The Borzoi was originally named the Russian Wolfhound and is still known in some parts of the world by this name. This aristocratic hound is both beautiful, gentle and agile, bred in Russia in the 13th century…
The term “borzoi” is Russian for “sight hound.” He was originally developed to protect his master’s herds from wolves - a function for which he is well-suited by his strong, powerful build, fearless temperament and agile, swift gait. At 32 inches tall, the Borzoi is a formidable hound that has the courage to face off a rampaging wolf or bear. His stunning, attractive appearance should not belie his assertive nature in the field. He is first described in the 1600’s as a hunting hound that was favored by the Russian nobility. The breed was refined by the Grand Duke Nicolai Nicolayevitch. After the Russian revolution and the fall of Czar Nicholas, the breed was largely destroyed by the followers of Vladimir Lenin. European breeders, however, kept the breed alive and soon the Borzoi arrived in America where he became a “fad” dog among celebrities and described as being “the ultimate glamour dog.” Only recently has the Borzoi been returned to his origins as a sighthound of remarkable ability. He was recognized by the AKC in 1890.When the Borzoi was first bred, he hunted in packs that sometimes numbered in the hundreds. He was a swift, tireless hunter as long as he could keep a deer or gazelle within his vision. Despite his long, luxurious, silky coat, the Borzoi is a very muscular and sturdy hound that can pursue his target over miles of rough terrain. Today he is a champion lure coursing dog as well as a devoted animal-assisted therapy dog. He is seldom seen in America except as strictly a companion dog, but he’s much more commonly seen in lure coursing trials where he is very difficult to beat!
In temperament, the Borzoi is quiet, well-mannered and elegant - as befitting of Russian royalty. Outdoors, and in sight of his prey, the Borzoi is very assertive and excitable; he will chase any small animal that runs from him. He is both sensitive and independent. He is gentle with children but tends to be disdainful of other household pets. He’s reserved with strangers but is not a good watch or protection dog. He is moderately affectionate with his family, but his loyalty is unquestioned. He does fairly well in city dwelling, but is cramped in an apartment. As long as he has a large yard he will generally be content. He likes cold climates, protected by his long, flowing coat.
The Borzoi is largely indifferent to training in obedience; he simply cannot be bothered with it. Nor is he seen in agility trials; although he is swift and accurate, he’s bored with the same training repitions over and over. He does not learn quickly and should be avoided by owners whose main concern is obedience training. However, he makes a fine, affectionate family dog in a home that is large enough to accomodate his height of 31 inches. His docile teperament makes him an excellent therapy dog since he loves to be petted and admired.
This sturdy, healthy hound has only the health concerns of gastric tortion and hip dysplasia. His long, flowing coat needs weekly brushing to remove dirt and brambles. Since he is no longer used for tracking and hunting, the Borzoi has excelled as a family dog who likes his comfort. Now a superb companion dog with hgh style and elegance, the Borzoi should still not be dismissed as just another pretty face.
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