Russkiy Toy (Russian Toy): Dog Breed Profile and Information

Russkiy Toy (Russian Toy)
Photo by mon_elevage

Russian toys, also known as the Moscow Toy Terrier or Russkiy Toy, are a breed of dogs that originated in Russia but have been bred for centuries worldwide.

They are famous as “Russian Toys” because the people initially used them for hunting small games such as squirrels, rabbits, and birds.

Let us look into the Russian toy dog breed’s profile and what they enjoy doing.

Quick Facts About the Russian Toy

TemperamentAffectionate, Cheerful, Loving
Life Expectancy10 to 12 years
CoatLong and Smooth Coat
Coat ColorBrown and Tan, Red Sable, Blue and Tan
Height20 to 28 cm
Weight1.5 to 3kg
HealthDental disease, Patellar Luxation

History of the Russian Toy Breed

The history of the Russian toy terrier dates back to the late 18th century when it worked as a hunting dog by the nobility.

During the reign of TsarPeter I, the breed was famous as the “English Short-Hair Terrier.” It resembled the famous English Toy Terrier, although it had been bred specifically for use as a hunting dog.

In 1716, Empress Elizabeth adopted a small terrier as her pet, naming him “Lizetta.” She kept him in her palace, where he became well-loved by both the empress and the courtiers.

After Elizabeth died in 1740, the little dog remained in the palace, and his descendants continued to live there. When Catherine II took power, she renamed the dog “Peter the Great.”

During the reign of Catherine II, the Russian toy terrier was exported to England, where it gained a reputation as a good hunting dog.

By the end of the 19th century, the breed was exported worldwide. In 1888, the American Kennel Club recognized the breed, adopting it as the “Toy Poodle” and giving it the name “English Short-Haired Terrier.”

Then, by the beginning of World War I, the number of dogs in Russia had dropped dramatically due to the war and the revolution.

Before the revolution, the breed’s population numbered about 200,000; during the Civil War, the number fell to less than 10,000. Following the October Revolution, the Soviet Union began importing foreign dogs.

Dogs imported from Finland included the Finnish Spitz, which eventually replaced the Russian toy terrier as the USSR’s primary type of working terrier.

The USSR Collapse

After the collapse of the USSR, the Russian toy terriers faced another threat—the importation of exotic breeds such as the Chihuahua, Maltese, and Yorkshire terrier.

Although some breeders tried to preserve the Russian toy terrier, others preferred imports, and the breed nearly disappeared.

Fortunately, breeders managed to save the breed, and today, the Russian toy terrier emerges as one of the most popular types of working terriers in Russia.

Today, the Russkiy toy is one of the most common working terriers in Siberia. There are over 50,000 registered purebreds, and the total number of registered mixed-breed dogs exceeds 300,000.

The breed standard has an excellent energy level, and human companionship is athletic and is often trained for police work, guard duty, and tracking.

Characteristics of the Russkiy Toy


The Russian Toy is a very tiny toy breed, and they come in both a smooth coat and a longhaired version.

Some people believe the smooth-coated versions look like miniature deer, while others see it as a smaller version of the American Chihuahua. These dogs have long, spindly limbs, long necks, and muscular bodies.

Their heads are small and well-defined with big, doe-eyed black noses. Their ears are small and triangular. Also, Russian Toys have many colors and patterns, including red, white, blue, chocolate, and tan.


The average height of a Russian Toy is between 9–12 inches, but they can range up to 14 inches tall. They weigh anywhere from 3 pounds to 6 pounds.


The Russkiy Toy breed is often highly-adored by those who know them, especially among children. This is because they have high marks in almost every aspect of their personalities. They are brilliant, playful, friendly, and eager to please.

Also, they don’t hesitate to react when they feel something needs to be done, but they’re not too pushy or aggressive. They are loyal to their families and love spending time together, playing, and having fun.

Even standing under a foot in height, they are no pushovers and enjoy interacting with people, including other dogs and children. They are surprisingly good with adults, too, even if they are younger than five or six years old.

Russkiy Toys are not easily intimidated and usually do well with training, even if they are new to owning a pet. Unlike most larger breeds of similar stature, Russkiys are not lapdogs and like to keep busy and run outside whenever possible.

Despite their small size, they are still athletic and enjoy running around, jumping over things, chasing toys, and doing tricks. They are great with kids, and other pets and are generally pretty calm and laid back.


Because of their small size, Russkiy Toys require lots of daily exercises. They need at least two hours of playtime and should be walked thrice daily. Also, they need plenty of mental stimulation and socialization.

The Russkiy Toys thrive on attention and affection, so make sure you give your dog lots of hugs, kisses, and treats. You’ll find that they respond well to positive reinforcement and will learn quickly how to earn rewards.

The Health of a Russkiy Toy

A Russian Toy is prone to many health problems, some hereditary and others caused by environmental factors. They are susceptible to dental disease, eye infections, skin disorders, heart disease, and respiratory diseases.

The breed is prone to patella luxation when the kneecap becomes dislodged from the femoral condyle. This causes pain and lameness in the affected leg.

Also, Russkiy Toys can suffer from hip dysplasia, a genetic disorder causing abnormal growth of bones in the hips.

It affects about one-third of dogs worldwide. Hip dysplasia is common among toy breeds because of their short legs and narrow pelvis.

Further, Russkiy Toys are prone to elbow dysplasia, a similar problem affecting the elbows. It links to heavy breeding programs, which use large amounts of food and water to encourage rapid growth.

Russkiy Toy Care


A healthy Russkiy Toy needs good quality food, such as dry dog food containing protein, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins, and minerals. A balanced diet helps maintain proper body weight, coat, and skin health.

However, you should monitor how much your pet eats and reduce portions as needed. If you notice your pet gaining excessive weight, consider reducing the food they receive. 


Your Russkiy Toy’s coat requires regular grooming to remove dead hair, dirt, and dander. Use a soft brush for this purpose.

Dental care

Regular brushing removes loose hair and keeps teeth clean. Brushing also stimulates saliva production, which helps prevent tartar buildup.

If your dog has bad breath, it may indicate gum disease, which can lead to tooth loss. Brush your dog’s teeth twice a week using an appropriate toothbrush.


Like all dogs, a Russkiy Toy needs daily exercise. Playtime is essential to keeping them mentally stimulated and physically fit.

When playing, remember to provide your dog with safe toys, chewable bones, and games that don’t involve rough or sharp objects.


Exposing your dog to new people, places, and experiences is essential. It makes your Russkiy Toy adjust to his new environment.


It’s important to teach your basic dog commands like sit, stay, come, down, and heel. Teaching these skills early on will help your dog become more independent.

Frequently Asked Questions

How big is a Russkiy Toy?

They range from 10 pounds to 20 pounds at maturity.

What does a Russkiy Toy look like?

Russkies have long bodies with short legs. Their heads are round and wide, with flat skulls.

Do Russkiy Toys shed?

Yes, they do shed heavily throughout the year.

Are Russkiy Toys hypoallergenic?

No!, Russkiy toys are not hypoallergenic

Are Russkiy Toys friendly?

Yes, they love being around people.

Is a Russkiy Toy a good family pet?

Yes! These playful little dogs make great companions.

Can I get a Russkiy Toy puppy?

Yes, you can find puppies for sale online and in local shelters.


The Russkiy Toy is a fun, energetic, and loyal companion. They’re intelligent, active, and affectionate. They enjoy spending time outdoors and making friends. You can share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

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