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Russian Toy Terrier Dog
Russian Toy Terrier Dog

The Russian Toy (aka the Russian Toy Terrier), also known as the Russkiy Toy Terrier Dog is a small dog breed that was originally bred from the English Toy Terrier (aka the Manchester Terrier). This breed has two types, a long coat and a short smooth coat.

Originally the long coated dog was called the Moscow Long Haired Toy Terrier. The short smooth coat dog was called the Russian Toy Terrier. In 1988, both dogs were combined and became the Russian Toy Terrier. In 2006, the “terrier” word was dropped because this dog was officially listed in Belgium’s International Federation of Kennel Clubs.

This Russian toy dog breed came close to being wiped out twice. The first time was during the 1920s during the Communism era because he has strong ties to the aristocracy. The second time was because of the influx of foreign breeds once the Iron Curtain fell.

Breed Characteristics of Russian Toy Terriers

The Russian Toy is one of the world’s smallest dog breeds and measures 20-28 cm and weighs 1-3 kgs. Its distinctive small head has triangle ears and large eyes. In the countries that have banned docking, this dog’s tail is curved like a sickle.

Both varieties of this dog can be crossed so one litter may have long and smooth coated puppies. There have been times when two dogs with smooth coats have been bred and a Russian toy terrier long hair offspring is born from that unity. This only happens if the long hair gene is part of their pedigrees. However, the reverse hasn’t been known to occur.

Russian Toy Colors

The Russian Toy has four main colors: solid red of differing shades, brown and tan, blue and tan or black and tan. The red color includes red sable (red with an overlay of brown) and sable (red but the hair tips are black (overlay).

Russkiy Toy Terrier Coat

How much your Russian Toy’s coat grows can be influenced by diet, genetics, age, hormones and even the climate where he lives. Puppies usually lose most of their coat when they’re between the ages of 5 and 12 months of age. The full coat may not exist until the dog is aged between 2 and 3 years old.
The females can lose most of their coat once their season has passed. Therefore, an intact female’s coat won’t be as much as a spayed female or that of a male.

Russian Toy Terrier Health Problems

Russian toy terrier dog
Russian Toy Terrier Dog

A vet is often needed if “baby/puppy teeth” have to be removed. If this isn’t done (generally under an anaesthetic) both baby and adult teeth will try to occupy the same jaw socket. This can cause gingivitis, tar tar deposits, periodontitis and tooth decay. These problems can lead to teeth being lost prematurely.

Russian Toys can easily have fractured bones because they’re so small and somewhat delicate. They can suffer from patella luxation, where the knee cap slides out of place when the knee bends because the groove that’s supposed to hold it firmly in position isn’t deep enough. Patella luxation can be a genetic and/or environmental problem.

Collar/Leash Issues

The tracheas and necks of smaller dogs are far more fragile than larger, more sturdy dogs. The ideal way to take him for a walk is by using a leash that gets attached to a harness (not a collar).

Never leave a harness or collar on him while he’s at home. It’s common for one or the other to get caught on different things in the home that can yank him by the neck, potentially causing a great deal of harm.

Russian Toy Terrier Temperament

This small dog has a cheerful, active temperament and can become very attached to his family, regardless of the ages of each family member. He’s very reserved around strangers and demonstrates powerful loyalty to his owners. Originally he was bred as a watch dog and rat dog. The watch dog trait is still quite distinct and, although he’s small, he can be very vocal and protective if danger to his family is perceived.

The Russian Toy Terrier dog is ideal for people living in smaller spaces because of his size and temperament. He’s good-natured and great with families, including young children. However, as with all breeds, do your homework before taking one home to meet the family.

When you consider the attitudes of these dogs, you’ll find the Smooth Coats tend to be a little more like a terrier, as compared to the Long Coats. However, both types have very big personalities.

Russian Toy Terrier life Expectancy

Russian Toy Terrier Puppy
Russian Toy Terrier Puppy

A Russian Toy has a life expectancy of about 10 to 12 years, but it is not unheard of for some of these dogs to reach their late teens.

Russkiy Toy Terrier Training

The RTCA (Russian Toy Terrier Club of America) strongly recommends that you get your puppy involved in socialization as early as possible. This should help your Russian Toy puppy become a valued, well-behaved part of the local community.
Many kennel clubs that accept all breeds, vets and community centers provide kindergarten classes for puppy and numerous stages of obedience training. All owners of Russian Toy dogs are encouraged to train their dogs to become the best possible dogs possible.

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References and Further Reading:
Russian Toy Breed Standard (AKC). American Kennel Club, Effective June 27, 2018. PDF 
Russian Toy Terrier Club of America