Its natural elegance, hypnotic face and ravishing coat make the Russian Borzoi one of the most beautiful breeds in existence. Its numerous awards in beauty contests prove it.
All this, added to a docile temperament and a friendly character, attracted the Russian czars, who chose them as their favorite. Do you want to know more about this unique canine variety? Then let’s go there!
Physical characteristics of the Russian Borzoi
Tall in stature and slender in carriage, the elongated body of these dogs stands out among other breeds. They have a long, elegant neck and a slightly curved back ending in well-muscled hindquarters.
The long, sabre-shaped tail is well covered with hair. Its head has harmonious features; oblique eyes and a long, rounded muzzle ending in a black truffle stand out.
- Height between 70 and 85 cm in males and between 66 and 76 cm in females.
- Weight between 35 and 47 kg in males and over 39 kg in females.
- Double coat. Long and silky, which can be wavy or curly.
- The most common colors are white, golden, cinnamon and brown. There are black and white bicolor specimens with dark masks on the face.
- Affectionate, loyal and intelligent character.
- Good health, although very sensitive to anesthesia.
- Estimated life expectancy between 10 and 14 years.
The official standard of the Russian Borzoi
In movement, these dogs should give an image of refinement and agility, both when walking and running. The ears should be pointed at the end, drooping slightly backward at rest and raised in alertness.
The bite should be scissor bite, revealing firm and well aligned jaws; the length of the muzzle should exceed the extension of the skull. The chest should be narrow and deep, as dogs with a chest that is too broad are penalized.
The eyes should be dark rather than light and never completely rounded. The coat, on the other hand, should not have a woolly texture.
What is their character like?
Sweet and friendly to excess, Russian Borzoi are ideal for family life. At home they will behave calmly and discreetly. They are very sensitive to the moods of those around them and act accordingly.
Another of their characteristics is that they do not take well to spend a lot of time alone, because they need to feel accompanied and, if you ignore them often, they can suffer from separation anxiety.
Their relationship with children has its ups and downs. As puppies they like to share games and mischief, but as adults they will become a little more reserved and prefer more relaxed companions.
If you have small children, be calm: they will not show aggressive behavior, they will just go somewhere else. They will form good relationships with other dogs, as they have been bred to move in packs.
Russian Borzoi are intelligent as well as independent, which can make them a bit stubborn when it comes to training. Training them requires an extra effort of patience and affection. Do not use harsh methods, as this will affect their marked sensitivity and make them shy or fearful.
You should also know that they are not good watchdogs, as they do not have a well-developed protective instinct. In the presence of an intruder, instead of barking or becoming alert, they will most likely wag their tails and be curious and friendly.
What care does this breed require on a daily basis?
The maintenance of a Russian Borzoi’s coat has a certain complexity. In times of moulting you should brush it at least every two days, making sure that its abundant hair does not get tangled in areas of the neck, chest and paws. It is recommended to bathe them once a month to keep their skin healthy and clean.
These dogs mature slowly. During the growing stage they are very playful and tend to bite everything in sight. This destructive behavior of Russian Borzoi puppies can be moderated, but only disappears in their adult stage.
On the other hand, they are dogs that can adapt to living in city apartments, as long as they are not too small and their exercise needs are well covered.
For this, it is important that they go for a walk once a day for at least half an hour. During these outings they should always be on a leash, as their hunting instinct is very strong and they will run after small animals such as cats, mice or birds. When hunting they pay no attention to anything else, which can end in a stray or an unfortunate run over.
On the other hand, although they appreciate having a yard to play in, they will undoubtedly prefer to be indoors, keeping you company or resting for long hours in their favorite corner of the house. Their double coat makes them resistant to the cold, but does not prevent them from suffering from the heat. Therefore, never leave them too long in the sun or in the garden during the summer.
Most common health problems
These dogs are in excellent health, as they are accustomed to the rustic environment of the countryside and do not have a high incidence of major diseases. However, pay attention to the following conditions that could jeopardize their well-being:
- Gastric torsion, a condition that usually affects canines that eat too quickly or exercise shortly after eating food.
- Hip dysplasia, a hereditary condition that causes problems in the rear joints and can be treated if detected early.
- Sensitivity to sedatives. As they have a low fat body, they may be intolerant to some types of anesthetics. This should be taken into account by the veterinarian before any intervention.
Russian Borzoi History and Fun Facts
Although it is not known for certain from which variety they are descended, it is speculated that breeds such as the Caucasian Shepherd and the Russian Bearhound are part of their lineage.
What is certain is that the Borzoi was born in a golden cradle, as they were among the favorites of the Russian Czars for several generations.
Their first function was to accompany noblemen’s hunting parties in their search for Siberian wolves and grizzly bears. It was only a matter of time before they became excellent life companions for their majesties.
However, this relationship with the privileged classes was detrimental to them, then known as “Russian Wolfhounds”. The reason is that at the beginning of the 20th century, during the Bolshevik revolution, they were persecuted, as the breed was associated with the excesses of the nobility.
A fortuitous event saved them from extinction, as a litter given as a gift to Queen Victoria of England perpetuated the variety. They were officially accepted as a pure breed, already under the name of Russian Borzoi, in 2006.