About the Breed
“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.” - Josh Billings
The first documented existence of a Russian Toy-like Terrier was between 1716 and 1726. It was a dog named Lizetta, and personally belonged to Russian Emperor Peter the Great. Since then the breed has been growing in popularity; with the breed standard first coming into effect in 1966 under authorisation of the Ministry of Agriculture.
The original instance of a long coated Russian Toy (our favourite!) was a dog named Chikki, born from two smooth coated dogs that both had slightly longer hair than was typical. Initially, the puppy was not to be registered as its coat was too long meet the breed standard.
Chikki was registered and purchased by Evgeniya Fominichna Zharova, and Zharova is thus the long coated variety's founding breeder as the first breeder to intentionally retain and breed a dog with a longer coat. Zharova developed the breed in Moscow, and so it came to be known as the Moscow Toy Terrier. More information on the history (in Russian) as well as the source of some of these photos, can be found here.
In 1988, the Russian Kynological Federation published a new breed standard, combining the short coated Russian Toy Terrier and the long coated Moscow Toy Terrier under "Russian Toy Terrier." However, towards the fall of the Berlin Wall, the popularity of imported exotic breeds nearly drove the Russian Toy into extinction.
The Русский той was saved thanks to increased demand resulting the work of dedicated breeders, with kennels opening across the world and an increase in interest in Japan and the United States, Australia, and Ireland.
In near future RTBCUK will apply to KC for breed acceptance, so in future puppies will be able to be KC registered and able to attend even more events.
A copy of the breed standard from the FCI can be found in the PDF below:
The Russian Toy itself is an energetic and nimble dog with a very playful attitude - this is a dog that really loves life! Their character is very terrier-like in being very daring and courageous, but rarely shows the typical hostility and aggression that terriers often get bad press for.
Like any dog, the Russian Toy is naturally territorial in order to ensure the safety of their owner, their pack, and their property. This territorial and loyal nature means that the Russian Toy is perfect for not only watch dog duties, but as a companion dog – they love laps and cuddles!
When properly socialised the Russian Toy is perfect with other dogs, and even gets on with other animals when properly introduced. Our cat and our Russian Toys get on fantastic with one another! They’re easy to train, and when trained through a fair and patient methods will reward their owners with an obedient and loving dog great with older children and other animals. This is a dog that is not recommended for families with very young children, as they could unintentionally harm such a small dog.
Russian Toys come in two typical coat varieties; long haired and smooth coated. We currently only have long haired Russian Toys, but we are always on the lookout for the right dog to join our pack – whether long or smooth coated. A variety of coat colour combinations are recognised by breeders and kennel clubs including brown and tan, blue and tan, red and brown, or red and sable.
Maintenance and Care
Generally speaking the Russian Toy Dog has very few health concerns, and when properly cared for may live for approximately 12-15 years, though we know of dogs that have lived for more.
Like any dog, the Russian Toy can suffer from Patella Luxation - a condition where the knee cap slips out of position. This is normally an inherited condition and we have checked our dogs for signs of this disease prior to any breeding. Russian Toy Dogs can also be prone to bone fractures due to their small stature. As well, you could seriously injure a small dog by stepping or accidentally sitting on them, or dog can injure itself by jumping off of sofas or fearlessly leaping from your arms.
Occasionally a Russian Toy puppy will require assistance from a Veterinary Surgeon to remove any retained puppy teeth (also called deciduous teeth) as these may not fall out normally. These teeth can cause complications when the adult teeth emerge, resulting in conditions such as misalignment of the teeth. In order to keep your Russian Toy healthy, you will need carefully brush their teeth every day. This is very important. Do NOT use regular human toothpaste for your dog. Most human toothpastes include fluoride, which is extremely poisonous to dogs. You can find toothpaste formulated for dogs at most good pet stores.
Also there are many synthetic bones and chew toys that are specially designed to strengthen your dog’s gums and teeth. Just make sure you’re providing safe objects for your dog to chew on.