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About The Russian Toy

The history of the Russian Toy began with English stock and dates back as early as the 18th century when the English Toy Terrier arrived in Russia. Evidence of this can be seen at the Zoological Museum in St. Petersburg, where a preserved specimen of a small black and tan terrier from 1716-1725, stands on exhibit. The specimen stands approximately 14 inches at the withers with the inscription: “Dog of the sleek haired terrier breed named Lisetta, belonged personally to Peter the Great.” During the 18th century in Russia, it became popular to import English Toy Terriers. Socialites adored these dogs due to their small size and lively temperament. It became quite stylish to appear in public with a well-behaved small terrier at social events and the opera. The Toy Terrier became a kind of “living accessory” to those of the upper class. At the beginning of the 20th century, the numbers of these toy dogs had grown and the breed was no longer a rarity, but had become a symbol of prestige. However, the breed was no longer referred to as the English Toy Terrier. In Russia, it was simply referred to as the Russian (Russkiy) Toy Terrier. The Russian Revolution of 1917 nearly exterminated the Russkiy Toy. The breeding of dogs for companionship was brought to a halt and the fate of the Russian Toy was uncertain. After the death of Stalin, a concentrated effort was made in several regions of the Soviet Union, including Moscow, Leningrad, Sverdlovsk, and Irkutsk to restore the Russian Toy to prominence. Whether by a mutation or the introduction of other unknown small breeds into various lines, a unique puppy was born in 1958. This son of a pair of smooth-coated parents became the foundation of the modern day Long Coat (called the Moscow Long Haired Toy Terrier in the early years). The first official standard for the two breed varieties was written in 1966. In the 1980s, a new breed standard declared that the Moscow Long Haired Toy Terrier and the Russian Toy Terrier were in fact two varieties of a single breed. In 2006, with the Russian Toy’s addition to the FCI list of recognized breeds, the “Terrier” was dropped from the breed’s name and is now called the Russian Toy, with both long and smooth coat varieties.

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