Last Updated on August 28, 2023 by Fumipets
Graceful Elegance and Speed: The Borzoi Dog
The Borzoi, often referred to as the “Russian Wolfhound,” is a majestic and elegant breed known for its remarkable speed and regal appearance. Originating in Russia, the Borzoi has historically been bred for hunting purposes, primarily chasing down wolves.
Beyond their remarkable athleticism, these dogs have a gentle and affectionate nature, making them cherished companions for those who appreciate their unique combination of grace and strength.
The borzoi, which is pronounced BOR-zoy, is an aristocratic dog both in look and origin. She was developed in Russia as a sprinter for wolf hunting and then turned into a symbol of the Russian nobility. Tall, calm, and loving dogs, borzois thrive when given access to plenty of area for running. Even though they are not very prevalent in the United States, their long, graceful lines and silky coat are immediately identifiable, and in the 1920s and 1930s, Hollywood stars were particularly fond of them.
The breed was known as the “Russian wolfhound” in the English-speaking world up until 1936, when they were renamed the borzoi after the Russian word for “swift.”
A borzoi’s size is the first thing you’ll notice about her; they are not little dogs. Male puppies grow to a height of 28 inches or more and weigh 75 to 105 pounds, whilst females grow to a height of 26 inches or more and weigh 60 to 85 pounds. The streamlined, leggy borzoi was created for tearing across fields at high speeds (35–40 mph).
The borzoi are noted for their exquisite appearances, which are what made them popular with early Hollywood stars as well as luxury advertising. They have silky fur, Roman-nosed features, and delicately curled tails. The breed standard states that borzoi may have any hue or mix of colors and should have a medium-length, silky, flat, or wavy coat (but never a woolly one).
According to Karen Staudt-Cartabona, a borzoi breeder with more than 50 years of expertise, “They call them the aristocrat of dogs.” They are easygoing and very peaceful dogs.
She notes that while borzoi are busy dogs, they aren’t often playful like other dogs. She advises spending time with your dog in the backyard or on a stroll rather than going to the dog park.
While they generally get along with other dogs and are friendly creatures, borzoi may be suspicious of strangers. If they have been properly socialized and reared with feline companions, they may also get along with cats.
Although the Borzoi Club of America (BCA) advises that young children should be taught how to be cautious around dogs since borzoi are so enormous, they may accidentally knock a tiny kid down (and feel extremely horrible about it!). In general, borzoi are gentle with children. Seniors may like having an older, less energetic borzoi as a friend since they don’t exhibit the same jumpy greeting behaviors as some other breeds.
Borzoi are not vocal breeds, therefore their calm disposition applies to their barking as well. In fact, I sometimes get phone calls from individuals who say, “You know, I think there’s something wrong with my borzoi, he never barks.” says Staudt-Cartabona.
Borzoi are renowned for their exquisite appearance, which includes their silky fur, Roman-nosed noses, and delicately curled tails.
The ideal home for a borzoi is one with a large, fenced-in yard since the breed is a running dog. Apartment residents should be committed to giving a borzoi frequent, rigorous exercise. They are great hiking or jogging partners for busy families. However, your borzoi should always be kept on a leash since she is so swift that you probably won’t be able to catch her if she dashes.
According to the BCA, she excels in dog sports and will like getting her feet going in agility courses, dock diving, rally, and nose work. And once she’s exhausted, she makes a quiet, collected housemate. Borzoi are even allegedly couch potatoes that like cuddling and resting their heads on your lap.
Although they were traditionally shielded from the bitter Russian winters by their coats, borzoi can tolerate cold temperatures but struggle in the heat. If you reside in a warm region, try to exercise your dog during the coolest parts of the day, seek indoor dog parks, and provide your dog with opportunities to cool down in water (like a kiddie pool!). You can hold the ice, but she should always have access to air conditioning, shade, and drink to prevent heat exhaustion.
When she’s exhausted, she makes a peaceful, silent housemate. Borzoi are even allegedly couch potatoes that like cuddling and resting their heads on your lap.
A large part of taking care of a borzoi is grooming: The BCA advises giving them periodic baths, clipping their nails, and combing their coat once every couple of days. Regular grooming is also necessary for the hair between their paw pads. Since the borzoi doesn’t have a noticeable canine smell, regular bathing is not necessary.
Borzoi training demands some patience. The borzoi is intelligent, but it’s also independent and determined. They don’t respond to stimuli as well or with the same level of eagerness as, for example, a German shepherd.
They are not jump-through-hoops dogs, according to Staudt-Cartabona. I often describe them as having a cat-like demeanor. It’s important to use tactful persuasion, encouraging feedback, and patience.
Because borzoi may be a bit reserved with strangers, it’s crucial to socialize your puppy early on so she can develop into a self-assured, outgoing dog. One approach to make sure your dog is socialized even before she arrives at your house is to get a borzoi puppy from a reputable breeder.
For their size, borzoi have a lengthy life span (9–14 years) and are generally healthy canines. Although they don’t have many health issues, there are a few things borzoi parents should be aware of, according to the BCA.
The borzoi may develop stomach dilatation volvulus, sometimes known as bloat, due to its size and deep chest. In this potentially fatal medical situation, the dog’s stomach twists and fills with air, cutting off blood supply. Dog owners should familiarize themselves with the signs of bloat and be ready to take their dogs to the clinic right away if they appear. Additionally, it’s crucial to discuss preventative strategies with your veterinarian.
Rarely can members of the breed exhibit hip and shoulder dysplasia, hereditary disorders that result in partial dislocation of the joints. Although there is no cure, there are a number of therapy alternatives if they do start to exhibit symptoms.
In the beginning, wolves, foxes, boars, hares, and other animals were hunted by borzoi (yes, really!). According to the American Kennel Club, the breed was produced and preserved by Russian nobility and aristocracy beginning in the 15th century. However, everything changed in the 1860s when Russia’s feudal system was overthrown and serfdom was abolished. The large estates that had held borzoi kennels were separated and sold at this time. The number of borzoi decreased since the aristocracy were no longer able to afford such luxury.
However, the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, which saw the dogs slaughtered in great numbers as emblems of the monarch and the old aristocratic guard, was what almost brought the breed to extinction. In Moscow, according to Staudt-Cartabona, there were less than 10 borzoi remained after the revolution.
Fortunately, the borzoi had already been introduced to England and the U.S., where they were known as the “Russian wolfhound” until 1936, when the term “borzoi” was formally adopted. Russian breeders contacted Staudt-Cartabona in the 1990s. She was able to aid in the reestablishment of the breed in Russia since she had been breeding borzoi for many years with a direct ancestry to ancient Russian stock.
Q&A: Borzoi Dog
1. What is a Borzoi dog?
The Borzoi dog, also known as the Russian Wolfhound, is a breed originating in Russia. It’s renowned for its tall, elegant stature, impressive speed, and distinctive appearance, often resembling a refined and noble hound.
2. What was the original purpose of the Borzoi breed?
Borzoi dogs were initially bred for hunting, particularly for chasing down and coursing wolves in Russia. Their incredible speed and agility made them valuable assets in this pursuit.
3. What is the temperament of a Borzoi?
Borzoi dogs are typically gentle, calm, and dignified in temperament. Despite their hunting origins, they have a mild disposition and can be affectionate and loyal to their families. They may be reserved around strangers but are known for forming strong bonds with their owners.
4. How do you care for a Borzoi’s coat?
The Borzoi’s coat is long, silky, and fine, which requires regular grooming to prevent tangles and keep it in good condition. Weekly brushing can help maintain the coat’s health, and occasional baths are necessary to keep the dog clean and odor-free.
5. Do Borzoi dogs get along well with other pets?
Borzoi dogs typically have a strong prey drive due to their hunting background, so careful socialization is important. They can coexist peacefully with other pets if introduced properly from a young age, but caution should be exercised around smaller animals due to their innate chase instinct.