Borzois are also known as Russian Wolfhounds and Long-Haired Greyhounds. The name Borzoi translates from the Russian language to “fast or swift”. The Borzoi is a large dog breed who enjoys daily exercise but also relishes relaxing with their owner. The Borzoi’s long silky coat needs to be regularly brushed but he does not have to be bathed frequently. A medium to large dog, this breed is strong yet graceful. The Borzois are members of the Sighthound family originating from Russia. Sighthounds depend on their sight and high-speed sprinting ability during a hunt. The Borzoi was bred for coursing and for hunting wolves, foxes, and rabbits. They would hunt in teams of three and capture the prey together. They later became popular as a companion dog for royalty across Europe.
The Borzoi was named after his ability to be speedy and agile. The Borzoi originated in Russia during the 17th century. The breed was a cross between the Arabian Greyhound and a thick coated Russian Sheepdog breed. The Borzoi was bred by aristocrats as a coursing sighthound and because of this, hunting with Borzoi became the national sport of Russian aristocracy. The first standards for the breed were written in 1650. During the Russian Revolution of 1917 many Borzoi were killed because they were associated with the czars. Queen Victoria of England, the Prince of Wales, and King Edward VII were gifted Borzoi by the Czar of Russia. Queen Alexandra not only had Borzois as her companions, she also bred and exhibited them. In the 1920s through 1940s, the breed was considered a very glamorous dog in America. They were seen with silent movie stars such as Jean Harlow, Hope Hampton, Greta Garbo and Sarah Bernhardt and were popular as Art Deco models. Marilyn Monroe and the artist Picasso also owned Borzois. Additionally, they have been photographed on the front page of Vogue and other fashion magazines. The Borzoi is a member of the AKC Hound group. It is in the Sighthound family of dogs; the name changed from Russian Wolfhound to Borzoi in late 1936.
Similar to the Greyhound, they have long, slender legs, a narrow body, deep chest, curved backs, tucked abdomen and long tail. Borzois have feathering on the tail and hindquarters. The Borzoi has a strong neck and jaw and his skull is slightly domed with an extremely long and narrow face and muzzle. The teeth are strong and have an even or a scissor bite. Their eyes are dark in color and have a soft expression. The Borzoi has a very graceful and elegant appearance yet is agile, strong and very swift. The males are at least 28 inches tall, and females at least 26 inches. Males average 75 to 105 pounds and females 60 to 85 pounds. Their coat is long and somewhat silky, either curly, wavy or straight. They have a thick ruff of curly hair around the neck. Borzoi Puppies tend to have curly coats. Although all colors and patterns are permissible, white with patches is the most common pattern.
The Borzoi is a moderate shedder and requires daily brushing with a hard bristle brush. The dog’s teeth should be brushed several times a week to prevent tartar buildup. Nails should be trimmed monthly and the ears should be cleaned weekly. The breed is not a high-maintenance dog; the Borzoi cleans and takes care of his own grooming, much like cats do. It is important to provide a proper high-quality diet that is specifically formulated for large dog breeds. Because the breed is prone to bloat, it is better to feed them a few small meals throughout the day instead of one large meal. Borzois need regular exercise and enjoy long walks. If the Borzoi is well exercise, he can adapt well to apartment living. Due to the breed’s high prey drive, he should not be walked without a leash. The Borzoi enjoy and are well suited for the cold winter months. Due to little body fat, the Borzoi can be sensitive to certain drugs, especially anesthetics. The drug Xylazine should never be used on a Borzoi.