Difference between Jack Russell and Parson Russell?

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Difference between Jack Russell and Parson Russell?

This is a discussion on Difference between Jack Russell and Parson Russell? within the Dog Breeds forums, part of the Other Dogforum Interests category; So I used to think the Jack russells were the shorter, chunkier ones: And the Parson russells were the leaner, leggier ones: Mostly because the ...

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Old 05-20-2016, 08:54 AM
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Difference between Jack Russell and Parson Russell?

So I used to think the Jack russells were the shorter, chunkier ones:





And the Parson russells were the leaner, leggier ones:






Mostly because the people I know with Jack Russells have the short legged dogs. I also noticed the short legged ones have a longer snout with a less pronounced stop.

And I was reading a dog breed encyclopedia that had the leggier ones under "Parson Russell Terrier" and the short ones listed under "Jack Russell Type" and said the Jack Russell Type wasn't a recognized breed which was also kind of confusing.

But recently I met a couple of the leggier dogs (wire haired) and the owners said they were Jack Russells. So now I'm wondering what the difference is and how to tell these two breeds apart. Could someone explain this to me?
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Old 05-20-2016, 01:42 PM
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The first dog you posted is just fat.

They were originally called Jack Russels..they became became Parsons when it became an official breed. People still call them Jacks but Jack Russels became a blanket label and mutts were included..so they dropped the name. The "leggier" ones you're talking about probably have Fox Terrier in them..but the owner's call them "Jacks".


They do come in wired coat or smooth though, that may be the only difference you're seeing in pics.

The AKC page explains the name:
Parson Russell Terrier Dog Breed Information - American Kennel Club
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Old 05-20-2016, 02:48 PM
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I disagree that the first one is fat. Some JRTs are stocky.

The thing about Jack Russels is they're one of the later/never recognized dog breeds like Pit Bulls or Border Collies. The purity isn't as... strong? Or rather they've been bred with more diversity in their looks than others. I'm sure someone will say I'm wrong but there is a huge variety in body type, ears, fur type, snout and leg length in dogs referred to as "Jack Russels". Personally I've never met any dog like that called a "Parson Russel Terrier" or "Russel Terrier" outside a dog show. I do believe there are technically 4 varieties of JRT that have and are being split into conformation groups, but you really can liken the average dog called a "Pit Bull". It's a small, smart, energetic terrier type with a high prey drive that's typically brown and white or tri-color.
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Old 05-20-2016, 03:23 PM
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Where I live, the kennel club recognises both Jack Russell Terriers and Parson Russell Terriers. Parsons are supposed to have longer legs and Jacks shorter. I do not know if their breed standard asks for any similarities or differences beyond that.

Then there is the third type here, the working jack russell terrier. They are not registered in our kennel club, actually their breeders avoid that IIRC. I do not know either if they divide into breeds/varieties regarding length of the legs.

The JRT is quite new in registry and thus it has or at least has had a lot of variety in proportions, shape and color. There are puppies with longer legs and puppies with shorter legs. I knew two sisters, imported from Ireland. One was almost white, short-legged and got accepted into the then recently recognised breed's studbook. Her sister was leggy, had large colored spots on her back and and was almost twice as tall as her sister.
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Old 05-20-2016, 09:50 PM
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If they're "stocky" and not fat.. like they just have a bigger body then maybe they're mixed with a stocky dog. People say the same thing about Beagles though..they're not used to not seeing Beagles that aren't overweight.

Pit-Bulls are a cross between a Staffordshire Terrier, and Bull Terrier. They're basically an American designer or hybrid breed like Yorkie-Poos or Sch-icons. I guess the same thing happened with the original JRT's..too generic of a term.
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Old 05-21-2016, 09:50 AM
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Originally Posted by UghNowWhat View Post
If they're "stocky" and not fat.. like they just have a bigger body then maybe they're mixed with a stocky dog. People say the same thing about Beagles though..they're not used to not seeing Beagles that aren't overweight.

Pit-Bulls are a cross between a Staffordshire Terrier, and Bull Terrier. They're basically an American designer or hybrid breed like Yorkie-Poos or Sch-icons. I guess the same thing happened with the original JRT's..too generic of a term.
I don't think so... American Pit Bull Terriers are their own pure breed.

Also, the two JRT types I'm talking about aren't mixed either, they're definitely both purebreds.

Anyways, I found this. I don't know if it's true or if the author is just writing their opinion without citing any references to back it up though. If it's true it makes a lot of sense:

Parson Jack Russell Terrier FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions About Parson Jack Russell Terriers

So basically, they were the same breed but there was some club drama and politics and Jack Russell people didn't want the AKC to recognize and ruin their working dogs so the Jack Russell Club of America won the exclusive right to use the name Jack Russell. So the AKC decided to register their dogs as Parson Russell terriers since they couldn't use the actual name Jack Russell. So Parson Russells are basically AKC registered show lines and Jack Russells aren't registered with the AKC and seem to be mostly working or pet dogs. But otherwise they're pretty much the same breed.

They should both be longer legged- the short legged ones are actually deformed due to chondrodysplasia- when cartilage doesn't properly transform into bone when the pup is developing in the womb. But they're still purebred- not mixed with a "stockier" breed.

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Old 05-21-2016, 07:34 PM
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Pit-Bulls are a cross between a Staffordshire Terrier, and Bull Terrier. They're basically an American designer or hybrid breed like Yorkie-Poos or Sch-icons. I guess the same thing happened with the original JRT's..too generic of a term.
This is incorrect. They are not a cross between Am Staffs and Bull Terriers. I'll link @SpicyBulldog on this for fact checking because she's one of our site's experts on bully breeds, but I know for certain that is not where Pitties came from. Pit Bulls and Am Staffs were one and the same breed for many years. The American Staffordshire Terrier first became a separate breed from the Staffordshire Terrier of England because the American and English lines changed so much they separated the breeds sometime in the late 19th century. The show dogs were then referred to as Am Staffs, and the fighting dogs were called Pit Bulls. The most famous "Pit Bull" ever was Petey from the Little Rascals who was one of the first Am Staffs recognized by the AKC. There was no widespread introduction of the Bull Terrier to create the Pit Bull Terrier. The Bull Terrier I believe was one of the base breeds for Am Staff and Staffy, if not just another offshoot of the "Bull n Terrier" breed that existed hundreds of years ago. Along with that, many fighting bred Pit Bulls has a more diverse genetic background because fighters and street bred dogs would have other dogs like Am. Bulldogs, Corsos, Presas, Rotties, Labs, etc. thrown in just to get the best fighting dog, or from oops litters. Am Staffs were kept more pure and have a much more uniform appearance. Aside from the new immersion of pure American Pit Bull Terriers with a breed standard, and these "American Bullies" and XXL dogs that are a waddling abomination, the typical dogs called Pit Bulls are really just street bred bully breed mixes.
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Old 05-21-2016, 08:45 PM
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On the Isle of Great Britain there came to be a small feisty white terrier that was often simply called a white terrier.

If you had a white terrier and you trained it and used it for fox, it was a fox terrier. If you trained it and used it for badgers, it was a badger terrier, etc. If you had a non-white terrier (like a Fell or Patterndale) that was used for fox, you called it a fox terrier.

After a while, the term Fox Terrier started to be synonymous with white terrier.

When the 'dog fancy' craze hit England hard, the KC took that hard little working dog and bred it based on conformation not heart. The conformation had little to do with traits that make a good terrier, and mainly what 'looked good'.

But for every KC registered fox terrier, there were probably 10 'working' fox terriers who where white with some brown patches around the head, roughly the same head shape, roughly the same size, but otherwise varied a lot.

A guy by the name of Jack Russell who was a Parson (a local preacher) was fond of terriers and hunting. He acquired dogs he liked, bred then for a while then generally got into financial trouble had to sell the dogs and would start over a few years later. While he did some hunting, he didn't do a lot with them. He seemed more interested in breeding them and talking about hunting in theory.

Being he was a parson, he was a more well lettered man and a man with more free-time than most who ran working terriers. (The farmer, miner, laborer, factory worker, they had less spare time to pursue their hobby, and spent their free time actually doing it)

Anyways, the Fox Terrier, both registered Show Dogs and unregistered Working Dogs got further and further apart. Keep in mind, throw a Jack Russel Terrier in a time machine to 1960 and bring it to the local dog pound, they'd term it a 'rough coat fox terrier' not a JRT. Eventually fans of the working terrier decided they should call their dogs something other than fox terrier. They went and found the works of Parson Jack Russel and thought he would be a good source for the name of their working fox terrier.

So various Jack Russel clubs were founded. In the USA, the biggest and registering dogs from around the world while also being tied to brother-clubs in other countries is the Jack Russel Terrier Club of America.

Unlike the KC and AKC, just because your parents were registered as JRTs with the JRTCA, you weren't. You could only get registered when as an adult your pictures were sent in and you were deemed to be a JRT. This means dogs without registered parents could also get registered. The size restrictions on the dogs were broad. It could be small or medium-small. (10-12.5 and 12.5-15) and could have 3 different coat types. Shows judged a dog on working ability just as much if not more than conformation to the standard. JRTCA also had rules against extensive inbreeding.

In the UK similar clubs were formed, but even though the JRT started in the UK, the American Club has always had more international sway on things of working JRT nature.

The FCI also recognized the breed.

Eventually some folks wanted to join the KC and AKC. (In the USA, I think the AKC approached JRT people first because of the growing popularity) Most JRT people said 'hell no, they judge on conformation, not performance. They inbreed like crazy. They will suck the soul out of the breed, and then suck it's health out too...just like they did with the Fox Terrier"

A splinter group formed up and got with the AKC and officially the JRT became one of the breeds you could show in conformation events. his pattern was repeated in various kennel clubs.

Because of some issues with the FCI and registering dogs across different kennel clubs, the KC changed the name to Parson Russel Terrier, and then a bit later the AKC did the same thing, as did pretty much all the kennel clubs.

Eventually the FCI added the Parson Russel into it's books with a taller height window than it allowed for the Jack Russel Terrier.

SO, when you hear Jack Russel Terrier think 'working dog--broad spread of acceptable sizes'

In the FCI, small JRTs are JRTs and medium-small JRTs are Parsons.

when you hear Parson Russel Terrier think 'JRT that went down the Kennel Club path, and had to change it's name...conformation is more critical' These are the medium-small dogs, not the small dogs.

So, that's many clubs a tall JRT can belong to. What about the smaller one? It can be part of the JRTCA as a JRT and the FCI as a JRT...but what about the AKC or KC?

So, as it happens, people were crossing various Jack Russel Terrier type dogs with corgis and chewies to make them small and long and were throwing about the term Russell Terrier. In the UK and USA, clubs were formed to encompass both the smaller JRT dogs who couldn't make the cut in the new Parson Russell Terrier standard, and also these long short dogs. They blended these two separate things together into the new breed the Russel Terrier.

Something to point out. Working JRTs, while size is expressed in how tall the dog is at the withers, the real concern is how big around the dog's chest is, to judge if it can fit down a fox hole. It so happens that with working JRTs, they are all roughly the same proportion regardless of how tall or short. So working JRT that is 11 inches at the shoulder is going to have a proportionally smaller chest, and will fit down a foxhole. Many of the 'long' Russels are 11 at the shoulder, but this is because they have stumpy legs and their chests will often measure 14-15 inches, meaning they will struggle to fit in a fox hole.

If you see a long JRT-type dog with short legs, realize it is likely a "Russell Terrier" although possibly a JRT that is more geared toward critters other than foxes.
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Old 05-21-2016, 09:02 PM
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Pit-Bulls are a cross between a Staffordshire Terrier, and Bull Terrier. They're basically an American designer or hybrid breed like Yorkie-Poos or Sch-icons. I guess the same thing happened with the original JRT's..too generic of a term.

Disagree on 'pit bulls'

Fighting pit dogs of various bulldog plus terrier mixes sprung up pretty much right after bull and/or bear baiting was banned.

This type existed pretty much wherever English was the major language.

One guy gathered up a bunch of white bull-and-terrier mixed mutts and bred them as the White Cavalier Terrier, which eventually morphed into the Bull Terrier.

But there were plenty of Bull-and-Terrier types that weren't Bull Terriers. At various times people proposed it as a breed that should be recognized, but were turned down.

In the USA one guy approached the AKC about creating a breed with them to encompass the bull-and-terrier type. They told him no. So he formed the UKC and gave his breed the name American Pit Bull Terrier.

This was roughly 35 years before the name Staffordshire Bull Terrier was ever uttered.

The term Pit Bull can be applied to all sorts of dogs. While a dog that was half Staffy and half Bull Terrier would probably be labeled a 'pit bull' at the local pound, don't for a minute believe that this is all pitbulls.

The big wide mess of dogs that can be called the Bull-and-Terrier TYPE have given rise to at least 3 named breeds (probably more like 5) all drawing from the same deep well, not so much from mixing those named breeds up to come up with new combinations.
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Old 05-21-2016, 09:26 PM
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Pit-Bulls are a cross between a Staffordshire Terrier, and Bull Terrier. They're basically an American designer or hybrid breed like Yorkie-Poos or Sch-icons. I guess the same thing happened with the original JRT's..too generic of a term.
Pit Bulls are a single, pure breed. Not a cross or designer breed. I would think maybe you are confused about their history (since bull breeds and bull & terrier breeds are related), if you had not said the designer dog part. Bull Terrier crosses are very distinct looking dogs, usually the head shape of the modern day Bull Terriers is passed into a Bull Terrier mix. A shallow stop is considered undesirable in Pit Bulls. There are actually some vast differences between today's Bull Terrier standard and the Pit Bull standard.
Fighting dogs in the UK have existed for centuries, these are the ancestors of the modern day Pit Bull. The Pit Bull as we know it has been around for probably a couple of centuries. It is hard to say exactly, since the earliest pedigree records have likely been lost or were not completely kept. Most modern day Pit Bull pedigrees trace back to the same group of dogs of the mid 1800s- my puppy is 669 times Feeley's Jim, 608 times Galvin's Pup, 1518 times Colby's Jennie. Which is the definition of a "pure breed", a term designated by man for animals of the same genetic background.
Staffordshire Terriers came to exist for mostly political reasons. Rest assured they were simply AKC registered Pit Bulls, therefore it is impossible for a Pit Bull to be a cross of Staffordshire & Bull Terrier.
Pure breed or pure bred is actually a flexible term. Many pure breeds have had other blood or a dog of another breed added to the gene pool. Pit Bulls are no different on that account. Including early Bull Terrier blood (which were similar to Pit Bulls). Prior to being AKC accepted (1936) Pit Bulls were AKC registered as Bull Terriers. The gene pools were largely kept seperate, but some pedigrees show inter breeding. This was too far back to worry about today, like 100yrs ago. This type of thing has happened in many pure breeds. In some cases intentionally to save a dying breed.
Dogs can also be considered pure bred by adhering to a specific physical standard or a working function. Many Pit Bulls meet the breed standard. However, they have been a breed with focus on performance fighting, hunting, weight pull, ect. So there exist splits or variations. The same can be said about many other breeds, like Labs or German Shepherds.
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This is incorrect. They are not a cross between Am Staffs and Bull Terriers. I'll link @SpicyBulldog on this for fact checking because she's one of our site's experts on bully breeds, but I know for certain that is not where Pitties came from. Pit Bulls and Am Staffs were one and the same breed for many years. The American Staffordshire Terrier first became a separate breed from the Staffordshire Terrier of England because the American and English lines changed so much they separated the breeds sometime in the late 19th century. The show dogs were then referred to as Am Staffs, and the fighting dogs were called Pit Bulls. The most famous "Pit Bull" ever was Petey from the Little Rascals who was one of the first Am Staffs recognized by the AKC. There was no widespread introduction of the Bull Terrier to create the Pit Bull Terrier. The Bull Terrier I believe was one of the base breeds for Am Staff and Staffy, if not just another offshoot of the "Bull n Terrier" breed that existed hundreds of years ago. Along with that, many fighting bred Pit Bulls has a more diverse genetic background because fighters and street bred dogs would have other dogs like Am. Bulldogs, Corsos, Presas, Rotties, Labs, etc. thrown in just to get the best fighting dog, or from oops litters. Am Staffs were kept more pure and have a much more uniform appearance. Aside from the new immersion of pure American Pit Bull Terriers with a breed standard, and these "American Bullies" and XXL dogs that are a waddling abomination, the typical dogs called Pit Bulls are really just street bred bully breed mixes.
Hi Tracie, you are correct in your thinking about Pit Bulls. Bull Terriers were created in the 1860s. The Pit Bull pre dates the Bull Terrier's creation. After many long years of attempts for AKC acceptance and disagreements between the Pit Bull clubs and registries about AKC recognition, the Pit Bull was finally AKC accepted in 1935. The name they were to be registered under was Staffordshire Terrier, with the first Pit registered in 1936. Decades later (1970s) American was added as the Staffordshire Bull Terrier became AKC registered.
Bull Terrier was not a base breed for AmStaff. No other breeds were added to the AKC gene pool upon Pit Bull's AKC acceptance. I believe that the Staffy probably pre dates the Bull Terrier too, as a strain of pit dog. Possibly refined around the same time. It is hard to say, but they did not have Bull Terrier to create them.
Overall, I feel fighting dogs were kept as pure as any breed for the most part. There are various attributes that make a "good" fighting dog, but gameness is the core and heart of the dog. Crossing to "cur" breeds could compromise the integrity of the breed's gameness. While they are negative traits in the modern day when coupled with dog aggression or even worse human aggression, gameness, tenacity, heart, gripping did not become consistent in the breed by random crossing, nor would it make the "best" fighting dog. Crossing to other breeds would reduce the superiority of pit dog ability. AmStaff came from AKC registering fighting pit dogs. Pit Bulls of today which are show dogs, hunting dogs, weight pull dogs, ect are all down from fighting dogs. Whether this a few or several generations back.
I do not consider American Pit Bull Terriers to be a "new immersion" as they have existed for at least, over 150 years.
I do agree that Pit Bull is misused and people misrepresent what they have. Any mutt that appears Pit like, any bully type dog or Pit mix or fighting Bull looking dog is commonly referred to as a Pit Bull. This is true of generalm public who fear them and the purple breeding them.
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