The Parson Russell Terrier (PRT) was the first Kennel Club recognized variant of the Jack Russell Terrier, first drawn into the UK Kennel Club in 1990, and into the American Kennel Club in 2001.
The Parson Russell Terrier is a balanced, square dog, very similar in form to other Russell Terriers, but is largely a show breed rather than a working dog.
Like all Jack Russells, the PRT is descended from early white-bodied fox-working terriers used in the hunt field. At the end of the 19th Century, these dogs were drawn into the Kennel Club as "fox terriers," but their still-working antecedents were referred to as "Jack Russell" terriers throughout the 20th Century, in honor of the Rev. John "Jack" Russell, a noted fox hunter of the 19th Century "The Sporting Parson".
In time, Kennel Club Fox Terriers and working Jack Russell Terriers looked completely different, with fox terriers growing both larger in the chest and also having longer heads. Today, Kennel Club fox terriers are rarely found at work in the field.
The Kennel Club PRTs are dogs that reside at the top end of Jack Russell height spectrum (12-14 inches) although it must be pointed out that taller Jack Russell types do exist as "Jack Russells" in working Jack Russell Terrier clubs in the United Kingdom and the United States.
The name "Parson Russell" Terrier was chosen by the American Kennel Club because of a compromise with the Jack Russell Terrier Club of America.
The definitions and description of the various Russell Terriers are still evolving, and confusing differences arise even among kennel clubs of the same breed. For example, in the United States, Parson Russells are limited to the standard terrier colours, white with black or tan markings, or tricolour, but in Australia, Parson Russells may also be entirely white, or white with lemon markings.
It is likely that there will be more changes before the various Russell Terriers are definitively categorized.
Parsons love routine and structure, not to be confused with constraint. Terriers in general do not like to be confined in kennels and unless kennels are constructed of "thick" welded steel, confinement will not be achieved.
If leaving the Parson home all day while one works, leaving a radio or TV on and/or having a playmate for your Terrier is suggested as the Parsons are very social creatures and are prone to anxiety issues in the form of bloody stools, refusal to drink or eat without their owner present, and barking until they lose their voice.
The PRT is not a mean dog and will not attack other animals unless he/she is raised with an iron fist. The dogs are loving, loyal, and make great family pets with people who treat these animals as family members.