OVERVIEW OF THE BORZOI
From gold snuff boxes that were sprinkled with gemstones to exquisite robes made from French silk, the possessions of the Tsars of Russia could very well be termed the epitome of luxury and magnificence. So, it’s not surprising they chose an equally regal dog to offer them companionship in the palace and on their hunts. Enter: the Borzoi.
Historically known as the Russian Hunting Sighthound, the Borzoi traces its lineage back to the Persian greyhounds and European sighthounds. These dogs were crossbred with various Russian breeds to achieve specific qualities. For example, the Russian Laika was added into the mix to give the doggo a thicker coat that could resist the piercing cold of the Russian plateau.
This coat comes in a plethora of colors. It is silky-smooth in texture with a tinge of waviness. Just under this top coat is a soft undercoat that helps keep the dog insulated. It thickens during winters and sheds during summers to maintain the Borzoi’s body temperature. The topcoat frills up when it reaches the pooch’s neck. The fur on the tail and hind legs are also quite thick.
The Borzoi’s legs are long, muscular, and move gracefully. They also help the dog launch into quick sprints and clock massive speeds of up to 36 miles per hour. This amazing speed is why the Russians called this breed “Borzói”, an archaic term in the masculine singular form which means ‘fast’.
The Borzoi’s speed proved to be an asset during the hunts of the nobles. These dogs would chase and capture a myriad of game, like rabbits, foxes, and even wolves. Other than hunts, the Borzoi also served as dignified companions in the royal palaces.
In fact, the Russian nobles made this breed exclusive to royalty where you couldn’t legally own a Borzoi unless it was gifted to you by a Tsar. Such gifts ended up in the courts of Queen Victoria and her dignitaries. These now English-Russian Wolfhounds ended up becoming the reason for the breed’s survival when the Borzois of the Tsars were mercilessly slaughtered during the Russian Revolution of 1918.
A century later, the Borzoi is highly cherished by owners looking for a dog who is equal parts loving, loyal and low-maintenance. The latter attribute is thanks in part to the introverted nature of this dog. Looking for a new furry couch-potato buddy who doesn’t demand too much exercise? The Borzoi’s the dog for you.
Their large size may make them seem better suited to living in a large house with a yard. But, no sir. The Borzoi adapts amazingly to apartment living as well. Just make sure your building has an elevator since carrying a sick Borzoi down the stairs can get hectic due to their large size and weight.
Speaking of size, the Borzoi stands at 27 to 31 inches in the case of females and 30 to 33 inches in the case of males. Complementing this large size is a bulky and muscular physique that weighs 60 to 85 pounds in the case of females and 75 to a whopping 105 pounds in the case of males.
This large size means the Borzoi can accidentally knock down small pets and young children during playtime. So, any playing sessions should be supervised. On the note of other pets, Borzois can be a little aggressive toward other animals, especially small ones. So, consider enrolling them in a puppy kindergarten if you have another animal or are planning to frequently have pets over at your place.
Such an academy will expose your puppy to a variety of animals, sounds, and stimuli which will help groom them into a gentler dog. You should complement this kindergarten with lots of training. Positive reinforcements should dominate these training sessions. You should also keep these training sessions varied to prevent your Borzoi’s amazing brain from getting bored.
BORZOI FOOD AND HEALTH
Seeing all that muscle and mass on your Borzoi may make you think this doggo eats heartily. But you may be surprised by the daily intake of this breed. This is in part due to the relaxed lifestyle of this dog and its low exercise requirements. You should space out exercise sessions and mealtimes by some hours. This, along with breaking the dog’s meals into two or three, will prevent bloat.
Gastric dilatation volvulus, commonly known as bloat, affects large-chested dogs like the Borzoi. In bloat, a dog’s stomach gets stretched due to excessive gas. This restricts the blood flow and may cause your dog to go into shock.
Other than bloat, your Borzoi is also at risk of getting overweight. So, be sure to measure out their kibble according to their daily recommended intake. You can get a figure for this intake by consulting your dog’s nutritionist or vet.
Such a professional will also help guide you towards high-quality dry dog food that matches the macro requirements of your Borzoi’s age, gender, and lifestyle. For example, a growing Borzoi will need more protein and ample Omega-3 fatty acids to keep their brain, eyes, and coat healthy.
If you’re in the market for such a high-quality dog kibble for your Borzoi puppy, the NUTRO NATURAL CHOICE Large Breed Puppy Dry Dog Food is worth checking out. It contains 26% protein that is sourced from chicken meat, along with antioxidants and Omega-3 fatty acids.
Regardless of the option you choose, make sure it doesn’t contain any ingredient your pup is allergic to. Be sure to switch the dog food if you notice allergy symptoms like paw and face-licking and rashes on your woofer’s skin.
Aside from allergies, bloat and obesity, your Borzoi is also at risk of Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) and Osteochondrosis Dissecans (OCD). PRA is a hereditary disease that causes a dog to lose its vision with age. To prevent this from happening, make sure you get your dog from a reputable breeder who has the required clearance. This proves your pup wasn’t bred from a dog with PRA. OCD, on the other hand, might be hereditary or non-inherited. In this condition, the dog’s elbow or shoulder joints get stiff. It is then hard and painful to bend the elbow
LEASHES AND COLLARS FOR YOUR BORZOI
You’ll need to get some essential dog equipment when you bring a Borzoi home. Chief among these pieces of equipment is a leash, a harness, and a collar.
Starting things off with the leash, this rope-like lead helps you control your dog when going on walks. Always remember that a Borzoi must never be taken out of the house without a leash. You see, this breed is a sighthound. These types of dogs hunt using sight only. As a result, their eyes are extremely sensitive to movement.
The Borzoi’s chase instinct will kick in as soon as it sights a fast-moving object or animal. This can put other pets on the road at risk. Let’s not forget how a distracted dog can potentially harm itself on the road. So, always keep your Borzoi on a leash.
Consider a medium-length or short leash. The general rule of thumb here is the more aggressive your dog is the shorter its leash should be. Also, get one made from leather for added resistance to the strong tug of this dog. The ADITYNA Leather Dog Leash is an option worth checking out if you’re in the market for a leather leash for your Borzoi.
This leash should be attached to the harness. Make sure this harness is big enough for your Borzoi to freely breathe in. Unlike a collar, a harness won’t strain your pup’s neck when you attach the leash to it.
That doesn’t, however, mean a collar should be out of the question. A collar helps identify your Borzoi. You can also mix and match the color of the collar to create style statements for your pooch.
BEST CRATES, BEDS, AND DOG HOUSES FOR BORZOIS
Boasting an introverted personality and relatively low energy levels, the Borzoi doesn’t have a lot of exercise requirements. In most cases, a 20-minute walk will be all the dog needs in a day.
You can also let it run in a yard if you feel like your Borzoi has a lot of pent-up energy. Just make sure this yard is fenced so your sighthound doesn’t chase after the first butterfly it lays its eyes on.
Along with fences, you should also think about building a dog house in your yard. Here, your pooch can stretch its legs during playtime breaks. Make sure this dog house is well-insulated and is built under natural shade.
Speaking of making sure of things, you must ensure you never leave your Borzoi in the yard for long periods. You see, this breed is highly sensitive and long periods apart from its human can lead to the dog getting sad and resorting to destructive behaviors.
You can control these destructive behaviors by crate-training your Borzoi from an early age. This crate will act like a safe space for your Borzoi to fall back to after a long day. You can also use this crate to confine your pup when kids or guests are over.
Just make sure this crate time isn’t treated like punishment. You can make the crate more welcoming by placing your Borzoi’s favorite treats and toys inside. When looking for a crate for your Borzoi, make sure it is at least 40 inches in length. The Pet Republic Dog Crate is an option worth considering for your Borzoi.
When it’s time to snooze, you should invest in a high-quality dog bed for your Borzoi. Consider something with orthopedic foam to give your dog’s large bones the right kind of support. The BarksBar Snuggly Sleeper is an option worth checking out.
Unless you’ve got a fenced yard, it’s not worth letting your Borzoi run free. If they get distracted and chase after something, you’ll never be able to catch them. But if you do have a fenced yard at your place, think about fetch toys, like frisbees and tennis balls for your Borzoi.
Make sure these throw toys are big enough for their large jaws and sturdy enough to last through their strong bite. Borzois also love tugging. So, consider a tug toy for your pooch. Something like this Tug of War Dog Toy from KONG can equal hours of fun with interactive games of tug with your furry friend.
GROOMING INSIGHTS FOR BORZOI OWNERS
As mentioned earlier, Borzois pack a thick upper coat. This coat will shed a little bit throughout the year. You can, however, expect your woofer’s coat to shed more during the shedding season.
Regardless, a lint remover will prove to be your best friend when your Borzoi sheds. This tool will help keep your furniture and clothes free of pet hair. You should also invest in a good-quality pin brush. This will help you groom the magnificent coat of your Russian Sighthound.
Brushing should be done daily or on alternate days. Make sure you break any mats on the fur when brushing your Borzoi. These mats usually form behind the dog’s ears and between its back legs.
When checking your dog for matted fur, make sure you also check their ears for any foreign materials or wax buildup. While wax can be extracted from your pooch’s ear using cotton swabs, you may use a pair of tweezers to remove any foreign matter from the ear canal.
Other than coat grooming, you should also brush your dog’s teeth daily. This will help prevent tartar buildup in their teeth and gums. Also, the toothpaste will keep their breath fresh.
Speaking of freshness and nice scents, a Borzoi coat is resistant to dirt. This means you don’t have to worry about your dog stinking up each time you take it out for a walk. So, you can skip bath times for weeks on end.
Since sighthounds can become impossible to catch once the thrill of the chase takes them over you must get a GPS (global positioning system) tracker for your Borzoi’s collar. The Tractive Waterproof GPS Dog Tracker should be the ideal choice here.
It lets you set a virtual fence. The app alerts you when your dog crosses this fence. You can also track your dog’s location in real time with the help of this tracker. Regardless of the exact GPS tracker you go for, make sure it is water-resistant and packs a good battery life.