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The Borzoi was bred by the Russian aristocracy possibly as early as the thirteenth century to hunt wolves, thus the name it was originally known as: Russian Wolfhound. The breed was introduced into England when they were presented as gifts to the British monarchy in the mid 1800s. The first Russian Wolfhounds were imported into the United States in the 1880s. In the 1936, they came to be called Borzoi, which in Russian means swift and agile.
The Borzoi is a sight hound that, on one hand, is a very tough hunting dog but on the other hand, a very graceful, dignified animal. He is very affectionate to his family and enjoys playing with adults and children alike. A large dog, he needs plenty of room and exercise. Today, he is often seen in lure coursing trials where his grace in motion thrills the spectators
The Borzoi head is long, tapered and distinctly wedge-shaped. The eyes are almond shaped and dark in color. The ears are small and fine, lying back on the neck. The body is long and narrow with a deep chest and arching back at the loin. The legs are long, muscular and powerful. This enables the Borzoi to move with a ground-covering stride.The coat is long and silky. It may be flat, curly or wavy and any color but often has a white base. The tail is long, profusely feathered and carried low gracefully curved. The minimum height of the males is 28 inches while the female is 26 inches.
Name withheld by request of Pennsylvania writes:
A special dog.
A Borzoi is a deep dog. They are deeply sensitive, intelligent, perceptive, loving, and loyal. There are certain dogs in most any breed that have those outstanding qualities, but almost all Borzoi have them.
A Borzoi is a big dog, with males often 33 inches or more at the shoulder, and females smaller. They are especially beautiful and aristocratic. They frequently appear in ads, in opera productions, and in plays. People ooh and ahh over them, so don't walk one in public when you're in a hurry.
Borzoi are clean dogs who are easy to housebreak. Just highly praising them when they do it outside is all they need. Their coats are easy to keep with just a once a week brushing, and a twice per year bath, keeps them in good condition. Unless they spend ample time on concrete, their toenails should be trimmed at least twice a month. The Dremmel electric grinder, with #408 sanding wheel, makes keeping their nails simple. They shed all of the time, and, usually twice a year, their copious undercoat comes out by the handful. Dog hair is 100 percent protein.
A Borzoi needs to be trained with gentleness. They resent harshness. The best book on training a Borzoi is Patricia Gail Burnham's, "Play Training Your Dog."
Borzoi are sighthounds, and very fast, and they can strike without warning. Therefore, the owner needs to firmly establish leadership so there is never any danger from the Borzoi. Their fantastic speed also necessitates a fenced yard. Unfenced, they will, sooner or later, see a squirrel across the street, and take off after it, getting hit by a car as they cross the street. They will not even see the car, because they are zeroed in on the squirrel. They are strong enough to jerk their leash right out of their owner's hand.
Besides showing a Borzoi in Breed classes and in obedience classes, an owner can enjoy their dog participating in open field coursing, in a few western states, lure coursing throughout the country, and oval track, as well as straight, racing. Experienced dog owners are awed by their first Borzoi. They are very special.
FlWhippetMom@aol.com of Tampa, FL writes:
Beautiful and very unique.
While I think this is a five-star breed, my fantasy dog is not for every household. The Borzoi is large, intelligent, clownish, goofy, playful, affectionate, and bonds strongly to his special person. They are not the appropriate pet for the average busy family. They require special considerations due to their strong instincts and impressive size. Truly a magnificent canine, the Borzoi is a prince among dogs.
Zoes@aa.net of Seattle, WA writes on 1/5/00:
Intelligent and independent.
1) "Elegant". Bah. Borzoi are gooberhead clowns to the core, do not be deceived by their racing-car exterior. They are dogs, not statuary! That is just fur and shape. Borzoi have an intricate, understated, detailed sense of humour, especially physical humour, and love to tell jokes. More than anything they love to have their humour appreciated. They are also fans of bald slapstick, and contortionism.
2) "Giant". Well, yes they are. However Borzoi are absolutely placid indoor dogs, they do not pace or fret in the house (well if you do not include the 'Mom's Home! Celebratory House Races' that they perform every evening). For this reason their large height, and sometimes mass, is not as intrusive in the house as with many large dogs. They are happy to lie around and watch TV or read with you for hours, or all day. An adult borzoi is perfectly suited to an apartment, so long as it gets good long walks during the day.
3) "Standoffish". Borzoi adore, crave, deeply desire your attention affection and adoration. Many of them do not require this from strangers, which is where the reputation comes from. (There are also certain individuals in certain kennel lines that are rather afraid of people, who dislike being away from their pack. These individuals should be watched for as they do not make as good pets.) Outside of the home, the Borzoi switches into busy hunter mode, always scanning the environment in the hopes of sighting something to chase down and kill. He or she cannot always be troubled to socialize when so otherwise engaged.
However for this reason, Borzoi cannot EVER be allowed off-leash where there is any road or traffic nearby. Even the best obedience-trained dog cannot be called off of the chase of a squirrel or a bird; they actually cannot hear you when they are prey-focused and in pursuit. They can reach 35mph in two strides, can maintain that speed for several miles, and will be killed instantly long before they can learn to avoid cars. They are simply too fast.
4) "Dumb". I have trained Borzoi to all levels of obedience, hunting and racing. Of course there is much individual variation between different kennel lines, but do not confuse a lack of intelligence with being intensely opinionated. Borzoi have a very strong innate sense of themselves, and form their own opinions about everything. This means that they need to be convinced of something, will not believe it is a good idea just because you say so. You can't train a Borzoi without real confidence that the training you are engaged in is worth doing. If you can speak to their intelligence, and not simply try to manipulate them like circus seals, you will be shocked at what they can do and learn.
5) "Passive and gentle". Male Borzoi occasionally maim and injure people. This is quite rare, but it does happen, and usually for this reason: A male Borzoi, typically under 3 years old, is given too much freedom in the house in terms of his place in the social hierarchy. A person in his house, frequently a smaller woman whom he feels beneath his status, does something he feels impugns his superior status in the house. He decides to put her in her place.
Borzoi are pack dogs and they are absolutely lightning fast, very tall and can easily reach the face of even a tall person. When a borzoi disciplines another within its pack hierarchy, he or she does so by snapping and slashing at them while making a loud roaring noise. If the object of discipline is another borzoi, it of course is equally fast and can almost always get out of the way with minimal damage. A person cannot, and may have their face bitten rather badly.
Again I emphasize that this rarely ever, ever happens. However you must not mistake the generally placid nature of Borzoi for submissiveness; they are not submissive. They are intelligent and low-key, but never forget that they were bred to live, hunt and work as a tightly organized pack, and will always look for pack-dynamics in their household first. (For this reason, Borzoi must never be trained in protection work or Schutzhund, they are not suited for it.) As charming and delightful and intelligent as a Borzoi is, he or she is very much a pack-oriented hunting machine, and not a pretty toy.
That being said, Borzoi make exquisitely intelligent companions. If raised with small children, small dogs or cats, they can be extraordinarily gentle, delicate and careful dogs, often finding the difference in their relative sizes to be a really delightfully funny joke which they are happy to appreciate over and over again. They are easily bored, and learn very fast, so training must be tailored to their abilities. They are profound conversationalists, and good travelers if started young. To my mind they are the most perfect of companions.
email@example.com of Arkansas writes on 10/10/99:
Unique beauty, quiet, clean and so awesome to watch running!
I like the love the looks of a Collie, yet I love the gait of the Greyhound. When you see them on the streets, you turn your head. They are not just pretty and aristocate dogs, they are so easy to contend with. They are rather tall dogs that don't eat any more than a medium sized dog, learn house breaking rather easily, are quiet, clean and oder-free and have a personality that no other dog breed posesses. They love their owners but don't drive them nuts for attention & are good with other dogs and children. They love to run and when you see it, it is so awesome, you thought you just seen a deer. They are about the best mannered giant breed dog at many dog shows that I have visited and I have owned one as well. They can be very comical, yet not so over-bearing to the point that it gets on you nerves. They aren't great watch dogs, but due to their size, they ward off strangers. Because of their silky coat, mud and dirt doesn't stick to it and they are rather easy to groom. Yes they do shed, but it's a lot easier to pick up after than a cat. I love to have an animal that is so unique in looks as well as temperment. They are simply a class of their own. Not cheap to purchase, but well worth the price and rarely have medical problems since they are not over-bred. Yes they are big dogs, but can curl up in a small ball and are not the ones to get under-foot. When I have had dozens of people to want to visit not because of me, but to see my dog ... that tells you something. Awesome in nature and a site to behold!
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