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.
Borzois 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.
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.
Breed Club Links: Borzoi Club of America, Inc.
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Photo courtesy of Srinayan Puppala.