Toto Breed Wizard Of Oz

The Cairn Terrier is one of several related breeds that emerged on the wild, windswept British Isle of Skye and in the Scottish Highlands as early as the 1600s. Originally used for the unglamorous job of clearing vermin from farms, the best-known Cairn ever was a movie star, playing the role of the mischievous canine sidekick in the timeless Hollywood classic, “The Wizard of Oz. Many people know Toto, but we bet there’s a lot about this breed that will come as a surprise, even to die-hard fans of the Emerald City.

Nothings refined about them and that is a point of pride among Cairn people. “I call them scruffy little Toto dogs,” notes a longtime fancier. One 1937 book put it this way: “The Cairn is a cave-dog—an innate barbarian, truculent, fearless.”

cairn terrier

The Issue With Investigating Toto’s Breed

When trying to decide what kind of dog Toto was, we’re faced with one small problem: His breed seemed to change over time.

Most people are familiar with the version of Toto from the 1939 movie; that dog was played by a Cairn Terrier.

A quick aside about the movie Toto: That dog was actually a female Cairn Terrier named Terry. Terry made $125 a week for her performance, which is the equivalent of about $2,300 now — not bad for a little pup.

The movie, however, was based on a fantasy novel by L. Frank Baum named “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.” Toto’s breed is never mentioned in the books, and many scholars insist that he was supposed to be a mutt. He’s described as having long, silky hair — just like a Yorkie.

One other thing worth noting is the fact that the book’s illustrator, W.W. Denslow, was the proud owner of a Yorkshire Terrier. Did he take liberties with his drawings? Toto certainly looks like a Yorkie in the original books.

“The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” wasn’t a standalone book — Baum turned it into a whole series, adding another 14 titles after his first hit novel. Each of these was set in Oz.

Interestingly enough, Baum does mention Toto’s breed in the sequels: He clearly says that Toto was a Boston Terrier. Why? It’s never stated. Apparently, Baum just decided that Toto needed to be a Boston.

That resolve lasted until the final book in the series, at which point, Toto was turned back into the mutt/Yorkie/Cairn Terrier hybrid. Why was this change made? Again, we have no answers.

One thing’s for sure, though: Baum certainly had a hard time making up his mind.

What About the Other Version of Toto?

We’ve covered how Toto was portrayed in the books and the movie, but there’s another film that put its own distinctive spin on Dorothy’s faithful companion.

We’re referring, of course, to “The Muppets’ Wizard of Oz.”

In this film, Toto is clearly played by Pepe the Prawn. We should note that Pepe plays him as a prawn, and we never get to see him do an impression of a Yorkie or a Cairn Terrier.

Toto Breed Wizard Of Oz

For her work with Judy, Terry received $125, which is equivalent to $2,294 in todays dollars. This was more than the wages of many actors in the film and many workers during the Great Depression. (The Munchkins, for example, received $100 a week, or an equivalent $1,835. In contrast, Judy Garland received $500 a week, or $27,532 for today.)

Ah, the memories this movie brings back. Our family used to have a yearly tradition of watching The Wizard of Oz. What an awesome memorial for little Toto. Animals deserve credit too! Voted up and beautiful!

Hey alocsin, great hub! I just wrote a funny hub on the Wizard of Oz. You said “The book never mentioned a dog breed” and I dont think you mentioned the breed in your hub, so Totos breed was a Yorkie.

Aurelio is an ordinary guy who likes to write about the extraordinary things he encounters in the world.

Nice to know more about the dog who played Toto in the film the “Wizard of Oz.” He was a cutie! Voted up and interesting.


Was Toto a male or female dog in The Wizard of Oz?

Terry (November 17, 1933 – September 1, 1945) was a female Cairn Terrier performer who appeared in many different movies, most famously as Toto in the film The Wizard of Oz (1939). It was her only credited role, though she was credited not as Terry but as Toto.

Is Toto a Yorkie?

Despite Toto being a male dog, he was portrayed in the 1939 film by a female dog named Terry (1933 – 1945). She was born on November 17, 1933, and died on September 1, 1945 at age 11, two months and sixteen days before her twelfth birthday.