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The sight hound – Borzoi

Friday, July 12th, 2013

The Borzoi, classified in the hound group, is a breed known for its elegant body, long silky coat, and their unique hunting abilities.

A brief history of the Borzoi

BorzoiThe history of the Borzoi has been debated by historians. Previously, it was believed that the ancestors of the Borzoi–Saluki type sight hounds–were initially brought into Russia during the 9th-10th centuries by invaders from Byzantium and Mongolia. However, recent historical archeological research has indicated that these early sight hounds actually developed in the region of the Afghan plains rather than Mongolia and Byzantium. The breeds then migrated both on foot and through trade. Eventually, more distinguished breeds of fight hounds were bred, typically for use in the hunt.

An early type of Borzoi, called the Psovoi, was especially popular among the royalty of Russia during the rule of the Romanovs. The Psovoi was as prized as a sight hound that it could not be purchased, but only be given as gifts from the Tsar himself. During this era, “hunting trials” were conducted to determine which dogs were the most intelligent and best at hunting–the dogs which one these trials were then chosen to be bred. The Russian Revolution, however, led to a decline in popularity due to their association with aristocracy and aristocratic hunting. The breed saw resurgence in popularity during the 1940s when the breed began to be associated with Russian traditional heritage. Today, the breed can be found in various countries around the world, although it is still most popular in Russia and the surrounding countries.


The Borzoi is a large breed, often reaching about 28 to 30 inches at the shoulder. Adult males typically weigh between 100 to 120 lbs., while adult females typically weigh between 80 and 100 lbs. The breed has an elegant, long body (often referred to as “streamlined”) with a double coat that thickens during cold weather to keep the animal warm, and sheds during warm weather to prevent the body from overheating.

Personality wise, the Borzoi is known for being athletic, intelligent, independent and quiet. Although they are intelligent and gentle, they are not known for being territorial and are not considered good guard dogs because they are not known to bark when they see a stranger or human intruder. They are not considered to be aggressive dogs, however, they are known for requiring ‘personal space’ and they may become nervousdefensive and potentially aggressive if they are handled roughly such as by energetic children. However, if the dog is socialized from an early age with young children, they will typically responsive more favorably to their potentially rough handling.

Did you know? Trivia

  • The breed is sometimes referred to as the “Russian Wolfhound,” due to their original use as wolf-hunting dogs.
  • Tsar Nicholas II bred hundreds of Borzois and favored them as hunting dogs.
  • The Borzoi has a strong tendency to chase anything which runs from it, such as a smaller dog or cat, which may be a concern for some owners.