The Borzoi (literally “fast”), also called the Russian wolfhound, is a breed of domestic dog. Descended from dogs brought to Russia from central Asian countries, it is similar in shape to a greyhound, and is also a member of the sighthound family.
The Borzoi was bred for hundreds of years by Russian nobility. They were developed by crossing the Arabian Greyhound with other longer haired Russian sheepdogs. The dogs were called Russian Wolfhounds in America up until 1936 when the name was changed to “Borzoi,” coming from the Russian word ”borzii,” which means swift. Fierce on the hunt, this sighthound was used for hundreds of years to hunt wolves, fox and hare in the open planes of Russia. As the breed became more popular it was used more and more as a companion dog and its temperament became more docile. The Borzoi was recognized by the AKC in 1891. The Borzoi’s talents include hunting, sighting and lure coursing.
With his tall, lean body, long, narrow head, and silky coat, the Borzoi is the picture of refinement and elegance. Borzois carry themselves proudly, and it’s easy to envision them lounging in the palaces of Russian Tsars or swiftly running down a wolf in the Russian countryside. But before you bring a Borzoi to your palace, you need to decide if a Borzoi is right for you.
Prized for their grace as well as their sweet dispositions, Borzoi are known for their speed, juxtaposed with a laidback personality. They prefer a quick sprint to long-distance running and are then satisfied to return indoors to relax on a favorite sofa. They’re not what you’d call a high-energy dog. If you want to spend the day in bed or on the sofa, your Borzoi will be happy to spend it there with you.
The Borzoi can be too large for a household with small children, especially toddlers. They’re giant dogs and can easily knock over a child by accident. Nor are they especially tolerant of toddlers poking and prodding them. They’re best suited to homes with older children who understand how to interact with dogs.
When properly socialised as puppies, Borzois can live amicably with other pets in your household. It is important to remember, however, that the Borzoi was bred to chase running game, and that care should be taken with cats and other small animals when in the back yard or out walking.
The ideal owner of this breed is someone who regularly takes their dog for long walks, but is happy to have a couch potato at home!