The Borzoi is a traditional Russian wolfhound, which is a popular breed known for its large size and speed. Borzois are sighthounds that are referred to as “long haired greyhounds” because of their similarities to greyhounds. Borzois are quiet and independent by temperament and very athletic.
History of Borzois
Borzois were earlier believed to be descendants of the Saluki sighthounds brought to Russia Byzantium by Mongol invaders in the 9th century. But recent research done on them proves conclusively that Borzois are in fact descendants of a primal sighthound that originated in Kyrgyzstan, as well as in the lower Kazakhstan part of Altai and the Afghan plains. Indeed, they are said to be descendants of the Afghan hounds as well as the Kyrgyz Taigan.
The modern Borzoi was an import of the Western sighthound breeds, done to add height and weight to the local Russian sighthound, and had coats that were more resistant to the extreme cold in the country.
The Russian Tsars used Borzois as hunting dogs, but the practice was quickly discontinued, at least for a while, following the communist revolution in Russia. Borzois were never exported outside Russia during the communist era, but since more than a few had already been taken to Western Europe and the United States in the 19th century, it was possible for the breed to establish itself there.
The Borzoi Appearance
Borzois are large sighthounds, not dissimilar from central Asian breeds such as the Afghan hound or Saluki, and the Kyrgyz Taigan. They are similar to greyhounds and have long hairs. They can come in any color; have coats that are silky or flat and a bit wavy or curly. The Borzoi coat is quite unique in its texture and in the way it is distributed over the body.
Borzois are quite heavy, weighing as much as 100 pounds or more. They are tall – males stand at a shoulder height of 30 inches and females at 26 inches. Borzois can be described as graceful in appearance, strong and compact, with a streamlined body shape.
The Borzoi Temperament
By temperament, Borzois are very quiet, almost silent and rarely ever bark. They are extremely smart, but do not raise an alarm at the sight of an intruder. They are very respectful of humans, and generally well behaved. Borzois have a gentle disposition and are very sensitive.
Borzois have excellent manners; never display aggression unless handled roughly. Borzois are usually indifferent to strangers, but towards the members of their human families, can be quite friendly and loving. Borzois tend to get nervous with children who they are not used to.
Borzois are very fast and capable of covering great distances in very short time. They are a highly athletic breed.
Borzois are a smart breed, and can be trained well, but get bored too easily with repetitive activities. They have to be motivated well; otherwise they tend to remain stubborn and inattentive.
Borzois can be easily brought up in an urban environment, despite their large size, as long as they are given a large enough space to move around and taken out daily for physical exercise.
Borzois can live with cats in the home as well, as long as they are brought up with them. Sometimes, the natural hunting instincts of the Borzois take over and they start chasing the cats.
The Borzoi Health
The average life expectancy of a Borzoi is around 12 years. Borzois are generally healthy and do not give in easily to disease. The most common health problem faced by Borzoi is gastric torsion, which causes their stomachs to bloat. They may also suffer from certain cardiac problems.
Feeding the Borzoi
Borzois have to be fed 4 to 8 cups of high-quality dry food or dry kibble a day and they have to be given this in two meals. It is important not to force-feed Borzois, especially a Borzoi pup. Borzois are surprisingly sparse eaters for their large size.
Borzois are large dogs and may not be entirely suitable in a household with small children, or toddlers. Since they are so large in size, they could accidently knock over a small child, and being sensitive by nature, may not appreciate a child poking or prodding them. It is best to bring a Borzoi home only if the children are old enough to know how to interact with pets. Any interactions between children and the dog have to be strictly monitored by adults, and the child should never be left unsupervised. Children must be strictly warned not to snatch food being eaten by the Borzoi, pull its tail or to bite it in any way.