The Parson Russell Terrier, also sometimes called the Sporting Parson, the Parson Terrier or simply the Parson, is a spunky dog named after Reverend John (Jack) Russell, who was an English parson in the 19th century. The predecessors of today’s Parson Russell Terriers were bred to accompany the hunt and go to ground to bolt red fox out of their dens, so that they could be hunted by riders on horseback following a pack of foxhounds. Ultimately, the Parson Russell Terriers were bred for consistency in type rather than exclusively for their performance capabilities, although they retain their strong hunting instinct. The Parson Russell Terrier was accepted into the Terrier Group of the American Kennel Club in 1997 as the Parson Jack Russell Terrier. Its name was changed to the Parson Russell Terrier in 2003.
The ideal height of a mature male Parson Russell Terrier is 14 inches at the highest point of the shoulder blade; females should stand 13 inches in height. The weight of an adult Parson in hard working condition is usually between 13 and 17 pounds. Height under 12 inches or over 15 inches is a breed disqualification. The Parson comes in two double coat types, broken and smooth, both of which are naturally harsh, close and dense. Their coat requires minimal care and comes in several colors.