The Borzoi is a noble breed with a long history. The breed originated in Russia and was used to hunt wolf, fox and hare. They were associated to the Russian aristocracy and in turn favorites of their relative, the English nobility.
Borzoi are considered a giant breed with an average height at the wither (top of shoulder) of 28” to 32” and an average weight of 60 to 100 pounds. Even though they are large dogs they are graceful animals and with proper training make excellent house dogs. They do require exercise. This can be accomplished by running in a safe, fenced yard and/or by daily walking on a lead. It is NEVER advisable to allow a Borzoi to run loose, especially near busy roads or streets.
They are an intelligent breed but are independent and can be stubborn. Borzoi are affectionate dogs, especially with their own families. Like most dogs, Borzoi adapt well to a daily schedule of adequate feeding and exercise. Some basic obedience training and socialization are recommended. Patience and consistency are the key to realizing their full potential.
Some other questions (and answers) that you might want to consider in making your decision regarding a Borzoi are:
How long do Borzoi live? A dog in good health and given proper care can live to be 9 or 10 years old although many live to be 12 to 14 years old.
Are Borzoi difficult to raise? No, but proper care, exercise, good food and necessary veterinary care and grooming are essential.
How much do Borzoi eat? Borzoi are surprisingly small eaters for a giant breed. Puppies consume more food than adults due to their rapid growth. On the whole, an adult Borzoi will eat about the same amount of food as an adult Shepherd or Setter. The quality of the food is of primary importance. In general, strenuous exercise is not recommended before or after feeding time.
How much do Borzoi shed? All long coated dogs will shed and Borzoi are no exception. Females will shed after a season and males will shed annually. If spayed, females will shed the same as males. Regular grooming every day or so will remove any loose hair and dirt from the coat. Bathing is needed but not as frequently as in some other breeds.
Are Borzoi good with children? When raised with children, most Borzoi are good companions, but they are not a breed that will tolerate the rough treatment that a young child can sometimes inflict. Children should be taught how to properly behave with and handle a Borzoi. Remember the size of the Borzoi. A very small child could be easily injured if accidentally knocked down by a Borzoi. If a child plays roughly with a young dog, the dog sometimes will respond by playing rough with the child. For these reasons, small children should always be supervised when around a Borzoi.
Are Borzoi good with other animals? Yes, if they are raised around these animals. Remember, Borzoi were bred to chase and catch game; any small animal that runs may trigger this response. (This is especially true with cats. Keep in mind that your Borzoi may be just fine with your indoor cat(s) but may change his attitude dramatically outdoors when a cat, even his indoor cat, runs from him.)
How destructive are Borzoi? Borzoi are puppies for a long time so the destructive tendencies of puppyhood are there for a long time in a very large puppy. Training and temperament of the individual Borzoi and its bloodline are factors. Boredom can be the cause for some destructive behavior. Attention and exercise can often help alleviate the problem; however, if the dog is to be left alone for long periods of time, you should consider having a kennel run built outdoors or providing a crate inside for your Borzoi. In fact, most Borzoi grow to love their crate and regard it as their special home, even with the door left open. Crates are humane and take advantage of the dog’s natural den instincts. An ideal size crate for an adult Borzoi is 26” wide by 36” high by 48 “long. A dog secure in a crate must be able to stand, turn around and lie down in an uncramped position.
Are there any special health problems in Borzoi? In general, Borzoi tend to be remarkably healthy dogs. But as with many of the large breeds, including Borzoi, there are some problems that can be found. These include the following, all of which should be discussed with your veterinarian so that you are aware of the symptoms:
Bloat and Torsion. Bloat is a condition where for some reason the stomach swells or fills up with gas, fluid or both. Torsion occurs when the stomach rotates and twists itself closed. IMMEDIATE VETERINARY CARE IS ESSENTIAL FOR THIS CONDITION.
Dysplasia of both the hips and the shoulders can be found in Borzoi, although it is not common.
OCD (Osteochondritis Dissecans) and PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy) are occasionally found in the breed.
Like all of the other sighthounds, Borzoi are more sensitive to anesthesia than other dogs. It’s a good idea to mention this tendency to your veterinarian.
What makes a better companion, a male or a female Borzoi? This is really a question of personal preference. Males are larger than females and in most case have more impressive coat. Gender does not seem to play a large factor with regard to raining, temperament or adaptability.