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!
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.
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!
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…
- Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (Bloat)
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy
- Hip Dysplasia
- Tricuspid Valve Dysplasia
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.