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Russian Toy: Info, Pictures, Traits & Facts

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By Nicole Cosgrove

russian toy dog

Height: 8 – 11 inches
Weight: Up to 6½ pounds
Lifespan: 12 – 14 years
Colors: Black, blue, brown, tan, red, red sable
Suitable for: Families with older children, those seeking a companion dog, apartment living
Temperament: Demanding, feisty, sweet, fun, affectionate with family

The Russian Toy dog, also known as the Russkiy Toys, is a rare but lovely little pooch whose popularity is increasing in the United States. They are teeny tiny but full of big dog character, and their quirky and unique appearance is making small dog lovers across the world swoon.

This dog does not just make a wonderful companion dog that you can slip into your purse, but they also make a fantastically fun dog for the whole family’s entertainment. They are sweet, affectionate, and demandsyour full attention. It’s safe to say that there is never a dull moment with the Russian Toy around.

Despite being small, the Russian Toy comes with a wide variety of needs, all of which you will need to provide them with. Otherwise, you’ll soon find an unhappy pup on your hands. This is why this Russian Toy breed guide is essential because here, we’ll cover everything you need to know.

So, let’s jump straight into the small world of Russian Toys.

Divider 1Russian Toy Dog Puppies

Russian toy terrier puppy
Image Credit: dien, Shutterstock

The Russian Toy is a typical toy pooch, meaning that they have many attractive traits and some that not all dog lovers are a fan of. Here, we will run you through the ones that could determine whether this is the right dog breed for you. If you can get through this section, you’re sure to fall in love with one.

This dog is full of lively character, and although they love to lay on their master’s lap, they cannot sit still for too long. So, if you are seeking a true lap dog, this pup is not the breed for you. Instead, you need to be relatively active and have the energy and time to play with them throughout the day.

They’re demanding and don’t like to be left alone for any period of time, so it is essential to crate-train them. And they will also become jealous if you show anyone other than them attention. This behavior should not be tolerated. We will discuss both of these points in the training section.

As this dog is so small, they are not suited to families with young children. They’re not that tolerant of overzealous hands, and young children often treat them like an actual toy rather than a living animal, which can lead to accidents. We would suggest that this dog is only suited to families with older children.

Russian Toys have a surprisingly high prey drive. This comes from their English Toy Terrier ancestors, who were used as rat exterminators on farms. Although they can live with some other household pets (not all), they should be kept on a leash in public all the time. Not only will they run off, but they might just catch up with the neighborhood squirrel ending in a one-sided battle.

Although sweet with their family, they don’t extend this kindness to visitors and strangers. This means that not only do you have to thoroughly socialize them, you also need to expect that they aren’t the most friendly of pooches.

3 Little Known Facts About the Russian Toy Dog

1. The Russian Toy is one of the smallest dogs in the world.

The Russian Toy Dog never weighs more than 6.5 pounds. Some Russian Toy Dogs can weigh as little as 3 pounds. Their tiny size comes with its positives and negatives. Many people describe the short-haired Russian Toy as looking like a miniature deer.

2. The Russian Toy Dog is full of terrier personality.

Until 2006, the Russian Toy was previously known as the Russian Toy Terrier. English Toy Terriers formed the basis of this breed. And despite now being smaller than their terrier ancestors, they still have the tenacious and fun character.

3. There are two types of Russian Toys.

The Russian Toy can sport either the long-haired coat or the short-haired coat. Their jacket has no bearing on personality. The only aspect of their life that it affects is their grooming schedule. So, if you want to spend as little time as possible on their grooming needs, the short-haired Russian will be your better option. The long-haired Russian Toy was previously known as the Moscow Long Haired Toy Terrier, but they are now recognized as the same breed.

Russian toy
Image: Evgeniia Shikhaleeva, Shutterstock

Temperament & Intelligence of the Russian Toy Dog 🧠

Now you know all of their “difficult” traits (all dogs have them), it’s time to look at their fabulous ones. This small pooch is bursting with love for their family. They crave their human’s company and love to feel the comfort of their warmth. If you like to Netflix and chill in the evening, this dog is definitely up for it.

They are lots of fun and will entertain you and the whole family for a few hours each day. They like to think of themself as the family comedian and feel great when they know they have made you laugh. So, if you are looking for a small dog to brighten your days, look no further than the Russian Toy.

The Russian Toy’s suspicion of strangers means that they make a fantastic watchdog. If you can hear them barking, you might want to check it out. This is great if you are forever missing the delivery guy, and you need a louder alarm.

The Russian Toy is intelligent, and it’s great to keep their mind challenged with brain games and training sessions. But you need to be prepared for the typical small dog stubborn streak. This means you might have a fully obedient pooch one day and an obnoxious one the next. But this is all a part of their charm, so enjoy the Russian ride!

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 🏡

Yes, the Russian Toy makes a great family pet, but for the right family. As you can see from the sections above, there are many characteristics about them that don’t suit everyone. So, to ensure that this is the right dog for you and your family, as you need to be able to tick all of their boxes.

Being super tiny, unlike many other canines, this is an ideal candidate for apartment living. Just be sure that your yard is secure because they’ll run after the local cats and other fluffy and wild rodents. They can fit through the smallest of gaps and can be a challenge to find again.

Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets? 🐶 😽

The Russian Toy is likely to get along with other household dogs, just as long as they’re socialized well as a pup. If they aren’t, like many other toy dogs, they can be rude toward other canines. They also also likely to get along with family cats too.

However, if you have other pets, such as rabbits, guinea pigs, or mice, they are unlikely to get along with them. If it resembles a rat, their natural ratting instinct will take over, and it won’t make for a harmonious household.

Divider 4Things to Know When Owning a Russian Toy Dog:

There are a few more things that you need to know about the Russian Toy and their day-to-day needs.

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

The Russian Toy is a teeny pup with an even smaller stomach. They will only eat a maximum of 1 cup of food a day. As they are small, you should spread their meals out more frequently compared to other dog breeds. Three meals a day is ideal for this pooch.

When looking for a kibble for them, bear in mind that they have a tiny mouth, which means that most kibbles are too big for them. For this reason, it is crucial to look for a kibble designed explicitly for toy or small breeds. Additionally, they come in smaller bags meaning that the food you buy them won’t spoil before they can finish it.

russian toy terrier
Credit: David Raihelgauz, Shutterstock

Exercise 🐕

The Russian Toy is a small canine who only needs around 30 minutes of exercise every day. A couple of strolls around the block will suit them, mixed up with a few other activities within the week to keep their mind challenged.

If well-socialized, they would also like a visit to the local doggy park. Just bear in mind their tiny frame and the chance that other bigger dogs could injure them. If you see a few smaller pups in the park, invite them in, and if they look too big for them, wait for another day.

This dog will also need regular playtime throughout the day at home on top of their daily exercise. This is purely to keep their brain stimulated and to prevent them from becoming bored and obnoxious. Keep a basket full of small dog toys handy so that they can keep themself entertained for those times that you cannot play with them while you take those business calls.

Training 🦮

The Russian Toy is an intelligent canine who could be an obedient pooch if they wanted to be. But because of their stubborn streak, they don’t always want to be. The key to training stubborn dogs is to be persistent and consistent with training and never give up. Otherwise, they’ll think that they have you wrapped around their paws.

As we mentioned earlier, because this is a little dog, they come with potential behavioral problems. But this is only a problem because of how many small dog owners react to their small dogs. Essentially, what it comes down to is not allowing your Russian Toy to get away with behaviors that you wouldn’t let a large dog get away with. This is called little dog syndrome.

Because they hate to be left alone, we would advise crate training your Russian Toy. Not only does this give you peace of mind when you have to leave them home alone, but it also gives them somewhere to relax too.

Grooming ✂️

Their grooming schedule is entirely dependent on whether they sport a short-hair or long-hair jacket. If they wear the shorter coat, they’ll only need brushing once a week to remove dead hair and dirt and to keep them looking smart. If they have a long coat, they’ll need brushing two or three times a week with a slicker brush to prevent their locks from matting.

On top of their general canine grooming duties, their teeth need extra brushing because of how compact their mouth is. Brush their teeth several times a week with doggy toothpaste. If you have a long-haired pup, you’ll need to keep the hairs around the anus short to keep them clean. Look to bathe this guy once every month to keep them smelling fresh. Keep their nails trimmed and their eyes and ears clean.

Health and Conditions ❤️

Just like any purebred dog, the Russian Toy has its share of health concerns to worry about. Thankfully, this is a healthy dog breed who suffers from fewer conditions than your average pup. Their average lifespan is 12 to 14 years, but many Russian Toys live beyond this age. Here are the main concerns to learn about so that you can recognize the signs should they arise.

Minor Conditions
  • Heart conditions
  • Periodontal disease
Serious Conditions
  • Patellar luxation
Divider 5

Male vs. Female

There is little difference between a male and a female Russian Toy. And because this breed already weighs next to nothing, the average size difference between males and females isn’t easy to spot. The gender will be unlikely to have a bearing on your choice of Russian Toy.

Instead, focus on their upbringing, training, and family environment to achieve a polite pooch who is a pleasure to be around.

Divider 3Final Thoughts

The Russian Toy is a delightful purebred pup who enjoys the finer things in life. They also love to get down and dirty with their family if it means that they can be the center of attention.

Ideally, they need a family that can spend most of their time with them. Thankfully, because of their small size, they can fit in your purse, leaving no excuses to leave them alone for too long. They are also a delicate canine who need to be home with older children.

This toy pup is rare in America, so for those owners looking for a small dog with a twist, this Russian pup gives you precisely that. They are full of love and adoration for their family, and if you can put up with their sassy ways, this dog is a delight to have in the family home.

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Featured Photo credit: dien, Shutterstock

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