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Russian Toy Mobile

Russian Toy

The Russian Toy is an elegant and delicate little dog, with large mobile pricked ears, appealing round eyes and a compact, muscular body. They come in two coat varieties; the smooth coated variety which has a short, close-lying and glossy single coat without undercoat; the long coat which has a moderate length of fur over the body, short on the face and fronts of the legs and long feathering on the backs of legs, tail and ears. This coat should be silky and glossy.

  • Dog suitable for non-experienced owners
  • Basic training required
  • Generally healthy breed
  • Enjoys active walks
  • Needs under an hour of walking a day
  • Small dog
  • Minimum drool
  • Requires grooming once a week
  • Chatty and vocal dog
  • Barks and alerts to visitors/anything unusual
  • Could have issues with unknown dogs but gets along with known dogs
  • May need additional training to live with other pets
  • Great family dog
  • Can live without a garden
  • Can live in semi-rural areas
  • Cannot be left alone

Key Facts

Lifespan: 11 – 13 years
Weight:  Up to 3kg
Height:  Between 20 - 28cm
Colours:  Coats come in black and tan, brown and tan, lilac and tan, any shade of red with or without a black, brown, blue or lilac overlay, fawn or cream.
Size:  Small
UK Kennel Club Groups: Toy


Family-friendly: 4/5
Exercise needs: 3/5
Easy to train: 3/5
Tolerates being alone: 2/5
Likes other pets: 3/5
Energy level: 3/5
Grooming needs: 2/5
Shedding: 2/5
Russian Toy standing on the grass


As with many small breeds, the Russian Toy has a huge personality, unsurprising given their ancestry lies in the terrier type. Active, cheerful and thriving on human companionship, the Russian Toy loves family life. They can be reserved with strangers and do require thorough socialisation from an early age, particularly with children, pets and other dogs. They are ever alert for anything they deem dangerous and will behave as a perfect watch dog, sounding the alarm should anything appear suspicious. This may not be peaceful or restful to live with, so take this trait into consideration. They are intelligent and will enjoy training, and any activity that involves being with their human family.

Russian Toy laying next to the ball

History and Origins

Country of Origin: Russia

The Russian Toy owes its existence to the small toy terrier types of England, and the desire of Russian aristocracy and elite families to own English things (particularly English dogs and English horses). The first small companion-type toy dogs were seen in Russia in the early 1700’s, and there is an example of a black and tan toy terrier named Lizetta in the Museum of Zoology in St Petersburg. Lizetta belonged to the Russian Emperor, Peter the Great, and this made the ownership of neat, tiny toy companion breeds popular.

By 1874, Russian Toys were competing in dog shows, and 11 Russian Toys were listed as being exhibited in a St Petersburg show in 1907, however these were still very closely related to the English Toy terriers.

The October Revolution in 1917 meant that the Russian Toy diminished in popularity, as all things relating to aristocracy, wealth and nobility were then frowned upon. The lack of numbers and the political isolation of the country caused the creation of a new breed, with a breed standard drawn up that was distinct from the earlier English style breed. Since the 1950’s this new, contemporary style Russian Toy differed significantly from the classic toy terrier, and in 1958 the first long haired Russian Toy litter was born. Years of careful development later and the breed now has two varieties, the Long haired and the Smooth haired.

First recognised by the Russian Kynological Federation, but at that time classified as Terriers, following a revision to the breed standard in 2003 in conjunction with the Federation Cynologique Internationale, they were finally moved to the Companion and Toy group in 2006. In the UK they are currently on the Import Register for the Toy group.

Did you know?

Did You Know?

  • The Russian Toy has also gone by the names Russian Toy Terrier, Russkiy Toy and Toychik. They are one of the smallest breeds of dog weighing between 1-3kg and are often mistaken for Chihuahuas, however they are not closely related to Chihuahuas.
  • Although toy terriers have existed in Russia since the mid 1700’s the modern Russian Toy can be considered a relatively new ‘re-invented’ breed, with the original fore-runners being all but wiped out in first the 1920’s by Communism and the unfavourable link to aristocracy, and then again in the 1990’s when, following the fall of the Iron Curtain, there was an influx of foreign breeds and these were more popular than the Russian Toy.

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