What Dog Is a Parson Russell Terrier Another Name For?

by Betty Lewis
    Whether a Jack Russell or Parson Russell, this terrier is smart, energetic and engaging.

    Whether a Jack Russell or Parson Russell, this terrier is smart, energetic and engaging.

    Kane Skennar/Photodisc/Getty Images

    What's in a name? When it's Jack Russell or Parson Russell, to some it's the same dog, to others they're quite different and there's no room for confusion. However, if you call a Parson Russell terrier a Jack Russell, you'll be forgiven. They're both named after the same person, the late-Rev. John Russell who refined the breed.

    In the mid-1800s, the Rev. John Russell developed a line of terriers to use for fox hunting. He needed a dog of a compact size who could flush and chase foxes, as well as keep pace with the horses in the hunt. Known as Parson Russell terriers, these little dogs have a gait and ample leg length that allow them to excel at their jobs. The Parson Russell terrier was admitted to the American Kennel Club in 1998, however it carried the name of Jack Russell terrier. According to the AKC, the Parson Russell's parent club requested a name change from Jack Russell to Parson Russell and the AKC complied in 2003. The AKC no longer recognizes Jack Russell terriers, who have shorter legs and a longer body, possibly from the inclusion of Welsh corgi and other terrier breeds with the Parson Russell's bloodlines.

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    • Kane Skennar/Photodisc/Getty Images

    About the Author

    Betty Lewis is a writer and editor specializing in pet care, animals, careers and emergency management. She previously ran an animal shelter, where she also served as a kennel attendant and dog trainer. Lewis holds a bachelor's degree in journalism, an M.B.A. and a master's degree in professional studies.

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