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Russian Toy Breed Information


The Russian Toy is a rare breed of dog that comes in two coat varieties—Smooth Coated and Long Coated. Both varieties may be born in the same litter; however, when a dog of the long coat variety is bred to another long coated dog you will only get a whole litter of long coats. Both varieties are eligible to be exhibited in Conformation, Obedience and performance sports in many venues, except with the American Kennel Club (AKC). The Russian Toy is only currently recognized by the AKC in Foundation Stock Service (FSS).

Smooth Coat

The Smooth Coat variety’s coat is short, close-lying, shiny and smooth to the touch, similar to that found in the Miniature Pinscher or Manchester Terrier. The smooth coat must be without an undercoat and the dog must not have bald patches of hairlessness on its body. The presence of bald patches is a fault within the breed and too many bald patches is a disqualification.

They come in a variety of colors which include Black and tan, brown and tan, blue and tan. Also any shade of red with or without black or brown overlay.  Richer shades are preferable for all colors.

Long Coat 

The body is covered with moderately long (3-5cm) (1.2 - 2inches), straight or slightly wavy hair, close-lying, which does not hide the natural outline of the body.  Hair on the head and on the front part of limbs is short and close -lying.  Distinct feathers on rear side of limbs.  The feet have long, silky hair which completely hides the nails.  Ears are covered with thick, long hair forming a fringe.  Dogs of more than 3 years have such a fringe, which should completely hide the outer edges and tips of the ears.  Body hair should not look tousled nor be too short - less than 2 cm (0.8 inches).


They are active, very cheerful, neither cowardly nor aggressive.  The behavior is not significantly different between males and female.  There is a slight difference in the personality between the smooth and long coat.  The smooth tend to have a few more traits similar to the English Toy Terrier.  Both coats love to play and they love to cuddle. They will alert you to visitors and the slightest strange noise.


The Russian Toy (also commonly called the Russkiy Toy) is a very small breed of dog originally bred in isolation in Russia from the English Toy Terrier. There are two types, smooth haired/coated and long haired, which were known by a variety of different names until brought together under the same standard as the Russian Toy in 2000. The breed was nearly wiped out twice; first following in the 1920s with the rise of Communism due to the toy dog's traditional link to the aristocracy and secondly in the 1990s with the influx of foreign breeds following the fall of the Iron Curtain. The smooth haired type is the older of the two, with the long haired type first appearing in 1958.

Until the 1990s, the breed was almost unknown outside of Russia, and so relatively few details on associated health issues are known. The Russian Toy was bred as a rat fighter and as a family watchdog originally, and can still exhibit the vocalization expected from the latter. It is a friendly dog and can become very attached to a family unit.  

History in the United States, as we may have lived it.  

The historian reports to us, not events themselves, but the impressions they have made on him.  ~Heinrich von Sybel

The Russian Toy has had a documented presence off and on in the USA for since the 1980's. Many Russian Toys, previously known as Toy Terriers or Moscow Toy Terriers (long coated variety) were brought into the United States with their immigrating Russian owners. In the early 20th century there was a breeder of Russian descent, Anna Frumina that started importing Moscow Toy Terriers into the USA. A breed club was formed in the late 90’s and Moscow Toy Terriers were appearing at Rare breed venues around the States. Unfortunately, interests died out and the club failed along with the records of the original imported dogs.

Around the year 2005, Scarlett King was one of  people who  re-founded by  the show quality Russian Toy in North America. With another breeder assistance,   Scarlett King imported their her show quality Russian Toys and started exhibiting them at rare breed dog shows almost immediately. Scarlett King started building her Highfield kennel line from that day forward.  She considered it to be a huge responsibility for the future of the Russian Toy here in America and documenting the past along with keeping up to date records of the present. Scarlett thought  it would take years for the breed to reach the numbers to be fully recognized by AKC, so she petitioned to UKC for full recognition for the Russian Toy. UKC fully recognized the (Russkiy) Russian Toy in the fall of 2008.

Jamie Walters initiated steps toward AKC recognition with the Russian Toy by having AKC admit the Russian Toy in to its Foundation Stock Service (FSS) simultaneously in August 2008 as an initial step toward full recognition for the Russian Toy.The Russian Toy Club of America was officially accepted as a club in September 2008.  Ruth Ann Ford has been the secretary of the RTCA.  She has organized the club and help to keep the club on track from their first meetings, merger with the Russian Toy Club of the USA. Several National Specialty Shows, public & judges education and petitioning the AKC to become the official Parent Club of the Russian Toy.

Angelica Cain of Angel Toys,  was the first breeder to have their dogs registered with AKC’s Foundation Stock. After many hours and numerous phone calls later, the American Kennel Club officially approved the inclusion of the first Russian Toys into their FSS service in September 2008.

Angelica Cain, upon moving to America, from Russia, along with relocating her Russian Toy kennel, brought with her many new dogs of varying top bloodlines. Angelica Cain is certified with the RKF(the official registry in Russia) as a “Breed  expert and Breed Standard Judge”, as a specialist  Angelica understands the Standard and the unique qualities of the Russian Toy. She brings with her a new wealth of information not previously available to Russian Toy breeders outside of Russia.

The FCI recognized the Russian Toy as a provisional breed in 2006. It is reported that the Russian Toy will garner full recognition with the FCI in 2016.

The Russian Toy as a Pet

According to Russian Toy fanciers, the Russian Toy should be considered a hyper allergenic pet as they do not have a wooly undercoat, oily sebaceous skin or dandruff. Russian Toys usually do not have any body odor except they are often found to smell like your perfume or laundry from snuggling. Russian Toys have excellent appetites and readily adapt to different environments. The Russian toy is very cheerful and agile dog (ready to leap tall buildings in a single bound) .The Russian Toy is a highly intelligent dog and is fun to play with and discover new adventures. Both varieties are incredibly loving and, indeed this maybe their main attraction to the lives of those fortunate to own one.


The Russian Toy is considered an “easy keeper” due to its small size and ease of coat care. Due to its diminutive size, the Russian Toy does not require much space, large bags of dog food etc. However, you might find yourself spending your extra income on fancy jewelry and clothes for the little cutie. Good grooming habits should begin while your Russian Toy is a puppy. Your Russian Toy should be taught to sit, stand, or lie down to have their bodies checked over and their hair combed or brushed, or in the case of a smooth coated,  a chamois can be wiped on their coat. 

Grooming provides bonding time between you and your Russian Toy. The Russian Toy needs extra attention to their dental needs, due to their small mouths.

Text Box: Showing Your Russian Toy

The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognizes the Russian Toy in its Foundation Stock Service (AKC-FSS) as an initial step toward eventual full recognition for the breed. Russian Toys can be shown at AKC Companion events such as obedience, rally, and agility.  There are also FSS Open Shows for non professionals to compete with their Russian Toys and earn CM points.  A total of 15 Certificate of Merit points is needed to become a certificate of merit champion.  Those points will turn into regular champion titles when the R.T.'s are officially recognized in the AKC Toy group. 

The United Kennel Club recognized the Russkiy Toy in the fall of 2008 and at that time there were allowed to compete in all venues of the UKC.  The U.K.C. is a great registry and exhibition service for people to learn how to show their dog in conformation.  The UKC strives to emphasis the total dog and not only just the beauty of the dog.  They have events such as Agiltity, Obedience, Tracking, Lure Coursing, Barn Hunt, Dock Diving, and Weight Pull.  It has a family oriented feel to it because the many of the events are smaller than most AKC events.  The majority of the AKC exhibitors only show in AKC events.

Worldwide recognition was given to the Russian Toy as it became recognized provisionally with the Federation Cynological International (FCI) in February of 2006.  Currently the Russian Toy is recognized by assorted Rare breed venues (American Rare Breed Association [ARBA], NAKC [Rarities], International All-Breed Canine Association [IABCA]), and The United Kennel Club.

A show quality Russian Toy is usually a dog with fine body conformation as outlined in the Standard for the breed. This dog is usually the product of selective breeding and is often times more expensive, particularly if this one is considered to be the “pick of the litter” by a knowledgeable breeder. It is wise if you are buying a puppy, to buy a puppy from a breeder who is knowledgeable, and has the experience to recognize the potential as well as the faults of the puppies. There is no excuse for buying a “cheap” puppy from a person who is just exploiting the breed—whose only concern is for a fast dollar at your expense! When you buy from a dedicated breeder, who is breeding to improve the breed, you have the opportunity to acquire a well-bred, well cared for puppy offered at a fair price. Many breeders may require that your new puppy that you have purchased be spayed or neutered. This is quite a normal practice for conscientious breeders who to want to protect the excellence of the breed.  

Should You Breed?

Breeding is not just all about puppy breath.  Breeding dogs is a serious responsibility as the future generations of the breed are in the hands of today’s breeders. The Russian Toy is one of the worlds smallest breeds.  Whelping a litter of Russian Toys can be difficult for the experienced toy dog breeder and there can really be a learning curve to the inexperienced breeder whelping their first litter.  It is not unusual for puppies to be born breach presentation and the newborn pup must need to be pulled to be born.  There can be problems while birthing, females can get tired out quickly and not have the energy to deliver a whole litter.  A veterinarian should be on stand by in case the Russian Toys needs a caesarian section operation. A caesarian operation in the middle of the night at an emergency clinic can cost the breeder thousands of dollars. 

Before breeding a female it is recommended to  learn about genetics, health, bloodlines, conformation and not quite as easy as letting two dogs mate. Fine, healthy quality purebred dogs are NOT accidental—they are bred.

Before deciding to breed, consider all the factors, including the expense of the stud fee, shots and exams for the puppies, and the responsibility of seeing that they are healthy and go to responsible, loving homes. The Russian Toy needs responsible breeders where the dogs live in their homes with them as pets, nap on the couch and sleep in the beds with their people.  R.T's  is not breed for "greeders" to make a quick buck off of... Nor it is a breed which would thrive and produce well in high volume and commercial breeding establishments.

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