Russian Toy

Other names: Russkiy Toy, Russian Toy Terrier

Russian Toy
Russian Toy

Energetic, bold, loyal and loving, the Russkiy Toy makes for the perfect companion dog, especially for those who live in small houses or flats.Originating from Russia, she was originally used to fight rats and so, is extremely alert and holds a fairly high prey drive. This pooch has fairly low exercise requirements and thrives on human company and attention - unfortunately, this makes her prone to separation anxiety.


Key facts about the Russian Toy

  • Life expectancy : Between 10 and 12 years
  • Temperament : Affectionate, Playful
  • Size : Small
  • Type of coat : Short, Long

FCI Group

FCI Group

Group 9 - Companion and Toy Dogs


Section 9 : Continental Toy Spaniel and Russian Toy

Physical characteristics of the Russian Toy

Adult size

Female dog Between 9 and 11 in
Male dog Between 9 and 11 in


Female dog Between 4 and 7 lb
Male dog Between 4 and 7 lb

Coat colour

Brown and tan, black and tan, lilac and tan, blue and tan, various shades of red, fawn, or cream.

Type of coat

Long or short: Smooth if short, wavy or straight if long.

Eye colour



The Russian Toy Terrier is a cute-looking small dog with a small head, tiny nose and pointed muzzle. She has large, wide-set eyes and adorable feathered, upright, large ears. In terms of the body, the Russkiy Toy has a straight back, lean, straight legs and an overall ‘elegant’ appearance. This is quite a fragile breed, even though the dog herself thinks she’s tough as nails!



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She forms strong bonds with her family and thrives living a life full of human company. Extremely loyal to whoever she considers the master.


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Cheerful, playful and jolly, the Russkiy Toy loves to play with and entertain her family, remaining puppy-like into her adult years.


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This dog is quite capable of being wise if her needs are respected.


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A fairly intelligent pooch who can easily pick up new tricks and learn commands.


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Although terriers usually love the chase, the Russkiy Toy doesn’t have a strong instinct for hunting and predation.

Fearful / wary of strangers

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The Russian Toy Terrier can be wary of strangers at first but does warm to them eventually. Early socialization is essential to this breed - otherwise, she could become aloof and, in some cases, aggressive around new people.


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She is a pleasure dog who is totally dependent on her human.

Behaviour of the Russian Toy

Tolerates solitude

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The Russkiy Toy loves nothing more than human company and therefore doesn’t enjoy time alone. She may become destructive if left alone for hours at a time.

Easy to train / obedience

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The Russian Toy Terrier falls somewhere in the middle when it comes to training. She picks up new tricks easily but can fall victim towards the classic ‘small dog syndrome’ if boundaries aren’t set early on. This breed hates harsh corrections and requires fun training sessions using plenty of positive reinforcement and rewards. To avoid seeing the willful, independent streak in this breed, make training consistent and extensive from an early age.


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This breed often barks excessively, though thorough training can prevent this from turning into a long-term problem.

Tendency to run away

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She is not a great adventurer, and will not leave her human’s side if they are at home.


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She is generally well balanced and not into destructive nonsense. That being said, she may become destructive if left alone for long periods of time - expect excessive barking, digging and scratching.

Greedy / Gluttony

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Not known to be particularly greedy.

Guard dog

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The Russkiy Toy is extremely territorial and protective of her family, and will immediately alert her owners to suspicious strangers. Despite her small size, this is a truly fearless little pooch!

First dog

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As long as owners are willing to invest time and effort into training, the Russkiy Toy makes a loyal, affectionate and jolly first dog. 


Russian Toy in a flat

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The Russian Toy Terrier is a small breed with lower than average exercise requirements, making her perfect for those who live in small houses or flats.

Need for exercise / Sporty

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Despite being high energy, the Russkiy Toy has a surprisingly low exercise requirement. However, that’s no excuse to be a couch potato - she’ll still need at least 30 minutes of exercise per day. As she’s a fairly intelligent breed, the Russkiy will also love playing games with her family on a daily basis.

Travelling / easy to transport

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This small dog breed is super easy to transport - a canine wanderlust dream!


Russian Toy and cats

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A very well-socialized Russkiy Toy is likely to happily tolerate a life with cats.

Russian Toy and dogs

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Generally enjoys the company of other dogs. However, think twice about housing the Russkiy alongside a large dog - rough playtime could result in injury to this fragile breed.

Russian Toy and children

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The Russian Toy is perfect for a household with older kids. However, she may snap at younger kids who accidentally grab or invade her personal space.

Russian Toy and the elderly

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The Russkiy Toy makes for a wonderful companion for elderly people, though they may need some assistance in training the dog.


Purchasing this breed will set you back a minimum of £650 for a Non-KC Registered dog. Looking after a dog of this size typically costs between £50 to £80 a month, including food, medical/insurance, and incidental expenses.


The Russkiy needs once or twice weekly brushing to minimize shedding, as well as an occasional bath (use gentle, hypoallergenic dog shampoo) if dirty. Overall, she’s a pretty low maintenance breed in terms of coat grooming. However, this breed is prone to dental diseases and requires daily tooth brushing. On top of this, the Russian’s nails are fast-growing and will need trimming regularly. Don’t forget to check those ears and give them a clean if necessary, too!


Moderate shedder.

Nutrition of the Russian Toy

Feed this tiny dog a high-quality dog food which is formulated for small or toy breeds.

Health of the Russian Toy

Life expectancy

The Russkiy Toy is a resilient and healthy breed, but like most breeds, is prone to certain hereditary diseases. Their average lifespan is 11 years.

Strong / robust

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Despite her frail appearance, she is a sturdy and robust dog that rarely falls ill.

Withstand heat

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Plenty of water and a cool shelter must be offered during periods of extreme heat.

Withstand cold

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She needs to be protected from the cold.

Tendency to put on weight

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She is not known to be particularly prone to weight gain. However, while owners sometimes adopt this breed due to her low exercise needs, it’s important to be aware she still needs walking for 30 minutes every day.

Common illnesses

  • Progressive retinal atrophy

  • Bone fractures

  • Patella luxation

  • Legg-Calves-Perthes disease

  • Dental issues

  • Allergic reaction to certain medications

  • Alveolitis

Good to know

The Russkiy Toy has come extremely close to extinction - not once, but twice!

Origins and history

The adorable Russkiy Toy descends from the English Toy Terrier and was bred to hunt and kill rats. However, due to her charming personality and cute looks, she quickly became popular with Russian aristocrats as a companion dog. The population withered in the 1920s when Communism was on the rise, and almost became extinct during the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989. Thankfully, though, the little trooper is still going strong today due to a rise in popularity in other countries.

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