AKC Group: Hound

Borzoi were first thought to have been brought to Russian nobility from Arabia in the 17th century. Nobility bred them to have the long hair that they now sport. They were used to hunt wolf — hence, their other common name: the Russian Wolfhound. The breed quickly spread through Europe, but always remained a favorite with the aristocracy.

Size: 26 to 28 inches tall, 60 to 110 pounds

Color: They are most often white, tan or gray, but can come in almost any color. Often they have a mixed colored coat.

Life span: 10 to 13 years

Health problems: Retinopathy, cataracts, bone cancer, heart defects, bloat and chemical or medicinal allergies. Also look out for PRA (progressive retinal atrophy).

The Borzoi is similar to the Greyhound in size and structure. If you have a lot of room for a Borzoi and you’re looking for an absolute stunner, this may be the dog for you. Borzoi are graceful, dignified and well-mannered. Affectionate yet independent, he is a quiet dog indoors. Outside, he comes alive: he’s fast, active and needs plenty of exercise. His yard should be secured or he may take off. Noble and regal, he’s best around older children (his size makes him inappropriate for small children) and other large dogs (with smaller animals, he tends to chase them and who wants to be chased all the time?)

Borzoi have long, thin, narrow heads and an arched muzzle. The tail is long, curved and hangs low against their backside. The coat around the neck is very thick and ruffled. Dark, oblong shaped eyes complete their exotic look. Brushing should be done twice a week, but during shedding season, once a day. Dry shampoo the coat and trim the hair between the toes as needed.

Proper socialization for a Borzoi is essential. Without it, they will either become too aggressive or too shy. They typically tend to be reserved around strangers. Don’t tease a Borzoi or needlessly startle him, they’ll resort to aggressiveness. A Borzoi tends to get bored easily. As a hound, a Borzoi tends to be difficult to train. Positive training methods that build a trust is the only way to accomplish successful training. If you seek outside help to train him, find a professional that doesn’t rely on discipline.

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