The Borzoi, formerly known as the Russian Wolfhound, is a large sighthound that originated in ancient Russia. They were bred to hunt game over open terrain, which requires strength, endurance, courage and intelligence. They are large, fast, powerful dogs, with females standing 26 inches or taller at the shoulder and weighing 60-90 pounds. Males are larger, standing 28 inches or taller at the shoulder and weighing 75-105 pounds or more. They have a long, silky coat that can range from straight to wavy to curly and can come in any color or combination of colors, from pure black to pure white, spotted, sable or brindle. Borzoi are beautiful and elegant, can run like the wind, and are very devoted to the people they love.
Because Borzoi are hunting dogs, they are bred to be independent and think for themselves rather than for obedience. This tendency makes training them different than average dogs. Borzoi do not do well with long training sessions, or with repeating the same action or behavior over and over. Often they will do something as long as they feel like it, but once they become bored they will refuse to cooperate. Shorter, more frequent training sessions with a lot of rewards are more effective for most sighthounds. Rough or aggressive training methods can cause them to shut down or react=2 0badly, and should not be used. Consistent rules and short, positive training sessions yield the best results.
Exercise is very important for Borzoi, for both their mental state and physical development. A brisk leash walk for 2-3 miles per day, in addition to running in a large fenced area 2-3 times per week, are recommended for them. Play sessions with another dog are also good. Because they are sighthounds, Borzoi should not be allowed to run loose, but should always be on a leash when they’re outside a fenced or enclosed area. Their instinct to chase is very strong and they can run for miles before they stop. As long as Borzoi get adequate exercise they are very calm, quiet indoor companions. Borzoi who don’t get enough exercise can develop undesirable behaviors, such as chewing, digging, barking or escaping. Since sighthounds typically don’t bark very much, Borzoi do not make the best guard dogs.
Socialization is extremely important for Borzoi, especially if they will be around other dogs or household pets. Borzoi are bred to hunt and kill small game, so they need to be taught that cats, small dogs and other household pets are not prey. They can be socialized to live with cats that they know, but generally see strange cats or animals as fair game and may kill them. Socialization with animals and people is most effective when started young and continued throughout the dog’s life. Borzoi also need socialization with strangers and especially children, as the breed tends to be aloof with people they don’t know. Children can be disturbing to many dogs, so they should never be left unsupervised with a Borzoi.
With proper training, Borzoi can make very loving, loyal companions, but they are not for everyone. You can find the Borzoi standard and read more about the breed at
www.borzoiclubofamerica.org. If you are interested in a Borzoi, please consult a reputable breeder.
For more Borzoi information
Borzoi Club of America
If you would like to talk with a local Borzoii owner, contact