The Borzoi or “Russian Wolfhound” is a large dog breed with history that dates back to 17th century. The Borzoi is believed to have been developed from an early Russian bearhound, the Owtchar, a tall sheepdog, mixed with other sighthounds. The first Borzoi was described in a book dealing with Borzoi hunting rules in the early 1600s. The first standard for the breed was written in Russia, in 1650. The Borzoi was originally bred for hunting wolves, foxes, and hares in open terrain and was the dog of Russian aristocrats. Sadly, this association with the aristocracy got many of them killed after the Russian Revolution in 1918 (the main goal of the Russian Revolution was to put an end to the prosperity of the nobility). The breed was saved only because many of them were earlier given as a gift to the aristocrats and royals in other countries.
FUN FACT: The breed’s name was changed from Russian Wolfhound to Borzoi in 1936.
The Borzoi - characteristics
Male Borzoi reaches usually 28 (or more) inches at the shoulder and weights 75-105 pounds. Females are a bit smaller, with their 26 (or more) inches and 60-85 pounds. The Borzoi is a very large dog breed and one of the tallest sighthound in existence. These dogs are good-natured, gentle, calm, athletic and, above all, graceful.
FUN FACT: The Borzoi is a sighthound, which means that this breed hunts by sight. Because of their almond shaped and frontally placed eyes, Borzois have a 270-degree field of sight (humans have 180 degree field of sight).
The Borzoi - grooming
The Borzoi is an elegant, graceful breed with a coat that is long and silky. The coat can be straight, wavy, or curly. The coat is resistant to dirt and mud. The Borzoi’s luxurious double coat sheds heavily. This breed requires daily brushing to keep the shedding under control, and to remove dirt from the coat. During shedding season more frequent brushing is needed. Trim you Borzoi’s nails and brush his teeth regularly.
The Borzoi - energy level
Borzois are generally not too high-energy dogs, but they do need a regular, daily exercise. Some of them like to play more than the others. Some of them love to just chill most of the time. Most Borzois will be satisfied with a couple of walks a day and the occasional opportunity to run. After all, they are housedogs that love their comfort. Borzoi enjoys being a part of a family fun and excels in canine sports, such as agility and lure coursing. Keep in mind that Borzois are very sensitive. If there is some tension in your home or people are loud and yelling, your Borzoi will probably end up sick to his stomach, with severe digestive upsets and neurotic behaviors. Borzois are peaceful dogs and they need a peaceful, harmonious home.
Owning a Borzoi
When walking your Borzoi, always keep him on a leash. Borzois are sighthounds, born to chase. They will take every opportunity to run after some moving object. Borzois can be let to run freely only in a secured area. Breeders say that this strong instinct to chase and hunt is the reason that one of the leading causes of death in Borzois is being hit by a car.
FUN FACT: The word "borzoi" is an antiquated Russian word for "fast".
FUN FACT: A Borzoi can reach speed of 35-40 miles per hour.
The Borzoi - intelligence
The Borzoi is an intelligent breed, and great human companion. In general, the Borzoi is trusting of people and not at all shy. The Borzoi does not have guarding instincts and is lousy watchdog.
Borzois are independent thinkers and can be stubborn. For a successful training patience and consistency are needed. They quickly become bored with repetition, so training sessions need to be short and interesting. When training a Borzoi, always use positive reinforcement. Although they don’t tend to be aggressive, socialize your Borzoi from an early age. Socialization will make him a well-rounded dog, and will also make you a pleased owner of a glamorous and well-behaved dog.
The Borzoi - health issues
The Borzoi has a lifespan of 9-14 years, but there are few conditions they are likely to suffer from. The most common condition seen in this breed is bloat. Because of this, you should frequently feed your Borzoi small meals and should prevent heavy exercise after eating. Except for bloat, the Borzoi is prone to progressive retinal atrophy (a degenerative eye disorder that eventually causes blindness), osteochondritis dissecans (an orthopedic condition that usually occurs in the elbow causing a painful stiffening of the joint). Because of their lack of body fat, Borzois can also be sensitive to drugs, especially anesthetics.
The Borzoi - breeders
The Borzoi is a fairly rare breed today, so it may take some time to find a responsible breeder with puppies. But, be patient, and never buy a puppy from an irresponsible breeder or a pet store. Make sure that breeder you are interested in is someone who does not put profit over dog’s welfare. Before buying a fog, ask a breeder everything you are interested in. It is also a good idea to ask him to meet the puppy’s parents and siblings, if possible.
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