The American Kennel Club gives the following description of the Borzoi, "The Borzoi should always possess unmistakable elegance. With flowing lines, graceful in motion or repose. Males, masculine without coarseness; bitches, feminine and refined."
It is thought that the Borzoi came from crossing the Arab Greyhound with a large, heavy-coated Russian hound breed through some selective breeding. However, there is no concrete proof to this speculation.
When the Russian Czars went on a hunt, they would have a pack of a hundred or more of these dogs and twenty or more hunters, usually on horseback. Their favorite game was the Russian wolf. This breed became nearly extinct after the Russian revolution.
The dog was hated because it had come to symbolize those people that everyone was trying to get rid of. Thousands of dogs were killed, and some noblemen decided that it would be easier on the dogs if they were shot by their owners rather than letting the mobs get a hold of them.
This breed was eventually saved by a soldier who realized its great hunting abilities and the fact that it was a part of the Russian heritage. He was able to convince the government to put in place some breeding programs to preserve the breed.
Exports of this hound were rare during that time, but enough dogs made it to Europe and America to firmly establish themselves in the outside world.
Appearance and Grooming
The males of this breed should be at least 28 inches (71 cm) tall, and females should be at least 26 inches (66 cm) tall. With respect to weight, males should be between 75 and 105 pounds (34 to 48 kg), and females should be between 60 to 90 pounds (27 to 40 kg). This is a tall dog.
The coat is usually long-haired and comes in colors like black, white, tan, tan or gray with black markings on it, or golden. The hair can be wavy, silky, straight, or curly. The tail is low-set, the nose is black in color, and the eyes are dark and slanted.
The coat requires some maintenance. It is recommended to brush it for about five minutes every day. This keeps it in top condition and also prevents it from matting. If the coat matts, it may be required to be cut with a scissor or something similar.
This dog can be difficult to train, not from a lack of intelligence but from too much of it. If the training is repetitive, it will get bored and stubborn and refuse to learn anything more. It has been reported that play training is very acceptable to this dog. It is said to like this style and respond to it better than traditional training methods.
This is a quiet dog that needs a bed of its own if you want to avoid the furniture being taken over. It is a huge lap dog. It cannot be trusted as a guard dog because of its low territorial instinct. This breed scarcely barks. It has a sweet disposition and is an extremely loyal pet.
It needs a big and fenced yard for exercising. A fence because, if it sees something that it considers to be game, it will give chase. Early socialization is essential with this breed because it can become nervous and easily frightened if kept in the house for most of its life.
This breed is prone to bloating. Thus, it should not be fed very heavy meals. Light meals should be provided two or three times a day. Also, exercising immediately after eating should be avoided. Its average lifespan is 10 to 12 years.
The Borzoi is a very loving house pet. Its affectionate and sweet nature, together with its royal history make a wonderful combination.