Naught to 150 feet in 2.36 seconds, launching as if its been shot off a canon, smooth at the turns and quick at breaking at high speeds; if you think we are talking of some supercar, think again! We are talking about one of the oldest and purest dog breeds in the world - the Borzoi.Designed for speed and endurance, a Borzoi is one of the most elegant, graceful, athletic and beautifully majestic dogs on earth, coming next to a Afghan Hound in terms of their elegance. Also called the supermodels of the canine world, a Borzoi or a Russian Wolfhound belongs to the sighthound family. With a tall and lean body, long narrow head and silky coat, a Borzoi can be easily envisioned as a royal dog trotting and lounging in the palaces of Russian Tsars or running in the Russian countryside. If you are planning to get a Borzoi as a family pet or are already a proud owner, we bring to you certain aspects that you should be aware of your new pet.History
As early as the 1700s, Borzoi were developed as a cross bred between Greyhounds and Russian sheepdogs. Bred for hundreds of years of Russian Tsars to be a part of their coursing and hunting expeditions. However as time passed, the number of the Borzois reduced. By 1873 very few Borzoi remained and so the Royal Russians created the Imperial Association to protect and promote the breed. After the revolution of 1917, hunting and coursing retreats slowly lost their appeal as newer methods were developed to catch wolves so dogs were not really involved. In late 1940s, a Soviet soldier named Constantin Esmont was concerned that the Borzoi were in danger of degenerating without a controlled system of breeding. He was instrumental in having the breeding regulated.The exports of the Borzois were extremely rare during the Soviet Era, however, few were taken to England, Scandinavia and Western Europe in the late 19th century.Unique Aspects
Borzoi’s are one the most elegant and beautiful of the breeds in the canine world. With their long silky fur and graceful disposition, a Borzoi has won the hearts of many the world over. Being a sighthound, a Borzoi has the characteristic muzzle and a long narrow head. The beautiful almond shaped eyes are set high and provide the sharpest vision possible to a Borzoi. Unlike human beings who have a vision range of 180 degrees, a Borzoi is blessed with a vision range of 270 degrees allowing him to move swiftly and follow the prey for a longer distance. Another unique aspect of a Borzoi is its ability to reach greater speeds in a short period of time. The long legs of a Borzoi help it to have quick starts to a run, bring in ease during turns and also help in quick stops. Borzois have long been bred for their speed and endurance and hence make wonderful competitive show dogs.
Borzoi has caught the fancy of so many celebrities in the West that in the 1920s and 1930s almost everyone in Hollywood was smitten by this breed. They were seen photographed with various actress and adorned the covers of various magazines.
Borzois could be seen in the movie version of War and Peace; they also starred as Digger in 102 Dalmatians. The 1955 Walt Disney movie The Lady and the Tramp also featured a Borzoi. Along with this they were seen in Hello Dolly, The Hunger Games. They had notable cameos in Love at First Bite, Legends of the Fall, Excalibur, All Dogs Go to Heaven, Bride of Frankenstein, Easter Parade, Wolfen, Ziegfeld Follies, Onegin , Gangs of New York, Chaplin, The Avengers, JAG, Maverick , Sleepy Hollow, Last Action Hero, and A Knights Tale
Celebrities Borzoi owners
We could find only two celebrities in the past who were proud owners of a Borzoi, Ethel Barrymore and Mae West.
Though they have been known in real life as well. A Borzoi is a symbol of Alfred A. Knopf publishing house. He was also the pet of Captain Edward J. Smith, the captain of the Titanic. Though, he did not accompany the captain on the fateful maiden voyage.
Borzois are blessed with long, silky coats that may be flat, wavy or even curly and may come in a combination of colours. Short, smooth fur covers the head, ears and the front of the legs and protects the dog from extreme winters. Even though the silky coat helps keep the dirt and dust away from the fur, regular grooming is advised. Pet parents to a Borzoi may use a soft brush to comb and groom the fur. Bathing may be advised based on how dirty the dogs gets and what his his / her daily routine is like If the dog is out in the open for longer periods of the day and has the habit of rolling in the mud or grass, then regular baths will be necessary. Dental grooming will also be useful to avoid any dental problems such as plaque or tartar buildup. Daily tooth brushing will ensure fresh breath and bacteria free mouth. The nails of a Borzoi grow real fast and therefore will require to be trimmed on a regular basis to keep them in good condition.While grooming it will also be a good habit to check the ears and the skin for any signs of infection or infestation by ticks or fleas. If a grooming regime is set right from the time the Borzoi is a puppy, grooming will be relatively easier when they grow up.
Borzois are generally a healthy breed of dogs. But like all dog breeds they may be prone to certain health conditions. It will be helpful to check the medical history of the pup’s parents to rule out any genetic diseases in the pup.Some of the diseases that may inflict a Borzoi are:
Gastric Dilatation Volvulus / Bloat - It is one of the most common health problems that inflict a Borzoi. Due to their large size and deep chested musculoskeletal build, Borzois are highly susceptible to developing bloat. As a precautionary measure, small meals must be given to a Borzoi and care should be taken that a Borzoi does not indulge in heavy exercises especially right after a meal.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy - Progressive Retinal Atrophy or PRA is a degenerative eye disorder that can result in blindness if left untreated. If your dog develops a PRA, it will be advisable not to breed the dog as it a genetic disorder and may be passed on to the next generation of the puppies.
Osteochondrosis Dissecans (OCD) - Osteochondrosis Dissecans is an orthopaedic condition caused by the improper growth of cartilage in the joints especially elbows and shoulders. It results in a painful stiffening of the joint and can be extremely uncomfortable and painful for the dog.
Borzois are a quiet yet athletic and independent dog breeds. They do not posses a territorial drive and hence may not make very good watch dogs. A Borzoi is extremely smart a breed and requires patient and experienced handling. Like all sighthounds, it requires a lot of perseverance to house train and obedience train a Borzoi as they get easily distracted by the things in their vicinity. One would have to use positive reinforcements such as favourite treat or food to train a Borzoi. Borzois are also selective learners and therefore, pet parents will have to develop a training regime that is not repetitive in nature and excites the Borzoi. Like all Hounds, Borzois are extremely sensitive in nature and do not fare well when there is a negative reinforcement such a yelling or spanking or threatening. They have to be handled gently and with a positive reinforcement for them to trust their human family. Borzois are gentle in nature and require guidance especially when around little children and small pets as the size of a Borzoi can be quite daunting. Also, they do not do well in small apartments, as their size is a huge issue. A Borzoi will do extremely well in open houses with a fenced yard and taken out on a leash as they can be easily interested in anything that moves and might chase it. Borzois are not a high energy dog and love to lounge on their favourite sofa or cushion. Borzois have a high need for human companionship and will do not do well in households where family members are gone for long hours.Environment
Borzois are a giant breed and will require ample amount to space to stretch their long legs and exercise their muscles. Those who plan to get a Borzoi will have to ensure that there is a strong fence around their yard, as like other hounds, Borzois are escape artists and love to chase any moving things. They also love to explore their surroundings and it will be difficult for owners to catch up with their pace if the Borzoi escapes from the yard. Borzois were bred in the cold climate and will not do very well in hot and humid climates. In case you live in a place where it gets hot during summers, a provision will have to made for air conditioning for the Borzoi else they will fall ill.Training & Intelligence
Borzois are an intelligent breed of dog but require a gentle and patient handling. It might be slightly difficult for new pet parents to a Borzoi to train a Borzoi themselves. Professional help will be advised for best results. It will be imperative that training for a Borzoi starts as early as possible so that they get accustomed to commands and follow them through. Borzois have a short span of attention and therefore it will be advised to design training sessions which are short and not repetitive in nature. While training, positive reinforcement and reward will be useful to make a Borzoi learn the commands. When a Borzoi puppy is brought home, crate training will be a good way to start the house training and obedience training regime. Not only does crate training give the puppy a sense of his / her own space, it also keep the Borzoi from chewing on furniture, shoes and other household things especially during the time when the puppy is teething.
Borzois are a healthy breed and attain sexual maturity at the age of 6 - 9 months. However, for the sake of the dogs health, it will be advisable to mate your Borzoi after the age of 1.5 years so that the dog is physically and mentally mature. Borzois do not develop any complications during mating though in case a c-section is required to deliver the puppies, a Borzoi may develop a complication. If you are a first time breeder, you may want to seek veterinary help so that optimum pre- and postnatal care is given to a the Borzoi.Puppies
Borzoi puppies are adorable and a litter can include anywhere between 1 - 11 puppies on an average. Veterinary help will be advised if you are a first time breeder. The Borzoi puppies grow real fast, so you will have to make sure that their vaccinations and food requirements are met on time so that they grow up to be healthy adults.
One of the most prominent features of a Borzoi is its head. Long and narrow with high set eyes, a Borzoi projects an aura of royalty. The ears are small and pointed and set high and at the back of the head The legs of a Borzoi are long and thin and aid in running after and chasing after game. The fur of a Borzoi is long and silky with a short underfur to help the dog during harsh winters. Borzois have the sharpest vision and are quick to spot prey and game. The tail is long and thin and is feathered. Borzois are large breed dogs with a male reaching a height of 28 inches and a female atleast 26 inches. In terms of their weight too, a male Borzoi may weigh anywhere between 34 - 48 kgs while a female may weigh anywhere between 27 - 41 kgs.