The Russian Borzoi
(Russian Wolfhound)

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(Russian Wolfhound)
Weight: Male 75 — 100 lbs
Weight: Female: 60 — 90 ;bs
Height:Male: 28” — 30”
Height Female: 26 — 28”
AKC Rank 2008 #92
Lifespan: 10—12 yrs
Group Hound

Dog Breed Info - The Borzoi

This is one handsome looking breed!
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Breed Overview

Origin: Russia, Middle ages. Original function: Coursing wolves/ Today, Lure coursing.

In Russian, the name “Borzoi” means “fast” or “swift” and that’s what these dogs are, very fast. They will chase after anything that’s loose with no regard for where they are going to end up. The breed was bred by Russian aristocracy for hundreds of years to chase rabbits for sport in the 13th century. Much later, and as these were scent hounds, hunts became a popular sport for the idle nobility. For one such gala event, over 100 Borzoi would take part in a hunt. Beaters And scent hounds initially trailed the wolf on horseback. When the wolf was sighted, a trio of hounds was unleashed. The dogs would force the wolf down and hold it until the hunters could catch up and bind the wolf, only then to set the wolf free again. The breed was originally known as Russian Wolfhound and was often used as gifts to visiting royalty.. In the 1800’s, the Russian Grand Duke Nicholas formed a club to expand and promote the breed. In the late 1800’s, the first of these dogs arrived in the United States. In 1936 the name Russian Wolfhound was changed to Russian Borzoi.

The Borzoi, resting in a full harness.


The Borzoi is intelligent but does not train quickly. The dog has an independent streak. She needs a kind but masterful force to get the message across. She’s sensitive so clicker training with positive reinforcement is almost a necessity. This method works so well on difficult dogs and is so easy to do, and dogs respond to well to the system there's no reason not to use it.

Crate Training

Want to crate train your Borzoi puppy? It's easy and if you're interested, take a look and you'll see what to do. Crate training your puppy will save many headaches and problems.

Potty Training

Some Borzoi puppies can be time-consuming to house train, potty train, toilet train, housebreak or whatever you want to call it. If you have a puppy, decide if you want to crate or paper potty train it. For the best results, we have a page at Crate vs Paper Potty Training which will help you decide and from there you can get all the information you need to get the job done. Always praise the pup profusely when she goes potty in the RIGHT PLACE so she knows she has done a good thing. Either method will work for this breed.

If you have an older dog, take the dog outside every two hours until she gets the idea which door leads to her potty area. Older dogs catch on to the potty or housebreaking pretty fast once they are shown what to do.

Borzoi Profile - Beautiful Head View?
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This is a loyal sighthound that is quick and fast in the field, chasing anything that moves. Around the house, she’s quiet and devoted to her family but is not the best when it comes to children. They tolerate kids to an extent, but are not very playful. She seldom barks and is not a watchdog or guardian. The Borzoi needs lots of socialization as a very young puppy. They can be timid and sensitive and need all the help they can get. This dog must be kept on leash, as it will chase anything that moves.

If you happen to get a Borzoi with separation anxiety problem, that can be dealt with by investing a few hours of work on your part and some "tough love."


Friendly Toward Other Dogs

Fairly good. Not really aggressive. Will pick and choose her dog friends.

Friendly Toward Other Pets

Maybe if raised with them. This breed should not be trusted with small animals like hamsters or rabbits or even cats. Good ideas to check with the breeder, kennel staff or other source where you are getting the dog, as each dog is a little different.

Friendly Toward Strangers

Wary of strangers. Is sometimes shy and may keep her distance until she gets to know the new people.


Moderately playful. Fetch would be a favorite. This is not a dog who rolls over for tummy rubs and kisses.


Moderately affectionate. Give her 5 bars out of 10.

Good with children?

Not the best choice for children. They are somewhat tolerant with older kids, but are not playful enough to suit most kids interests.

Good with Seniors over 65?

Maybe. If the senior is into heavy walking, or better, jogging for health, and can drive a car to the vet, the Borzoi might be a good companion. She would be playful and affectionate enough for a senior and give him a reason to get out and walk.

If longevity or training are issues, find a Borzoi rescue group and get a dog 2 or 3 years old that is house trained and knows a few commands. That saves headaches for seniors.

Living environment

Apartment, condo, house, farm okay as long as she gets her outdoor exercise each day. This breed needs a soft bed, not a hard floor, to sleep on.

A big yard would be nice for this dog to play fetch and chase after a ball for exercise.


Energy level


Exercise needs, daily

Moderate. One or two long walks OR a chance to jog will do it. If you’re into jogging, it's a perfect match. Just a long enough leash.


No, not inclined to bark.

Guard dog

Not the best. Not very aggressive.


Yes, a lot!


Brush with a medium or stiff bristle brush or metal comb. Brush and comb the heavy coat 3 times a week, more during shedding to remove dead hair.



Suggested Reading - The Borzoi

  • Comprehensive Owners Guide to the Borzoi. Hardcover edition. Very good rating.

  • 2nd book from the left is "50 Games To Play With Your Dog."This collection of games is easy to teach and play. They make good entertainment and exercise, even for a big dog like the Borzoi. It's even better if you have children.

  • Book on the right is by the American National Red Cross and deals with dog health, emergencies and injuries. It's a valuable reference manual for all dog owners. Vol 2, 2008, includes a DVD.

Borzoi Breeders

In the event you decide to go looking for Borzoi puppies, be SURE to find reputable breeders that really know what they are doing. Be sure the puppy has been VERY well socialized and started in obedience training.
Borzoi Breeders with puppies for sale.

Borzoi Rescue

In the event you are seriously considering the adoption of an older dog and are looking for a Borzoi Rescue group or groups in your state, here are several links that might help:
Petfinder - Borzoi Rescue - (Nationwide) As I wriote this, Petfinder is listing only 22 dogs available for adoption fur the entire country! That number is subject to change, of course. If you do find one to adopt, try to locate any dog health records for possible future reference.
Adopt A Pet This is an interesting site but you may want to surf the web for Borzoi Rescue groups, shelters or kennels.

Dog Health Issues For The Borzoi
Below are the dog illness / illnesses or medical problems listed for the breed by various vets

This is basically a healthy breed. Don’t let the list below scare you! Your own dog will probably never have ANY of these problems. These are dog illness and medical problems this breed is prone to that have been listed by various veterinarians at different times over the past decade or so and some pertain to puppies and very young dogs that a breeder would deal with.

The information contained herein has been gathered from numerous books by veterinarians and is intended as general information only. Every dog and situation is different. You must see your vet. Our information is for general interest only and not intended to replace the advice provided by your own veterinarian.

  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy—An inherited, untreatable disease of the retina affecting both eyes causing blindness. It’s in the genes of the dog and is not painful. Starts with night blindness and progresses as the retina gradually deteriorates.

  • Gastric Torsion—Sometimes called Dog Bloat or “Twisted stomach.” Mainly in larger, deep-cheated dogs. Here's a brief description of the problem:
    Symptoms include excessive drooling, nervous pacing, agitation, weakness, attempt to vomit, bulging stomach area, heavy breathing, retching and gagging, shock or total collapse.

  • Cervical Vertebral Instability—A narrowing of the cervical vertebrae, also known as Wobblers Syndrome and found in large dogs linked to heredity and possibly nutrition. The Borzoi will have trouble standing, as the rear legs will be affected first with lack of coordination. Then the front legs will weaken, spread a bit and the dog’s walk will be “wobbly.” The disease is noticed at about 3 to 5 years of age in the Dobie,. Treatment comes by medicine and as a last resort for severe cases, specialized surgery.

  • Cardiomyopathy—Disease of the heart muscle causing the heart to enlarge and not function properly. Cause is unknown. Older, bigger dogs , 4 to 10 years are usually affected. The prognosis is generally about 6 months to 2 years for a dog with this form of heart failure and only a matter of weeks for some severe cases.

  • Hypertrophic osteodystrophy—Orthopedic bone disease in large dogs, 2 to 6 months old. Very painful and possibly caused by poor nutrition. There will be pain and swelling in the affected legs. Look for lameness or a desire not to move at all, and loss of appetite plus a high fever may also occur. Medication, bed rest and a special diet are usually given. The disease can be fatal. See your vet immediately.

  • Cataracts—Hazy or cloudy vision similar to humans and can cause blindness if not treated.

  • Hypothyroidism—An underactive thyroid gland produces too little thyroid hormone which reduces the dog's metabolism level. Hypothyroidism stems from the Borzoi’s immune system attacking the tissues of the thyroid gland. Bottom line is the dog becomes symptomatic. The cause can be a predisposition for thyroid problems, air pollution and allergies. A FEW symptoms of the disorder include lethargy, weight gain, skin infections, dry skin, hair loss, slow heart rate, ear infections, depression. See your set right away.

  • Cervical Vertebral Instability—”Wobblers syndrome” A narrowing of the cervical vertebrae, also known as Wobblers Syndrome and found in large dogs linked to heredity and possibly nutrition. The dog will have trouble standing, as the rear legs will be affected first with lack of coordination. Then the front legs will weaken, spread a bit and the dog’s walk will be “wobbly.” The disease is noticed at about 3 to 5 years of age in the Dobie,. Treatment comes by medicine and as a last resort for severe cases, specialized surgery.

  • Tricuspid valve dysplasia—Hereditary. Malformation of the tricuspid valve in the heart allowing a backflow of blood, or “tricuspid regurgitation. Narrowing of the valve is also possible. The heart is working inefficiently. The Borzoi may have cold limbs, no tolerance for exercise and a distended abdomen as the liver enlarges and may collapse. In severe cases, the dog may develop right-sided heart failure. Mainly a problem for the breeder of the Borzoi.

Other health problems could occur with your Borzoi. If you notice any problems with your dog, take it to the vet immediately. This website is for general information only and is not intended to, in any way, be a medical guide.


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