Type: Sight hound
Height: Females: 26 - 28 inches; Males: 28 - 32 inches.
Weight: Males: 75 - 105 lbs.; Females: 55 - 85 lbs.
Life Span: 10 - 12 years.
Litter Size: 6 - 7 puppies.
Country of Origin: Russia
Activity: Outdoor - High. They are quite lively outdoors and will chase small animals. Indoor - Low. Borzois are graceful and careful inside.
Watch-dog: Medium. Borzois make a good watch dog but rarely bark
Description: The Borzois are gentle, well-mannered dogs who have grace and beauty, yet enjoy having fun and racing games. Known as the Russian Wolfhound, they are a tall, elegant dog whose body is designed for speed. Borzois are lean and quick, originally bred to dually attack wolves. They have long hair that can be wavy, curly, or straight, and have small heads in comparison to their deep chests and long bodies. Their tails are long and feathery, often reaching the ground, and usually tucked slightly between their legs. Borzois are affectionate with their owners and tolerant of other dogs. They are not very tolerant of children, but will get along as long as the child is well behaved. Borzois, or Russian Wolfhounds, were bred to chase animals and often do so. They are said to be similar to cats in their pounce, cleanliness and elegance. Borzois could walk though a glass shop and hardly have a mishap. They are agile, smart and sensitive. Wary of strangers, Borzois must be socialized from an early age to avoid unwanted aggression. Puppies grow rapidly and should not be overworked until fully mature which is at one year of age. Borzois do not respond well to harsh training, but are more obedient to reward training. Borzois can jump a medium to high fences, as they are up to 32" tall. These dogs are well known among the old Russian aristocracy as well as modern day American celebrities. This elegant looking breed is often spotted alongside movie stars and models. The best owner for this breed would be a dog-experienced, active individual or family with a very high fence in a rural or suburban area.
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Other Names: Russian Wolfhound
Colors: Borzois can have any color of fur. White is usually the predominate color.
Coat: Silky, flat, wavy or very curly; never woolly. Their coats are long and glossy. The hair is short on the head. They have a neck frill and feathering on the hindquarters and tail, chest, and the backs of the forelegs.
Temperament: Borzois are active outdoors, quiet indoors. They are intelligent, sensitive, and reserved around strangers. They will chase small animals or big animals, and care must be taken to make sure they are trained. Some say they are generally good with children, but precaution should be taken as many sources indicate they do not take kindly to teasing. They can be affectionate with their family, but stubborn and independent.
With Children: Borzois do not take kindly to teasing children. They are said to be good around them but should be watched. The Borzoi was also bred to chase things that run from it.
With Pets: High prey drive and will seize and kill small animals due to its hunting nature. Yet, it generally gets along with other dogs.
Special Skills: Hunting dog and companion
Care and Training: Brush regularly with a firm bristle brush, dry shampoo when needed. Trim hair between toes. Needs plenty of exercise, including the opportunity to run off the leash and daily walks. When off leash Borzois need to be well trained to come when you call as they may attack small dogs or cats that move suddenly. Borzois were bred to notice and chase after things that run from them. Known to be stubborn to train, training should begin at the early age of 10 weeks. Borzois do not respond well to harsh training.
Learning Rate: High. Obedience - Medium. Problem Solving - Low
Special Needs: Exercise, high fenced yard, grooming, leash, positive training and early socialization
Living Environment: Apartment is okay if the Borzoi is provided with daily exercise and space. Borzois are surprisingly dainty and would be likely to tiptoe through a pottery shop with hardly a problem. The Borzoi should not be left alone in a yard without a very high fence, as they can easily jump a six-foot fence. The best owner would be a committed, assertive, dog-experienced person living in a suburban or rural environment.
Health Issues: PRA (Progressive retinal atrophy), OCD (Osteochondritis dessicans), gastric torsion. Other possible health concerns include hip and shoulder dysplasia, heart problems, and bloat. Bloat is a health issue to most dogs, being the second largest killer of dogs other than cancer, but Borzois can be particularly susceptible to it because of their deep chests.
History: A treasured breed by the great Russian writer Leo Tolstoy, the Borzoi has been around since at least the 1600s. They were almost never bought or sold, almost always given or received as gifts. The Borzoi is said to have been crossed with the Greyhound and Lapp sled dog. Originally there were various strains of the Borzoi including the Sudanese Borzoi, the Turkoman Borzoi and the Borzoi Tartar. Long ago a Russian duke imported several sight hounds from Arabia, but all succumbed to the cold winters of Russia. Soon after he tried again, this time crossing the Arabian hounds with native breeds, possibly the Tartar coursing hounds or the long legged shepherd dogs. In the mid 1800s the breed found its way to Great Britain, and from there was transported to the U.S. in 1889. Joseph B Thomas imported Borzois from Russia in 1903 from the Grand Duke Nicholas Romanoff. The Russian aristocracy was the first to make the breed popular in the 16th century, and the Borzoi often appeared next to royalty. Borzois were originally bred to hunt wolves. The Borzoi was bred to hunt, to track and dispatch the wolf from its hiding for Russian noblemen. Russian noblemen would take a pair or trio of Borzois, go out to hunt the wolf, and when the wolf was spotted release the dogs. The dogs were supposed to arrive at the wolf at the same time so that a dual attack could be made on the wolf. Borzois were supposed to take the wolf by the throat and throw it, after which either the Russian noblemen would tie up the wolf and then set it free, or they would stab it with a dagger and kill it. Wolf-hunting was a popular sport among the aristocracy. In 1917 during the Russian Revolution the breed was almost driven to extinction, as it was seen as an icon of royalty and therefore was killed. Thanks to the exportation of a few of the Borzois, the breed lives on. Today it is known as one of the most glamorous dog breeds that can be seen alongside celebrities, showing off its elegant shiny coat.
First Registered by the AKC: 1891
AKC Group: Hound Group
Registries: AKC, ANKC, CKC, FCI (Group 10), KC(GB), UKC