Russian Toy Terrier

Written by: Jamie
Updated: April 4, 2020

Learn all about the popular Russian Toy in our latest guide here at Woof Bark Growl!

Russian toy terrier with hat on

The Russian Toy dog is small in size but big on personality.

They have grown increasingly popular over the years and are easy to spot due to their trademark big ears.

They were one a hidden jewel in Russia, but this breed can now be found internationally.

Height: Up to 28cm
Weight: Up to 3kg
Lifespan: 10-11 years
Pedigree Breed: No, not recognized

Positives and Negatives of the Breed

When it comes to positives and negatives, the Russian Toy Terrier boasts many pros that will delight any potential new owner.

As with most dogs, there are also some cons that need to be considered before committing to taking one on.


  • This breed is easy to maintain, and grooming is not problematic at all
  • You can look forward to owning a dog that will be loyal and affectionate to you
  • They love to be part of the family and are happiest when everyone focuses on them
  • They do not shed much over the course of a year
  • They do not require extensive exercise each day


  • They cannot be left alone and will destroy objects if they are
  • They are not great with little kids and need to be homed with older children
  • They are not easy to train, and this will take some work to achieve
  • They love the thrill of the chase and will try to catch anything they see as prey
  • They are not widely bred, so they are hard to find and very expensive


Russian Toy Terriers are small in size but will shock you with their energy levels and playful nature.

They each have their own distinctive personality and will be happy to join your family. What’s great about this breed is that they are very keen to show their affection to you and are very loyal, wanting to be at your side whenever possible.

Finding a breeder is not as easy as you would hope, and this makes these lovely dogs hard to get hold of.

You can expect a long wait when you are on a breeder’s list and will need to be prepared to pay a sizeable amount of money when the time comes to buy your new dog.


Terriers, as a wider breed, have been around for a very long time, with different variations becoming popular in many countries over the world.

In Russia, there has been a long history of terriers, and it is said that the Russian Emperor, Peter the Great, had one that he adored. It was this link that made the nobility of Russia want to follow suit, and so the breading of Russian Toy dogs began.

When Russians began their revolt against the upper classes, the popularity of the breed waned, and a new variation arrived. It wasn’t until the 50s that the Russian Terrier, as we know it, came to be.

russian toy terrier sitting

Over the years, the breed has changed and developed, but it wasn’t until the most recent turn of the century that the breed began to grow in popularity with people outside of Russia.

These days there are small amounts of breeders over the world who work hard to produce puppies that are healthy and ready for new homes.

If you want to get one, then your first job is to find a breed that is willing to accept you onto their waiting list and to do this you will need to prove that you understand the breed and know what they need in order to thrive.


One thing is certain; the Russian Toy Terrier is a fun-loving, small dog that loves to entertain.


They are inquisitive and enjoy solving problems that you give them, especially if there is a treat at the end of it for them!

If you have the pleasure of meeting one in person, then you will be amazed by their friendly and accepting nature.

Are They Good with Strangers?

These dogs are nervous around strangers and will typically bark from a distance to alert their owners that they are scared.

When they have been properly introduced, they are as affectionate to a new person as they are towards their family.

This is because they love to socialize and don’t ever want to miss out on an opportunity to have some fun.

Are They Good with Other Dogs?

This breed is usually fine with other dogs but can be the victim of bullying from much larger dogs.

If you have dogs in your home, already you will need to take the time to properly socialize them to make sure there are no problems.

Russian Toy Terrier next to bag

Are They Good with Other Pets?

The Russian Toy is not a great mix when it comes to small animal pets and cats purely because they will be filled with the desire to chase them.

Their need to catch prey is strong, and nothing will stop them from catching your other pets if they want to.

However, if you have an older cat that poses no challenge, you should be able to introduce them depending on whether you take enough time to build their contact slowly.

Can They Be Trusted with Children?

These lovely dogs are great with kids, but it is a good idea to only get one if you have older children.

This is purely because of their small size and the fact that smaller children may not recognize the warning signs the dogs give off when they are stressed or unhappy.

Are They a Good Choice for First Time Owners?

Russian Toy dogs are a great breed for new dog owners and will provide lots of love and affection, provided they are happy and comfortable.

If you are considering getting one, then it is important that you train them as early as possible to help them develop in the best way possible.

Recommended: Whilst the Tea Cup Toy Poodle is not a KC recognized breed, it comes with a long and extensive pedigree history. This breed was selectively bred from the larger Toy Poodle, which was bred from the more widely known Poodle.


When it comes to maintaining your dog’s health, you will be pleased that this breed can live for up to 11 years if they are well looked after and follow a good diet.

They are, however, at risk of developing a range of hereditary illnesses that include:

There are lots of great insurance choices for your new pet, and it is important that you take them for all their vaccinations and check-ups to keep them in the best health possible.

Recommended: The first Tamaskan Wolf dog was bred back in the 80s when five different huskies dogs were crossed with Alsatians and Malamutes, resulting in this beautiful but huge dog.


This tiny breed only needs between 20 and 30 minutes of physical activity a day to keep them in good shape, and they love nothing more than going out with you on the lead.

They have a keen prey drive, and it is important to make sure they aren’t left to run off and get into mischief.

Russian Toy Terrier 2

In addition to their physical needs, the breed needs much more in terms of mental activity every day.

They love to problem solve and will be happy when you give them tasks to do that exercise their brains.

If you fail to provide the amount of exercise, they need then you will find that your angelic pet turns into a monster and begins to destroy everything in sight.

Recommended Article: A Sprollie dog is a crossbreed – otherwise known as a hybrid dog – between an English Springer Spaniel and a Border Collie or Collie dog.


Training a Russian Toy dog is not as easy as it first sounds. They are very intelligent and love to please by learning new tricks.

However, they will pick up many bad habits as well as good ones, and this can make it hard to train them to do what you want, especially if you let them get away with anything even once.

They love nothing more than being told how good they are and will try their best if they know you are going to share some affection and treats with them.

They do not respond well to negative reinforcement and will deliberately disobey you to make their feelings known.


When it comes to grooming, your dog will love the time you spend making them look good. You only need to groom them a few times every week, but they would be happy to let you groom them every day if you really want to.

If you have a long-haired variety, you will need to pay close attention to their coat to make sure they do not get tangled or matted, and for this reason, it is a good idea to offer daily grooming for these dogs.

The breed seems to struggle when they go through teething, and it is important to take them to a vet if you are worried that they are in pain or struggling to cut their teeth.

Do not leave it to work it out for itself as this breed are well known for teething problems that need medical intervention. When their teeth have come through, it’s important to ensure they are kept clean so that they do not develop dental problems later in life.

Recommended Next: Curious about the Maltese/Shi-Tzu cross commonly known as the Malshi? We explain all there is to know about this great little dog.

About the Author

Hi, I'm Jamie! I've always been around dogs and now writing about them is an absolute joy.
Read more about my story here.
Reach me at or connect with me on LinkedIn below.

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