Small Russian Dog: dog breed appearance, character, training, care, health

The small Russian dog is characterized as one of the smallest breeds in the world and comes in two varieties: one with short hair and the other with long hair. Its demeanor and character is lively, cheerful, very brave and active. It is also known as the Russian toy terrier or the small Muscovite terrier. At Petlifey, we tell you what this tiny and adorable breed of dog is like.

Character of the breed Russian Toy Terrier

The little Russian dog has a very cheerful, lively, active and determined character. Its behaviour is that of a brave dog, but it is also peaceful, affectionate and sociable .

In the style of many other mouse hunting dogs from different parts of the world, the little Russian dog is a very lively and intelligent animal. Despite its apparent fragility, it is active, brave and full of courage. It is unaware of fear and is very little aware of its miniscule size.

Affectionate and funny in dealing with the family, its is not a difficult dog to educate. Although, it is true that certain doses of patience and perseverance are needed with them, since it tends to become a stubborn dog. It is somewhat reluctant to follow the orders that are marked, especially if they are not completely consistent.

  • Energy: High. Lively, cheerful and active, it does not settle for being at home all day, it needs to exercise frequently.
  • Temperament: Brave, determined and enterprising, it is also affectionate and distrustful.
  • Adaptability: High. It adapts to living anywhere, but prefers to do it inside the house, since it is a bit chilly.
  • Sociability: High. It loves to live surrounded by its family and tolerates strangers as well as other animals.
  • Health: Good. You may suffer from knee dislocation and eye or dental problems
  • Longevity: Very high. Live well over 15 years.
  • Utility: Company. Since its origin, it has always been a luxury and companion animal.

Is it a good family dog?

Likewise, it likes to always be surrounded by its family and to be part of any activity that its family carries out, so that it can be entertained with multiple activities.

From simple games and races in the park to participation in sports such as agility or obedience, which at first seem very far from its physical characteristics, but in which it performs perfectly because it is a very versatile dog with surprising ability. .

How do you behave with children?

Its relationship with children and the elderly is very good, so it is a suitable pet for any type of family and can live almost anywhere, as it adapts to all environments.

Can you live in an apartment?

This breed has great adaptability and can live almost anywhere. However, despite its Muscovite origin, being a domestic breed exclusively for company and small, it is a very cold animal that does not withstand low temperatures at all, so it prefers to live under roof rather than doing it outdoors.

Characteristics of the Little Russian Dog

The little Russian dog is a dog with a very special appearance. It is one of the smallest breeds in the world, situated on the same scale as the Chihuahua, although in general it tends to have even less substance or bulk than this.

It comes in two varieties with a very different appearance, which still show very heterogeneous specimens today:

  1. Small Russian short-haired dog .
  2. Small Russian long-haired dog .

Although they are quite different due to their external appearance, in reality the short-haired and long-haired varieties are closely related to each other, to the point that they can interbreed with each other. In these cases of intervarietal crossing it is very possible that puppies of both types appear in the same litter.

And curiously, while the crossing of two long-haired dogs only pups of this coat are born, since it is a recessive gene, if two short-haired specimens are crossed, a long-haired puppy may also be born in their litter.

Despite its small size, this dog does not appear to be fragile, but is active and strong, with a compact body and significantly long legs in proportion to other body measurements.

How is the Little Chinese Dog breed physically?


It is a very small dog with a square structure whose height at the withers is only about 24 cm, with high legs, a long and thin body, and fine bones. Even so, her figure is not too fragile, as she appears vivacious and elegant.


Its head is small compared to its body and it has a clearly pronounced stop. The muzzle is shorter than the skull, with a small nose and in harmony with the color of the coat.

Their eyes are round , dark and quite large, they appear slightly prominent. They are separated from each other and they have dark or mantle-colored eyelids.

Their alert and awake appearance contributes to their showy erect and triangular ears, which in the long-haired specimens are adorned by very long fringes that, when the animal moves, vaguely resemble the feathers of a bird or the wings of a butterfly.


Also very characteristic of this breed is the tall and proud bearing of its tail, which in long-haired dogs completes a striking image with the plumage of the ears and the tail waving in the wind.

However, for a long time its breeders used to cut it by tradition, both short-haired and long-haired specimens, leaving only two or three vertebrae.

Fortunately, nowadays it is increasingly rare to see specimens with their tail docked, since animal protection laws that prohibit this practice are proliferating in many countries.


The front feet are small, oval and turned neither in nor out, while the rear feet are arched and slightly narrower than the front feet . Their fingers are together and arched, with the nails and pads of black color or in harmony with the tone of the coat.


Depending on the length of the coat, two different varieties are distinguished within the breed, one with short hair and the other with long hair.

The specimens of the first variety have short, smooth, dense, shiny hair and well attached to the body, without the presence of an undercoat or bare patches.

The specimens of the second variety, on the other hand, have the whole body covered with a coat that is moderately long (between 3 and 5 cm), straight or slightly wavy, and that allows a good appreciation of the dog’s figure.

In this case, the hair on the head and on the front of the limbs is short and close to the skin, but it is fringed in the posterior region.

Also, the feet are covered with long, silky hair that completely hides the nails, and the ears are covered with thick hair in the form of fringes.


This breed also has a wide variety of colors, although the most appreciated individuals, especially by fans of dog shows, are black and tan, red and sand .

Other colors that also appear in the breed, but that are considered rarer and that are sometimes associated with a worse quality of coat, are brown and tan on the one hand, and blue and tan on the other.

Also, sometimes some specimens show small white spots on the tip of the chest or on the fingers and also, from time to time, dogs of a single solid color appear, in black, brown or blue.

As for the pigmentation of the skin , it is generally as dark as possible, both on the eyelids and on the rest of the mucous membranes, but it is true that the brown and tan specimens, and those of a blue and yellow color fire may have a lighter coloration in these parts.

Breed standard Russian Toy Terrier

  • Origin: Russia.
  • Varieties: Short hair and long hair.
  • Size: Miniature.
  • Height at the withers: between 19 and 29 cm.
  • Weight: 3 kg maximum.
  • General appearance: It is small, with long legs, fine bones and elegant appearance.
  • FCI classification: FCI nº 352. Group 9 – Companion dogs. Section 9 – Dwarf Continental Companion Spaniel and Small Russian Dog.
  • Use: Companion dog.
  • Other names: Russian Toy / Petit chien russe / Russíscher Zwerghund / Russkiv Toy.
  • General appearance: It is an elegant and lively little dog. It has high legs, and a body endowed with fine bones and strong muscles. Its body figure is rather square.
  • Head: It is small compared to the body.
  • Skull: It is wide at the level of the zygomatic arches and has rounded lines. 
  • Naso-frontal depression (stop): It is clearly pronounced.
  • Muzzle: It ends in a point, it is fine and slightly shorter than the skull. Its lips are thin, firm, well adjusted to the jaws and dark.
  • Nose: Black or in harmony with the color of the coat, it is characterized by being small.
  • Jaws: Endowed with small white teeth, it has a scissor bite. Sometimes two incisors are missing in each jaw.
  • Eyes: They are quite large, round and slightly prominent. They are set very far apart and are bordered by dark lids, usually harmonizing with the color of the coat.
  • Ears: They are large, thin, set high and very erect. In the long-haired specimens they are covered with thick and long hair that forms showy fringes.
  • Neck: Long and firm, the animal is high and slightly arched.
  • Body: The upper line draws a gradual fall from the withers, which appears slightly pronounced, to the insertion of the tail.
  • Back: Strong and straight, the back is short and slightly curved, while the croup is rounded and slightly sloping.
  • Chest: It is oval, deep enough and not very wide. In the lower line of the body the abdomen is retracted.
  • Tail: Well covered with hair, at present the most common is to find it long, with its natural length. The dog carries it at least to the height of the back and in the shape of a sickle.
  • Forelimbs: They are thin, straight and parallel, seen from the front.
  • Shoulders: The shoulder blades are moderately long and not very sloping. Forearms and arms: The arm is almost as long as the shoulder blade and forms an angle of about 105 degrees when joined. The forearm is long and straight.
  • Elbows: They are in line with the body.
  • Hindquarters: Seen from behind they are straight and parallel, but slightly further apart than the forelimbs.
  • Legs: They have clean and developed muscles.
  • Knees: Well angulated.
  • Hocks: They form good angles.
  • Feet: They are oval and have curved toes close together, with strong black nails, and with pads that are also black or well pigmented according to the color of the coat.
  • Movement: This dog advances with an easy, straight forward and fast movement, and when moving it keeps the upper line of its body very straight.
  • Skin: It is thin, dry and smooth.
  • Coat: In the short-haired one, it is smooth, dense, shiny and close together. In the long-haired one, it is straight or slightly wavy, soft, measures between 3 and 5 cm and has fringes on the ears, legs and feet. It is black, brown or blue, always combined with tan, or reddish in color.
  • Color: The coat can be black and tan, brown and tan, or blue and tan, but also red in any hue.

Health and diseases of the Little Russian Dog

The small Russian dog in general is a fairly healthy breed and its longevity rates are very high, easily exceeding 15 years of age .

Under normal circumstances, it does not usually suffer from serious health problems, and some of the conditions that do affect them are easy to avoid if proper and responsible breeding and selection is carried out.

For example, it is a miniature dog, but not a dwarf, so avoid enhancing all those signs of dwarfism that are detected, separating the specimens that have them from the general breeding lines.

On the other hand, this breed tends to have somewhat irregular and incomplete teeth, a typical problem of miniature breeds, prone to mandibular malformations, absence of teeth and premature loss of teeth.

And joint problems are also common, especially elbow problems and knee dislocation. Also, a last delicate point that can become a source of problems is the eyes, especially because they are somewhat prominent.

In relation to the health of this pet, apart from following some hygiene and preventive control guidelines, such as attending the veterinarian’s consultation to complete the relevant vaccination and deworming programs (internal and external).

Likewise, to monitor the general condition of the dog and its evolution and growth, it is extremely important to monitor the weight of the animal to prevent it from incurring one of the most widespread evils among all canine breeds today: obesity .

With these little health guidelines, you can have a healthy, happy and vital pet that will delight all members of your family.

Feeding the Little Russian Dog

As with other luxury or companion breeds that have a small size, many owners of small Russian dogs tend to forget that their pet does not need to eat too much, since they do not have a job or a certain work in which to invest a lot Energy.

But you do need to do some exercise to keep yourself in good physical shape, in a correct mental balance and, above all, not to gain excess weight.

Being overweight in itself is not a disease, but it is a condition that greatly limits the movements of the animal. At the same time, it exponentially increases the chances that the dog will end up suffering from quite serious diseases of cardiovascular, joint, etc.

Therefore, the best health advice for this dog is to keep it at the right weight, using a balanced and healthy food, and subjecting it to the appropriate doses of exercise for its age and condition.

Caring for the Russian Toy Terrier breed

It is also an animal that is very easy to maintain and care for, which can be taken from one place to another without any problem. It does not require large or complicated cosmetic care, since a good weekly brushing is enough.

An occasional bath is also enough when it is very dirty, although it is important to use the appropriate products and utensils developed specifically for these dogs.

And it is advisable to take advantage of the moment of the bath to control in what state the nails are and cut them if necessary.

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