The Beautiful Borzoi An Ancient Russian Dog

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Written By James Youngblood

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The Borzoi

Large Russian sighthounds called Borzoi are similar to central Asian breeds such as the Afghan Hound and Saluki. Almost any color is available in the breed. The Borzoi coat is flat, usually wavy, or curled.



The long top coat has different degrees of waviness or curling but is generally relatively flat. The soft undercoat thickens in colder areas or throughout the winter; in hotter climates, it is shed to avoid overheating. The coat is distinctive in terms of texture and distribution across the body. It should have feathering on its tail and hindquarters and a frill on its neck.

The Borzoi is a member of the Hound Group. This elegant-looking breed is one of the best-behaved family pets due to its peaceful temperament and excellent manners. They exhibit mild affection, remain calm with kids, and are loyal to their owners. These dogs are generally a little reserved, especially around new people. They also enjoy running after small animals when outside.

Borzoi History

Borzoi height: 26-28 inches; Weight: 60-105; Lifespan: 9-14 years; Country: Russia

This breed, known as the “Russian Wolfhound” until 1936, has roots in Russia and has been there since the Middle Ages. Their history dates back to sixteenth-century Russia.



Russian nobles wanted a dog that could hunt wolves even in winter.  As early as the 13th century, dogs were employed to pursue hares. They were mixed with bearhounds, Russian sheepdogs, and coursing hounds to improve their size and coat.

They would frequently hunt in groups of three, two male and one female.  The dogs were set loose when a wolf was in sight, often killing it swiftly.



There were seven different breeds of Borzoi dogs in Russia by the 1800s. The Perchino kind, bred by Grand Duke Nicholas Nicolaievich of Russia at his Perchino estate, gave rise to the dogs we are familiar with today.

Numerous of these hounds perished after the Russian Revolution. The only reason the breed survived was that multiple Borzoi kennels were cared for by foreign aristocracy. The breed is now a well-liked show dog that frequently appears as a magazine model and is utilized as a coursing dog.



The Borzoi In Russian Literature

Tolstoy, the great Russian writer, was devoted to the breed and included them in his most famous book “War and Peace.” For example, in Chapter IV of that book, he wrote:

They were taking fifty-four hounds, with
six hunt attendants and whippers-in.
Besides the family, there were eight
borzoi kennelmen and more than forty borzois,
so that, with the borzois on the
leash belonging to members of the family,
there were about a hundred and
thirty dogs and twenty horsemen.

The hounds Tolstoy described in his writings are similar to today’s breed.

Are Borzois High Maintenance?

BorzoiThey require a lot of physical activity, like most Hound Group members. The optimal exercises for the breed include several laps outside in a wide-open area, and daily leash walks. They also enjoy running fast. It’s ideal to have access to a fenced-in yard during the day.

Although these dogs can live outside, they should spend the night indoors with the family. They can withstand somewhat low temperatures but struggle with the heat. They have an extremely long coat that sheds frequently. This dog requires thorough brushing about three times weekly for grooming purposes.

Health Concerns

They have a ten to twelve-year lifespan on average. Gastric torsion is the breed’s only primary health issue. Cardiomyopathy and hypothyroidism are minor health issues that may occur. According to veterinarians, they should be examined for heart and thyroid issues.

The AKC parent club for the breed is the Borzoi Club of America, Inc.




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