|A long haired Russkiy toy. The breed is also known as the Russian toy and Russian toy terrier, among other things.|
|Smooth coated Russkiy toy|
Russkiy toys have nearly become extinct on two different occasions. This breed was once popular among the Russian aristocracy, being used for various reasons, including warmth and companionship. When communism began to rise, the breed's popularity plummeted along with the popularity of aristocrats. There was a resurgence of interest in the breed around the end of the world war, partly due to the isolation of Russia from the rest of the world. Then the Iron Curtain fell, popularity dropped off again partly due to the new importation of small foreign breeds. In more recent years, the breed's popularity has been growing again. It is now provisionally recognized by the FCI and the AKC has the breed in its Foundation Stock Service.
These small dogs are prone to virtually all of the issues common in toy breeds, with the most common being patellar luxation, cataracts, and progressive retinal atrophy. Also, since these dogs are so small, they are at an increased risk of breaking bones. This is especially true of legs when jumping and roughhousing.
Sources are the Fédération Cynologique Internationale, American Kennel Club, Russian Toy Club of America and Russkiy Toy Dog Club of America. Images are from Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons licenses: one, two.