Parson Russell Terrier - Breed and Grooming Tips

The Parson Russell Terrier is a true working foxhunter, possessing a ready attitude, alertness, confidence, and great strength and endurance. Today, many Parsons are also found working in stables and exhibiting at agility and obedience trials. The breed’s weatherproof coat can be broken (wire-haired) or smooth and is white, white with black or tan markings or tri-color.

A Look Back

Named for the respected huntsman Rev. John Russell, the Parson Russell Terrier was first bred in the south of England in the mid-1800s to hunt red fox. Traditionally, the Parson followed the fox underground to flush him out for the hunter. Authorities claim that after Rev. Russell’s death some of his bloodlines were crossed with the Welsh Corgi and other terrier breeds, creating a different type dog, the "Jack Russell Terrier." The parent club for the breed requested a name change from Jack Russell to Parson Russell Terrier.

Right Breed for You?

Outgoing and friendly, the Parson is tenacious in the field and affectionate in the home. No matter the venue, the breed is filled with energy, so he requires regular exercise and attention. Although good with children, he does not tolerate rough handling from toddlers. The Parson is a clean breed and does not need frequent bathing, but the broken coat may need to be hand stripped.

Source:  American Kennel Club -


General: The Parsons Terrier hair coat comes in both a wire variety as well as a smooth coat variety. The wire coat should be very harsh and is usually hand stripped or plucked to insure the coat retains its harsh texture, color and does not become soft. The smooth coated Parson’s should have short straight glossy hair without even a hint of wire coat.. The Parsons should be groomed every 6 – 8 weeks to keep up ears cleaned and nails trimmed.

Ears: Monthly ear cleaning with Ear Care is advised to be sure no ear problems that might need vet attention arise. Do not clean further that you can see.

Eyes: Terriers are earth dogs and love to explore every hole and dark space so Optisoothe Eye Wash can be used daily to help flush foreign matter.

Bathing: Parson Terriers love the outdoors and love to get dirty and require 2 baths, The first bath should be a general bath to get off the dirt and grime. The second bath is targeted for the need of your dog, if it has allergies or sensitive skin we would suggest a Hypo-Allergenic Shampoo and follow it with Tea Tree & Aloe Shampoo or Luxury Tar and Sulfa Itch Relief Shampoo. Do not use a heavy conditioner, but choose a light conditioner to keep the coats natural hard texture, Plum Perfect Cream Rinse or Rainforest Conditioners are light and will leave a clean fresh scent. If you hand strip your Terrier, do not bath before pulling the coat, be sure to mix the shampoo at time of bathing.

Common Problems: Parson’s are prone to seasonal allergies; keeping allergies under control will keep the coat and skin at its best. Dead Sea Mineral Mudbath is great to recondition the skin and repair the coat.

Coat Care: Extreme Odor Eliminator can be used between baths to help with keeping your Parson smelling fresh and clean after an outdoor adventure. Facial Cleansers can be used as a Waterless Shampoo to clean up those feet and face after running through the dirt and mud before letting your pet back in the house.

Paws: Paw Balm should be used weekly to keep paw pads soft and pliable. This makes the pads less likely to dry and crack.

Tools: A brush and a comb should be used daily to weekly to keep the coat in good shape .If your dog is hand stripped a stripping knife or stone will be used. Use stripping powder to help the stripping process.

Show Dog Tips: Spray Quick Finish Styling Spray to keep the hard texture for the ring. Freeze! Styling Gel will keep the hair in place between classes or high sheen spray for the smooth coated variety.

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