Borzoi Puppy Facts

Did you just bring home a new Borzoi puppy and want to learn more about the breed?

Maybe you are thinking about buying a puppy and want to know if this is the right breed of dog for you and your family?

No matter what your situation may be, you will find the answers to your questions right here!



Breed History

The breed, also known as the Russian Woolhound, is a member of the sighthound group of dogs that hunt by sight, not smell.

The ancestors of the current breed were brought to Russia from Central Asia around the 10th century. There are also mentions of long haired hounds being used by Mongol invaders around the 13th century.

In Russia, several different sighthound types, including the long-coated bearhound and the Southern coursing hounds of the Tatars played a further role in the development of the Borzoi. The first breed standard was written around 1650 after the Arabian Greyhounds were crossed with thick-coated Russian breed. What's interesting is that the modern standard hasn't changed much in over 360 years.

By mid 1800s, hunting with Borzoi became almost like a national sport for the rich.

Borzoi were used by the Russian aristocracy to hunt in packs. Hunting parties would consist of over one hundred dogs. When a wolf was spotted, several dogs were sent to run it down while the hunter followed on horseback. The dogs would pin down and hold the wolf until the hunter arrived to finish the kill.

In addition to hunting wolves, Borzoi were used to hunt hares, foxes, and other animals that lived in the open plains. The dogs were highly prized and rarely sold, almost always given or received as a gift.

Because of its association with the ruling class, the breed almost became extinct after the Bolshevik revolution of 1917.

The first specimen arrived in United States from England in the late 1800s. More dogs were brought from Russia in the beginning of the 20th century. The breed was recognized by AKC in 1891 but until 1936 was known as the Russian Wolfhound.

Today, the breed is used mostly for companionship but some lucky dogs are still used for what they were bred to do -- in some places it's used to control wolf and coyote populations.

By the way, the word "Borzoi" means "fast" in Russian.

Physical Characteristics of Borzoi Puppies

This is a large, graceful, and slender dog. Its extremely fast and strong and possesses great stamina. Because of the way the Borzoi were used over the centuries, they developed strong legs, necks, and jaws.

The Borzoi is a tall dog with an arched and strong neck, sloping shoulders, narrow but deep chest, slightly arched (upward) back, and long tail that is curved and carried low.

It has a long, narrow head with powerful jaws, small ears, and large black nose. The front legs are straight while the back legs are long, muscular, and somewhat wider than the front legs. The feet are hare-shaped.

The coat is long, silky and can be flat, wavy or curly. It's shorter and smoother on the head, ears and front of legs. The frill on the neck is curly and profuse. The coat can be any color or color combination.

    Height Weight
  Male 28+ inches 75 - 105 pounds
  Female 26+ inches 60 - 90 pounds


The Borzoi is an intelligent, gentle, and loving dog and companion. It's also a quiet breed. If you are searching for a breed that rarely barks, the Borzoi may be for you! However, like all sighthounds, it's also very independent minded.

It's affectionate with those it knows well, including children, but because it doesn't enjoy rough play it will probably do better in a household with older children.

Like other sighthounds, the breed scores very low on the obedience intelligence scale. It takes them around 100 repetitions to learn a new command. And even after it learns a command, it doesn't always respond to it the first time. But in my opinion, this is not an indication of low intelligence but a result of breeding where emphasis was placed on dogs to think and act on their own during hunts.

The Borzoi doesn't have strong territorial instinct and is usually not aggressive towards human or canine intruders.

Young puppies have a very interesting way of playing with their littermates. A pup will run down another pup, grab it by the neck and pin it down. This is a hunting behavior and has nothing to do with aggression or dominance. This behavior is not unique to young puppies.

Borzoi gets bored quickly with repetitive activities and training methods. Like other strong-willed breeds, it does not respond well to harsh treatment, including shouting and punishment. For best results, include positive reinforcement and rewards as part of your training.

Even with positive reinforcement, this is still not the easiest breed to train as it's less willing to please humans than some other breeds. Be patient!

The Borzoi has a very powerful instinct to chase things that are running away from it. To protect your pet from escaping, always keep him on leash in public places. If you live in a private house, a fenced yard is a must.

Best Owner / Living Conditions

Despite their large size, these dogs can adjust to an apartment lifestyle fairly well. However, it needs an owner who is not only patient but can also establish his or her authority and set the rules for the dog to follow.

Some Borzoi breeders may interview prospective owners to make sure this is the right breed for them.

Activity and Exercise

While this is an active breed outdoors, it's pretty inactive indoors. To compensate for that inactivity, it will need to get most of his exercise outdoors.

If you have a fenced yard, your pet will enjoy and get plenty of exercise running and playing off leash.

If you are into jogging or bicycle riding, your pet will enjoy running along. But because of his strong prey drive, make sure he is always on leash. Just like a scenthound will follow an interesting scent, a sighthound will dash off whenever it catches a sight of a potential pray.

At a minimum, take your pet for several long walks every day.


Despite its long coat, this breed is not difficult to care for. Unlike the Afghan Hound, you don't need to bathe it every week. You can give it a bath when needed, or just use dry shampoo.

The breed sheds heavily during the spring, when it sheds its undercoat, and fall. Brush daily with a firm bristle brush during the shedding season and several time per week at other times. Daily brushing when the dog is shedding will prevent mats and shorten the shedding period.

Health Concerns

Like all dog breeds, Borzoi are susceptible to complications caused by internal and external parasites such as ticks, fleas, and worms.

Other possible health concerns include hip and shoulder dysplasia, PRA, and bloat. To prevent bloat, which can lead to death, feed your pet several smaller meals instead of one large one. For more information about dog diseases and health, visit dog health problems.

Buy only from reputable Borzoi breeders to reduce the risk of the above and many other health problems (visit dog breeders to learn how to identify responsible dog breeders).

No matter how small the risk of health problems is, any puppy may get sick or injured. Many health problems will require an immediate attention from your Vet, but there are many others that will not, and you may handle them on your own.

To save time and money, learn how to diagnose and treat dog health problems that don't require your Vet's attention.

Life Expectancy

The average life expectancy for a Borzoi puppy is 10 to 12 years.

Did you ever consider adopting your next pet?

If this is the breed you are interested in, and adoption appeals to you, consider contacting your local Borzoi rescue. There are thousands of pets waiting for a loving home and, yes, it's possible to adopt a purebred dog.

Puppy Training

Not happy with your pet's behavior? Need help with training your dog for obedience? Then check this Borzoi Behavior and Obedience Training Guide.

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