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all about the borzoi (russian hound)

Updated on April 23, 2013


A cross-breed of Arabian greyhounds and a thick-coated, Russian breed, the Borzoi has been bred by the Russian aristocracy for many generations. This big graceful hunter has been bred to near perfection for one job: chasing. They were bred to hunt wolves, foxes and rabbits across open plains in Russia. Many times hunters would use over 100 dogs at once to hunt. Through1936, the Borzoi was called the Russian Wolfhound in America. Their long legs, and slender frame make long distance chases come naturally to the breed. They are sight hounds, which simply means they hunt by sight instead of scent. Today they are a popular pet throughout the world. Their distinguishing long flowing hair, and long body have endeared them in the hearts of many dog lovers.


As mentioned above, their long, sleek frame is noticeable right away. Their flowing hair is straight and wispy. They've been described as a long-haired greyhound. Their undercoat is a bit more curly and designed to keep them warm in harsh winters. It will shed in the summer months. Male Borzoi regularly weigh in excess of 100 lbs. A typical male stands 30 inches at the shoulder, while females come in around 26 inches. Despite their massive size, they are very graceful and athletic. These hunting machines were bred for long chases and big game. In their earliest form, they were capable of killing wolves. This isn't possible without some real strength and determination. This is not a small dog. They have size and strength. Today's breed isn't as large as their predecessors, but are still a formidable dog.


One peculiar trait the Borzoi has become known for is their almost complete silence. They very rarely bark. They have a quiet presence that almost insinuates they know their strength is seen and doesn't need to be heard. They are quite loving to their owners and reserved around strangers. They do have a tendency to protect their private space, often feeling invaded if too much attention is given them. This of course makes it difficult to judge how well they may do with small children. Like most breeds, however, they do well with kids that are taught how to handle dogs. They also get along well with other pets, as long as they are introduced as puppies. Remember, they were bred to chase small prey. Their nature is to hunt anything running from them.

As far as obedience, Borzoi have a hard time being trained. Some argue this is a lack of intelligence, while others insist they simply get bored with repetitive and seemingly pointless commands. Whatever the case, they are difficult to train and often do not heed commands. For this reason they rank very low on many dog breed intelligence lists.


Unlike many large breeds, the borzoi lead a fairly healthy life that lasts typically 10-12+ years. they have been known to be vigorous not only in youth, but well into maturity. Diet and activity play a major role in the breed's overall health. For decades the borzoi had very few health issues overall. Throughout the past few decades poor nutrition and smaller play areas have deteriorated the health of many dogs. It's crucial that the dog has a good diet and variety of exercises for the first few years while it is experiencing huge growth spurts. Growing a few inches every few months takes its toll on a body, and the Borzoi will require good nutrition and exercise.

right breed for me?

Though a large dog, the Borzoi makes a great pet. They are not clumsy, so indoor living is an option. They do need daily exercise, but tend to chase anything that moves (leashes and fences are a must). They are quite loving and undemanding as pets. Their loyalty to owners is quite powerful and their presence as a protector is silent, but capable. their beautiful coats require regular brushing and washing to maintain. Size is something to consider. large dogs need lots of food, and leave big droppings. The amount of hair they'll be shedding is also quite overwhelming. However, they do live a long healthy life for such a large breed and offer lots of love for the right owners.


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    • Suhail and my dog profile image

      Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent 4 years ago from Mississauga, ON

      I liked the way you have presented the information. From sight hounds group I really like borzoi, saluki, and Afghans, but won't be able to keep anyone of them, because of my penchant for long distance hiking, during which I need dogs to carry their own backpacks and be protective as well.

      Found the article interesting, informative and voted up.

    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

      These are indeed beautiful creatures! I have seen them, but did not know the breed name, so I learned a bit here. Great hub! Voted up!!!