Borzoi- The Canine Supermodel
Borzoi- The Canine Supermodel
They belong to the sighthound family and might appear similar to the Afghan Hound. But the rare Borzoi is something else altogether, once a companion to the Russian Royals
There is an aristocratic charm to the breed that descends from the Russian Wolfhound. With their silky long fur and tall bodies, the Borzoi are perfect to walk the doggie ramp and have all eyes on them.
ORIGIN: The Russian Wolfhound, as the breed was once known, was named for its hunting prowess back in the 17th century when the hunts of the nobles were a lavish expedition. The Borzoi was bred to track down wolves for sport and not to kill. They were prized companions of the royals and enjoyed popularity till around the1870s and finally lost ground with the Russian Revolution of 1918 when they were slaughtered along with their Czarist masters. This association proved lethal for them, but the fascinating story of how they survived is told here. The Borzoi still exists today going back to their importance as royal gifts to monarchs such as Queen Victoria and Alexandra, Princess of Wales. Then came subsequent visits by Americans to Britain and to Russia in the late 19th century leading to the establishment of the breed in the American Kennel Club in 1873. The change in name from Russian Wolfhound to Borzoi – from the Russian word for swift, borzil - took place officially in 1936.
DESCRIPTION: To be very honest, the Borzoi is not much of a looker, though they have been labelled Canine Supermodels. Their height, slender body and long legs with flowing fur contribute to that term. They have long snouts and a slightly arched back, unlike the Afghan Hound but quite similar to the Greyhound, to which they are usually compared. The eyes are deep-set and the ears are high at the back of the head. Overall, the breed is a large one with a lengthy body and a straight tail that is covered with thin feathered fur. The hair on their body is long and silky with an undercoat that is short to keep them warm during the harsh winters.
TEMPERAMENT: While the breed is a highly intelligent one, it can have a short attention span. Training this breed requires patience and will not come easy to pet parents. Start early and socialise puppies to get them acquainted with their kind more easily. They have to have their humans around them and feel the love from them most times. The Borzoi is a patient, gentle and loyal companion, for sure, and does not possess a territorial drive which makes him less equipped as a watchdog. Take them on a hunt with you and they’ll be right in their element.
ACTIVITY: Given their hunting genes and long expeditions, the Borzoi very much need large spaces to expend their energy. They can get frustrated in small areas or if left alone for long. An obedience training regime will help them stay focused and active as do brisk walks every day. They enjoy chasing after moving objects, so make sure you have them on a tight leash when in open and unsafe spaces. Puppy destructiveness can become an issue if not dealt with early on, give them enough of your time whether it be playing with them or simply spending time with them.
HEALTH: This is a sturdy breed with lesser health issues in comparison. However, every dog has its conditions that need to be monitored. In the Borzoi, look out for Osteochondrosis Dissecans – a very painful joint disorder which is simply the improper build-up of cartilage in the joints, especially the shoulders. Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) and hip dysplasia are also common in this breed. Gastric dilatation or what is known as bloat can be a very debilitating condition for this breed given their large size and deep chests. Avoid any activity after a heavy meal.
GROOMING: Taking care of this breed requires effort. So be prepared to brush that long, silky coat regularly with a soft brush. The coat can be either flat, curly or wavy and covers most of the body to keep it warm. Frequent grooming is advised to keep the dog in top shape and bathing is based on how often you take your Borzoi out on runs and roll-in-the-mud days. Try introducing grooming at the puppy stage to make it easier when they grow up. Be stern when cleaning the ears and trimming the nails as pups itself. Dental care is vital to avoid occurrence of tartar over time.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Russia
WEIGHT: Males: 34-47 kgs.
Females: 27-39 kgs.
HEIGHT: Males: 28 ins.
Females: 26 ins.
LIFE EXPECTANCY: 7-10 years
COAT COLOUR: Black, white, cream, red, sable, brindle, black and tan