5 Small Russian Dog Breeds

Russia is such a large country that it stretches over eleven time zones. It is the largest country in the world and covers over 6.5 million square miles.

And it is the home of approximately twenty two dog breeds, which are as diverse as the Russian Toy Terrier which should stand just over 10 inches tall and weighs about 6 pounds and the Black Russian Terrier which stands about 29 inches tall and weighs a colossal 150 pounds!

But today’s post will concentrate on five small breeds of dog from Russia. 

[1] Bolonka

The Russian Bolonka is one of the sweetest lap dogs that you could ever meet and is quite ideal for apartment living. A quick glance at the adorable Bolonka would remind you of the Shih Tzu, and the two breeds do share a few similarities, yet they are far from being the same. 

The Bolonka is also sweet, loyal, inquisitive, and easy to train but is more playful than the Shih Tzu and needs a bit more social interaction. The Bolonka also barks very rarely while the Shih Tzu is more vocal, making the Russian small breed ideal for living with neighbors close by. 

All in all, the Russian Bolonka is the perfect pet if you’re looking for a small dog breed that loves to cuddle, that basks in your attention, and isn’t too high maintenance. While the Bolonka has beautiful, curly hair, they don’t shed much and won’t leave clumps of hair everywhere in your home.

The Bolonka’s beautiful wavy curls come in a combination of black, gray, wolf, brown, red and white. They weigh an average of 8 to 11 pounds with an average height of 8 to 10 inches. 

Despite the Bolonka’s good temperament and charming disposition, they are still quite rare to find in the United States, even with the growing interest in the breed.

[2] Russian Toy

The Russian Toy, also affectionately known as the Toychik, is a very small dog breed that dates back to Imperial Russia and was very closely linked to Russian aristocracy. Their goofy smile and compact build make them quite adorable and the breed’s innate friendliness and loyalty can win over anyone’s heart. 

They’re a great balance of playfulness and chill – they’ll be happy to run and play around the house, but they’ll also be just as happy lounging with you as you enjoy a cup of joe.

Like the Bolonka, they thrive on human attention and will get very attached to their family but might act aloof towards strangers. Unlike other similar toy breeds, the Russian Toy is not an aggressive breed, and will prefer to ignore rather than engage pets or people that they find unfamiliar. 

The Russian Toy comes in both the long-haired and short-haired variety. The colors permitted for the breed includes solid red, black and tan, brown and tan, blue and tan, sable, and brown sable. 

They shouldn’t weigh more than 6 pounds and should be between 7.5 to 10.5 inches tall. Like most of the breeds on this list, the Russian Toy is rare and is often highly prized.

[3] Russian Spaniel

The Russian Spaniel is an underrated and relatively unknown spaniel breed with an incredibly friendly and gentle disposition. Bred from English Cocker Spaniels and other spaniel breeds, the Russian Spaniel share similar a lot of their characteristics except for a few physical differences such as the longer ears, the shorter fur, and the somewhat longer and sleeker bodies and build. 

Despite these small differences, the Russian Spaniel does share the innate spaniel traits of being friendly, good-natured, loyal, and energetic.

Despite being bred for hunting and retrieving, this small dog breed can adjust easily to apartment living as long as they get daily exercise. They have a people-pleasing personality which makes them easy to train since they would love to make their owners happy. 

Because of their sweet and friendly dispositions combined with their energetic nature, Russian Spaniels are ideal for children and are able to keep up with rough play while also being gentle and non-aggressive. 

Also, despite their tender personalities, they also make for excellent guard dogs and will be quick to bark if they spot any strangers approaching.

The Russian Spaniel has a slightly smaller build than the better known Cocker Spaniel, weighing somewhere between 28.5 pounds to 35 pounds, making it a medium sized dog. 

The breed’s permitted height is between 15 to 18 inches and. The Russian Spaniel usually has a white coat with dark markings on the ears and on the head, in the colors of black, red, brown, and tri-coloured.

[4] Samoyed

The increasingly popular Samoyed hardly needs any introduction and is fast becoming known as the smiling sled dog. Beautiful and graceful but also entirely functional, with his strong build and intelligence, the Samoyed is highly sought after and is always a welcome addition to most dog lovers’ homes.

The Samoyed has an admirable combination of traits. As a work dog that was bred for pulling sledges, herding, hiking and hunting, he is a true working companion for humans which makes him incredibly intelligent and highly trainable but also strong willed. 

Despite his strong personality that usually marks a working dog breed, the Samoyed is known for being very friendly, affectionate, and is actually ideal for large families with kids. His white, fluffy coat also makes the Samoyed a true beauty to behold but keep in mind that such wondrous hair will require a lot of brushing.

The Samoyed will weigh an average 45 to 65 pounds (females will generally weigh a little less than the males, and will be a tad smaller too). The breed’s height will be somewhere between 19 to 24 inches. The accepted coat colors for the Samoyed are biscuit, white, and cream. Keep in mind that this breed’s hair will need a lot of grooming and attention and regular brushing will definitely be needed.

If you like the look of a Samoyed and you want to look at some similar breeds, it appears in two other lists:

[5] Karelo 

The Karelo, or the Karelo-Finnish Laika, is a very handsome, medium sized cold weather dog with a fox-like head and a very thick, attractive red coat. Karelos are less suited as family dogs than the other breeds noted here, though they are also intensely loyal and affectionate towards their owners. 

While they are innately people pleasers and will respond very well to praise and affection, they can be unfriendly and downright distrustful of people they don’t know.

Bred as hunters, it is best to socialize Karelos at an early age to curb their innate aggressiveness. Keeping this breed in the same house as smaller pets such as toy dogs and cats is not a good idea since they will most likely chase them every chance they get just for the sheer pleasure of it. 

Of the five breeds mentioned here, the Karelo is the most aggressive, but they retain their playfulness, curiosity, and sweetness even in maturity, making this breed just as fun-loving and lovable as the rest.

The Karelo is a fairly low maintenance dog and won’t need as much hair care as the Samoyed though his thick coat will still need at least a bi-weekly brushing. He will weigh about 25 to 30 pounds and will grow to a height of 16 to 18 inches. 

The permitted hair color for the breed is solid red, with occasional fawn, black, and white markings.