What is the difference between a Parson Terrier and a Jack Russell Terrier?

  These are very similar looking dog breeds with a common ancestry. Therefore, understanding differences between Jack Russell and Parson Russell terriers would be very important. Range of body weights and body shapes of the two breeds are variable, but there are other notable differences between Jack Russell and Parson Russell terriers.


Trump, the terrier that started the Jack Russell breed

  The story of how the Jack Russell terrier came to being was relayed in the Memoir of the Rev. John Russell by E. W. L. Davies. In 1815, the Reverend, then 20 years old and obsessed with hunting, was on the point of taking his final exams at Oxford University. One day, while strolling near the river Cherwell, he encountered a milkman with a terrier — “such an animal as Russell had only seen in his dreams”. Determined to acquire the dog, he bargained with the owner until the animal, a bitch called Trump, came into his possession.

  White, with a patch of dark tan over each eye and ear and a dot of tan at the root of the tail, her coat was thick, close and slightly wiry. Her legs were straight, while her entire frame suggested hardiness and endurance. She was the height of a full-grown vixen.

Jack Russell Terrier


  This is a small terrier developed in England for foxhunting. They have a white coloured short and rough coat of fur with brown or black patches. They are not very tall and heavy, but the height at the withers is about 25 to 38 centimetres and the weight ranges around 5.9 – 7.7 kilograms. In fact, it is a compact and balanced body structure. Their head is balanced and proportionate to the body. The skull is flat and narrowed towards eyes and ends up with nostrils. Their ears are V-shaped and flapped forwards as in fox terriers. They are energetic dogs and require heavy exercises and stimulations for a better health. Jack Russell terriers can live a long life ranging around 13 – 16 years.

Parson Russell Terrier
parson-russell-terrier-2-6082990  Parson Russell terrier is a small dog breed originated in the late 18th century for foxhunting. The most important feature of these dogs is the extremely close resemblance with Jack Russell terriers. Parson Russell terriers have been used in conformation shows for the standard breed characteristics. Parson Russel terrier, aka Parson or Parson Jack Russell terrier, does have the standards of a separate breed according to the prominent kennel clubs in the world.

  Parsons have long legs, and the lengths of which are almost equal to the length of the body. Their head is long, and the chest is large with the V-shaped dropped ears being pointed towards eyes. Usually, they are 33 – 36 centimetres tall at the withers, and the weights range from 5.9 through 7.7 kilograms. With their length and height being the same, the parsons possess a square shape body. Parson Russell terriers are agile dogs with proven record of accomplishment in excelling dog sport events such as fly ball and agility. Parsons prefer to be handled with care and love so that they can give it back to the owners.

 The Jack Russell terrier and Parson Russell terrier breeds are similar, sharing a common origin, but have several marked differences — the most notable being the range of acceptable heights.


  The Russell terrier, which is also sometimes called the English Jack Russell terrier or the Short Jack Russell terrier is a generally smaller related breed. Both the breed standards of the American Russell Terrier Club and the English Jack Russell Terrier Club Alliance states that at the withers it should be an ideal height of 8–12 inches . Although sometimes called the English or Irish Jack Russell terrier,this is not the recognised height of Jack Russells in the United Kingdom. According to the Jack Russell Club of Great Britain’s breed standard, it is the same size as the standard for Jack Russells in the United States, 10–15 inches.  Other differences in the Parson can include a longer head and larger chest as well as overall a larger body size.The height of a Parson Russell at the withers according to the breed standard is 12–14 inches which places it within the range of the Jack Russell Terrier Club of America’s standard size for a Jack Russell of 10–15 inches. However, the Parson Russell is a conformation show standard whereas the Jack Russell standard is a more general working standard.
  Compared to the Parson, the Russell terrier should always be longer than tall at the withers, whereas the Parson’s points should be of equal distance.

  The Fédération Cynologique Internationale standard for the Jack Russell terrier has this smaller size listed as a requirement. 

Jack Russell vs Parson Russell Terriers
Despite the weight range of the two breeds is exactly the same; Jack Russell has a broad range of height, whereas Parson Russell terriers have only range of three centimetres for the height.
The body of Parsons is square shaped with equal measurements for both height and length, whereas the Jack Russell terrier is not square-shaped.
The legs are taller in Parsons than in Jack Russell terriers.

stupid-breed-split-8638812Parson has a more conspicuous and larger head than the Jack Russell does.

Which Dog Breed is Right for you?
Maintenance: The Jack Russell Terrier will be easier to maintain. Its grooming needs are not as demanding and it fits well for owners who are not willing to spend time and money on upkeep.
Shedding: The Jack Russell Terrier sheds more. Shedding is a normal process to naturally lose old or damaged hair. Some owners might not find it desirable to find dog hair in their cars and homes.
Training: Training the Parson Russell Terrier will be easier, and will be great for first-time owners or owners who like dogs willing to obey and listen well quickly. Owners will need more patience and perseverance to train the Jack Russell Terrier and might need to seek out obedience schools.
Adaptability: The Parson Russell Terrier has better adaptability. It can better respond and alter itself to its environment.
Exercise Needs: Both the Parson Russell Terrier and Jack Russell Terrier will require daily, strenuous exercise. These dogs will need to be very active to maintain their fitness.

With Kids: Both the Parson Russell Terrier and Jack Russell Terrier are good with kids. They can grow up with them and become great family pets.

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