Some people recommend using animal figurines for reference in illustrations. It's good advice, but only if you have a clear understanding of the limitations of reference. I'd use the toy for lighting reference, maybe, or proportions. Drawing a toy dog really makes you appreciate the importance of drawing from life. Drawing from live animals, you'd realize the difference immediately. There's a stiffness in the toy that wouldn't be there if you understand and have experience with the weight on paws, balance in their body, and natural resting pose of animals. Trusting reference explicitly, you'd turn out with something like the above — a far cry from the real thing.