Borzoi Traits & Facts

Last Updated on November 6, 2022 by Becky Roberts

Quick Summary: The Borzoi, which used to be known as the Russian Wolfhound, is a dog breed that originated in Russia. It is linked to the imperial Romanov dynasty, which dates from 1613 to 1917. They were the most aristocratic and noble pooch, favored by Czars and noble families. n 1936, they were officially recognized as the Borzoi rather than the Russian Wolfhound. Socialization is important in training the Borzoi to become calm and well-balanced dogs. This breed has an average lifespan of 10 to 12 years, which is impressive for their size compared to other large dog breeds.

The beautiful Borzoi is a regal and elegant-looking hound. Many dog lovers love this long-lived pooch for its easygoing, relaxed personality. It’s also true that not all families can provide the lifestyle they require to be happy, healthy, and entertained.

This breed guide outlines the facts about this rare breed. It includes their history, breed purpose (which includes lazing around with Russian Czars and hunting wolves), and their lower-than-expected exercise requirements. We share tips and tricks to keep their locks long and healthy.

This breed guide is essential reading for anyone who wants to welcome the Borzoi to their home. Let’s start with their royal history.

Borzoi

Breed History and Origin

The Borzoi is a Russian dog breed best linked to the imperial Romanov dynasty, which dated from 1613 up until 1917. They were the most aristocratic and noble pooch, who was favored by Czars and other noble families to keep their company.

These dogs are more than just beautiful faces. They are also sighthounds with the stamina and power to reach 40 miles per hour and hunt anything that runs.

Their impressive skills meant that their royal owners used them for hunting wolves and other smaller prey. Their job, it seemed, was to bring meat home for their grand parties and the palaces. You might even hear them called the Russian Wolfhound.

The Russian Revolution saw the death of the Romanov family and other noble families, as well as their four-legged companions. The Borzoi breed almost went extinct due to this.

Borzoi enthusiasts from overseas donated their finest specimens to save the family’s bloodline. In 1903, an American man named Joseph Thomas made three trips to Russia. He also brought back Borzois from the top kennels every time. In the same year, was founded the Borzoi Club of America. In 1936, they were officially recognized as the Borzoi rather than the Russian Wolfhound.

Size and Appearance

They range from 60 to 105 pounds, with males tending to be the heavier of the sexes. Females usually measure a minimum of 26 inches tall, from paw to shoulder. And males measure a minimum of 28 inches, typically ranging from 32 to 34 inches.

They are similar in appearance to Greyhounds due to their long coat. Their head is slightly rounded with a thin, long muzzle. They also have large, fleshy nostrils. Their ears are small, and their necks are thick and muscular. Their long tail is gracefully swept low. Their back is slightly arched, giving them an elegant yet powerful appearance.

Coat and Colors

A Borzoi’s hair should be soft to the touch and can be flat or curly. Their hair is curlier around their neck and shorter around their faces. Their double coat sheds moderately through the year and becomes heavier during shedding seasons.

The long-haired Borzoi should be avoided by anyone looking for a home with fewer hairs. They can be found wearing all the colors in the canine kingdom regarding their coat colors. Black, brindle, and white are the most popular colors.

Grooming Your Borzoi 

Their silky texture is very durable and can hold little dirt. This makes them easy to clean. To prevent matting, their long hair should be brushed once or twice a day. The best brushes for a Borzoi grooming kit are a pin brush and a slicker brush. You might have to brush them daily during the shedding season.

Their narrow and long muzzles indicate that they have tighter teeth than their larger-mouthed counterparts. Brush their teeth at least three times a week to prevent periodontal disease and tooth decay. Use a dog-designed toothpaste, never human toothpaste. You should trim their nails at least once a month as they tend to grow quickly.

Bath them frequently to keep them looking and feeling their best but try not to wash them more often as you risk irritating their skin and disrupting their natural pH levels. Their chances of long hair getting tangled are reduced by using a conditioning dog formula. If you want your adult grooming time to run smoothly, get them used to the beauty routine they have as puppies.

Temperament and Personality Traits

Those who know this breed will cherish them for their calm, friendly nature and affectionate disposition. They are described by the American Kennel Club as “regally dignified” and don’t have the nerve to be silly or fool around. They are still, peaceful, and well-balanced.

They are so laid-back they make terrible watchdogs. They have no interest whatsoever in protecting your home. They are very friendly and will let everyone into their home. They can be shy with strangers, but they are never suspicious.

They aren’t rude, they just don’t know how to help themselves. Because it is in their nature, they will chase anything that gets into their yard, such as other small animals, because they have a high prey drive.

They are loyal and sensitive dogs. The Borzoi is a great choice if you are looking for a dog who sticks to you like glue. This is a wonderful characteristic, but it can also lead to separation anxiety. In fact, many Borzois are affected by separation anxiety.

Exercise Requirements

Borzois is happy to spend most of their day on the couch. They have incredible energy bursts when they get outside to exercise. They need around 45 minutes of exercise a day to stretch their long legs and stay healthy.

Their need to chase other animals is what gives them their explosive energy. As a sighthound with speeds of up to 40 miles per hour, it’s not recommended to let them off-leash in an unconfined area. Keep them on the leash, and let them roam around your yard, in a safe field, or in a dog park. You won’t be able to get them back if you do not.

They require mental stimulation throughout the day but not as much as other breeds. They are simple, with a laid-back nature. This is what Borzoi lovers love about them. To prevent boredom, give them access to a basket of toys for dogs like chew sticks or treat dispensing challenges.

Living Conditions

The Borzoi is a long-haired pooch. However, their calm nature makes them a great choice for apartment living. They can also adapt well to large houses with lots of fields. But wherever they live, their home needs to be secured and escape-proof. This is because they would not hesitate to run up against vehicles in pursuit of their neighbor’s cat.

Their well-balanced nature makes them great siblings for kids of all ages. You should supervise them as you would any other animal. These dogs can also be accommodated with other dogs, provided they aren’t too rowdy. They prefer to take their afternoon nap uninterrupted and don’t have the patience for noisy pups.

If raised alongside a cat, they will probably learn not to chase it. The rules are only applicable indoors. Anything is acceptable to hunt outside of the doors.

These dogs are best suited for dog-only homes. However, every dog is unique.

Training and Socialization

These dogs are as stubborn and intelligent, so training them can be difficult for people who have never had to do it before. Patience and consistency are the keys to training Borzoi. You should start training your Borzoi as soon as they arrive home. Make sure you stick to the rules. This royal dog will not be happy with a rule that says “no dogs on the couch.”

This canine needs gentle and fair training. They will not respond well to training that is too harsh or unfair. Positive reinforcement training is a better option. Sighthounds love to chase things, so most Borzois are motivated by a ball or high-quality squeaky toy to pursue. To keep them interested, keep training sessions short and enjoyable.

Socialization is an important part of training your Borzoi to become the calm, well-balanced canine you know them to be. These sensitive dogs become very shy and lose their confidence without it. Mix them with as many dogs as possible and as many people as possible to create new situations and experiences.

Borzoi puppies can also benefit from crate training. It has been proven to reduce anxiety in already sensitive dogs, and it gives them a place to go for rest and relaxation. You can ensure your big buddy has all the legroom he needs by purchasing an XXL crate. They’ll be able to make it their own home in no time if you start training them early.

Nutrition and Basic Diet

A typical Borzoi eats approximately four to eight cups of food a day. It’s difficult to overfeed this breed, as they are naturally slim and don’t seem too greedy. However, it is important to keep them healthy.

All large dogs should be fed food specifically designed for large breeds, and the Borzoi is no exception. It should be high in calcium and phosphorus, which help to prevent bone loss and maintain bone health. This is especially important during the developmental puppy stage.

The Borzoi is prone to gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV), more commonly known as bloat. Shock and sudden death can be caused by gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV). GDV is more common in larger, deeper-chested breeds. However, we don’t know the exact cause. Feeding them two smaller meals instead of one large one and avoiding exercise immediately before or after mealtime are recommended to decrease the chances of this life-threatening condition.

Health Issues and Lifespan

This breed has an average lifespan of 10 to 12 years, which is impressive for their size compared to other large dog breeds. They are more susceptible to certain health issues than other dog breeds. Responsible breeders will screen their dogs for these health issues.

Eye Conditions

Eyes problems are common in all dog breeds. Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) is the most common condition in the Borzoi. PRA is a retina-degenerative disease that eventually leads to total vision loss. Light sensitivity and bumping into things are the first signs to look for.

Thyroid Concerns

Hypothyroidism is when the body doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone. A low hormone level can cause weight gain, lethargy, and hair loss. It can also lead to behavioral changes. Secondary health issues such as dry eyes, epilepsy, and keratoconjunctivitis sicca can result. Although it cannot be treated, it can be controlled with a daily hormone supplement.

Cardiac Conditions

Large dog breeds can be predisposed to various heart conditions. Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is the most common condition in this breed. DCM is a condition in which the heart becomes weaker, thicker, and more enlarged. This prevents it from pumping blood efficiently around the body. Advanced symptoms include breathing difficulties, coughing, and exercise intolerance. If murmurs or abnormal heart rhythms can be detected, it can usually be diagnosed early in routine health checks.

Anesthesia Sensitivity

Sighthounds can be sensitive to drugs, especially those with lower body fat. Even though most vets know this, it is worth noting in the event your sighthound needs emergency surgery, dental cleaning, or any other procedure that requires sedation.

Degenerative Myelopathy

This is a debilitating spinal cord disease that can lead to paralysis and hind limb numbness. Degenerative Myelopathy is believed to result from a genetic mutation, which is more common in larger dogs.

The Borzoi as Family Pets

In general, this breed is:

  • A large and long dog that can live in all types of homes, be that a small apartment or a large house.
  • Moderately active dogs that require 45 minutes of daily exercise. They love to sleep all day.
  • A sighthound with a high prey drive, so you shouldn’t trust them off-leash in open spaces.
  • When not chasing furry creatures, they are super calm and laid back, making them well-balanced family pets.
  • Very affectionate with their family and love nothing more than to snuggle on the sofa.
  • Intelligent but stubborn, so they need a family with previous dog experience to get the best out of them.
  • Happy to live with children and other dogs, but they prefer calmer siblings over boisterous ones.
  • Sensitive dogs and don’t like to be left alone for too long.

Breeders and Purchase Costs of Borzoi Puppies

If you’re looking for a puppy, you’ll need to find responsible dog breeders. A waiting list should be expected. This is a sign that the breeder is trustworthy. 

The typical fee for a Borzoi puppy from a decent breeder usually falls between $1,800 and $2,500. However, if you’re looking for a dog from an award-winning breeder, you might have to pay more. A Borzoi puppy sold for less than this price indicates that the breeder may not be as responsible as they claim to be.

Being a dog owner isn’t all fun and games; it is a big responsibility that comes with more costs You’ll also need to budget for the cost of purchasing everything your dog needs. This includes beds, bowls and leashes, as well as a fence, ball chasers, and secure fencing.

You’ll also want to plan for annual vet checkups and unexpected medical expenses that pet insurance can help you plan for.

Rescues and Shelters

Not all families can or want to adopt a puppy. Adopting an older dog is often a better choice. Adopting rather than purchasing a pet is often a better option.

Usually, the first step in an adoption process is to visit your local shelters. Talk to staff members who will be able to guide you through the adoption process. If there aren’t any Borzoi in your area, the staff might know of one nearby.

Conclusion

One thing is certain: The Borzoi dog is not your average dog. They are big but very calm. They are elegant and capable of taking down wolves. They are also stubborn, but they can be very laid back. These traits make for a unique breed.

They can be a bit of a guard dog. They are loyal, affectionate, and friendly. They need a loving family who can spend most of their time with them and provide them with a peaceful lifestyle.

If you feel that you have what it takes to give this majestic pooch a home, then what are you waiting for? This cuddly sighthound could be your next best friend!

Becky Roberts

Becky Roberts

One of Becky's favourite things to do every morning is to browse the top pet-related forums, looking for issues and questions that people have. She then shortlists the most common ones, and turns them into blog posts for Fuzzy Rescue. She's had over 4 cats and 2 dogs over the past decade, so she does know a thing or 2 about raising/training, and more importantly, loving them. She's the only one on our team that doesn't like coffee, but it seems to us she really doesn't need more energy :). We're very fortunate to have her on board as she does most of the heavy listing for the site, outputting an insane amount of content each month. Read More

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