the breed as the Jack Russell Terrier effective 1 November 1997.

On 1 August 1999, the PJRTC successfully petitioned the Kennel Club (UK) to change the name of the breed to the Parson Russell Terrier, with the name of the breed club following suit. The American Kennel Club updated the name from Jack Russell Terrier on 1 April 2003. The international kennel association, the Fédération Cynologique Internationale recognised the Parson Russell Terrier on 4 June 2001. The United Kennel Club adopted the new name on 23 April 2008.

The Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC) and New Zealand Kennel Clubs recognise both the Jack Russell Terrier and the Parson Russell Terrier. In 2009, there were 18 Parsons registered with the ANKC compared to 1073 Jack Russells.

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