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

Life expectancy :





Temperament :

Calm Hunter

Size :

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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.

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FCI breed nomenclature

FCI Group

Group 10 - Sighthounds


Section 1 : Long-haired or fringed Sighthounds

Physical characteristics of the Borzoï

  • Borzoï
  • Borzoï
  • Borzoï
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    Adult size

    Female : Between 27 and 31 in

    Male : Between 30 and 33 in


    Female : Between 77 and 99 lb

    Male : Between 77 and 99 lb

    Coat colour

    Type of coat

    Eye colour



    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.


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      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.

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      Good-natured, gentle and calm is the Borzoi. The dog is easily entertained but will stop playtime when it feels like it.

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      The Borzoi is generally calm and sedate.  However, it does not take kindly to an invasion of its personal space.

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      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.

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      Hunting was the reason the Borzoi was originally bred; this it would do by sight. This dog retains its prey instinct.

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      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.

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      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

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        Tolerates solitude

        The Borzoi tends to follow its owner from room to room when indoors. It is a dog that does not tolerate solitude.

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        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.

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        This dog does not bark to excess.

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        Tendency to run away

        It is not advisable to let a Borzoi loose unless you are confident of there being no other dogs or small animals in the vicinity, and the area of land on which you stand is securely fenced. If it so wishes, the Borzoi will roam by itself for miles.

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        The Borzoi will destroy furnishings and carpets if stressed.

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        Greedy / Gluttony

        This dog is not known as a glutton.

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        Guard dog

        He doesn't easily trust strangers and this makes him a very good guardian who, by his mere presence, can intimidate and restrain anyone from ill-intentioned.

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        First dog

        The Borzoi is not to be considered as a first dog. Its stubbornness and aloofness can make the owner’s teaching of even the basics (such as house training) challenging.

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          Borzoï in a flat

          A well-fenced garden is an insufficient provision for this dog. Borzois are also not suited to life within a confined space such as that provided in a flat.

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          Need for exercise / Sporty

          This dog needs a reasonable amount of exercise but is not given to long, vigorous walks.

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          Travelling / easy to transport

          A Borzoi will not enjoy travel. Anything that disrupts its routine and carefully planned day will cause the dog to be nervous and silly.


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            Borzoï and cats

            If raised with cats the Borzoi accepts them as part of the family. However, its prey drive may get the better of it.

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            Borzoï and dogs

            Borzois can get nervous around dogs they meet for the first time. Care should be taken at this time, but they generally tolerate other dogs as a whole.

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            Borzoï and children

            On the whole this breed is good with children. However, Borzois can become easily scared by rough play or play that is not on their terms. If pushed too far the dog may exhibit aggression.

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            Borzoï and the elderly

            The Borzoi is not a good choice for people of senior years.



            A KC Registered Borzoi will cost between £380 and £740. You’re also looking at between £150 and £175 per month to care for this dog.


            Brush the Borzoi every day or every other day with a firm bristle brush. Bath the dog only when necessary (you will need someone to help you!).


            Borzois shed a lot throughout the year but shedding reaches its peak in the last few weeks of spring.

            Nutrition of the Borzoï

            Due to the Borzoi’s proneness to a condition known as ‘bloat’ it is advisable to feed the dog little and often throughout the day.

            Health of the Borzoï

            Life expectancy

            8 to 10 years

            Strong / robust

            The Borzoi is a strong and robust breed.

            Withstand heat

            The Borzoi is reasonably tolerant of heat because its coat tends to shed as hotter weather approaches. You must still make sure there is plenty of fresh water on hand for this dog.

            Withstand cold

            Yes. The Borzoi’s coat will thicken as the outdoor temperature cools.

            Tendency to put on weight

            Weight gain is not usually a feature of the Borzoi. However, if a Borzoi is not exercised as regularly as it should be it will become obese.

            Common illnesses

            • Allergies
            • Bloat
            • Cancer 
            • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
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