Russkiy Toy – Almost Too Cute to be True

The Russkiy Toy is one of the smallest dog breeds in the world, but despite some similarities, it is not related to the Chihuahua. An official breed standard was only developed in the 1960s, so the breed is not very old, but it is popular worldwide. In Germany, too, some breeders are dedicated to the preservation and dissemination of the breed – we show what’s in the tiny one.

Characteristics of the Russkiy Toys: Little Ratter with Long Flags

On the street, Russkiy Toys are often confused with other prick-eared toy breeds. A height at the withers of 25 cm and a weight of 2.3 kg is considered ideal, but a height of 22 to 27 cm and a weight of up to 3 kg are tolerated. The dainty puppies still look like puppies when fully grown and come in two different coat types.

Other mini breeds in comparison

  • The Prague Ratter resembles the short-haired Russkiy in shape and color, but is even smaller, with a maximum height at the withers of 24 cm. The Russkiy also has slightly longer legs and is lighter compared to its height.
  • Miniature Pinschers look more like Dobermans than Russkiys, whose heads are much rounder with a more pronounced stop.
  • Chihuahuas are also smaller than Russkiys, but a bit stockier. The Chihuahua is also characterized by its apple head and shortened snout, while the Russkiy’s head is more wedge-shaped.
  • The wedge-shaped pinscher head is even more pronounced in the English Toy Terrier, from which the Russkiy Toy descends directly. The English Toy Terrier is also taller and slightly broader than the Russkiy Toy.

Breed standard

  • The head should be rather small in relation to the body. Viewed from above, it is wedge-shaped; overall, it appears stretched and well-rounded. The stop is clearly defined, making it more like a Chihuahua than a Pinscher.
  • The cheeks are scarcely defined and dry into a pointed muzzle that is slightly shorter than the skull. The nose is small and round with wide-open nostrils.
  • Large, round eyes give the Russkiys a bright and friendly expression. They are far apart and should be as dark as possible.
  • The large erect ears point slightly upwards or to the sides. The long-haired type, they are feathered with long, fine hair, which also differs in color from the short fur on the head.
  • The long, narrow neck merges into a slightly sloping backline with less pronounced withers. The chest is oval in shape and reaches to the elbows. Behind the last rib, the belly stretches slightly towards the short loins.
  • The legs should measure a little more than half the height at the withers to the elbows. The upper arm and shoulder blade are about the same length and form an angle of 100 to 110 degrees. Legs are set well under the body when viewed from the side and straight when viewed from the front. The hind legs are slightly wider than the front legs and are well angulated.
  • In front, the paws are small and oval, with rounded toes. The hind feet are arched and the toes are tight, closer together than the toes on the front feet. The pads and nails should be black or brown on brown coat types.
  • Sickle or saber rods of medium length is accepted. Docking is allowed according to the breed standard. In Germany, however, this cruelty to animals is strictly forbidden and you should not support breeders who forcibly shorten the tails of puppies, even when buying from abroad.

The Fur: More Fluffy Hair Than “Long Hair”

The Russian Toy comes in two coat varieties, referred to for convenience as shorthair and longhair. Even with the long-haired toy, the head, legs, and body have relatively short hair, so the physique remains clearly recognizable. Both variants have no undercoat but fine, soft hair.

Smooth Hair / Smooth Coated / Short Hair

  • short
  • close-fitting
  • glittering


  • The hair on the body and neck is about 3 to 5 cm long.
  • They lie close to the body and are smooth or slightly wavy.
  • The hair on the head and on the front of the legs is short, like that of the shorthair.
  • The backs of the legs, the underside of the tail, and the ears have prominent, long flags. In adult dogs, the fringes on the ears should cover the shape of the ears.

Monochrome or two-tone? These colors occur

  • Solid red, fawn, or cream
  • Black with tan (red-yellow markings on cheeks, eyebrows, inside ears, anus, paws, and inside legs)
  • Brown with tan
  • Blue with tan
  • Isabell (Lilac) with Loh
  • Red with black patches on ears, legs, and back
  • Red with blue clouds
  • Red with light brown-looking tan markings
  • Red with Isabel badge

The Story of the Russkiy Toy Terrier: The Puppy of the Noble and Fine

For the European nobility, small dogs have always been considered good manners. Toy dogs were given away and traded among aristocrats and monarchs to entertain the ladies at court. In the 18th century, English Toy Terriers were very popular in Russia, but there were hardly any breeders dedicated to purebred breeding. Rather, various mini-dogs were crossed by Russian nobles, which did not belong to any specific breed, but were selected for size, health, and character.

Modern race timeline

  • The first short-haired Russian toys were exhibited in St. Petersburg in 1874.
  • The end of the Tsarist Empire in 1917 changed Russian society, which also affected the existence of toys in the country. Luxury goods like toy puppies were no longer in demand under communism.
  • Only in the 1960s did the stock recover through further crossings with mixed breeds and Russian breeders developed a uniform breed standard.
  • In 1966, the Russkiy Toy was recognized as a separate breed in Russia.
  • In the 1990s, the breed threatened to become extinct again, as after the Cold War and the opening to the West, Central European toy breeds were more popular in the upper class than native “common” breeds.
  • Breeders in Finland, Ukraine, and Estonia contributed to the preservation and spread of the modern breed, which is currently gaining popularity around the world.

The emergence of the long-haired Russkiy

The first long-haired Russkiy named Chikki was born in 1958. By carefully selecting Russkiys with slightly longer hair (who retired earlier in the breed), breeder Evgeniya Fominichna Zharova developed the long-haired variation in Moscow, which is why they are also known as Moscow Toy Terriers.

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