Borzoi breed characteristics, origin and care

Borzoi breed characteristics

  • Size: Large
  • Traits: Affectionate, loyal, regally dignified, charming, independent
  • Maintenance: Moderate - daily brushings recommended
  • Best Suited To: Families with older children, people wanting companionship

Loyal, elegant and sometimes stubborn, the Borzoi is a dog that knows its own mind. This breed will enjoy spending time with you, but may not be compliant if it feels bored or disrespected.

Where I'm From

The history of the Borzoi breed can be traced back to Russia in 1650. These elegant dogs were developed as coursing and hunting dogs and are believed to be a relative of the early Russian bearhound.

Over the next two hundred years numbers fell enough to drive Russian fanciers into action. In 1873 they created the Imperial Association, which aimed to protect the breed and promote its best features. Ironically though, the association’s ties with aristocracy ended up bringing more harm than good to the breed and many Borzoi were slaughtered after the Russian Revolution.

Thankfully the breed had spread further afield than Russia. The dogs had been gifted to overseas royals and imported by interested parties to different counties, which guaranteed their survival.

The American Kennel Club recognized the first Borzoi, going by the name of Princess Irma, in 1891.

In 1936 the Russian Wolfhound officially became known as the Borzoi.

What I Look Like

The Borzoi sports a long, silky coat, which comes in an array of colours and combinations but the best part is it’s easy to clean. The texture of the breed’s fur can also vary from flat to wavy to curly.

These dogs are known for their elegance and grace in motion. They have tall, lean bodies and long, narrow heads. The Borzoi is a giant breed and ranges in height from 28 to 32 inches.

This refined breed is an astute hunter with powerful jaws that can trap a wolf. They love to run but they favour a short sprint over a long distance outing.

How I Act

You’ll love this breed if you’re after a laid-back companion who doesn’t have a whole lot of energy. Most of the time these pooches will be happy sharing a couch with you while you nap or watch tv. They tend to adore human company so if you’re out a lot during the day, you might consider adopting a different dog.

This breed is also not suited to families with young children because due to their sheer size they can easily knock over a small child. Older children that have some experience with dogs will make good companions.

The Borzoi is an intelligent pooch but it’s known to have a mind of its own, which can make training. Your best bet is to demonstrate short tasks so it won’t get bored and be sure to praise your dog every time it does the right thing. Early socialisation is also recommended for this breed.

Looking After Me

Borzois need a bit of space to go for a run so a fenced in backyard is the best option for it if it suits your lifestyle. However, if you live in a smaller space, your pooch will be content provided you take it on regular walks or runs. It should also be on a leash while exercising. This will prevent it running away and chasing after a cat or rodent.

This breed of pooch is generally healthy however some dogs may be prone to Gastric Dilation Volvulus, Progressive Retinal Atrophy and Osteochondrosis Dissecans so keep your eyes peeled for symptoms.

The Borzois long coat requires minimal trimming to keep it tidy but it will need a daily brush to prevent matting.

Am I the pet for you?


  • Enjoys human company
  • Excels at lure coursing
  • Partial to a short sprint


  • Unsuitable for families with young children
  • May be predisposed to certain conditions
  • Requires daily brushing
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