The Borzoi is a native of Russia. The appearance is elegant, tall and rather like that of a Greyhound with a silky longer coat. The original ancestor is most likely the dog known centuries ago as the Steppe Greyhound and the Borzoi retains many of the characteristics of this “sight hound”. Russian nobility cherished this breed for its qualities of perseverance and endurance on the hunt. The Borzoi is a breed that would give chase, surround and worry the wolf until it could be brought down by the hunter.
The breed in the United States has become a favorite in the sport of Lure Coursing. Of course it is also well known as an exotic looking breed in the Conformation ring, being a member of the Hound Group. In fact it retains the hound instinct and is being used more and more in the western states as a natural coyote hunter.
The Borzoi can have a coat of many colors, there are no specific restrictions. The coat should be thick and luxurious except for the face and the fronts of the legs which should be smooth. This is a breed that should have the appearance of refined elegance and its manner and movement should be graceful and balanced. The ears are fold over and the muzzle should have a distinct “Roman nose” appearance. The dog is tall (26 to 28 inches at the withers) and should have a very deep chest. Loins should have a distinctive arch, so that the dog can run with great speed and length of stride at a gallop.
This ability is of course necessary because of the original function to hunt and bring to bay the wolves of ancient Russia. Furthermore this type of build allows for easy flexibility for quick turns. Form should follow function and in this case, regardless of the picture of beauty that this dog presents, it should be a dog which is able to carry out its original purpose. The total picture of this exotic looking breed should be that of aristocratic elegance coupled with especially graceful and free-flowing movement.
The Borzoi is not often considered as a pet. One can often see the Borzoi pictured in magazine photos as a hound walking with a fabulously dressed lady…but in truth it is not a dog for the inexperienced owner. It does have a streak of independence, as do most hounds. Many hound breeds were bred originally to run with a pack and therefore do not have the typical temperament of working breeds that functioned with humans as their pack leader.
The Borzoi should be trained early or he will be aloof and will not regard his owner as his Master. Furthermore they have the strongly rooted instinct to give chase and should be kept confined when outside. Free exercise in a fenced in enclosure is preferable to daily walks, as this dog needs a great deal of exercise . He will not be satisfactory as a pet in an apartment situation.