The Russian Toy is a popular companion breed that is often compared to the Chihuahua since the breeds are so similar in size. These dogs are descended from the English Toy Terrier, today known as the Manchester Terrier. The English Toy Terrier was a very popular breed in Russia during the early 20th century. Then beginning in the 1920s, the dogs were no longer being imported and their numbers dropped drastically. This was mostly due to their association with aristocracy and the October Revolution, which made them unpopular for a time. When breeders decided to reestablish the breed, they found that almost none of the remaining dogs were purebred and there were almost no breeding records. From there breeders went to work and began the creation of a new breed that was comparable to the English Toy Terrier. A breeder from Moscow named Yevgueniya Fominichna Zharova played a pivotal role in the creation of the Russian Toy. These dogs have only become recently known outside of their home country. They are not yet officially recognized by the AKC, but they are recorded in the Foundation Stock Service. The purpose of this service is to keep records and information for breeds that are rare or still being developed.
Russian Toys are a small companion breed. They stand at about 8 to 10 inches tall at the withers and they should weigh between 3 and 6 pounds. The head is somewhat small in comparison to the rest of the body. The muzzle is slightly pointed and medium in length with a clearly pronounced stop. The nose is small and usually black or matching the color of the coat. The eyes are large and round. They are set apart and dark in color. The ears are large and high set, standing tall atop the dog’s head. These dogs have a tail that is naturally thin and sickle shaped, but it is sometimes docked. The Russian Toy comes in two coat varieties, smooth and longhaired. The smooth coat is a single layer that is short and lies close to the dog’s body. The longhaired coat is about 3 to 5 centimeters in length and may be either straight or slightly wavy. The hair is still short on the head and front of the legs is short. The hair is feathered on the backs of the legs and the feet. The ears also have a long fringe that gives the dog a distinct look. Both coat varieties may come in many colors that include black and tan, brown and tan, blue and tan, and shades of red with a black or brown overlay. These dogs will need to be brushed regularly, but the longhaired variety will need daily brushing. These dogs should be bathed about once a month in addition to having the ears checked and the nails trimmed. These dogs are average shedders.
The Russian Toy is a breed that is intended purely as a companion. They are loving and affectionate dogs that are devoted to their owners. These dogs enjoy accompanying their owners everywhere and being part of daily activities. Although they are small, it is still very important to properly obedience train these dogs. Small dogs that are not properly trained often develop small dog syndrome. This is a series of bad behaviors that form from improper training and is what makes small dogs have a reputation to be “yappy” since obsessive barking is one of the most common behaviors that form. Small dogs are often untrained because the owner thinks that they are not big enough to be dangerous and therefore don’t require it, or the owner is simply taken in by how cute little dogs often are and doesn’t discipline them for bad behavior. Obedience training should still be done in a firm and consistent manner, even for small dogs. They should also be well socialized while they are puppies. This process should include taking them out to expose them to new people, places, and situations. Doing this will help them to grow up into well rounded adults that don’t feel timid or frightened by new things.
The Russian Toy is a great dog for apartment life. Their small size makes them suitable for almost any living situation. It is still important for these dogs to get out for a walk every day and it is also important not to carry them everywhere. This breed can get a lot of their exercise needs met through play, but going out to walk keeps the dog happy as well as healthy.
Russian Toys have a few health concerns that potential owners need to be aware of. They often need the help of a vet while they are changing from their puppy teeth to their adult teeth since sometimes the puppy teeth can fail to fall out, which can cause problems and infections. Hip dysplasia and patellar luxation are also issues that are seen with this breed, both of which can affect their mobility. These dogs are delicate and should not be handled roughly.
Overall the Russian Toy is a breed created simply to be a companion dog, and they are becoming more popular outside of Russia. These dogs are very affectionate and loyal to their owners, as well as intelligent and highly trainable.