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Borzoi

The Russian Sighthound is a gentle, elegant and unique breed. Popular amongst Russian aristocracy and British Royals. Today we’re going to learn all about the Borzoi!

Borzoi Breed Standards:
Kennel Club Member: Yes
Borzoi Lifespan: 9-14 years
Borzoi Exercise: Up to 1 hour
Height: Male 28+ inches Female 26+ inches
Weight: Male 34-38 kilograms Female 27-39 kilograms
Hypoallergenic: No

This breed is a member of the sighthound group. Their name Borzoi translates to ‘swift’ in Russian. A sensitive breed admired for its magnificent appearance, the Borzoi will turn the heads of those passing by.

Despite its slender build, the Borzoi is classed as a giant breed! The Kennel Club lists the breed under Category 2 as having Points of Concern. This is due to the shape of the Borzoi’s jaw and mouth, making them prone to dental issues.

Characteristics

Find out the pros and cons of the Borzoi dog breed below:

Positives:

  • Easy to train
  • Low weight gain potential
  • Calm indoors
  • Tolerant to cold weather

Negatives:

  • Prone to timidness if unsocialized
  • High prey drive
  • Sheds coat heavily
  • Strong wanderlust potential
  • Not suitable for first-time owners
  • Better suited to countrysides as opposed ot the city

The Borzoi is a giant breed with a double coat. The undercoat is soft, thickening in the winter, followed by a straight upper coat with a slight wave. The fur feathers out on the tail and hindquarters. All coat colours are accepted apart from merle.

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Temperament

The Russian Wolfhound is known for its sensitivity. This dog can’t live in a household with lots of conflicts as it will cause them serious distress. Borzois should live in the countryside as opposed to a city.

Graceful and placid, the Borzoi does have a strong wanderlust potential. He isn’t much of a barker but will chase anything that moves. They’re an incredibly smart breed with long memories!

Borzois are aloof of strangers. If they haven’t been socialized correctly they could feel timid and nervous. This canine does have a sense of alertness but isn’t a great watchdog. They shouldn’t respond aggressively towards strangers but that doesn’t mean they want to be touched!

Homes with young children are too loud and overwhelming for the Borzoi. A quiet household with older and more relaxed children is better suited. This canine will be affectionate towards its family but isn’t suited to rough play!

The Borzoi dog isn’t famous for its sociability with other canines. Whilst they shouldn’t be aggressive, they will view smaller dogs as prey. Borzois get along better with dogs their own size and can live with other canines. Cats are a no go zone!

History

The Borzoi dates back to the 17th century and originates from Russia. They were created by crossing Arabian Greyhounds with heavy-coated Russian dogs. Borzois would hunt game such as wolves, foxes, and hare on open ground.

Russian aristocracy would hold extravagant hunting festivals on their estates. Mounted hunters would follow the packs of Borzois. Guests would come from far and wide to be in attendance. After the hunt, a fancy meal is then provided.

A significant amount of money was spent on these festivals. The aristocrats of Russia would keep their packs of Borzois in kennels. After the Russian Revolution and the murder of the Romanov family, the Borzoi quickly went into decline. Borzois were being mass slaughtered.

Luckily, breed enthusiasts outside of Russia kept the Borzoi alive. Previously known as the Russian Wolfhound until 1936, Borzois were introduced into the UK during the 1800s. Their name change was at the centre of huge debate and still isn’t accepted by some!

Queen Victoria was sent her own Borzoi as a gift from the Russian Czar. King Edward VII was also gifted two Borzoi dogs named Molodetz and Oudalzka. His wife, Queen Alexandra exhibited and bred the Borzoi through her personal kennel Notts Kennel.

Exercise & Grooming

A Borzoi will need up to one hour of exercise each day. Although some won’t mind a little longer! Due to its strong prey drive, they must be kept on leads at all times in busy parks, unless in an enclosed space.

The countryside is where the Borzoi is at its happiest. Just acres of open space they can race across! Long hikes where they can explore nature at its finest! A place where they can have a good run and really let loose.

Although this breed is generally placid with somewhat low energy levels they still require mental stimulation. This can be done through exploring and interactive games that get the mind thinking.

To remove dead fur and prevent tangles brush through the coat a few times each week. A pin brush and comb is better suited for their coat. Borzoi shed copious amounts throughout the year but heaviest in spring and autumn.

To keep their coat looking luxurious wash the Borzoi fortnightly. Brush through the coat first before getting it wet as this will increase tangles. Give the ears a clean each week to remove any debris. Trim the nails every ten days to prevent overgrowth. As the Borzoi is prone to dental issues, brush their teeth daily.

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Health

Find out the breed-related health issues of the Borzoi dog breed below:

  • Degenerative Myelopathy: A progressive condition targeting the spinal cord affecting dogs between the ages of 8-14 years. This disease isn’t painful.
  • Gastric Dilatation Volvulus: Commonly seen in large, deep-chested breeds, this condition is life-threatening requiring immediate veterinary attention. The stomach rotates and enlarges, trapping the contents and filling with gasses.
  • Osteocondritis Dissecans: A condition affecting the bone cartilege commonly in the knee. Caused by genetics and low vitamin D.
  • Progressive Retinaly Atrophy: A genetic condition affecting the photoreceptor cells within the eyes. It’ll eventually lead to blindness.
  • Hip Dysplasia: When the ball and socket of the joint don’t fit together they rub and grind against eachother. It’ll cause pain, lameness, and inflammation follwed by arthritis.

Sighthounds, including the Borzoi, are more sensitive to anaesthesia.

Borzoi Training

Borzois may become aggressive if handled roughly. Whilst they’re intelligent and easy to train, Borzois aren’t suitable for first-time owners. Without the correct motivation, this breed will become stubborn.

Obedience isn’t a Borzoi’s strong point. This breed doesn’t like repetition or engaging in commands they feel are pointless! Sometimes even rewards aren’t enough to grab their attention!

Socialization is thoroughly important in preventing timid and shy behaviour. A sensitive breed like the Borzoi can spiral out of control due to anxiety and fear. Introduce them to new people, sounds, sights, and dogs all throughout their lives.

Be patient and consistent. There is no rushing a Borzoi! It’ll just send them into stubborn mode! Keep training sessions short, no longer than 15 minutes. Use a calm tone and praise them often.

Strong-willed and independent this breed will never be 100% obedient! However, despite their independence Borzois are still prone to separation anxiety. At least one person from their household should be home most of the day.

Borzoi Interesting Facts

  • Alfred Knopf Inc. was founded by Alfred Knopf Sr and Blanche Knopf in 1915. The Borzoi is the symbol of this publishing house.
  • Most British Borzoi bloodlines stem from Tasha a female Borzoi. She was born during World War II and was owned by vet Buster Lloyd Jones. He is the founder of Denes Natural Pet Foods.
  • Edward J Smith, Captain of the Titanic was an owner to a Borzoi named Ben. There is a picture of the pair of them on the Titanic. Ben was not onboard the fateful voyage.
  • The UK Kennel Club held its fourth temporary exhibition, The Borzoi in Art in 2004. It featured porcelains, paintings and bronze sculptures of Borzois from the 19th and 20th centuries.
  • Eris is a Borzoi from Virginia with over 88,000 folowers on Instagram. She became famous after a video of her trying to jump a fence went viral. Many believe she is the world’s longest dog but a Great Dane named Zeus holds this title. Eris is believed to have the world’s longest snout however at 12 inches. She’s been dubbed Queen of the Snoot!

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