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Borzoi Books

Group: Hound - Breed Standard


Tradition says that Saluki type sighthounds were originally brought to Russia from Byzantium in the south about the 9th and 10th centuries and again later by the Mongol invaders from the East. Although this might be true, the imported sighthound stock was crossed with different Russian spitz type hunting dogs to increase their speed and gain an ability to catch wolves. This was an important part of a hunting dog's work in the past, when wolves were more common. "Borzaya" ("quick dog") is a Russian term for various types of native sighthound.


Minimum height at withers: dogs: 74 cms (29 ins); bitches: 68 cms (27 ins).

The Borzoi is also called the Russian Wolfhound. They have medium-length, slightly curly hair and are similar in shape to Greyhounds. They are a member of the sighthound family. Despite their size the overall impression is of streamlining and grace, with a curvy shapeliness and compact strength. The Borzoi might be said to be the Porsche of sighthounds, if the Irish Wolfhound is the Muscle Car — pure aesthetics against pure performance. Borzoi can come in any color or color combination. As a general approximation, "long haired greyhound" is a useful description. The long top-coat is silky and quite flat, with varying degrees of waviness or curling. The soft undercoat thickens in winter or cold climates but is shed in hot weather to prevent overheating. In its texture and distribution over the body, the Borzoi coat is unique.


The Borzoi is a quiet, intelligent, moderately active, independent dog. They adapt very well to suburban living, provided they have a spacious yard and regular opportunities for free exercise. These are dogs used to pursue, or "course," game and they have a strong instinct to chase things that run from them. Borzoi are built for speed and can cover incredible distances in a very short time. They need a fully-fenced yard if automobile traffic is present within several miles of their home. For off-lead exercise they need a very large field or park, either fully fenced or well away from any traffic, to ensure their safety.

Most adult Borzoi are almost mute, barking only very rarely. They are gentle, sensitive dogs with gracious house-manners and a natural respect for humans. Borzoi should never display dominance over people. However they are sometimes nervous around children and need to be introduced to them at an early age if they are to be the pet in a young family. Borzoi can be raised very successfully to live with cats and other small animals provided they are introduced to them at a young age. Some, however, will possess the hunting instinct to such a degree that they find it impossible not to chase a cat that is moving quickly. The instinct is triggered by movement and much depends on how the cat behaves.

Breed Health

Life expectancy is 10 to 12 years, females usually living longer than males. Exceptional individuals have lived to be more than 16 years of age. Dogs that are physically fit and vigorous in their youth through middle age are more vigorous and healthy as elderly dogs, all other factors being equal.

As with other very deep-chested breeds, gastric torsion is the most common serious health problem in the Borzoi. Also known as bloat, this life-threatening condition is believed to be anatomical rather than strictly genetic in origin. Many Borzoi owners recommend feeding the dog from a raised platform instead of placing the food-dish on the ground, and making sure that the dog rests quietly for several hours after eating, as the most reliable way to prevent bloat.

Less common are cardiac problems including cardiomyopathy and cardiac arhythmia disorders. A controversy exists as to the presence of progressive retinal atrophy in the breed. A condition identified as Borzoi Retinopathy is seen in some individuals, usually active dogs, which differs from progressive retinal atrophy in several ways. First, it is unilateral, and rarely seen in animals less than 3 years of age; second, a clear cut pattern of inheritance has not been demonstrated; and finally, most affected individuals do not go blind.


Borzoi require a considerable amount of exercise, including free running in a secure and safe environment.


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Last link added: 12 Mar, 2008