Skip to Content

What Kind of Dog was Toto?

Share with fellow dog lovers!

Toto, the small yet brave canine sidekick of Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, has been a symbol of unwavering loyalty and bravery since his debut in L. Frank Baum’s iconic novel in 1900 and the classic 1939 film adaptation. However, if you’re scratching your head and wondering what kind of dog Toto was, let’s uncover the mystery of this famous pup’s lineage!

image of dark furred Cairn Terrier

What Breed of Dog was Toto?

Toto is a Cairn Terrier! These small yet sturdy dogs hail from the Scottish Highlands and are known for their tenacity and energetic nature. Their distinct appearance and spirited personality make them a favorite among dog lovers worldwide.

In The Wizard of Oz books, however, Toto was just described as “a little black dog with long silky hair and small black eyes that twinkled merrily on either side of his funny, wee nose.” Illustrations showed a dog that could be interpreted as either a Cairn Terrier or a Yorkshire Terrier.

Later in the book series, Toto became a Boston Terrier! Baum then returned Toto to his original description as the book series ended.

For most of us, though, the Toto we picture is the Toto of movie fame–and a Cairn Terrier!

Was Toto a Typical Cairn Terrier?

While Toto showcases the typical characteristics of a Cairn Terrier, certain elements of his portrayal are heightened for the story’s fantasy setting:

  • Size: Just like Toto, Cairn Terriers are relatively small dogs, standing around 9 to 10 inches tall at the shoulder and weighing between 13 to 14 pounds.
  • Coat and Color: Sporting a shaggy, water-resistant outer coat and a soft undercoat, Cairn Terriers come in a range of colors, including gray, brindle, black, sand, and red. Toto’s dark coat is fairly representative of many Cairn Terriers.
  • Temperament: Known for their fearless and alert nature, Cairn Terriers are often filled with curiosity. They’re friendly, loyal, and can be quite playful, much like our adventurous Toto.
  • Life Span: Cairn Terriers typically live around 12 to 15 years. Toto has lived on the pages of literature for well over a century–or make that seven centuries in dog years!
  • Adventurous Antics: While Cairn Terriers are naturally curious and love to explore, most just don’t have the opportunity to meet flying monkeys and witches as in Toto’s adventures in the Land of Oz!
  • Bravery: Toto’s bravery in the face of danger, be it standing up to the Wicked Witch or alerting others to Dorothy’s whereabouts, might be an exaggeration, but it’s not too far off from the terrier’s natural courage.

In conclusion, Toto provides a heartwarming and slightly exaggerated portrayal of the Cairn Terrier’s adventurous and loyal nature. If Toto has sparked your interest in Cairn Terriers, remember that they’re spirited and require consistent training and engagement.

The next time you travel down the Yellow Brick Road in the magical tale of The Wizard of Oz, you’ll know precisely the breed of Dorothy’s faithful canine companion! 🐕🌪🌈

Related Posts

What Breed of Dog Is Scooby-Doo?

What Kind of Dog is Snoopy?

Pin it to remember

image of Cairn Terrier who looks much like Toto from The Wizard of Oz movie
Paris Permenter
Latest posts by Paris Permenter (see all)
This post originally appeared on and is the sole property of