Personality . Breed Overview
History . Health
Borzoi have a very unique and enchanting personality. They are not like most dog breeds and behave in a more catlike manner. What I mean by this is that they can be somewhat aloof and normally do not fawn all over their owners as some more demonstrative dog breeds do. Instead, Borzoi exhibit a deep sensitivity and gentle love often displayed by laying their head in your lap, leaning against you or giving soft gentle kisses. Our Borzoi are very affectionate and enjoy being close with us (if not "on" us) while we sit on the sofa watching TV.
Personalties can differ from breeder to breeder so please note that my description regarding Borzoi is derived from the experience I have had with my own loving hounds. With the above being said, my Borzoi can be wild and crazy, funny, mischevious and manipulating all in one day.
I love and appreciate their unique personality as it is much more human to me. Here is one example: This past winter, one of our Borzoi girls was outside in the freezing cold. When I called her to come in, she was adorably defiant as if saying "No...I don't think so. I like it out here in the frozen tundra. I'll let you know when I'm ready." Instead of being frustrated and angry with this type of stubborn display or even coaxing them in with a treat ( which they will then expect in the future ), successful Borzoi parents chuckle, close the sliding door and say okay, stay out there...You'll let me know when you want to come in.
Borzoi can be stubborn and the more you pull or try to force them, the harder they resist. The successful Borzoi parent will outsmart their manipulative Borzoi and take matters into their own hands when they are like this. Let's say for instance that you are ready to go to bed and your Borzoi is on the sofa. You say okay it's time to go to bed and they just sit there looking at you. The best choice at this moment is to quietly get their leash, put it on them and take them to where ever they sleep. Eventually, when they see you lift up the leash they will just get up and come, knowing that their battle of the mind is already lost :))
Borzoi respond well to positive reinforcement and positive encouragement in any training situation. They are very smart and once they learn something, they do not forget. They may not want to do what you ask, but that does not mean they do not remember or know how. They just do not want to do what you ask at a given time.
This can be explained by their past and what they were bred to do as a breed. In order for a pack of Borzoi to hunt and corner a wolf or small game, they had to think independently. They did not have a human directing them. They would think in advance and even strategize on their hunts as to what was the best "next move" to catch their prey. For that reason, they tend to be very independent thinkers. Often I feel as though I can see the wheels in their head spinning as they think "now why in the world do you want me to do that?...".
The word Borzoi in Russian literally means “fast”. They were bred in ancient Russia by the Aristocracy to course wolves and small game. Known in the 1930's as the Russian Wolfhound.
Borzoi heights range from 28 – 34 inches tall at the shoulder for males and 26 – 30 inches tall for females. Weights range from 55 to 106 pounds, depending on sex.
The Borzoi coat can vary from breeder to breeder. It can be silky and flat, wavy, slightly curly or a more short and plush coat on the topline and sides with luxurious feathering, on the hindquarter and tail as well as carrying a wavey frill on the neck. Borzoi develop a soft undercoat in the winter and shed it out in the warm months so they do not overheat. Borzoi do not get that “doggy smell” associated with some shorter coated breeds. Monthly bathing and weekly brushing with a proper diet are all that is necessary to maintain their luxurious coats.
Borzoi colors vary greatly from white with red, black, grey, gold, fawn or brindle markings to self blacks, reds, gold and whites as well as brindles and sables. One litter can have a wide variety of colors depending on the color genes of the sire and dam.
While the Borzoi may appear to be slight in build, do not let that fool you. They are very powerful and agile with a low body fat ratio creating a lean muscled dog when kept in proper condition. Because of this low body fat, Borzoi can be very sensitive to anesthesia and should be taken to a Veterinarian that understands their special needs.
Borzoi are an affectionate and sensitive breed that is very loyal with their families. They can act aloof or disinterested with strangers and some are not comfortable around children. They are somewhat catlike in nature but very sweet in an enchanting way.
Life expectancy is generally 9-12 years although many well cared for Borzoi live healthy lives to 13 or 14.
The Borzoi was bred in ancient Russia to course and hunt wolves and small game. They were the pride of the Russian aristocracy in the 1800's when great royal kennels housed hundreds of these magnificent hounds.
Grand hunting expeditions were undertaken by the large kennels creating a national sport by the late 1800's. For the aristocracy, these hunting events were a well-organized ceremony, sometimes going on for days. The Borzoi accompanied by mounted hunters on the Russian Steppe would course hares and other small game. The hunters loved to use their dogs on wolf. Once a wolf was sighted, the hunter would release a team of three Borzoi. One Borzoi would flush out the wolf and the other two would come at the wolf from both sides pinning him down until the hunter arrived.
During the Russian revolution the Borzoi became a casualty of war just as the royal families did. While thousands were destroyed, some were saved in the countryside and exported to England. The first Borzoi was imported from England into the United States in 1889.
This is just a very brief history only, to give those visiting our website a general overview of the origin of the breed. If you would like to learn more, go to this link:
Generally the Borzoi breed is quite healthy and does not have nearly as many maladies as some of the more popular breeds. The four health areas that the Borzoi Club recommends testing for are heart, eyes, thyroid and DM - Degnerative Myelopathy. The good news about DM is that there is now a genetic marker that allows responsible breeders to test their breeding Borzoi and make the decision not to breed two carriers together. Click this link to learn more about Denerative Myelopathy.
Borzoi. like most large breed dogs, also have bone cancer and in some lines Gastric Bloat and Torsion. It is important to familarize yourself with the symptoms of Gastric Bloat and Torsion as this presents an emergency situation that can be fatal within 40 minutes... As a precautionary step, Borzoi owners should have an emergency 24 hour veterinarian available at their disposal. Although I have been blessed and never had to deal with one of my Borzoi bloating, it is critical that all Borzoi owners are aware of bloat and torsion, understand the symptoms and have an emergency plan in place just in case there dog were to exhibit symptions. Below is a link to a very detailed explanation of bloat that I recomend you read.