Hound breeds under the American Kennel Club (AKC) fall under two categories – Scent Hound and Sight Hounds. Scent Hounds include dog breeds like the Basset Hound, Bloodhound, and Foxhound. Sight Hounds include dog breeds like the Greyhound, Afghan Hound, and Borzoi.
All sight hounds originated from southwestern Asia. Although the Borzoi dog breed is considered a Russian dog breed, he was probably developed by mixing breeds like the Saluki and Greyhound with Russian sheepdogs and/or Russian Laika dog breeds. Borzoi is derived from the Russian word for ‘fast’. And the Borzoi dog breed is fast – fast enough to outrun wolves. As such, the Borzoi dog breed was often used for hunting (or coursing) wolves. The Borzoi did not kill the wolf; he and one or two of his companions only held him down until the human hunter caught up.
The Borzoi dog breed, also called a Russian Wolfhound, was primarily used by Russian aristocrats. He was used for actual hunting or for organized hunting sport events. Because the Borzoi dog breed was associated with the nobility, he almost became extinct after the Russian Revolution (1860s) where his kind were systematically killed. Thankfully, this noble breed was saved by foreign nobility. He gained popularity in the US by being seen with film’s early celebrities such as Jean Harlow and Jacqueline Gadson. Point of interest, Boris in the Disney movie, Lady and the Tramp, is a Borzoi.
Because of his hunting background, the Borzoi dog breed tends to chase small animals. He may not do well with cats or small dogs. Due to his independent nature he may not get along with other sized dogs either. However, this can be overcome with proper socialization at a young age. The Borzoi dog breed may also not do well with children and he is reserved with strangers. But the Borzoi dog breed is otherwise amiable, moderately playful, and somewhat affectionate. He is generally quiet indoors but energetic outdoors. Although he does not require a lot of exercise, he does need regular walks and a good run once a week.
The Borzoi dog breed is a large dog standing at an average of 26-31 inches tall and weighing 65-105 pounds. This size range is an average – the Borzoi dog breed can be larger. He has a long narrow head and muzzle, his skull somewhat rounded, and he has small folded ears. His coat, which can be any color, is long and silky and can be flat, wavy, or curly. The Borzoi dog breed sheds a lot so he needs to be brushed 2-3 times a week. He has a deep narrow chest. His feet are hare-like, great for running at high speeds. And he has a long tail carried low and slightly curved.
Purebred dogs are more disposed to have genetic health issues. However, the genetic health issues of the Borzoi dog breed are relatively few. Like many big dog breeds with deep chests, the Borzoi dog breed is prone to gastric torsion. Gastric torsion is where the stomach bloats and twists. If left untreated, gastric torsion can lead to death. The Borzoi dog breed is also inclined to have heart problems. A good breeder will have proof that heart tests have been completed.
If you are looking for a generally quiet dog who only needs moderate exercise, the Borzoi dog breed may be for you. Be prepared to keep him well brushed and be sure that he is socialized at a young age so that he gets along well with other pets. Use positive reinforcement methods for training, as the Borzoi dog breed tends to be a little sensitive to harsher training methods. The Borzoi dog breed can be somewhat aloof, but he is overall a very good-natured dog.