Borzoi Breed: Everything You Need to Know

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Borzoi BreedThe Borzoi is a beautiful breed of dog that can be a wonderful family member since they’re so well-mannered and are always gentle around young children. But because they’re so rarely found outside of their native Russia, not many people know about these canines. In this article, we discuss everything you need to know about the Borzoi breed and why they’re so beloved that the Borzoi Club of America was formed in their honor. 

What is the Borzoi Breed? 

Also known as the Russian Wolfhound, the Borzoi is a member of the hound group and is a noble and ancient type of canine that exudes agility and strength through its slender and long body. Borzoi dogs possess keen awareness and large expressive eyes that help them stay alert and ready for action. While Borzois aren’t the most playful dogs, they do love going out for a long walk or a run around the block. 

Moreover, these purebred dogs are relatively easy to train compared to other breeds but they will need moderate grooming. They’re mostly considered low maintenance, so they can be a good choice for new pet parents!       

History of the Borzoi 

Hailing from Russia, this large breed dog was popular with Russian nobility for centuries and was created by mixing the Arabian Greyhound with other thick-coated Russian breeds. The first standard for this breed was established in 1650, and they have remained practically unchanged since. Unfortunately, these elegant dogs faced extinction after the Russian Revolution as a result of their ties to the Russian aristocracy.

At the peak of their popularity, these dogs were once the favorite pets of Queen Alexandra and her husband, Edward VII, who was the Prince of Wales. The name Borzoi was derived from the masculine singular form of an old Russian adjective that can be translated as “fast”. In 1891, these dogs were officially recognized as a breed by the American Kennel Club, and are known for their elegance, speed, and athleticism. 

Borzoi Appearance

An adult Borzoi typically stands tall at 28 inches or more by the shoulder, while mature females will usually be slightly smaller at 26 inches or taller. When it comes to their weight, these large breeds will weigh between 75 to 105 pounds while females will weigh around 60 to 85 pounds. These dogs are characterized by their narrow and long head and a body that’s slightly longer than its height. 

Despite their large size, they have long front legs and a curvy silhouette that gives them unparalleled elegance. While some people may underestimate their slender appearance, they are robust dogs that carry plenty of stamina and strength which serve their purpose as hunters. The Borzoi boasts a long and silky coat that can be lightly curly, wavy, or straight but is never wooly or harsh which not only enhances their regal appearance but also protects them from elements. 

Borzoi Temperament 

The Borzoi comes with such a gentle and calm demeanor that it can switch from clownish to a more serious attitude when needed. These gorgeous dogs have the innate ability to be sensible and quiet in every situation they’re in, but they also have unique needs. They prefer not to be left alone for too long or they could develop separation anxiety — in general, the Borzoi is trusting but will be aloof with strangers. 

While they are intelligent, they won’t be the easiest to train because of their occasional stubbornness and independent nature. It’s also good to remember that these dogs are influenced by their heredity, socialization, and training, so be sure to give them plenty of attention as they grow. Signing them up for classes and exposing them to as many different environments as possible will help them become well-adjusted and well-rounded.   

Borzoi Care

The best way to keep your dog in good condition is to learn everything there is to know about taking care of these stunning canines. 

Nutrition

When feeding your Borzoi puppy, make sure to provide it with a diet rich in nutrients, proteins, and healthy fats to help support their rapid growth. Look for high-quality puppy food that’s specifically formulated for large breeds which should contain everything it needs to grow strong and healthy. However, as puppies transition over to adulthood, their dietary requirements will also change. 

As dog owners, it’s up to us to ensure that our pups are eating a well-balanced diet that caters to their nutritional needs. However, the exact amount to feed these dogs should be based on factors such as their activity level, metabolism, age, and overall health. In general, the average Borzoi will consume around 3 to 4 cups of good quality dry dog food every day, which should be divided into two smaller meals rather than one large meal. 

Keep in mind that overfeeding your dog can lead to weight gain and even obesity while underfeeding your pup can also have negative effects such as a lack of nutrition.  

Grooming

Thanks to its long coat, the Borzoi can stay protected against the cold weather but maintaining their flowing coats is an important part of their daily care. Despite their hair’s volume and length, they’re actually easy to groom; regular brushing should be done a few times each week to prevent matting and tangles. You can use a long-toothed comb or a pin brush to effectively distribute natural oils and detangle their coat, making sure that it stays healthy and glossy. 

Bathing your Borzoi frequently won’t be necessary, due to its coat texture which debris and dirt won’t easily stick to — most of the time, a simple brushing is enough to keep their coat pristine. But when they get too dirty and a bath is required, you can get the best results using a gentle dog shampoo and then a conditioner to maintain their coat’s silkiness. As part of their grooming routine, you’ll need to check and clean their ears to prevent infections. 

Moreover, long nails will need to be filed down or trimmed to stop them from growing too long which can give them discomfort and affect the way they walk. Finally, good oral hygiene and brushing their teeth often along with giving them dental chews can establish fresh death and good dental health. 

Exercise

The athletic and elegant build of the Borzoi effectively displays their prowess as swift hunters — these sighthounds originally gave chase to small animals throughout open terrain. They possess the perfect blend of speed and endurance, along with high energy levels, so it’s important that you recognize and address their exercise needs. Providing them with a big and securely fenced area where they can run is a must for these dogs. 

Apart from giving them daily playtime in the backyard, they will also need daily walks. While these dogs are often mistaken as lazy since they will always seek out comfy places to lie down, Borzois will need consistent activities to keep them happy and healthy. These dogs can also be playful; they will enjoy interactive games such as tug-of-war or fetch; however, their interest won’t last as long as other play-driven breeds.    

Training

When it comes to training a Borzoi, you’ll get a first-hand experience of the breed’s regal bearing and hunting instincts. Their background as sighthounds has given these dogs an independent streak, which can be mistaken as aloofness or stubbornness. However, using the right approach can make training these dogs a rewarding experience. 

Despite their willfulness, the Borzoi is an intelligent breed that will also be eager to please their owners, especially when their training is rich in positive reinforcement. Make sure to give them praise and treats, and gently correct them to get the best results when training them. Because they can be sensitive dogs, harshly correcting them can lead to mistrust and may make them shut down. 

Another thing to look out for is this breed’s high prey drive and instinctual behavior to chase after small animals that catch their attention. When this happens, they may ignore even the most familiar commands their owners give them. As such, it’s important to start training them at a young age and to practice with them often — it’s just as essential to provide them with a safe environment to roam without a leash to prevent potential accidents. 

Borzoi Health Problems

Generally, Borzois are healthy dogs with robust bodies, which are able to withstand the harsh conditions found in their native homeland. Their active nature and lean physique allow this hound to be lively and agile, even when they reach their senior years. On average, these dogs have a life expectancy of 9 to 14 years, and with proper care, a loving environment, a balanced diet, and regular vet visits, they can live a long and healthy life. 

However, the Borzoi, like any breed, can be prone to a range of health conditions inherited from their parents. It’s worth noting that many of these conditions can be minimized through responsible breeding. Below are some of the most common health concerns that Borzois may experience. 

  • Osteosarcoma: This kind of bone cancer is more prevalent in bigger dogs such as the Borzoi.
  • Cardiomyopathy: This is a condition that affects muscles of the heart which makes it harder for this organ to pump blood properly.
  • Hip Dysplasia: One of the most common joint problems in large breeds, it refers to the malformation of the hip joints, which can lead to arthritis. 
  • Gastric Torsion (Bloat): Is a potentially fatal condition where the stomach can fill with gas, which then twists on itself. Because of the Borzoi’s deep chest, it’s important to use an appropriate feeding routine to decrease their risk for bloat. 
  • Neuropathy: This neurological condition can be seen in some Borzois, which affects their ability to move. 
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): Refers to a degenerative eye disease that may lead to blindness; regular eye exams can help detect this condition early. 

Keeping an eye on your Borzoi’s health and going on regular vet check-ups can help detect signs of these health issues before they become too big to handle. 

Living with a Borzoi

Sharing your home with one of these dogs will take some adjusting and understanding of their unique characteristics which is the key to harmoniously coexisting with these dogs. Luckily, these dogs can adapt to various environments, including apartment living but it’s vital that they get enough space to move around. One of the great things about living with these dogs is their gentle and calm nature, which is why people often describe them as “cat-like” with their mannerisms. 

While these dogs will enjoy being part of the family, they’re not overly demanding of attention, unlike other breeds. They may appear aloof at times, but these dogs can be deeply bonded with their humans and will appreciate a consistent environment where a routine is set. Disruptions or changes in their daily lives can unsettle them at times, so it’s best to do gradual introductions to new situations.      

Finding Your Borzoi

Before you go off to look for Borzoi puppies, make sure to look for ones in need of a new home such as those inside a rescue group; you can look for Borzoi kennels if there are any around your area. Other places include shelters, where you might find a Borzoi crossbreed if you’re open to dogs that aren’t purebred. In the United States, you can visit the National Borzoi Rescue Foundation (NBRF), an organization focused on rescuing abandoned or surrendered Borzois. 

With a network of foster homes, veterinary professionals, and volunteers, NBRF ensures that these dogs get the care they need so that they’ll be ready for a forever home. If you’re unable to find the right dog for inside these breed-specific organizations, you can also try looking up breed rescue groups and local shelters that may have a few of these dogs.

Purchasing a Borzoi

If you decide to purchase one of these dogs, the first step to do is to find a responsible breeder. A young dog will need proper care, training, and socialization before it’s ready to go home with its new family. A good breeder will prepare them and ensure they have a healthy start, helping to socialize their pups, and screening them for health problems. 

A Borzoi can range in price between $1,500–$5,000 depending on its breeder, lineage, and location, so be sure to take this into consideration before committing to buying one. 

Conclusion

Finding the right puppy won’t be easy but if you’re determined to get one of these dogs home, there are a few places you can look into. If money is no problem for you, the next thing to consider is this breed’s needs, which include regular exercise and grooming, to keep them happy and healthy during their time with you. These beautiful dogs deserve a life of happy memories and adventures where they can share a home with you.

 

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