Borzoi FCI Standard
• glamorous and elegant appearance
• fabulous hunter
• gets along with other dogs (except for small breeds)
• rather low grooming requirements
• won’t do well in a family with small kids
• demanding in relation of physical activity;
• poor guard- and watchdog;
• can’t be trusted around other non-canine pets
Hunting with the Russkaya Psovaya Borzaya was the favourite entertainment of Russian aristocracy until the release of serfs in 1861. At that time the breeding of this dog was performed at an unprecedented level with thousands of huge rural estates dedicated to its training and promoting. Hunting expeditions usually included hundreds of Borzois, supplementary foxhound packs, hunters on horsebacks and so called «beaters» whose job was to scare away the quarry, commonly a wolf. The dogs would chase the wolf and the riders would follow them until they cornered the beast. Then hunters would descend from their horses, immobilize the wolf and either finish it off or release it. The name «Psovaya» stems from the Russian word «psovina», which purports «wavy silky wool»; and the name «Borzoi» – from the Russian ancient word «borzii» or «borzoi» which purports «quick».
The first Borzoi was brought to the Britain in 1842 in the form of a present to Princess Alexandra. The breed was introduced to general public at the first Crufts World Dog Show in 1891. It became known in the United States in 1889 when several dogs were imported by some breed’s enthusiast from England. In 90s of XIX century Joseph B. Thomas of Valley Farm Kennels and a few other breeders travelled directly to Russia in order to acquire specimens of the Borzoi, which eventually helped to establish strong American bloodlines of this breed. In 1891 it attained recognition of the American Kennel Club (AKC) under the name Russian Wolfhound, and it was renamed to the Borzoi in 1936. In modern days the Russkaya Psovaya Borzaya is largely treated as a charming, elegant and loving companion animal although this dog is still fully capable of performing its hunting duties.
The Borzoi treats unfamiliar people as potential friends although some initial aloofness and shyness are fairly common for this breed. Timely socialisation is a key to raising a well-behaved dog, which will easily adapt to various new situations. The affable nature of this dog means that it will make a lousy watcher. It’s also ill-suited for the role of a guardian since it has rather weak protective instinct.
The Russkaya Psovaya Borzaya used to operate in concert with dozens of other dogs so it would prefer to co-exist with several canines. It’s also relatively good with strange dogs and rarely becomes an instigator of a conflict. Be mindful that this dog is an avid chaser and therefore poses serious threat for all small animals (including small dogs). Commonly it gets on with those pets with which it has been raised since its puppyhood.
• gastric torsion;
• canine hip dysplasia;
• cervical vertebral malformation («wobbler» syndrome);
• eye problems;
• osteochondritis dissecans (OCD).
The Russkaya Psovaya Borzaya is a tidy dog whose hair easily repels dirt so it requires rare bathing. Systematic ear cleaning and teeth brushing will prevent bad bacteria from accumulating in the dog’s ears and the tartar from building up on its teeth. The master should also trim the dog’s nails every two months.
Remember that this dog isn’t amenable to harsh discipline and must be motivated with praise and its favourite food. The breed isn’t able to concentrate long enough on a dull, repetitive task so make sure to make lessons as entertaining as possible. The Borzoi needs early socialisation in order to behave mannerly in the presence of new people and in unfamiliar situations.
Although the Borzoi is rather calm and relaxed indoors it doesn’t fit well for a city dweller. Large suburban house with roomy adjacent yard is an ideal living condition for the Russkaya Psovaya Borzaya. Be mindful that an under exercised specimen will most likely grow up into nervous, hyper active and unpredictably aggressive creature.