The Borzoi is a dog breed developed in Russia and their history can be traced back to 15th or 16th century and it is closely related to the previous Mongol invasion. Mongols typically used sighthounds of Arabic type called Koutsi. Those dogs were crossbred with Russian hunting dog called Loshaya. Loshaya dogs were not sighthounds, but they were extremel strong and it is said that they were able to kill an adult elk. The result of this cross, was the beginning of the Borzoi breed. Later these dogs were also crossed with some other breeds, most likely with Russian laika, Hortaya or Tazi
The Borzoi was beloved dog of Russian aristocracy who used them for coursing. Additionally, hunting with borzoi became a favourite sport of Russian royalty. But because of that, after the Russian communist revolution in 1917, everything what was associated with royalty became unpopular and the Borzoi popularity declined. But the breed survived and today it is part of the Russian cultural heritage.
Today, majority of Borzois are companion dogs, but they still have their amazing hunting skills. They are known as Russian Wolfhound and indeed, these dogs were used to hunt running game such as wolves, but also hare or foxes in open ground, where they use their high speed, endurance, strength and agility to defeat the prey. Borzoi love running and chasing and because of that, they are perfect adepts for a dog sport called lure coursing.
The Borzoi is a typical sighthounds with extremely good eyes. Their eyes are frontally placed on the head, giving them a 270-degree field of sight, which is why they have amazingly wide field of vision. And not only that their eyes serves the purpose great, they also look great. The Borzoi have pretty large, almond shaped brown eyes.
The Borzoi is not extremely heavy, actually it is quite slim and athletic breed and their weight is typically between 25-48 kg, which is 55-105 pounds. On the other hand, they are very very tall. They are definitely giant dog breeds and their height is between 68-85 cm, which is 27-33 inches. The females are normally little bit smaller than males.
6) Famous dogs
The Borzoi became very popular in the western world during the 20th century, especially in the USA. They were part of many silent movies with actors such as Jean Harlow or Hope Hampton, they were subject of many arts and often times they appeared in the front pages of magazines. They also had famous owners, for example Picasso or Marilyn Monroe.
One of the breeds hallmark, next to their large body, is their coat. They have long and silky coat and the long top-coat is quite flat, with varying degrees of waviness or curling. This is doublecoated dog and the thick doublecoat is helping the Borzoi to live in very cold areas. You can find this breed in almost any color and color combination.
Borzois tend to be very loyal and devoted and they tend to be great companions. Becauce of their hunting heritage, they are not the best fit for families with other household pets, or they need to be extensively socialized with them from their puppyhood. They are known to be very smart, quiet, sensitive and calm. On the other hand, they are also pretty independent, so they are not total pushovers to train. Because of that, their independent and sensitive nature, they need patient and firm, but not harsh trainer. If you will provide them with enough exercise, the Borzoi is extremely good indoor pet, which is calm and quiet.
The Borzoi is a dog bred for hunt. They are driven by their sight and nose and when they will see something they will consider as a prey in the distance, they will most likely try to chase it. That is why you should only leave these dogs off leash in fenced or well known areas. When they start the hunt, it is almost impossible to recall them.
The Borzoi is usually a healthy dog breed with average lifespan around 10 or 11 years, which is pretty good for dog of this size. Most giant dog breeds suffer from hip dysplasia and other joint and bones problems, but these are not that common in Borzoi. The most common health issues, due to the Borzoi deep chest, is bloating. They also suffer from cardiomyopathy.