Meet the Breed: The Borzoi

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Overview:

  • Height: minimum of 28" for males, 26” for females
  • Weight: 60-120 pounds
  • Historical function: Hunting wolves
  • Modern function: Companion, lure coursing
  • AKC classification: Hound

Physical Characteristics:

The Borzoi resembles the Greyhound but has long, wavy hair. The head is slightly domed with almost no stop. The dark eyes are slightly slanted and the small ears lay back against the head. The coat comes in a wide range of colors and varies seasonally.

History of the Breed:

The Borzoi were developed as hunting dogs used to grab wolves and hold them until the human would dispatch the prey on the steppes of Russia. These Russian Wolfhounds have shared ancestors with Afghans and other sight hounds imported from central Asia through trade. These were crossed with long-haired Russian sheepdogs to infuse a weather-resistant coat suitable for cold Russia. The Borzoi were further developed in Russia as a royal dog of the Tsars over hundreds of years. Only the fastest, best hunters were bred.

Temperament:

The Borzoi is a mild-mannered dog with surprisingly good house manners for such a large creature. They are quiet and hardly ever bark. Outdoors, the dog is happy in a large, safely enclosed yard, but are not to be trusted off leash as they will chase anything that moves. Because of that hunting instinct, care must be used to socialize them from a young age with cats, and a cat or small dog that runs from them will trigger a chase. The Borzoi has erroneously been labeled as less intelligent as these tests are heavily based on obedience; however, this dog has been bred to be an independent thinker, a trait necessary for adapting to hunting. These intelligent dogs are sensitive and respond best to gentle but firm training and can be trained for a variety of tasks including hunting, lure coursing, agility, and sighting. 

  • Best suited for: Any kind of home or apartment if given enough exercise and room to run in a large, fully-fenced dog park. Young active children may make this sensitive breed nervous. 
  • Preferred living conditions: The Borzoi is adaptable to nearly any living situation provided his human companions are gentle and patient and he is given plenty of daily exercise.

Care and Health:

  • Grooming requirements: The long coat is surprisingly easy to care for with regular brushing and rare bathing. Dry shampoo may be preferred as a dog of this size can be difficult to bathe. This dog is a moderate shedder with heavier shedding seasonally.
  • Exercise needs: Daily vigorous walk or run on a leash. Can be good with a bike leash adaptor, but take care if they should see a running small animal and be ready to respond quickly.
  • Life expectancy: 12-15 years.
  • Health concerns: Prone to bloat. Feed smaller, more frequent meals.

Breed Club Links: Borzoi Club of America, Inc.

BaxterBoo.com Perfect Pairings: Dry Clean Blueberry Muffin Waterless Spray Dog Shampoo, WalkyDog Stainless Steel Bike Leash

Have any stories about a Borzoi? Please share!

Photo courtesy of Srinayan Puppala.

This entry was posted by Mary.
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