Breed standards

Parson Russell Terrier

Breed standards are the official guidelines that describe the ideal characteristics, temperament, and appearance of a breed and ensures that the breed is fit for function with soundness essential.

Last Updated: 22 Feb 2017

Kennel Club, London 1994

Amended May 1996

Revised May 1999

Effective in Australia 1 January 2001

Group 2 (Terriers)

Workmanlike, active and agile; built for speed and endurance. Overall picture of balance and flexibility. Honourable scars permissible.


Essentially a working terrier with ability and conformation to go to ground and run with hounds.


Bold and friendly.

Head And Skull:

Flat, moderately broad, gradually narrowing to the eyes. Shallow stop. Length from nose to stop slightly shorter than from stop to occiput. Nose black.


Almond shaped, dark, keen expression.


Small, V-shaped, dropping forward, carried close to head, tip of ear to reach corner of eye, fold not to appear above top of skull. Leather of moderate thickness.


Jaws strong, muscular. Teeth with perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping the lower teeth and set square to the jaws.


Clean, muscular, of good length, gradually widening to shoulders.


Shoulders long and sloping, well laid back, cleanly cut at withers. Legs strong, must be straight with joints turning neither in nor out. Elbows close to body, working free of the sides.


Ribs not over-sprung. Chest of moderate depth not to come below point of elbow, capable of being spanned behind the shoulders by average size hands. Back strong and straight. Loin slightly arched. Well balanced. Overall length slightly longer than height from withers to ground.


Strong, muscular with good angulation and bend of stifle. Hocks set low and rear pasterns parallel giving plenty of drive.


Compact with firm pads, turning neither in nor out.


Docked: Length complementing the body. Strong, preferably straight, moderately high set, carried well up on the move, may be carried lower when relaxed.
Undocked: Of moderate length, preferably straight, giving a general balance to the dog. Thick at the root and tapering towards the tip. Moderately high set, carried well up on the move, may be carried lower when relaxed.


Free-striding, well co-ordinated, straight action front and behind.


Naturally harsh, close and dense, whether rough or smooth. Belly and undersides coated. Skin must be thick and loose.


Entirely white or predominantly white with tan, lemon or black markings, or any combination of these colours, preferably confined to head or root of tail.


Ideal height at withers: dogs 36cms (14ins), bitches 33cms (13ins). Most importantly soundness and balance should be maintained whilst taking into account that this terrier, bred to work fox, should be capable of being spanned behind the shoulders by average sized hands.


Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog.


Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.