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Borzoi

Borzoi

The Borzoi is the undisputed aristocrat of the canine world and with their elegant yet haughty demeanour, silky coat and long narrow head, they are instantly recognizable. The Borzoi’s coat comes in any colour other than merle, and is of medium length with a slight wave, and heavier feathering on the legs, undercarriage and tail.

  • Dogs suitable for experienced owners
  • Extra training required
  • Need to be aware of potential health issues
  • Enjoys active walks
  • Enjoys one to two hours of walking a day
  • Large dog
  • Minimum drool
  • Requires grooming every other day
  • Chatty and vocal dog
  • Barks and alerts to visitors/anything unusual
  • Could have issues with unknown dogs but gets along with known dogs
  • May need additional training to live with other pets
  • May need additional supervision to live with children
  • Needs a large garden
  • Can live in semi-rural areas
  • Can be left occasionally with training

Key Facts

Lifespan: 7–10 years
Weight: 34kg for females and 41kg for males
Height: 68cm for females and 74cm for males
Colours: Any colour other than merle
Size: Large
Kennel Club group: Hound

Ratings

Family-friendly: 4/5
Exercise needs: 2/5
Easy to train: 3/5
Tolerates being alone: 1/5
Likes other pets: 3/5
Energy level: 2/5
Grooming needs: 4/5
Shedding: 5/5
white borzoi standing on the trail

Personality

As an adult, the Borzoi is a good-natured and gentle dog in the house, taking up surprisingly little space for their size when it suits them. Aloof and reserved with strangers, they can be very affectionate with their own family and exhibit a sense of humour and strong personality that sighthound fans find very appealing.

While not a guard dog, they may alert owners to the presence of suspicious characters and will give good account of themselves if they feel it necessary. Their nature as a sighthound, to course and to chase, must be kept in mind. While they can be raised with cats and small dogs that they view as ‘family’, they will always be predisposed to give chase to fast moving furry objects.

white borzoi dog looking to the right

History and Origins

Country of Origin: Russia

As with many breeds, there is some dispute as to the origins of the Borzoi. However, it is likely that Greyhound-like dogs from ancient Egypt were crossed with the native heavier coated herding and pastoral breeds from northern Russia to produce the Borzois ancestors.

From the 16th Century onwards the breed became refined into the ultimate wolf catching sighthound, working in pairs to bring down a wolf and hold it until a mounted hunter could dispatch the quarry.

Borzois were valued highly by the Czars of Russia, who gifted them frequently to other nobility around Europe, and it is these gifted dogs who saved the breed following the Russian Revolution of 1917, when the breed almost died out.

Health and Common Concerns

The Borzoi breed is generally a healthy, robust one. As with many breeds, some hereditary eye conditions can occur, and breeding dogs should be eye-tested. Hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid gland) can be an inherited condition in this breed.

Exercise Needs

Adult Borzois will be happy with an hour or more’s walking each day, ideally with freedom to run in secure spaces. Younger Borzois must not be over exercised but still need frequent shorter walks and mental stimulation to avoid boredom.

Always keep in mind that a sighthound can see movement from some distance and will be inclined to hunt and chase moving objects, and even in play, their play style will involve mock ‘coursing’ which other dogs may find rather off-putting.

Space Requirements

Borzoi is a large breed dog, and whilst they can curl up small when they want to, they do require space to stretch out, a garden suitable for running in and to live within easy reach of secure running space.
Due to the time it takes these dogs to mature, Borzois are not suited to going up and down stairs frequently.

Nutrition and Feeding

Large breed dogs, as well as having large appetites, benefit from a different balance of nutrients including minerals and vitamins compared to smaller-breed dogs. The Borzoi is prone to bloating and stomach problems; smaller, more frequent meals can help minimise this risk.

Grooming Borzoi Dogs

The Borzoi’s silky, wavy coat will need regular brushing and combing several times a week, with paw pads checked daily for foreign objects and the hair there trimmed down. Due to their size, professional dog grooming may be required for full bathing and drying. Borzois will shed hair, particularly during seasonal moults.

Training Borzoi Dogs

Training the Borzoi requires patience and understanding what motivates them to want to work with you. They will always find running and chasing rewarding, so use this to your advantage where possible, and make training recall a priority, even though it is not advisable to let a Borzoi off lead in an unsecured area.
This is not a dog who is likely to enjoy dog training for the sake of training itself. Careful management is needed, as well as training ‘as you go along’ rather than specific training sessions.

Best Family Dog Breeds

The well-trained adult Borzoi can be an excellent family dog, however the immature puppy and adolescent Borzoi may be too exuberant and bouncy for very small children or frail older people. Like all larger breeds, they take some time to grow and mature and need careful management during this time.

While many dogs are traditionally thought of as being good with children, all dogs and children need to be taught to get on with each other and be safe together. Even so, dogs and young children should never be left alone together and adults should supervise all interactions between them.

did you know?

Did You Know?

  • Captain E J Smith of the RMS Titanic, had a Borzoi called Ben who was famously photographed with him on desk before the ill-feted ship set sail. Thankfully for Ben, he didn’t stay for the voyage.
  • For the film Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii, a Borzoi called Nobs provided lead vocals alongside Dave Gilmour on harmonica and Roger Waters on guitar. The song was ‘Seamus’ named after Dave Gilmour’s dog who originally howled in the studio recording but was re-titled ‘Mademoiselle Nobs’ in the film.

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