Also referred to as the Russian Wolfhound and Russian Hunting Sighthound, the Borzoi (pronounced "boar-zoi") originated in Russia and was the favorite breed of the czars. Their native name Borzaya Psovaya in the Russian language translates to "fast dogs." The breed can be traced as far back as the 17th century and their ancestors were bred to not only hunt but defend against wolves. It is thought that these large dogs were the result of crossing Arabian Greyhounds with heavy-coated Russian dogs. Borzois are classified as sighthounds, which means they rely on eyesight more so than scent like other hound-type breeds. They were originally bred to hunt wild animals on open land, which was easier due to their extremely long legs, fast speed, and tough mindset.
To many, the breed resembles a greyhound with a long curly coat. Borzois are an elegant-looking hound breed that has a long, silky coat that can be either flat, wavy, or curly and comes in many beautiful color combinations that are all accepted by the Breeders Kennel Club. These well-balanced hounds were bred to have both strength and agility while hunting prey at up to 35 to 40 miles per hour. Their eyes are dark in color with matching dark rims and the ears of the Borzoi are small compared to the size of the head. Most recognized for their narrow head, the muzzle of the breed is long, housing powerful jaws, with a dark-colored nose. The long tail is carried low in a curve.
Borzois are considered to have a calm, gentle, even-tempered demeanor and can make a great addition to a variety of households. The breed is known for their quiet temperament and defensive instincts that vary their response towards strangers from aloof to friendly. They are more than willing to please but their hunting instincts can be a distraction, especially in the sight of prey, making them seem stubborn during training. Persistence and a high prey drive make early socialization and obedience training with positive reinforcement very important for this particular breed to control unwanted habits and intolerance of small pets. These intelligent hounds learn quickly and will become bored with too much repetition during training; trying new tasks in different orders is the best way to have an obedient Borzoi companion. Due to the large size of the breed, they may be a better choice for households with older children. These semi-active hounds enjoy quick long-distance runs or rough playtime within a large, fenced yard for exercise to remain happy and healthy. Borzois can make wonderful pets that can either cuddle up to you on the couch or act as a great running partner.