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Adopt a Borzoi

Borzoi Dog Breed

Picture: Kent and Donna Dannen


Sighthound, Southern (Sighthound)

Area of origin:


Original function:

coursing wolves

Average size of male:

Ht: >28, Wt: 75-105

Average size of female:

Ht: >26, Wt: 60-85

Other names:

Russian Wolfhound

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    Friendliness towards dogs

  • Friendliness towards other pets

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    Friendliness towards strangers

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    Ease of training

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    Watchdog ability

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    Protection ability

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    Cold tolerance

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    Heat tolerance

Borzoi Dogs Available on Petfinder Right Now

See more adoptable Borzoi dogs available on Petfinder

Borzoi Dog Temperament

A breed of quiet elegance, the Borzoi exemplifies the well-mannered house dog. Outdoors, he races with wild abandon, and it will chase any small animal that runs. He is independent but very sensitive. Although generally good with children and some can be timid. He is reserved with strangers.

Borzoi Dog Care

The Borzoi needs the chance to exert itself daily. Although a long walk can satisfy most of his needs, it should be combined with a sprint in a large safe area. The coat, which is characteristically fuller on males, needs brushing or combing two or three times a week; at times he sheds a lot. Borzois do best as house dogs with access to a yard.

Borzoi Dog Health

Major concerns: gastric torsion
Minor concerns: none
Occasionally seen: none
Suggested tests: none
Life span: 10-12 years
Note: sensitive to anesthesia

Interested in the history of the Borzoi dog breed?

The Borzoi (also known as the Russian Wolfhound) was bred by the Russian aristocracy for hundreds of years. Coursing of hare for sport was known in Russia as early as the 13th century. In the 15th and 16th centuries, crosses of coursing hounds with bear hounds and with tall Russian sheepdogs were made to increase size and coat, both necessary for hunting wolves in the cold climate. The first standard was written in the 1600s in a book of Borzoi hunting rules. Perhaps no other breed has ever been the focus of hunting on such a grand scale. Hundreds of serfs worked in the upkeep of the hounds on huge estates; the hunts themselves were grand events. One account describes the hounds, horses, beaters and hunters arriving in a train of over 40 cars, with another train bringing the grand duke and other nobility. Over 100 borzois might partake in a hunt. Beaters and scent hounds initially trailed the wolf, followed by hunters on horseback. A pair or trio (consisting of two males and a female) of matched Borzois were then unleashed when the wolf was sighted. The dogs would strike at the same time, forcing the wolf down and holding it until the hunter arrived to bind the wolf and then, often, set it free. By the 1800s, seven distinct subtypes of borzoi existed in Russia. Most present Borzois descend from the Perchino type kept by Grand Duke Nicolai Nicolayevitch, and many of the early American imports came directly from the Perchino kennels. The Russian czar would often present Borzois as gifts to visiting royalty. After the Russian Revolution, the days of the nobility were over and many borzois were killed. The fate of the breed was left in the hands of foreign royalty who had been given Borzois and of a few remaining Borzoi kennels. In America, the Borzoi soon gained the reputation as the ultimate glamour dog, often seen at the sides of movie stars. Although only enjoying modest popularity as a pet, the breed remains a popular show dog, coursing dog and model.

Copyright © 1998, 2005 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc. based on

Shelters with Borzoi Dogs

Some animal welfare organizations with Borzois ready for adoption:

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