Borzoi Breeders, Breed Clubs and Rescue
The tall and elegant Borzoi was bred to hunt wolves in Russia and the earliest examples in the UK were gifts from Tsar Nicholas to the then Princess Alexandra at the beginning of the 20thC. Their Borzoi, also known as the Russian Wolfhound, developed from sighthounds imported from Arabia in the 17thC being crossed with native breeds; sighthounds were unable to cope with the severe Russian winters so they were bred with local coated hounds to produce the forerunners of the present hound.
Since that time, until the Russian Revolution of 1917 they were used to hunt wolves by the Russian aristocracy. Their supreme elegance and gentle temperaments made them great favourites in the Russian Court and many were given to crowned heads throughout Europe. The minimum height for the Borzoi is 68cm for bitches and 74cm for dogs with weight at up to 105lbs. All colours are permissible and the coat is long on the body with heavy feathering on the legs and tail.
Borzois were first seen in this country in the middle of the nineteenth century. It is likely that the first were a pair presented to Queen Victoria by the Tsar. The Prince of Wales (later Edward VII) was also given a pair, Molodetz and Oudalska, and Queen Alexandra took a great interest in the Borzoi. Alex, one of her gifts from the Tsar, was particularly well known. The first Borzoi was shown in Britain in 1863; this was Sultan, owned by the Duchess of Manchester. About 1890 the Duke and Duchess of Newcastle became involved with the breed and they became the joint presidents of the Borzoi Club, which was founded in 1892.
The overall impression the Borzoi presents is of a long, lean and refined hound with a curved topline. A sighthound, he requires a well-fenced garden and a good deal of care when being exercised off the lead, certainly well away from livestock and roads. He displays great self-containment and is not a breed that relishes friendly overtures from strangers. Even amongst the sighthounds he is clearly indifferent to those he does not know.
The Borzoi is perfectly well able to share in family life, but he is not a dog to play games in the garden with the children; he has too great a sense of his own dignity for that. His considerable independence makes him difficult to train, though a degree of co-operation is achievable.
As a very lean dog he does not tolerate anaesthesia well, and needs comfortable bedding to avoid developing pressure points on his elbows and brisket. The coat requires considerable attention to prevent it matting. A thorough weekly groom plus regular bathing to remove dust will keep him looking smart, but the coat can form into tangles surprisingly quickly. Conditioning or detangling sprays used when brushing will prevent tugging at any small knots.
The Borzoi is not a breed for everyone, but for his enthusiasts he is a glorious and rewarding member of the household.
- Ryazan Essex
- Jamarqui Herts
Rescue and Rehoming
In the unfortunate event you need to re-home your dog, or you are looking to give a home to an older dog, contact the Breed Clubs for their assistance. It is always wise to speak to people who are expert in the breed so you can get the best possible help.