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Commonly Confused Breeds: The Russian Toy Terrier VS The Chihuahua

Say hello to the Russian Toy, one the of the AKC’s newly recognized dog breeds in 2022

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You could be forgiven for confusing the Russian Toy Terrier for his better-known cousin, the Chihuahua. Marked by diminutive size (up to six and a half pounds) and large bat ears, the breed resembles the Chihuahua and is still rare in the United States—there are currently just 775 Russian Toys in the U.S. But with the AKC newly recognizing the breed as of 2022, the Russian Toy and its fanciers are bracing for greater recognition.

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Though most frequently mistaken for a Chihuahua, there are differences between the two, first and foremost being size. Though both are undoubtedly small breeds (six pounds or less), the Russian Toy is yet more petite than the relatively stockier Chihuahua. Jo Buntrock, of Buchanan Dam, Texas, is a Russian Toy Terrier owner of 10 years. She shares, “Russian Toy bones are delicate and finer than a stocky little Chihuahua. Jumping off furniture can result in a leg fracture, especially before age two. They can also be very territorial and possessive of their owners so early socialization is a must.” Homes without larger dogs or rambunctious kids would be a fit.

Another key physical difference is head shape. A hallmark of the Chihuahua is a rounder, more apple-shaped head, whereas the Russian Toy has a narrower head and a slightly longer muzzle. Like the Chihuahua, the Russian Toy comes in a long-haired variety which, with its tufted ears, resembles a Papillion.


As for origin, the Russian Toy hails from Russia, as the name suggests, whereas the Chihuahua comes from Mexico

Both have winning personalities. The Russian Toy is known for being athletic, intelligent, loyal, humorous, and highly trainable. The coat is low maintenance, and the breed has a life expectancy of 10-12 years, states the AKC.

If you’re looking for a small dog with high energy, a sweet personality, smarts, and a desire to please, the Russian Toy could be for you!

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This article originally appeared in the award-winning Modern Dog magazine. Subscribe today!


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