A Borzoi is a domestic type of a dog belonging to the sighthound group. The dog comes from Russia but it was developed from dog breeds brought there from central Asia. It is a very unique type of a dog and in appearance it resembles a greyhound. The name Borzoi is derived from the Russian word which means “fast”, used to describe the dog. But there are actually many different names that the Russian people call these types of dogs.
Officially, the breed is referred to as “Russkaya Psovaya Borzaya”. But there are other Russian types which are called “Stepnaya Borzaya” and “Krimskaya Borzaya, which are called for short “Stepnoi” and “Krimskoi”. This dog breed is also called the Russian Wolfhound.
History & Origins
The Borzoi draws its origin from the sighthounds which developed in the Afghan and Kyrgyzstan. Their earliest descendants include sighthounds like Afghan hounds and the Kyrgyz Taigan. These dogs then started migrating to the South and West parts which rustled in creating other respective sighthound branches. The first modern version of the Psovaya Borzaya was founded on Stepnaya, As some sighthounds were imported from the West, they also mixed them up a bit in order to add more height and weight to the hounds and also make them stronger and more resistant to the weather. The breeds used to create this dog were Tazi, Hortaya, Stepnaya, Krimskaya, and Hort, and all of them are really good at hunting. This all resulted in Borzoi becoming a great hunting dog which was even instilled with the Tsar of Russia who also used it to hunt.
But, after the Revolution, wolf hunting has gone out of fashion and the Borzoi dogs were less used. IN 1940 a Soviet soldier managed to draw the characteristics of a Borzoi dog and it was the first time that all of it was established officially. The breed was later accepted in various Kennel Clubs around the world.
Borzoi Characteristics & Temperament
The Borzoi is a gentle-temped type of a dog. His temperament actually varies a lot and it can go from quite serious to very clownish. They treat strangers in the same way as they can be either really friendly and aloof or quite shy from them. These hounds are really fun and loving with their masters and form an attachment with them. Which is why you shouldn’t leave them alone for long periods of time. They will try to be by your side at all times and keep you company.
Despite being really intelligent, the Borzoi is a very independent type of a hound. It also means that they are hard to train and it takes an experienced trainer to tame them. Their temperament will vary based on various things but training them will always include early socialization.
The Borzoi also has a high prey drive. They will run after small animals and particularly cats when they see them in the yard. They also have high levels of energy and need to exert themselves to stay fit. What you have to do is to allow them to run and exercise. Taking them on regular walks and hikes will help, but you should allow them more. It is best to keep them in fenced enclosure so they can run around and you can also play with them.
Appearance, Colors, Size
The appearance of a Borzoi is described to be similar to a greyhound. These are large and long sighthounds and because of their origin draw a lot of resemblance from some Central Asian dog breeds like the Afghan hound, Saluki, and the Kyrgyz Taigan.
But compared to greyhounds, they do have much longer hair. The coat, on the other hand, comes in many different colors which is much different compared to a greyhound. Their coats are silky and flat and in some cases it is even wavy and curly. The top-coat is wavy and flat, while the undercoat is thicker and helps the dog in colder climates. They usually have a frill on its neck and feathering on their hind legs.
The size of a Borzoi is about 30 inches (76 cm) for males and 26 inches (66 cm) for females. The weight is about 100 pounds (45 kg) for both genders.
The Borzoi was at first a much healthier dog. The breeds which were crated in the home country of Russia did not have any issues with OCD, hip and elbow dysplasia. There were some problems with congenital eye and heart diseases thought. But when the breed became popular and other breeders around the world started doing it, there have been some issues that reappeared.
The illnesses and the conditions that the modern Borzoi breed suffers from include gastric dilatation volvulus, cardiomyopathy and cardiac arrhythmia disorders, and progressive retinal atrophy. Nevertheless, the average lifespan of a Borzoi dog is still between 10 and 12 years old which is okay for a dog breed of this size and type.
Grooming & Shedding
Breeding is an important part of the Borzoi to keep it neat. They have long hair and do shed moderately throughout the year. There are even bigger shedding periods that come once a year. Regularly, you could brush the dog with a sleek brush to keep the coat clean.
But when it comes to heavy shedding periods, there is more that you need to do. Brush them every day to remove the dead hair and keep the dog neat. Bathing is needed at least once a year, but if you want to keep the Borzois fur clean you can give it more baths. Clipping their nails is also an important part.
Borzoi Price and Breeders
The popularity of Borzoi dogs has been growing steadily and there are more breeders set outside of Russia. The main ones are still found in the home country of the Borzoi and the quality ones are still there. But for those who cannot make it to Russia to get one, we suggest trying out some other breeders outside, particularly in the US. The average price spans between 1,000 and 1,200 USD.
Now when the Borzoi breed has breeders spread around the world, it is easy to get one. But it is also earlier to adopt one. Rescue organizations have sprung out and allow you to adopt these types of dogs for your needs. Contacting groups like National Borzoi Rescue Foundation and Borzoi Club of America will allow you to see what you can do and how to adopt one.