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Borzoi Dog Breed… Everything You Need to Know at a Glance!

Borzoi dog breed

If you’re looking for a BIG dog that will make an impression on just about everyone they meet, then you’ll want to take a closer look at the Borzoi dog breed. Heck, even Borzoi puppies are big!

But be warned…

These magnificent creatures aren’t for everyone; it’s safe to say that they aren’t always the “friendliest” towards strangers or other four-legged critters. This is why, in this article, we wanted to take a moment and discuss some of the pros and cons of owning a Borzoi so that if you are considering purchasing a Borzoi puppy or, better yet, adopting a Borzoi rescue dog, you won’t find yourself regretting your decision six months from now.

So, without further ado, let’s dive right into it.

Borzoi Dog Breed Facts

Country of Origin: Russia

Original Purpose:  Hunting Dog

Height:  26 to 28 inches tall

Weight:  55 to 120 pounds

Life Span: 10 to 13 years

Dog Breed Classification:  Hound

Origin of the Borzoi

The Borzoi is called the Russian Wolfhound, a name given to him by what they were used for rather than what they look like. So, it’s pretty safe to say that this dog is rough and tough, considering it was first used by Russian nobility and aristocrats in the early 17th century to hunt wolves! And while it’s clear why these dogs were bred, what’s not so clear is how they originally came into existence. Some say these dogs were born from the Coursing hounds of Tartary, Russian Bearhounds, and tall sheepdogs called Owtchar.

While others suggest…

The breed was developed by crossing an Arabian Greyhound, and an Asian Sighthound breed called the Hortaya Borzaya with heavy-coated dogs from Russia. In either case, the Borzoi dog breed quickly became a favorite of the Russian aristocracy. But this also meant Borzoi was affected by the political uncertainty in Russia. When the nobles were taken out because of revolutions and uprisings, the Borzois were also targeted since they had become a “symbol” of the decadence of the noble elite!

In fact…

The entire Borzoi bloodline was close to extinction around 1873. At that time, there were only a few remaining Borzois in existence. What helped preserve this dog breed was that these dogs were often given as “gifts” to other world leaders. These gifted Borzois, fortunately, didn’t suffer the same fate as their Russian “cousins.”


The Borzoi dog breed was rescued by members of an Imperial Association organization and brought to the United States in the 1890s. The species was almost immediately recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC), which officially recognized the Borzoi in 1891. The Borzoi was “officially” recognized as the Russian Wolfhound and was only renamed the Borzoi in 1936.

Physical Characteristics

As we’ve said before, the Borzoi is a HUGE dog. A standard Borzoi dog stands 28 inches tall at shoulder height and weighs over 100 pounds. And when you combine these two factors of size and consider that he is a typical hound, you get a huge dog that is strong enough to bring down a WOLF!

But what…

Separates the Borzoi from other hounds is his long and silky coat, which can come in a variety of colors, with white being the most common. For many, the brilliance of the Borzoi coat, combined with the breed’s strength and power, draws owners to the Borzoi.

But new owners should be aware…

The Borzoi coat must be brushed at least twice or thrice a week and can often shed quite a bit, even with consistent maintenance! Another thing that you’re going to notice right away is that the Borzoi dog breed has a small head relative to the rest of the body. And for the “ill-informed,” this small head may make them look a little shy or “non-intimidating,” but as we mentioned before, these dogs were used to hunt wolves, so don’t let the Borzoi’s looks fool you…  they are natural-born hunters!

Personality and Temperament

At its core, the Borzoi is a hunter. His original job was to hunt wolves and hares in the harshest climates, which is why this dog is a warrior even today—a warrior who can take on any challenge. You’ll notice this immediately in your Borzoi puppy if you choose to get one. You see, as soon as your Borzoi can walk, they will start chasing things. And it doesn’t matter what!

It could be…

Your cat, your kid, a passing car! It won’t matter because these dogs aren’t afraid of anything, so in the beginning, if it moves, your Borzoi will want to chase it. The good news is that even though they love to chase things, they are indeed a Gentle Giant. And unlike other small and yappy dog breeds like the Jack Russell Terrier, your Borzoi (once properly trained) is likely to be a tranquil dog that isn’t likely to “show off” despite having every reason to.

When properly trained…

Your Borzoi will likely be very well-mannered and typically very kind and generous with children. That said, because the Borzoi dog breed is such a large animal, we here at IndulgeYourPet always advise those with more minor children to take special care in ensuring that your Borzoi is adequately socialized as a pup. And if we haven’t made this clear already, proper obedience training is necessary for the Borzoi.

Potential Health Concerns

Generally speaking, the Borzoi dog breed is considered one of the “healthier” dog breeds you can find. But even he can suffer from specific hereditary (and other types of) health disorders such as…

The American Kennel Club recommends getting your dogs only from breeders who can provide you with a Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) certification for the Borzoi puppies. The CHIC certification is given only after the dog is tested for heart, thyroid, and eye diseases. It would be best if you also asked the breeder to produce clearances from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) and the Canine Eye Registration Foundation (CERF)


Make sure your Borzoi gets the right dog food, and don’t overindulge him, as obesity can be a severe problem with Borzoi as they are heavy. Lastly, we recommend that anyone considering purchasing a new Borzoi for a pet take a moment and see what it might cost to buy a pet insurance policy for their new family member.

Even in cases…

Like the Borzoi, which happens to be very healthy in general, you see, your Borzoi is likely to live 10 or 12 years, and during that time, you never really know what “kinds” of medical conditions they may suffer from. After all, even healthy animals can suffer from an injury. This is why we recommend that everyone consider what it might cost to purchase a pet insurance policy. Because you never know, it might be worth it to you.

For more information about what pet insurance policies cover and how much they cost, we would encourage you to visit our Best Pet Insurance Companies article.

{ 13 comments… add one }
  • Kaylee B. February 10, 2020, 4:41 pm

    Where can I find a Borzoi in Tennessee?

    • indulgeyourpet February 10, 2020, 7:43 pm


      Our suggestion would be to see if their are any local Borzoi dog clubs in your area (Facebook would be where we would start our search), form there you may want to ask you local shelter and/or veterinarian to see if they may have some leads for you to work with.

      It may be difficult to get your hands on one, but once you do, we’re sure it will be worth it.

      Good luck!


  • amos s October 7, 2020, 3:24 am

    borzoi is a very nice dog indeed i will like to purchase sum,how can i get them in Botswana?

    • indulgeyourpet October 7, 2020, 6:16 pm


      That’s a tough one, and one that as soon as I can retire and become a world traveler I plan on figuring out!

      Best of luck,


  • Dianne M R. October 28, 2020, 4:22 pm

    Do you have a rescue group?

    • indulgeyourpet October 29, 2020, 11:52 am


      Thanks for asking but now we don’t offer a rescue service here at IndulgeYourPet. We will however leave your comment up so that anyone who does can leave a resonse.



  • Carly November 12, 2020, 8:37 am

    Yikes, there are quite a few inaccuracies in here.

    Borzoi are not necessarily quiet dogs, even with “training”–in fact, quite a large portion are known to “sing” and throw tantrums.

    Borzoi are NOT heavy for their stature, and obesity is quite uncommon as they are one of the few breeds known to self-regulate, and most owners can successfully free feed their ‘zoi (note: there are pros and cons to free feeding). It’s incredibly inaccurate to suggest obesity as a specific problem for dogs who are already “heavy as it is”–obesity is detrimental to the health of ALL dogs, regardless of size. It’s not somehow more detrimental to large dogs.

    Borzoi absolutely are NOT prone to hip dysplasia (this is common for much heavier tall breeds and breeds bred to have lower hind legs); they do NOT run the gamut of “large dog health issues”. More problematic for this specific breed are neck and soft-tissue injuries (due to their long growth phase as puppies and long spines), which are generally not life-threatening.

    To say they are “healthiest of all dog breeds” is inaccurate at best and entirely false at worst. There is no “healthiest” dog breed and to suggest such is incredibly misleading.

    100% agree on pet insurance for any breed, regardless of relative health. Especially with large dogs, the cost of vetting is increased, and it can be helpful to be reimbursed some of that vetting cost.

    • Steven February 20, 2023, 3:49 pm

      I think you maybe didn’t read this very carefully….

      They stated that obesity can be a problem, not that the are prone to it, and that IS especially true in a dog with their frame. Obesity can quite literally ruin their legs.

      They stated they are one of the “healthier”, not the “heathiest”.

      They are also correct that borzoi on on the quieter end of the spectrum of dog. No one said they are silent.

      It just seems really bizarre to no really read something correctly and then reply in such a condescending way. Really odd.

  • Anne December 6, 2020, 3:48 pm

    I am moving to Montana and considering a Borzoi. Do these dogs get along well with English setters? There are acres and acres of land that I am moving to. Would these 2 dogs work well together?

    • indulgeyourpet December 7, 2020, 7:26 am


      That’s a tough one to answer because at the end of the day, each dog is going to have his or her own personality. Our advice would be to first ask your local Borzoi breeder for their advice and then if possible try introducing your Setter with a few grown Borzoi and see how he or she reacts.

      Good luck!


  • Malena Moreno December 16, 2020, 9:09 pm

    I would really love to adopt or rescues a dog like this, but are there any is Fresno? When I take my dog to the park, I never see any borzoi at all. Also, will this large dog be gentle toward a small dog I own at the moment?

    • Carly November 12, 2020, 8:41 am

      Rescue Borzoi are hard to come by. There is a national Borzoi rescue in the United States called the National Borzoi Rescue Foundation, but often their available dogs go quite quickly, and I believe preference is made to people who have or have previously had Borzoi or other sighthounds.

      Borzoi CAN be small dog safe, but are hunters and can mistake small dogs and other pets as prey, so it’s dog-specific.

  • PupperDoggo21 December 16, 2021, 5:42 pm

    Your rating system is a little tricky. With maintenance at 3, does that mean high level of maintenance, or is 3 a good rating meaning low maintenance. Likewise, health risks at 1, does that mean FEW health risks, or is one a bad rating meaning MANY health risks?

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