The Borzoi, the royal dog of Russia

Feline and mysterious, the Borzois are a race often misunderstood. They were once exclusive to the Russian nobility, but thanks to the passion and struggle of European breeders of the last century, who risked their own lives in the attempt, they survived to the massacre that l supposed them1st Russian Revolution.

Despite its standard was set in the 17th century, there has been very little change in his physical appearance. What has evolved has been the perception of the race, relegating to oblivion their races on the snow in the Russian steppes and earning his well-deserved spot on a soft sofa as a companion dog.


When you investigate the origin of the borzoi, you discover that it is surrounded by a halo of mystery that makes it much more interesting if possible. Experts disagree on the beginnings of the breed and, while some ramble on the possibility of its origin in the crossing of indigenous Russian breeds, most point to Saluki What its most direct predecessor.

The arrival of the Saluki to ancient Russia it might have been thanks to Arab merchants, who walked the silk road, the most important trade route of antiquity that connected China with the most important centers of the known world. To promote adaptation of this race, accustomed to a climate radically opposite to that of the Asian plain, it would have crossed with native breeds, hair harder and dense.

The first historical references they are from the eleventh century, when the French Chronicle recounts the arrival of Anne of Kiev with three copies to the free country, as well as in the frescoes of the Saint Sophia Cathedral from Kiev, in which dogs similar to the current Borzoi with curly hair are distinguished hunting wild boar and deer. In addition, there are historical records of hunts organized by Mongol rulers in the thirteenth centuryin the time of the conqueror Genghis Khan, in which the greyhound was the main hunter.

As you can see, it was not difficult for the greyhound to find a place among the aristocracy Russian as a hunting dog, founding the kennels of the Tsars in 1613, where this breed was the protagonist. Shortly after, in 1650, his first standard was set, in a book dedicated to hunting with Borzoi, which does not differ much from the current one.

With the end of the Napoleonic Wars in the 19th century, eThe borzoi reached its greatest popularity historical. He specialized as a wolf hunting dog, earning the name of Russian wolfhound until 1936, residing in the nobility the exclusive right of ownership and use. The tsarina hunts consisted of hundreds of dogs, in which the Borzois were accompanied by other races, such as hounds, and depending on the kennel from which they came, they were of a certain color. The sighthounds were in charge of chasing the wolf when it was sighted, but they did not kill it, they immobilized it.

In this period they began to interbreed with other races to improve your physical power, up to first borzoi exhibition in Moscow in 1824, after which the breeders and owners they began to take care of the breed, seeking to unite in herself a magnificent hunter with an exhibition winner. Sighthounds they lived in better conditions than the majority of the population Russian of the time and they were considered a very valuable gift It was awarded to people loyal to the Empire and the European Crowns.

The history of the borzoi begins to twist in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with the liberation of the serfs, which caused the disappearance of the great estates and the abandonment of the breeding sites, as well as with the Russian Revolution. The Czars and the nobility were eradicated from the country, but not only they, also everything that was associated with them. The Borzois were slaughtered and only a few survived in Russia. Thanks to the export of the breed to European countries at the end of the previous century, as well as the risky, and often fatal, incursions into the country of European breeders who tried to save specimens, the breed continued to exist in Europe and the United States.

Currently, the Borzoi has relegated its function as a hunting dog to its past, having earned a place in homes as a companion dog, as well as in the dog shows. Despite this, to this day continues to be a misunderstood dog due to its independent nature, which makes it difficult to appreciate his true free spirit that makes him an inimitable race.


The official Borzoi standard was established by the International Cynological Federation in 2006. Classified in group 10 section 1 as sighthounds with long or wavy hair, their physical characteristics are:

  1. Life expectancy: between 7 and 10 years.
  2. Size: big.
  3. Height: between 68 and 85 cm.
  4. Weight: between 25 and 47 kg.
  5. Complexion: slim and robust.
  6. Extremities: slim and muscular.
  7. Eyes: large and almond-shaped, hazelnut or dark brown.
  8. Ears: small and thin, set high above the line of the eye and point backwards when relaxed.
  9. Snout: long, with a large black nose.
  10. Jaws: strong with scissor or pincer bite.
  11. Neck: long, lean, muscular and slightly arched.
  12. Line: long and thin, set low, saber-shaped and with abundant feathers.
  13. Hair: silky and smooth, wavy or forming short curls. On the head, ears and limbs it is satiny and short, while on the rest of the body it is longer and wavy. The coat on the chest is dense and the hairs on the bangs, pants and tail are the longest.
  14. Coat colors: All color combinations are supported, except blue, chocolate brown, or derivatives. The coat can be solid or spotted, always with the bangs, pants and tail hair lighter than the rest. In black tones, the black mask on the face is common.

The borzoi is a genetically dog selected for hunting in very harsh climates, maintaining its speed and resistance despite low temperatures. Its physical characteristics give it great agility, a quality that made it different from other races and made it popular in the wolf hunt, as well as for the protection of houses and livestock against their attacks.


Borzois are defined by their owners as a dogs with a feline character, given its independence and tranquility. Despite this, they are very respectful, kind and loving dogs with the family, but they value having their space, both to rest and to make their own decisions.
It maintains the typical feature of greyhounds, a some coldness with strangers, fueled by the fear of strangers that makes him mistrust them. For this reason, it is important socialize them in their developmental stage with other humans of different ages and in varied circumstances, to try to control his shyness.
Although many consider the Borzoi as a stubborn and unintelligent dog, it is only a misunderstanding of its temperament and its characteristics. The borzoi it is a dog of great intelligence, but, like a good greyhound, it is very sensitive and traditional methods, in which fear is used as an educational tool, intimidate and intimidate them. To fully enjoy the dog's capabilities, gentle techniques should be used where your well-being and confidence prevail.

We must not forget that it is a hunting dog, with a instinct for prey in very marked movementHis vision is very sharp and this makes it risky to release them into open spaces if you are not well mannered. To avoid problems, it is important train the call from puppy and release them in confined spaces if there is no guarantee that they will remain calm in the face of a stimulus that awakens their hunting instincts.



Borzoi can be affected by a series of pathologies more frequent in their racial group:

  1. Gastric dilation.
  2. Stomach twisting.
  3. Hypothyroidism
  4. Primary lymphedema.
  5. Multifocal chorioretinal lesions.
  6. Hemophilia.
  7. Osteosarcoma.
  8. Degenerative myelopathy.
  9. Hypersensitivity to chemical compounds.



The borzoi requires certain care to stay beautiful and healthy, paying attention to their coat, teeth, nails and joints.

So that your hair stays soft and silky it should be combed and washed regularly. Attention must be paid to shedding periods for a healthy coat, especially spring. Brushing his hair more frequently during these periods will allow the removal of dead hair, facilitating its renewal.

The Oral hygiene is important for prevent tartar build-up, which can lead not only to dental diseases, but also to coronary, liver and joint diseases. To avoid this, it is important to accustom him since he is a puppy to the handling involved in oral cleaning.

Should be take care of nails, preventing them from growing too much, which can generate fissures, breaks or plantar deformations. Likewise, you must attend to ears, keeping them clean and grooming them regularly to avoid infection.

Borzoi may have joint problems derived from developmental or genetic problems. Puppies tend to grow very quicklySo some may have joint problems where the cartilage does not adhere properly to the bone. For this reason it is important to control their growth and not force exercise, especially those that are explosive or include sudden joint movements.

As with other dogs, you should periodically go to the vet for vaccination, deworming and health checks. A stable routine of daily walks and feeding should also be maintained, appropriate to its large size.


Are you one of the lucky ones who shares your couch with a Borzoi? Well, don't wait any longer to share your experience with us. Go ahead and leave us a comment telling us your story. We can't wait to meet her!

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