Key Breed Facts
Intelligence / Trainability
Children and Other Pets
Caring for a Russian Toy Terrier
Average Cost to keep/care for a Russian Toy Terrier
Russian Toy Terriers are small in stature, but they are energetic, lively characters with the added bonus being they also boast having kind, affectionate natures which in short means, they are great companions to have around. Russian Toys love nothing more than being in a family environment and being included in everything that goes on in a household and although extremely popular in their native Russia, these little dogs are only just gaining the recognition they deserve in other parts of the world.
Terriers have been found in Russia for centuries with records of an English-type terrier having been owned by the Russian Emperor Peter the Great. These little dogs were developed as companions for the Russian upper classes and the nobility and it is thought that 8 smooth haired terriers were exhibited in St Petersburg back in 1874. However, the first official record of them being shown at a dog show in St Petersburg dates back to May 1907.
During the October Revolution of 1917, breed numbers dropped dramatically because these little dogs were linked to the aristocracy and as such owning a Russian Toy Terrier was frowned upon. Over time a new type of terrier appeared on the scene and it was one that had a very distinct look all of its own. A breed standard was subsequently established and from the mid 1950's onwards, the Russian Toy Terriers we see today started to be developed. However, it was not until 1958 that the first litter of long haired Russian Toy Terriers appeared on the scene.
A breed standard was drawn up for the smooth haired terrier in 1960, but a standard for the long-haired Russian Toy Terriers was set six years later in 1966 with both of them being authorised by the Russian Ministry of Agriculture. The breed standard was changed in 1988 and then again in 2003. Six years later in 2006, the breed was recognised by the FCI as being a Companion and Toy Dog under their classification Group 9.
These charming little dogs have remained popular in their native Russia, but are less well known in other parts of the world. It was only in 2008 that the first Russian Toy Terriers appeared on the scene here in the UK. A Breed Club was then set up which has led to more people getting to know about these charming little terriers. However, anyone wishing to share a home with a Russian Toy Terrier would need to register their interest with a breeder and then agree to be put on a waiting list because puppies are hard to come by.
Height at the withers: Males 20 - 28 cm, Females 20 - 28 cm
Average weight: Males 3 kg, Females 3 kg
The Russian Toy Terrier is a charming little dog and although they are tiny in stature, they have no idea of just how small they actually are. They are brave, loyal and extremely protective of their families and the children in a household. They are elegant with their long legs and fine bones. A Russian Toy's head is quite small in relation to their body and they have a clearly defined stop. They have small noses that match their coat colour. Muzzles are pointed and their cheekbones are very slightly pronounced adding to their charming looks. They have a perfect scissor bite where their upper teeth neatly overlap their lower ones.
Their eyes are round, dark and quite large being set well apart on a dog's face. Their ears are large, set high and they are upright. Necks are lean and long which dogs carry high and slightly arched. Their topline slopes gently from the wither to the root of the tail and their withers are very slightly pronounced. Backs are straight and strong with dogs boasting short, very slightly arched loins and a slightly sloping, rounded croup.
Their chest is oval and quite deep with nicely tucked up bellies which gives these little dogs an attractive outline. They have sickle tails which dogs carry happily to the side of their bodies. Their front legs are lean, thin and straight with dogs having moderately long shoulder blades. Front feet are oval shaped and small with well-knit, arched toes and nails that match a dog's coat colour. Their back legs are straight and parallel with nicely developed upper and lower thighs. Back feet are slightly narrower than the front ones.
When it comes to their coat, the Russian Toy Terrier can either have a smooth (short) coat or they can be long-haired. Smooth coated dogs have short, shiny hair that lies close to their body without any undercoat. A long-haired dog's coat is longer and can be either slightly wavy or straight lying close to a dog's body so their outline can be clearly seen. The hair on the head and the front of their legs is short, but dogs have nice feathering on the back of their legs. The hair on their feet has silky, long hair which hides their nails from view. Ears are also well covered with long, thick hair which forms a charming fringe. Accepted breed colours under FCI rules are as follows:
The Russian Toy Terrier is a petite dog, but they are lively by nature and love nothing more than to be kept busy although once tired out, these little dogs are quite happy to curl up with an owner on the couch. They are the perfect choice for people who lead more sedentary lives and who enjoy the company of a small canine, alert and loyal companion at their side. They are known to be quite territorial and think nothing of standing guard over their owners and their possessions even though they are tiny because these little terriers are totally fearless. However, a Russian Toy would rarely show any sort of aggressive behaviour, preferring to bark and keep their distance until an owner arrives on the scene when strangers are about or when a dog is upset by something. Like many of their terrier cousins, the Russian Toy can be a little wary of strangers, but as soon as they get to know someone, they are fine around them because they are social little dogs by nature.
They form strong bonds with their families and as such do not like being left on their own for long periods of time. If they do find themselves alone, these little terriers can suffer from separation anxiety which often sees dogs displaying all sorts of behavioural issues which includes incessant barking and being destructive around the home. Being so intelligent, a Russian Toy would soon find inventive ways of amusing themselves which includes destroying anything they can get hold of.
The Russian Toy Terrier is an intelligent little dog and because they love to please, they are quick to learn new things. However, this means they are just as quick to learn both the good and the bad. Being so cute, it's all too easy to let a Russian Toy get away with things a larger dog would never be allowed to do. As such, it's important not to spoil them.
They are quite sensitive little characters and although they are quick to learn new things, care has to be taken as to how a Russian Toy is trained. They do not answer well to any sort of negative, harsh correction, but they do respond very well to positive reinforcement. It's essential for these little terriers to be well socialised from a young enough age and for their training to start early so they mature into confident, yet relaxed adult dogs. Their training has to be consistent and fair so that a dog understands what is expected of them.
Russian Toy Terriers love being in a family environment, although care has to be taken when they are around toddlers and very small children because of their small size. With this said, they are good choice for families where the children are older and who therefore know how to behave around such small dogs and how to handle and play with them.
When well socialised from a young enough age, the Russian Toy usually gets on well with other dogs, but again care has to be taken when they are around larger dogs. Because of the "terrier" in them, care also has to be taken when a Russian Toy meets any small animals and pets and this includes cats. However, if they have grown up with a family cat in a household, they usually get on well together.
For further advice please read our article on Keeping Children Safe around Dogs.
The average life expectancy of a Russian Toy Terrier is between 10 and 11 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality diet to suit their ages.
Like many other breeds, the Russian Toy is known to suffer from a few hereditary health issues which are worth knowing about if you are planning share your home with one of these lively little terriers. The conditions that seem to affect the breed the most include the following:
As with any other breed, Russian Toys need to be groomed on a regular basis to make sure their coats and skin are kept in top condition. They also need to be given regular daily exercise to ensure they remain fit and healthy. On top of this, dogs need to be fed good quality food that meets all their nutritional needs throughout their lives.
The smooth haired Russian Toy Terrier is low maintenance in the grooming department and only really needs a quick once over several times a week to keep their coats tidy. However, a long haired Russian Toy needs a daily brush to prevent tangles and matts from forming. It's also essential to keep an eye on a dog's teeth and more especially when they are going through their teething stage. If there is a problem, it's best to seek veterinary attention sooner rather than later.
It's also important to check a dog's ears on a regular basis and to clean them when necessary. If too much wax is allowed to build up in a dog's ears, it can lead to a painful infection which can be hard to clear up. In short, prevention is often easier than cure when it comes to ear infections.
Russian Toy Terriers are alert, lively and energetic little dogs and they like to be kept busy although once tired, they are quite happy to chill out on a sofa next to their owners. With this said, they need to be given at least 20 to 30 minutes a day for them to stay fit, happy and healthy.
A shorter walk in the morning would be fine, but a longer more interesting one in the afternoon is a must. These dogs also like to roam around a back garden as often as possible so they can really let off steam. However, the fencing has to be extremely secure to keep these lively, little dogs in because if they find a weakness in the fence, they will soon escape out and get into all sorts of trouble.
With this said, Russian Toy puppies should not be over exercised because their joints and bones are still growing. This includes not letting a dog jump up and down from furniture or going up or down the stairs. Too much pressure placed on their joints and spines at an early age could result in a dog developing problems later in their lives.
If you get a Russian Toy puppy from a breeder, they would give you a feeding schedule and it's important to stick to the same routine, feeding the same puppy food to avoid any tummy upsets. You can change a puppy's diet, but this needs to be done very gradually always making sure they don't develop any digestive upsets and if they do, it's best to put them back on their original diet and to discuss things with the vet before attempting to change it again.
Older dogs are not known to be fussy or finicky eaters, but this does not mean you can feed them a lower quality diet. It's best to feed a mature dog twice a day, once in the morning and then again in the evening, making sure it's good quality food that meets all their nutritional requirements. It's also important that dogs be given the right amount of exercise so they burn off any excess calories or they might gain too much weight which can lead to all sorts of health issues. Obesity can shorten a dog's life by several years so it's important to keep an eye on their waistline from the word go.
If you are looking to buy a Russian Toy Terrier, you would need to register your interest with breeders and agree to go on a waiting list because puppies are few and far between and you would need to pay anything from £400 to over £500 for a well-bred pedigree puppy. The cost of insuring a male 3-year-old Russian Toy Terrier in northern England would be £19.20 a month for basic cover but for a lifetime policy, this would set you back £41.22 a month (quote as of June 2016). When insurance companies calculate a pet's premium, they factor in several things which includes where you live in the UK, a dog's age and whether or not they have been neutered or spayed among other things.
When it comes to food costs, you need to buy the best quality food whether wet or dry to feed your dog making sure it suits the different stages of their lives. This would set you back between £20 - £30 a month. On top of all of this, you need to factor in veterinary costs if you want to share your home with a Russian Toy and this includes their initial vaccinations, their annual boosters, the cost of neutering or spaying a dog when the time is right and their yearly health checks, all of which quickly adds up to over £800 a year.
As a rough guide, the average cost to keep and care for a Russian Toy Terrier would be between £50 to £80 a month depending on the level of insurance cover you opt to buy for your dog, but this does not include the initial cost of buying a pedigree or other puppy.
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