As the name suggests, the Russian toy terrier originated in Russia. Also known as the Russkiy toy, it is one of the smallest dogs in the world. There are two types of coats—long and smooth (short)—and the amount of grooming will depend on the type. As a tiny dog, it only needs twenty minutes of exercise daily. It remains a rare breed and is recognised by the Kennel Club.
Do you feel like a Russian toy terrier can be a good pet for you? Read about its breed profile to see if your hunch is true.
The Russian toy terrier is believed to have come from English-type terriers during the time of Russian emperor Peter the Great in the 1700s. Also known as Russkiy toy in other countries, this dog breed was created as a companion for the nobility and upper classes. Records show that eight smooth-coated Russian toy terriers competed in a Saint Petersburg show in 1874. The breed became very popular until the early '90s and was a regular in dog shows, often winning awards. During the October Revolution of 1917, its popularity and numbers dwindled as it was associated with the aristocracy and gained a bad image. In fact, only one dog was shown in Saint Petersburg in 1947 and a small number of pedigree or purebred Russian toys were left.
Breeders decided to create a new type of Russian toy terrier from the remaining toy-sized terriers, which had some of the old characteristics, along with new features such as a high head that is not wide, flat cheeks, and round eyes. During the '60s, over seventy dogs joined an exhibition and the first standard was created. This adorable breed remained famous in its native country, but not so much elsewhere. It only arrived in the UK in 2008. The Russkiy toy was recognised by the Kennel Club in 2017.
Appearance and Grooming
The Russian toy terrier is one of the tiniest dogs in the world. This adorable dog weighs 4–6 pounds and stands 20–28 centimetres. It has a distinctive high head that is small in relation to its body. It has a pointed muzzle, a nicely defined stop, a small nose, slightly pronounced cheekbones, and a perfect scissor bite. If you look at the Russian toy terrier, you will immediately notice its large round eyes, huge upright ears that are set high, and lean long neck.
The Russian toy terrier can either be long-coated or smooth-coated. The long-coated type has a long coat that is straight or slightly wavy with profuse feathering on its ears, legs, and tail. This type has higher maintenance needs in the grooming front, requiring daily brushing to prevent matts and tangles. The smooth-coated type has a short, shiny, and close-lying coat with no undercoat, which makes grooming very easy as it will only need a quick brush once or twice a week.
Prone to tooth problems like most toy dogs, the Russian toy terrier’s teeth must be brushed daily, if possible. Its ears should also be checked for wax build-up and its nails trimmed to avoid uncomfortable overgrowth.
Temperament and Intelligence
Russian toy terrier is a cheerful, alert, loving, and loyal family dog. It may be tiny in size, but it has a big heart and personality. It loves hanging out with its owners and would be content in lazing around the couch. This breed does well in a small city apartment of families with a sedentary lifestyle. The Russkiy toy may be a lapdog but as fully-fledge feisty terrier, it can be territorial and protective of its owners, not realising how tiny it is. It is quick to bark when strangers are about, making it a good watchdog. However, it is never aggressive and would open up to people once it gets to know them.
The Russian toy terrier is intelligent and willing to please, which make training easy. Tiny dogs are very easy to spoil because they are often treated as babies. Owners often let go of bad behaviours that are not usually tolerated in big dogs. It is important for training to start early and rules to be set out, so it does not become a difficult dog. Because the Russkiy toy is delicate and can be easily injured when handled roughly, it is better off to a family with older children that know how to handle dogs. It does well with dogs and cats it grows up with, but care should be taken when introducing new pets, especially large dogs.
Owners need to know that even though breeds have predisposed temperaments in general, each dog is unique. There are many factors that develop a certain dog's personality and abilities. Environment, training, and socialisation can help shape up the overall characteristics of a dog. In short, humans have a say on how their pets would grow up.
Nutrition and Feeding
A typical serving for an adult Russian toy terrier is a quarter to one-half cup of excellent-quality dry dog food per day. It is important to consider factors like size, age, build, activity level, and metabolism when feeding your dog. Tiny dogs have higher caloric needs than larger breeds, but this does not mean an unlimited amount of food. It is important to have a feeding schedule and stick to it to avoid digestive or weight problems.
The following are typical calorie needs of an adult Russian toy terrier per day:
- Senior and less active: up to 240 calories daily
- Typical adults: up to 270 calories daily
- Physically active/working dogs: up to 300 calories daily
The Russian toy terrier should be fed high-quality dog food specifically formulated for small dogs because it has different nutritional needs compared to medium and large dogs. The top ingredient should be animal meat (chicken, beef, lamb, or fish), and fillers like soy, wheat, and corn should be avoided.
Health and Exercise
The Russian toy terrier is a generally healthy breed that can live up to eleven years. However, there are some health issues that it can be prone to, such as tooth problems including teething issues as a puppy, patellar luxation, progressive retinal atrophy, and Legg-Calve-Perthes disease.
The Russkiy toy is lively and energetic and pretty much needs to be kept preoccupied or it can develop unpleasant behaviour. It needs at least twenty minutes of exercise per day, so it can stay healthy and happy. Once its energy is drained, it will gladly relax on the couch.
Cost of Ownership
If you are interested in caring for a Russian Toy Terrier, you would need to go on a waiting list as this breed is rare in the UK. The price for a well-bred pedigree puppy is at least £400. To ensure it stays healthy at whatever age, you will need to feed your dog high quality dog food and treats, which can set you back £20-£30 a month. You would also need to spend on dog accessories such as leads, collars, eating bowls, crates, beds, and toys. The combined initial cost for these things is estimated at £200.
Moreover, you need to consider paying for pet insurance to offset veterinary bills in case your dog suddenly falls ill or gets into an accident. Depending on where you live and your dog’s health and age, a time-limited cover can cost £20 a month while a lifetime one can cost up to £42 a month. Generally, insurance companies do not cover routine veterinary consultations, initial vaccinations, boosters, and neutering or spaying, so you may also have to spend an additional £800 annually for these services.
On average, the minimum cost to care for a Russian Toy Terrier is £50-£80 per month depending on your pet insurance premium. This estimate does not include the rates for other services such as walking and grooming.
Russian Toy Terrier Breed Highlights
- The Russian toy terrier is a tiny dog suitable for apartment dwellers.
- It needs to be fed a diet high in protein specifically formulated for small dogs.
- It only needs at least twenty minutes of exercise per day.
- It is a cheap dog to raise, but obtaining one can be challenging because it is a rare breed.
Are you sure the Russian Toy Terrier is the best breed for you? Take the Pet Breed Selector Quiz to find your perfect breed match.
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