Difference Between Jack Russell And Parson Russell Terrier

Difference Between Jack Russell And Parson Russell Terrier

Terriers are famous pet dogs among dog adopters since they are small, energetic, affectionate, and playful dog types. There are many types of Terriers, and most of the time identifying them separately is not an easy task.

The Jack Russell Terriers and Parson Russell Terriers belong to the Terrier family with a long history. In overall concern, Jack Russell Terriers and Parson Russell Terriers are Terrier breeds that look similar in many ways.

But when you choose a pet from these two Terrier breeds, you need to identify the difference between Jack Russell and Parson Russell. The differences may support you in selecting one dog from another.

So, what are the main difference between Jack Russell and Parson Russell Terrier? The history of both Terriers runs back to the 18th – 19th century. They are both considered hunting dog types that are small in size. However, Parson Russell Terriers were recognized as a distinct type from Jack Russells after the 1980s. Even though they were separately recognized, some still refused to recognize them as two breeds and considered them a single dog type. Therefore, you can be forgiven for mistaking them as similar or one dog breed.

Through this article, I will describe two dog breeds separately while concerning the difference between Jack Russell and Parson Russell. The physical differences and characteristics, and behavior of both two dog types will be compared from this article.

Then, finally, it will support you in choosing the most appropriate dog for you. As an owner of a JRT, I think I will be able to give you a good idea about the topic since I have deeply researched it before adopting my JRT. So, let’s get started!

Parson Russell Terrier Vs. Jack Russell Terrier

When it comes to Terriers, they are developed as working dogs specified in hunting. Parson Russell Terriers and Jack Russell Terriers take a major place among these hunting-type Terriers.

Parson Russell and Jack Russell are close relatives that were considered as one breed for a long period. So it is necessary to identify the difference between Jack Russell and Parson Russell in choosing a Terrier breed for you to adopt.

The history of these dog breeds runs back to the 1700s, when a small white English Terrier became extinct. However, the Jack Russell Terrier originated in the 1800s in England.

They were developed as fox hunting dogs with the mediation of Reverend John Russell in 1819. He created JRTs as fox hunters, and he had several JRTs with him. He overviewed tempers and their aggression and proudly declared his dogs like dogs that never tasted blood.

Then after the Second World War, with the end of fox hunting, a decline in the JRT breed can be seen, and now they were famous as domestic pets. JRTs were recognized by several countries in different periods.

Australia recognized them in 1991, the United States in 2001, and the Kennel Club of England in 2016. They mentioned JRT’s appearance as an active, strong, lithe working Terrier with a white, smooth, rough, or broken coat. JRTs have a flexible body and smart movement.

When it comes to the Parson Russell Terriers, their roots date back to the latter 19th century. Arthur Blake Heinemann created the Parson Russell Terrier breed in 1894. He wanted to create a dog to borrow after badges in his Devon and Somerset Badger Club.

He never wanted to develop the Parson Russell as a hunting dog. But for a long period, they were not recognized and considered the same as with JRTs. PRTs were recognized after the 1980s, and still, several countries did not recognize them as a separate breed.

Physical differences between Parson Russells and Jack Russells

When considering the difference between Jack Russell and Parson Russell, you need to consider physical appearance. However, JRTs and PRTs are similar in appearance, and only slight differences can be observed. That’s why they were considered a single breed for a long period.

The physical difference between Jack Russell and Parson Russell is different in height and weight. The height of a JRT is 10-15 inches, while PRTs have 13-14 inches in height. And JRTs are 11-17 Pounds in weight while PRTs are 13-17 Pounds.

My JRT, Shaggy, is 14 inches in height and 15 pounds in weight. Most importantly, PRTs have relatively long legs than JRTs, and they contain longer heads and broader chests when compared to JRTs.

Moreover, JRTs and PRTs are similar in their coats as well. They both have smooth or broken coats and are the same in grooming and shedding needs. However, JRTs have either smooth, rough, or broken coats, while PRTs do not have rough coats.

They only have smooth or broken coats. It is the only difference in their coats. Sometimes there can be a slight difference in colors between the two breeds as well. The things you need to do regarding their appearance are also the same.

You have to provide both proper diets and brush and remove debris from their fur even once per day. My JRT has a soft-haired thin coat, and I regularly wash and brush him.

Moreover, they have a slightly different life span. JRTs live for 10-16 years, while the lifespan of PRTs is 13-15 years. So, PRTs have a longer lifespan than JRTs. Both may experience common health matters of eye conditions, probability of deafness in elderly ages, patellar luxation.

Therefore, you can provide them with healthy diets and exercises to maintain their good health.

They both need at least 1hour of exercise per day. Therefore, we can observe that the physical appearance of JRTs and PRTs are almost the same and have only slight differences.

Comparison of Characteristics and Behavior between JRT and Parson Russell

Then, let’s compare the difference between Jack Russell and Parson Russell according to their characteristics and behaviors.

As with the physical appearance, their behaviors and characteristics are somewhat similar but have several differences. Before choosing the adoption of a JRT or a PRT, you need to identify them.

Both JRTs and PRTs are hunting dogs that were famous for working in fox hunting. But JRTs are the most popular hunting breed than PRTs since Parson Russells are slightly less familiar with hunting and working like JRTs.

They are both energetic and intelligent dogs desperate to please their owners. Both JRTs and PRTs need training at young ages to perform effectively. Compared to PRTs, JRTs are considered more energetic and trainable to perform tasks.

However, you can observe similar behaviors and characteristics of digging and exploring, affectionate, intelligent, aggressiveness, and the extreme need for exercise and training from both dog breeds of JRTs and PRTs.

When it comes to socialization too, both dogs have a similar image as they need proper training and socialization process. They need to start with socialization as soon as they are adopted. It is necessary to start the training process at their young ages.

So you need to introduce your family members, friends, and neighbors to your JRT or PRT at the beginning and socialize them with other dogs as well.

JRTs are fast, fearless, playful, and athletic dogs that occasionally become stubborn or aggressive. These factors are similar to PRTs since they are also a playful breed that loves fetch, Frisbee, and outdoor games.

They also can become aggressive or disobedient similar to JRTs. The most important fact here is the training you need to provide them. They both need proper training from their young ages, and then they will perform as a loving dog for you.

Which one suits you? Jack Russell or Parson Russell

By reading the difference between Jack Russell and Parson Russell, now you may rush into the matter of which dog breed is suitable for you to adopt. As we already discussed, both JRTs and PRTs are similar in most factors, and they only have slight differences.

The similarities make choosing a dog among the two breeds more complicated. Here are a few factors you can consider in choosing a JRT or PRT. However, note that they are very slight factors.

I guarantee that both JRTs and PRTs are excellent pets for you to adopt. With proper training, they will become loving and affectionate pets for you.

1. Obedience

Both JRTs and PRTs are somewhat aggressive dogs that need essential training. They both are intelligent and affectionate. However, PRTs show a bit more obedient than JRTs and are willing to give up their bad habits more quickly than JRTs.

If you need an easily obedient dog, then it is worth considering a PRT. But it doesn’t mean that JRTs are not obedient; the only thing you need to do is give proper training.

2. Training

Both JRTs and PRTs need proper training from their young ages when it comes to training. You need to start training them from the first day of adopting. However, since JRTs are hunting dogs, they are more aggressive and prefer to bark and bite than PRTs.

Therefore, more training should be provided to JRTs than PRTs, and PRTs are more convenient to train than JRTs. They respond more positively to training.

3. Shedding

If you don’t like shedding or have allergies, you can consider adopting a PRT rather than a JRT. The Jack Russells have a wider range of coats than JRTs, and they shed more than PRTs.

So if you need to minimize shedding, I recommend PRTs as they shed a smaller amount than JRTs due to their smooth coats.

4. Energy

However, if you need an energetic, working dog, it is better to prefer a JRT. Both JRTs and PRTs are energetic, but JRTs are a bit more energetic and athletic dogs than PRTs. If you love to deal with more energy, the better choice is the JRT.

Final thoughts about differences between Parson Russell and Jack Russell Terrier

Now you have a clear idea about the difference between Jack Russell and Parson Russell. So it’s your turn to choose which breed to adopt. In my personal view, I prefer JRTs more and adopt a JRT for two years.

I’m so proud of my JRT, Shaggy, since he is a well-disciplined, obedient, energetic, intelligent, and affectionate dog. He turned into a playful and loving dog to my family with proper training. However, there are not many differences with PRTs as well.

They are very similar to JRTs, and even some consider them as a single breed. So, both JRTs and PRTs may become lovely pets for you, and the choice is yours.

Thank you for reading this post. Stay tuned with Jack Russell Owner for more interesting posts about your favorite dog breed.

Cheers from Shaggy and Lenny!


  • George Brown

    George B. is the founder of the JRO Organization. He believes in creating a better world for domestic animals. He believes domestic animals are more vulnerable than other animals, especially dogs, since they have been used to depending on their owners for generations. So, he started JRO to share his ideas and insights while helping vulnerable dogs worldwide. George runs multiple projects on street dogs in developing countries, especially Sri Lanka.

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