sight hound, Southern (sight hound)

Other Name: 

Russian wolfhound

Area of Origin: 


Date of Origin: 

Middle Ages

Today's Function: 

lure coursing

Original Function: 

coursing wolves


Also called the Russian wolfhound, the borzoi is an older breed that was bred by the Russian aristocracy for several centuries. As early as the 13th century, Russians participated in the sport of hare coursing, and in the 15th and 16th centuries, those hounds used for hare coursing were crossed with hounds used for bear hunting and tall Russian sheepdogs, resulting in a dog of increased size and a thicker coat.

Borzoi Breed Health

Major concerns: 

gastric torsion

Minor concerns: 


Occasionally seen: 


Suggested tests: 



sensitive to anesthesia

Life span: 

10 - 12 years

Average Size of Male: 

Height: less than 28 inches, Weight: 75 - 105 pounds

Average Size of Female: 

Height: less than 26 inches, Weight: 60 - 85 pounds

Borzoi Breed History

Other accounts claim that the borzoi descended from crosses with the Greyhound, the Lapp sled dog, and even perhaps the collie. Whatever its true heritage, this new breed was used to hunt wolves. The first breed standard is evident in a borzoi hunting rule book from the 1600s. These wolf hunts were grand events in which more than 100 dogs would participate. When a wolf was spotted during a typical hunt, two or three dogs were released. They would chase down the wolf and pin it down until the hunter arrived on horseback. There are also stories regarding the 13th century hunting trips of Genghis Khan which described a borzoi-like hound. It is believed that the ancestors of the Russian borzoi may include the bearhound, the Southern coursing hounds found in the Tartars, and the Owtcher - a tall, Russian sheepdog. There were seven separate subtypes of borzoi in Russia by the 1800s. Most borzois of today are said to have descended from the Perchino type which was raised by Nicolai Nicolayevitch, and it is documented that many early imports to America were sent directly from the Perchino kennels. According to legend, the Russian czar gave the dogs as gifts to royal visitors. But after the Russian Revolution, and the fall of the Russian nobility, many of the breed were destroyed. It was mostly those who received the dogs as gifts that were responsible for the ultimate fate of the borzoi. The first of the breed is said to have arrived in the United States from England in 1903. American breeder Joseph B. Thomas reportedly visited Russia three times to bring back dogs bred in the Perchino kennels. The breed gained popularity in the United States when celebrities sought the breed for its glamorous attributes.

Borzoi Breed Appearance

Elegant and graceful, the borzoi has front legs with straight bones and long, muscular hindquarters. The hare-shaped feet have well-arched toes and thick pads. The dark eyes offer an intelligent yet soft expression, and the ears are small and fine. The long jaws are powerful and deep with strong teeth that meet in an even or scissors bite. The slightly-arched neck is very powerful, and it slopes smoothly into the shoulders. The long tail of the borzoi is set on low and usually carried in a low, graceful curve. The gait of this breed is described as effortless, powerful, agile, and graceful. The wavy coat of this breed is long and silky, while the hair on the head, ears, and front of the legs is short and smooth. Around the neck, the hair is normally thick and curly. Feathering can be found on the hindquarters and tail. The coat comes in a variety of solid and combination of colors.

Borzoi Breed Temperament

Well-mannered and intelligent, the borzoi is extremely loyal to its family. It is a quiet dog that barks little. It is usually good with older children, but it is not a particularly playful breed. Without proper early socialization, the borzoi may tend to be timid, and it is generally reserved around strangers. This breed is usually good with other dogs, but care should be exercised around small pets such as cats and rabbits. The borzoi is a hunter at heart, and its chase instinct is strong. The dog may run after a fleeing animal and catch it with disastrous results. This breed should not be let off the leash unless it is contained in a secure, fenced-in area. The borzoi is an independent, yet sensitive, breed.

Borzoi Breed Maintenance

The long, silky coat of the borzoi is fairly easy to keep in shape. Regular brushing with a firm bristle brush is recommended. Bathing isn't often required, and dry shampoo should be used only when necessary. The hair between the toes should be clipped on a regular basis. This breed is considered to be a seasonally heavy shedder, but the borzoi does clean itself much like a cat does. Pay special attention to providing a highly nutritional diet during the growing stage of this breed. This breed requires plenty of daily exercise. It is generally inactive while indoors, so it will be fine in an apartment dwelling as long as enough exercise is provided. While long walks are satisfactory, the borzoi needs the opportunity to run within a large, safe area.

Borzoi Ratings & Reviews

Best Dog - December 08, 2016




Ive owned two borzois now and I can honestly say that unless I am looking into a dog for hunting or retrieving I have found everything I want in this breed. My two were not from the same litter but immediately took to each other and are best friends. They are super smart and even know their left paws from their right paws. They do take getting disciplined rather hard so be soft on the females. Other than that when I want to play, they want to play and when I'm feeling lazy - good luck getting the dogs off the couch. Only downside is they are some furrrrryyy animals when its time to shed.

Review Borzoi