The borzoi is an elegant-looking wolfhound bred to hunt wolves, foxes, and hares in Russia during the nineteenth century. It was believed that the borzoi was developed from the Arabian greyhound and Russian sheepdog. The breed has a close resemblance to the Afghan hound, saluki, and the Kyrgyz Taigan. The borzoi is a large dogs weighing 55–105 pounds and standing 68–85 centimetres at the withers. The borzoi is fiercely loyal and will protect the family with its life.
Are you looking for a borzoi as a pet dog? Here is a brief background of this loyal aristocratic dog.
The borzoi is a Russian wolfhound that dates back to the seventeenth century. This dog breed is from the sighthound family and was bred to hunt wolves, hares, and foxes. Its origin is unclear, but early reports suggest that a Russian duke imported Arabian greyhounds after travelling to Arabia. These greyhounds were not strong enough to survive Russia's winter, so they were crossed with Russian sheepdogs used by the Tatars back in the day.
The borzoi became a popular breed not because of its hunting skills but due to its exotic looks and docile nature. The breed was given as gifts to European royals by the czars of Russia. In 1918, the borzoi was close to extinction as the breed was also slaughtered together with the aristocracy during the Russian Revolution. Most borzois that survived were those given as gifts to royals in other countries such as Queen Victoria and Alexandra, Princess of Wales, or those that have been imported by borzoi enthusiasts.
Today, the borzoi has become a favourite companion and family pet because of its elegant looks and remarkably calm nature.
Appearance and Grooming
The borzoi is an elegant, graceful, and athletic dog with a long head, a dome-shaped skull, and an indiscernible stop. This sighthound also has very powerful and deep jaws with a perfect scissor bite and a large nicely-rounded black nose highlighting its aristocratic look. The borzoi is a large dog that weighs 55–105 pounds and stand 68–85 centimetres at the withers. It has a narrow but deep chest and ribs with a deep brisket. Its breastbone is emphasised with its abdomen tucked.
The borzoi has a long, silky double coat that is flat, wavy, or curly and comes in a variety of colours and patterns in the canine rainbow. Distinctive of this breed is the curly hair or frill around the neck and thick feathering on its hindquarters and tail. Because of the hairs' silky texture, it is resistant to dirt, thus it is easy to groom. Just brush your borzoi's coat once a week with a pin brush and remove mats behind the ears and between the hind legs to keep it clean. Like most dogs with long coats, the borzoi sheds heavily during spring and autumn, so make sure to visit a professional groomer at regular intervals.
Don't forget to brush your borzoi's teeth regularly, at least twice or thrice a week to remove tartar and avoid dental problems. Nails must be trimmed twice a month to prevent overgrowth, which can be painful and uncomfortable if left untrimmed. Most importantly, check its ears and clean them when necessary to avoid moisture build-up that may potentially lead to infection.
Temperament and Intelligence
What makes the borzoi a favourite breed in the household is its very placid nature that matches its sophisticated look. However, don't let its looks fool you as it is not ideal for first-time owners. Despite its calm nature, the borzoi is not the easiest breed to train or manage. Being a sighthound, its hunting instincts and independent temperament may make it a bit stubborn. The borzoi is sensitive and does not respond well to harsh training, so it is ideal for a person or a family with experience in training hounds.
Along with its extremely calm disposition, the borzoi can be aloof or clownish depending on its mood. It is easy-going and can be friendly toward strangers, but it is sensitive when it comes to its personal space. Being a large athletic dog, the borzoi needs a big space that is entirely secure to roam around. It needs an enormous amount of mental and physical stimulation. Thus, a house with a fenced backyard or back garden is appropriate for the breed. Also, remember to never leave the borzoi out without a lead or it will escape.
The borzoi is genetically wired to hunt or chase little games, and that may include cats, small dogs, and other small animals. Unless these pets grew up together with the borzoi, it is not recommended to have them in one room. As for children, the borzoi is an extremely gentle dog and can get on well with children of all ages. Most large dogs do not engage in rough play, so any interaction must be supervised to avoid accidents. Due to its large size, the borzoi is not ideal for families with very young children.
Nutrition and Feeding
A typical serving for an adult borzoi is four to eight cups of high-quality dry dog food per day, divided into two meals. Always take note that feeding amounts will vary on the size, activity level, age, build, and metabolism of a dog.
Typical calorie needs of an adult borzoi per day:
- Senior and less active: up to 2,850 calories daily
- Typical adult: up to 3,210 calories daily
- Physically active: up to 3,570 calories daily
The borzoi is prone to bloat, so make sure you avoid free-feeding or leaving out food all day. It is vital that you measure the amount of food properly and stick to a feeding schedule. The best diet to serve for the borzoi breed includes fresh chicken, beef, turkey, fish, or venison. When it comes to processed food, make sure to check the labels, and you choose premium brands for large dogs.
Health and Exercise
The borzoi has an average life expectancy of ten to twelve years. It is a healthy dog when properly cared for, but it can also suffer from hereditary or acquired health problems. These health problems include gastric bloat or gastric dilatation-volvulus, progressive retinal atrophy, and osteochondritis dissecans. All dogs require regular check-ups, so make sure to take your borzoi to an experienced veterinarian so you can be aware of such ailments.
The borzoi is a highly-energetic dog, so it needs to be given ample time to run around or do some exercises. Take your borzoi on long walks or let it romp within a securely fenced area for at least two hours.
Cost of Ownership
Borzoi puppies cost around £500 to £800. Prepare to pay more for a well-bred pedigree Borzoi from a KC-registered breeder. Because there is a limited number of Borzoi puppies being sold, expect to be put on a waiting list. In 2015, there were only 120 puppies registered with the Kennel Club and not all of them were for sale.
On top of the purchase price, you have to spend around £200 for dog supplies and equipment (e.g. leash, collar, beds, bowls, and toys). Premium-quality dog food will cost you £60 to £80 a month, considering the Borzoi is a large dog.
Veterinary consultations including regular health checks, initial vaccinations, boosters, and preventive care will set you back at least £1,000 a year.
Are you sure the Borzoi is the best breed for you? Take the Pet Breed Selector Quiz to find your perfect breed match.
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