Russell Terrier

A Highly Intelligent, Very Active Rascal of a Dog, The Russell Terrier Needs Clearly Specified Rules to Follow

Tough and sturdy, the Russell Terrier is both a working and companion dog. Cheerful, loving, and very devoted, this little imp is obedient in the right hands, but can be too spirited – and destructive – in the wrong hands. No disobedient or deliberately "naughty dog" this, the Russell Terrier is really just a rambunctious toddler in a little dog's body, and needs the proper devotion and attention to be nurtured into a well-behaved, obedient pet.


This delightful little dog was first developed in southern England during the middle of the 19th century, by one Parson John Russell. This is where the breed gets its name, and Russell wanted to create a Terrier that would be a hard worker, able to hunt with hounds, and skilled at drawing fox out of their dens so that they could be chased by those hounds.

As such, the Russell Terrier became the favorite of many who sported in this fashion, especially with those who participated in fox hunts on horseback. By the 1930s, the Russell Terrier was popular in the United States, and breed clubs began to spring up – many of them disagreeing about just what exactly made up the Russell Terrier's working nature and appearance. They also debated on whether or not the Russell Terrier should be shown in conformation or should simply remain as a true working dog.

Despite the passage of time, the disparity remains. The Jack Russell Terrier Club of America has an independent registry and thinks of the Jack Russell Terrier as just a hunting dog, but the Jack Russell Terrier Association of America has sought to be recognized by the American Kennel Club; it was successful in 2000. Because the Jack Russell Terrier Club of America has different registry requirements than does the Jack Russell Terrier Association of America, the American Kennel Club now calls the Jack Russell Terrier as registered by the Jack Russell Terrier Association of America the "Parson Russell Terrier."


Sturdy, tough, and always on the "go," the Russell Terrier is exceptionally athletic. It is a "balanced" little dog, with a strong, taut, muscular body, powerful, fine-boned, well-muscled cheeks, and almondshaped eyes that are dark but full of intelligence, life, and good-natured fun.

The chest is shallow and narrow, which gives the Russell Terrier a streamlined appearance. The coat can be smooth, rough or broken, but cannot be woolly. It can be any color with a predominance of white – at least 51% – with black, tan, or brown markings. Black and tan coloring and brindle markings can occur, but are rare.

In adulthood, the Russell Terrier stands 10 to 15 inches at the shoulder and weighs 14 to 18 pounds.


Merry, devoted, and very loving, the Russell Terrier is obedient but full of energy. Absolutely fearless, you'll need a strong hand to control this rambunctious pet – one who prefers fun above all. Because of its high level of intelligence, this dog can be guided through manner and voice alone, as long as you give specific rules to follow. If you give your dog free rein, it may become aggressive – not typical of the Russell Terrier's normal personality, to be sure, but something that can develop when there are no restrictions or boundaries presented. Remember that this dog will be happiest with clearly designated rules of behavior, a set mode of decorum and canine etiquette established by you, its devoted companion – and vice versa.

Because this dog is so active, it will need a lot of exercise with at least a daily walk. If possible, take your pet to a wide-open outdoor space like a dog park if you don’t have a large yard, and let it run with abandon on a regular basis.

Regardless of whether you live on a large estate or in a small apartment, this dog will need a vigorous walk before you leave for work to prevent destructive behavior in your absence. Very smart breeds like Russell Terriers require an outlet for their excessive energy on a regular basis. With plenty of mental and physical stimulation, as well as attention and love, this dog will be perfectly happy in a small apartment.


The Russell Terrier is quite a healthy dog, although it can be prone to Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease, a small breed disease that affects the hip joint with deformity. It can often be confused with dysplasia, but is a disease of the joint nonetheless. It can be corrected with surgery, and prognosis is good as long as rehabilitation is also done correctly.

Patellar luxation is another disorder that's also common in small dogs; this happens when the kneecap or patellar are not lined up properly. The dog can limp or have an abnormal gait. It's present at birth but doesn't always show up right away. Patellar location can occur in Grades I through IV; the higher the grade reading, the more severe the disease, with Grade IV impossible to correct with simple manual realignment. Severe luxation can cause arthritis, and surgery may be needed to correct it.

Glaucoma and lens luxation, which happens when the eye lens becomes displaced because the ligament holding it deteriorates, can be treated with medication or surgery. If the luxation is severe, the eyes may need to be removed.

Life expectancy is long, 15 years or more.


Grooming is easy and simply requires brushing and combing on regular basis with a firm bristle brush. Bathing should only be necessary occasionally, and you should remember to strip your dog's coat if it is to be shown.


Jack Russell Terrier.

Retrieved February 17, 2015.

Jack Russell Terrier.

Retrieved February 17, 2015.

Jack Russell Terrier / Parson Russell Terrier.

Retrieved February 17, 2015.

Jack Russell Terrier (Russell Terrier) (Rebel Terrier).

Retrieved February 17, 2015.

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