Other names: Barzoï, Russian wolfhound, Russian hunting sighthound
The word ‘borzoi’ is an old Russia word meaning ‘fast’; it was only by description of a dog’s abilities that Russian breeders used to name their breeds. Today, the Borzoi defines a breed of large and handsome domestic dog. The Borzoi has more or less the same shape as a Greyhound and is a member of the sighthound group.
Key facts about the Borzoï
Origins and history
It was the Russian nobility that first identified a need for a large dog that was expert at chasing and cornering game. A cross of an Arabian Greyhound and a Russian sheepdog is thought to have begun the Borzoi lineage. During the late 1800s Borzois were introduced into the UK; they have never enjoyed immense popularity.
FCI breed nomenclature
Group 10 - Sighthounds
Section 1 : Long-haired or fringed Sighthounds
Physical characteristics of the Borzoï
Female : Between 27 and 31 in
Male : Between 30 and 33 in
Female : Between 77 and 99 lb
Male : Between 77 and 99 lb
The Borzoi is seen of many colours but tends not to be seen of brown. The colours of the Borzoi are either solid or pied. A black ‘mask’ is typical of this breed.
Type of coat
Silky, flat and wavy: the topcoat is long and flat; the undercoat is soft and silky.
Dark brown, dark hazel
A dog of majestic proportions is the Borzoi. For those who admire the lines of the Greyhound, this dog has abundant attractions. The dog is muscular but not bulky and is graced with a mane and ample feathering of its tail and hindquarters. The Borzoi has an elegant gait.
Good to know
The Borzoi grows up very fast in its first two years. Over-feeding a Borzoi puppy or feeding it supplemental proteins can cause the dog to become unhealthy and weak in later life.
Despite its hunting heritage, the Borzoi does not have an overly aggressive tilt. It is a sensitive dog that is easily offended by harshness and rough handling.
Good-natured, gentle and calm is the Borzoi. The dog is easily entertained but will stop playtime when it feels like it.
The Borzoi is generally calm and sedate. However, it does not take kindly to an invasion of its personal space.
A fairly intelligent dog but not known as one of the brainiest of canines. In tests of intelligence using obedience markers the dog responded to commands less than 25% of the time.
Hunting was the reason the Borzoi was originally bred; this it would do by sight. This dog retains its prey instinct.
Fearful / wary of strangers
The Borzoi tends to be wary and shy of new people and takes some time to warm to a visitor in its home.
The Borzoi is quite independent. With some effort of training it can become obedient but on the whole it is very much its own dog: it has a tendency to ‘go on strike’ if repeatedly told to do something it does not want to do.
Behaviour of the Borzoï
The Borzoi tends to follow its owner from room to room when indoors. It is a dog that does not tolerate solitude.
Easy to train / obedience
The Borzoi is quite difficult to train and is not overly motivated by treats. If it has the inclination the dog simply refuses to do what it is told. Couple this with the dog’s inability to retain information and an owner is faced with a challenge.
This dog does not bark to excess.