Russian Toy Breed Magazine - Showsight


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Mudi Photo by ©Amanda Haldeman Russian Toy Photo by ©American Kennel Club

New York, NY - The American Kennel Club (AKC®), the world’s largest purebred dog registry and leading advocate for dogs, announced today that the Mudi and Russian Toy have received full recognition, and are eligible to compete in the Herding Group and Toy Group, respectively. These additions bring the number of AKC-recognized breeds to 199. “We’re thrilled to have two unique breeds join the registry,” said Gina DiNardo, AKC Executive Secretary. “The Mudi, a medium-sized herding dog, makes a great pet for an active family committed to keeping this worker busy, and the small, loving Rus- sian Toy thrives on being close to its humans, making a wonderful companion for an owner who can be with the dog a great deal. As always, we encourage people to do their research to find the right breed for their lifestyle.” The Mudi joins the Herding Group, and is a medium-sized, ver- satile, all-purpose farm dog from Hungary. The breed is courageous and useful for working the most stubborn livestock. It’s loyal, and protective of property and family members. Mudi are very energetic, enjoying a good run. They are playful, affectionate, and can be calm and relaxed at home. They don’t have many grooming requirements. Occasional baths and a combing or brushing will do.

Joining the Toy Group, the Russian Toy dates back to the Rus- sian aristocracy. These dogs may be little, but they pack a ton of per- sonality. They are elegant, lively, active, and cheerful. They are intel- ligent, with a strong desire to please. Russian Toys thrive on human companionship, loving to snuggle and be close to their family. They can, however, be slightly aloof with strangers. The breed has two coat types—longhaired and smooth. The longhaired coat should be brushed two to three times per week and given baths monthly. The smooth coat needs weekly brushing and occasional baths. AKC recognition offers a breed the opportunity to compete at all levels of AKC-sanctioned events. Recognition does not neces- sarily mean that the breed is a newly created breed. Many of the breeds that gain full AKC-recognition have existed for decades, and some are ancient. To become an AKC-recognized breed there must be an active following and interest in the breed by owners in the US as well as an established breed club of responsible owners and breeders. There also must be a sufficient population of dogs in the United States, geographically distributed throughout the county. Breeds working towards full recognition are recorded in AKC’s Foundation Stock Service® (FSS®). Additional informa- tion on the process can be found at

ABOUT THE AMERICAN KENNEL CLUB Founded in 1884, the American Kennel Club is a not-for-profit organization, which maintains the largest registry of purebred dogs in the world and oversees the sport of purebred dogs in the United States. The AKC is dedicated to upholding the integrity of its registry, promoting the sport of purebred dogs, and breeding for type and function. Along with its more than 5,000 licensed and member clubs and its affiliated organi- zations, the AKC advocates for the purebred dog as a family companion, advances canine health and well-being, works to protect the rights of all dog owners, and promotes responsible dog ownership. More than 22,000 competitions for AKC-registered purebred and mixed breed dogs are held under AKC rules and regulations each year, including conformation, agility, obedience, rally, tracking, herding, lure coursing, coonhound events, hunt tests, and field and earthdog tests. Affiliate AKC organizations include the AKC Humane Fund, AKC Canine Health Foundation, AKC Reunite, and the AKC Museum of the Dog. For more information, visit AKC, American Kennel Club, the American Kennel Club seal and design, and all associated marks and logos are trademarks, registered trade- marks and service marks of The American Kennel Club, Inc. Become a fan of the American Kennel Club on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter @AKCDogLovers.


CHARACTERISTICS OF THE RUSSIAN TOY SQUARE BUILD, HEAD SIZE, AND COAT T he Russian Toy Breed Standard begins with the description: “A small elegant dog, lively, long-legged, with fine bone and lean muscles.” This accurate summation BY JENNIFER GREBINOSKI

of the breed is what attracted my attention eight years ago when I first learned about the breed and began my research. I found that one of the distinguishing characteristics that contributes to this description is the square build. The square build is described in the second sec- tion of the Russian Toy Standard and states that “… the height, when measured vertically from the ground to the highest point on the withers, is equal to the length, when measured horizontally from the proster- num to the point of the buttocks.” These proportions described in the standard and pictured here are a part of what gives the Russian Toy its distinct silhouette when compared to the other small Toy breeds. While the purpose of the breed is companionship, these pro- portions make the breed very suited for activity, and they are, indeed, quite a lively little dog.

This diagram of the biomechanics of the Russian Toy, provided by Natalia Chistjokova, shows the square build, with the light gray square overlaid on the body of the dog.

This picture shows a litter of puppies from red sable parents, and illustrates the variety within the specified colors of the Russian Toy.



The purple lines overlaid on the Russian Toy puppy below shows the measurement points for the square build. The ideal dog would have the same length for the horizontal and vertical measurement.

When I am viewing a Russian Toy from the side, I am looking for the square that can be overlaid on the dog as in the diagrams above. These proportions also contribute to a nice gait and give the Russian Toy the long-legged appearance. Whether you are looking for a show dog, a companion, or a speedy agility partner, the Russian Toy can be the dog for you. Another characteristic mentioned in the Standard is that the head is “small compared to the body.” The Rus- sian Toy does not have a head that is large for the body size, but rather, a smaller head that is in proportion to their body size. This contributes to the “small elegant dog” mentioned in the first line of the Standard. The overall appearance of the Russian Toy, combined with their tem- perament, makes this breed a versatile small companion. Finally, I would like to discuss the coat types and col- ors. While an initial glance shows two coat types and a few color patterns, there are some nuances in coat type and color to consider as well. When the breed began in Russia, the only coat type was the smooth—until 1950 when the long coat emerged. Initially, the different coat types were called different names, but they eventually were classified together as a breed. The smooth coat is described as “short, close-lying shiny hair, without undercoat or bald patches.” This description is describing a short, smooth coat that is close to the appearance of the Toy Manchester Terrier. And the long coat dogs have “bodies covered with mod- erately long (one to three inches) straight or slightly wavy hair, close-lying, which does not hide the outline of the body.” The Standard goes on to describe short, close-lying hair on the head and front of the limbs, and feathering on the rear of the limbs. Additionally, long-coated dogs have ears “covered with thick, long hair forming a fringe.” This fringe, combined with the shorter close-lying hair on the body, is another characteristic of the long-coated Russian Toy and creates a different look than other long-coated

While an initial glance shows two coat types and a few color patterns, there are some nuances in coat type and color to consider as well. When the breed began in Russia, the only coat type was the smooth—until 1950 when the long coat emerged.

Toy breeds. The body hair “should not look tousled or be too short (less than 1/2 inch).” A final mention for the long coat is that the feet have long hair that should cover the nails, but can be trimmed to neaten the appear- ance. The coat details in the Standard are specific and can help differentiate the breed from others. The final point of interest is the coat colors, which are Black and Tan, Chocolate and Tan, Blue and Tan, Red, Red Sable, or Red Brown. The Standard goes on in detail about these various colors and has more infor- mation under the Head and Forequarters sections that describe nose, lips, nails, and foot pad coloring. For the colors with “and tan,” the tan mark- ings should be over eyes, on cheeks, inside ears, on chest, legs, and the underside of tail. The red coats can range in color, but deeper, saturated color is preferred. There can be quite a variety in colors with the red and red sable coats. The whole color picture is better explained in more detail, but this gives an overall summary of the Russian Toy and some of their interesting characteristics. My final and favorite line from the Standard that describes their tem- perament is: “Active, cheerful, possessing keen intelligence,” and all of my Russian Toys exhibit these characteristics, which makes them a joy to love, train, and show. We are excited to begin exhibiting Russian Toys in the Toy Group starting in January 2022.



T he Russian Toy is a Foundation Stock Service Breed (FSS) in the American Kennel Club. Hope- fully in the near future, with the help of the AKC, the breed will move up to join the Miscellaneous and ultimately the Toy group! Th e breed was recognized by the United Kennel Club in 2008, where is it known as the Russkiy Toy. Getting involved as owner, breeder and exhibitor of a “rare” or “new to the USA” breed is a daunting task. Finding some- one to be a mentor or reliable resource is most di ffi cult since there are few estab- lished and knowledgeable breeders in this country and they are often many states away from where you live. Th ere are few, if any, dogs to be seen at rare breed shows, matches or AKC open shows, and many that are exhibited may not be the best rep- resentatives of the breed. To add to these di ffi culties, too often there is more than one group or breed club

that wishes to represent the breed—each group can be passionate and obstinate in their determination to be the only voice representing the dogs in the AKC and usu- ally do not work well together. At some point you may have to decide to join one group in the full understanding it will be seen as heresy to the others and you will be banished from their tribe. Another major obstacle with more than one group claim- ing to be the breed representative is that the AKC will want the groups to merge before naming or accepting one club as the Parent Club for the breed. Without a Parent Club accepted by the AKC—or if the breed is not far enough along in the recognition process—there is no “o ffi cial” AKC standard. In its place, the breed fan- cier must back on the FCI breed standard or the standard from the country of origin or founding breed organization. If you use the country of origin and that country is Russia, add language

problems on top. Th e language barrier also limits resources to gain essential knowl- edge on type, blood lines, health issues and all other aspects of the breed knowledge since most of the established experts and breeders in Russia do not speak English, and many of us (including yours truly) definitely cannot read nor converse in Rus- sian. Internet translation systems help a little, but far too often the resulting tangle of Russian to English words is at best frus- trating and of little use. Along the way, I also learned how to send money to Russia (not as easy as you think and there are no guarantees that the money will not just “disappear”), how to get a very small dog safely into the coun- try (they came on non-stops flights to New York City by courier in business class cabin —a method of travel I can not a ff ord for myself !) and the fact that Russian bureau- cracies actually can be worse than our own (red tape is well named)!


Even for someone with over thirty years of experience successfully breeding and showing toy dogs (Cavaliers and English toys), this is a challenge. It is rather like being on one of those reality TV show— you have an address for a distant and unfa- miliar destination that you must reach and you know how to drive a car. BUT just how you are going to obtain a vehicle and then get there with limited resources and all sorts of obstacles to overcome is the prob- lem. Why did I embark on this journey? All because my friend Jacqueline Rayner, AKC judge (who exhibited my Cavalier King Charles and English Toy Spaniels most successfully in her bygone career as a handler) four years ago asked if I would do an “new” breed—the Russian Toy. I said I would take a look at them, and so began our partnership as Détente Russian Toys. With quite a few “bumps in the road” on our way, we have finally established relation-

ships with fine breeders in Russia who have been most generous in sharing their dogs with us. We have also been able to meet and gain insight from the few folks in this coun- try who have seen the breed in Russia and have true knowledge of breeding and pre- senting the Russian Toy here in the USA. One of these is Scarlett King, who resides in Alabama and has bred and shown them for over ten years. Since four years in any breed is certainly not long enough to gain the title of “expert”, if you take exception to my comments made in this article about breed type—please direct all complaints to Scarlett, since she is editing for accuracy!! Russian Toys is the FULL and COM- PLETE breed name. Folks keep wanting to add something to it. Th ey do go under a di ff erent name in the UKS, Russkiy Toys, and long coats were once called Moscow Toy Terriers, but in both the AKC and Russia, they are just Russian

Toys. Th e height of our dogs in the RKF (that is the Russian Kennel Club) and the FCI standards is 20 to 28 cm ( to those of use not familiar with metric units that is 7.8 to 11 inches—just another part of the challenge dealing with “foreign” stan- dards) In these standards the dogs may weigh up to 3 kg (that translates to 6.6 lbs here in America) Th ey come in two varieties: Long Coat and Smooth Coat. Coat colors are the same for both varieties and are limited to: Black and Tan, Chocolate and Tan, Blue and Tan, Red, Red Sable, and Red Brown. Even small patches of white on the chest or toes are considered a fault! Th e Chocolate and Tan, Red Brown and Blue and Tan dogs have noses and eye rims that match coat color, while the other colors should have black noses and eye rims. Smooths have short, shiny, close lying hair with no undercoat and no


bald patches. Long coats have moderately long hair on the body that should not hide the outline of the body. Front and back legs as well as the tail should be feathered and there needs to be enough hair on the feet to cover the nails. Ears should be covered with thick, long hair that creates a fringe. Of course, pup- pies will not carry this fringe, and dogs over three years old may have so much heavy fringe that it can cause the ear to tip over but NOT hang. Ears must be erect on both varieties and should be large and set high on the head—when alert, no Papillon ear set, please! Heads are small compared to the body, have a pronounced stop with a lean and pointed muzzle that is slightly shorter than the skull. Th e eyes are quite large, round, slightly prominent and set well apart in a high skull that is wide, but the width at the level of the zygomatic arch (cheek bones) can not exceed the depth of skull—at this point, pictures may be more useful than words. Necks are slightly arched, long and carried high followed by a gradually slop- ing, level topline. Tails can be docked, but

generally are now left natural. Both docked and natural tails are carried high when moving. Th e natural or long tail should be carried ideally as a sickle tail, and should not be held lower than horizontal. Too much curl or a tail held tight against the back while moving is a fault. When resting or standing, the tail is generally held lower, but not tucked under. Th e Russian Toy must always appear elegant, lively and long legged. Th is is a fine boned breed with lean muscle on a square built dog. Th e height at the elbow should be slightly more than half of the height of the dog at the withers. Dogs should move easily and fast—no distinc- tive or unusual action here, just good, ground-covering gait! Once we obtained some lovely dogs, the task of properly presenting the breed was the next challenge. Th ese are very intel- ligent, sensitive dogs that may not always take kindly to standing still on a table for strangers to touch them. Like some other toy breeds, they exhibit best on the ground but of course must be trained properly to allow examination on the table.

Once they are place on the ground and moved for the judge, the head, ears and tail should go up—it is essential breed type that the Russian Toy exhibits those essentials of breed type—a long-legged dog. Th e Russian Toy is a lean muscled and truly elegant toy dog. When our Rus- sian Toy comes toward our judge stop or when standing, the tail will usually go down and the dog will be shown free stacked. Of course, a novice dog or one in a threatening environment, may be stead- ied by the handler (hard stacked). Joining the world of Russian Toy fan- ciers has been a rewarding experience— from introducing the breed to literally thousands of people at the New York City Meet the Breeds to exhibiting our dogs to judges who are getting their first oppor- tunity to evaluate the breed “up close and personal”. Th en there is that magi- cal first litter—so frightening with all the unknowns and so rewarding with the first healthy and hopefully wonderful home breds that can now be labeled “Ameri- can Made”! We look forward to bringing them to a show near you!

Photos to the left were chosen by the penultimate and the last Presidents of National Club of Breed for submission of the home page of the official site of breed.




T he Russian Toy is a small com- panion dog that is elegant, lively and long legged with fine bone and lean muscles. It comes in two varieties: smooth coat (short, silky, close lying) and long coat (feathered, close lying as to not hide the natural contour of the body). Th ere should be very little noticeable di ff erence between males and females. Th e behavior of the Russian Toy is one of an active and cheerful companion dog. Th ey can be a little aloof with strangers, as they are totally devoted to their people and can become quite territorial. Th e breed should be presented in a free, self-stacking manner. Th at’s not to say that an insecure or young dog cannot be “hard stacked” to reassure him. Th e Russian Toy should be judged on the ground to see its lively, cheerful attitude. Th e table should be used to check for important details and for disqualifications. An important proportion to remem- ber is that the Russian Toy is a square built dog. The height at elbows is only slightly more than half of the height at withers; the chest is suff iciently deep. Behavior and temperament for this breed includes: Active, very cheerful, neither cowardly nor aggressive.



Th e head of the Russian Toy is small in comparison to its body. Th e Skull is NOT wide (width at the level of zygomatic arch- es does not exceed the depth of the skull). Th e stop is clearly pronounced. Th e shape of the head is triangular when viewed from above. Correct breed type includes its large ears, which are big, erect and set high. Important breed characteristics to remember are a square built dog with long legs and fine bone. Large erect ears, slight- ly sloping topline and a slight rounded croup. Th e tail is carried high, never below the horizontal of the backline. On the long coated variety, the decoration of the ear fringe on a mature dog usually at an age over three can be quite attractive. When judging the Russian Toy you will easily find that every thing about

the breed is one that is built for speed and great agility! Movement is described as easy, straightforward and fast. No noticeable change in the topline when moving. Both Varieties will be given equal consideration. Th e Smooth is the original variety. Th e ears are mobile and can be facing any direction on the move. Th e tail must be carried up above the horizontal on the move but may drop when not in motion. You will see a variety of tail carriage in a line up. Some up and wagging, others down yet attentive. Presently, the FCI standard calls for the Russian Toy to be a “docked” tail breed, allowing for the tail to left in its natural state in countries where docking is prohibited. Th e Breed has developed

over the last decade as to be left in its natural state. Th e tail should be carried in a sickle according to the FCI standard. However, a sickle in AKC language is not the same. Size in the Russian Toy has a great vari- ance from four pounds and four and one half inches from the lower to upper ends of the standard. Th at is a great variance for a toy breed. It will not be uncommon to see dogs in these ranges. 7-11 ½ inches is the ideal range and weight has a minimum of 2.2-to a maximum 6 pounds range! Th ere should be no preference, but the breed has been bred as a small decorative companion and should remain an elegant toy! In closing, I hope you have a good visu- al of what is correct Russian Toy type and how it should be presented.



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