The Russian Toy Dog: A cheerfully devoted, tiny rare breed.
The Russkiy Toy dog came originally from Russia, where it was bred to be a small companion dog, descended from imported English Toy terriers. The modern version that we know today appeared in the late 1950s. The Russian Toy dog is now fully recognized by the American Kennel Club as a member of the Toy group, since January 1st, 2022.
Personality And Temperament
Loyal, cheerful and always ready to play, this little Toy is one of the smallest dog breeds in the world with some standing at a teeny tiny 8 inches tall!
The Russkiy Toy dog is a pretty hardy little fellow who loves to get involved in everything that’s going on.
He adores human company and you’ll probably find that he doesn’t want to leave your side too much as he dislikes being too far away from his “pack”. He gets on with children and will bond with everyone in the family – no matter what age they are.
Due to his size, this tiny dog is suitable for life in an apartment or flat. However, he does still need exercising and daily walks along with his favorite past-time…playing!
There are two varieties of this breed – long-haired and smooth-haired and both can be found in the same litter. Interestingly, two smooth-haired dogs can have long-haired puppies but two long-haired parents won’t ever have a smooth-haired puppy.
The main difference between the long and smooth haired dogs are the feathery fringing on the ears which grow very long over quite a long period of time (sometimes up to a year) and look incredible – like a dainty furry butterfly 🙂
The Russkiy Toy is not aggressive, although he may show signs of Small Dog Syndrome occasionally. They do well with older children and other dogs that they know, but may not get on with strange dogs.
The Russkiy Toy has a rather interesting – if shaky – past.
In Russia, most breeds of dogs were large dogs which worked out in the fields. The Aristocratic members, however, preferred smaller companion dogs and during the 18th century the dog of choice was the English Toy Terrier.
They became what we now call “handbag dogs”, and were very popular with wealthy Russian ladies at social events. They developed the breed in Russia, keeping the size small.
But come 1920-1950, thanks to the October Revolution, this type of breed fell out of favor. The numbers dropped dramatically before the stigma finally lifted and breeding was resumed. However by this point, most of the dogs left weren’t even pedigrees never mind purebreds.
The dog who is thought to be the original Russian Toy dog was born in 1958 and named Chikki. His parent’s were 2 smooth haired terriers. One of the parents had slightly longer fur than was normal back then.
Chikki himself was then mated with Irma, a bitch who also had longer than normal fur. The result was 3 long haired puppies.
Originally bred as ratters and guard dogs, an official breed standard was written in 1966 for the 2 varieties. But by the 1990s the long haired variety was in danger of becoming extinct due to foreign toy breeds being imported after the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989.
In the 1980s, a new breed standard was written which declared that the ‘Moscow Long-Haired Toy Terrier’ and the short-coated ‘Russian Toy Terrier’ were actually 2 variations of the same breed, and in 2006 the breed was recognized by the FCI under the shorter name of ‘Russian Toy’.
This number is rising up again thankfully due to breeders and the fact that it is becoming known outside of its homeland. The breed itself has only recently been recognized by various kennel clubs and association throughout the world.
- Height: 20-28cm (8-11 in)
- Weight: 1.3-2.7 kgs (3-6lbs)
- Life Expectancy: 10-12 yrs
- Black and Tan
- Blue and Tan
- Brown and Tan
Can be smooth-haired or long haired
Russkiy Toy Ease Of Training
The Moscow Toy Terrier (another name!) is pretty easy to train. He picks up basic training quickly due to his intelligence and his natural desire to please his owner. Positive training methods are encouraged as this little fellow is sensitive to criticism.
He excels at obedience and agility trials. In fact, the video below will give you a little insight of a life at a professional dog show 🙂
Due to his history, the Russkiy Toy Dog makes a very good watch dog despite his size! He is very vocal and protective of his family, and so will definitely draw your attention to anything which he feels isn’t quite right.
However, due to his small size he is unlikely to deter a determined intruder, nor attack any unwanted visitors.
These guys are fairly easy to groom requiring little more than a weekly brush although you might want to do it slightly more frequently if you have the long-haired variety. They don’t shed a lot of hair.
Due to their large size, the ears should be checked and cleaned regularly. They can easily pick up dirt and small foreign objects. Look for any signs of infection such as redness, swelling or a bad smell.
The Russkiy Toy is a pretty robust little dog for considering his size which makes him relatively healthy. However, he can still suffer from:
- Bone fractures due to his tiny frame
- Patellar Luxation
- Severe allergic reactions to certain types or rabies and flea medication
- Often needs a vet’s help when changing from his puppy teeth to his adult teeth. Sometimes the adult teeth struggle to come forward and the dog ends up with two rows of teeth.
Famous Russkiy Toy / Russian Toy Dogs
Chikki – the original who started it all off!
Irma – Chikki’s mate.