Russian Toy Health *Please note due to the current COVID-19 pandemic all health testing was suspended *
Overall the Russian Toy is a healthy, robust little dog. However, like any dog, problems can occur. Whilst the Kennel Club do not have any specific health testing requirements for the Russian Toy the Russian Toy Club UK highly recommend that health testing is carried out prior to breeding and can offer both help and advice in this area as well as organising Health Testing Days.
Below are some of the issues that can occasionally affect Russian Toys (some of which affect toydogs in general):~
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) has been noted as a health issue relevant to the Russian Toy. However, thanks to the previous screening protocol and registration requirements overseas and overseas breeders working towards eradicating this condition, PRA is now rarely seen in the Russian Toy.
Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) is a term for retinal degenerations occurring in many breeds of dog. The disease results in a degeneration of the light sensitive membrane at the back of the eye - the retina - resulting in loss of vision and often leading to blindness.
The disease is caused by a change to a gene involved in sight. This change, or mutation, occurred spontaneously, but once in the population has been inherited from generation to generation like any other gene. The mutation upsets the delicate processes involved in vision and causes the long-term degeneration seen.
If a dog is tested CLEAR of the mutation: This dog has 2 copies of the normal gene and will neither develop PRA, nor pass this mutation to its offspring.
If a dog is a CARRIER of the mutation: This dog has one copy of the normal gene and one copy of the mutation. It will not develop PRA but will, if bred from, on average pass on the mutation to 50% of its offspring.
If a dog is classed as AFFECTED: This dog has 2 copies of the mutation. This mutation has been shown to be sufficient to cause PRA and also in the lines originating from breeding stock.
This is a condition that can affect the hind legs of many Toy breeds and is not just specific to the Russian Toy. It can cause the dog to hop or skip for just one stride or it may be for extended periods as the patella slips out of its groove and stops the leg from straightening and being used properly.
The condition is not usually painful but can cause lameness if very severe and may cause arthritis in later life when present in its milder forms. It can be treated surgically if very severe. If less severe it can usually be managed by keeping the dogs at a healthy weight and giving plenty of exercise to keep the hindquarters well-muscled.
Patella luxation can be inherited or may be the result of accident and injury, it is important to separate the two. A dog that develops Patella luxation due to injury would not pass this on to its puppies whereas a dog that has poor conformation leading to patella luxation would be likely to pass this on to any puppies they produced.
The breed club has introduced a scheme to help all Russian Toy owners and breeders to monitor the occurrence and severity of Patella Luxation (slipping knees) in their dogs. It is a requirement of the Breed Club that members test their Russian Toy prior to breeding.
Russian Toys are small and can be quite fragile, especially puppies. Many puppies don't have any fear and will jump from heights leading to broken legs. So never leave a Russian Toy puppy on a sofa and keep a firm hold of them when you lift them. They also like to follow their owners everywhere, so often get under your feet, thus, this can lead to you accidentally standing on your RT.