Russian borzoi

This is an excellent dog for hunting animals.

“Borzoi” in a literal translation from the Old Russian means “fast.” Indeed, this long faced, wiry, thin-legged dog is able to develop a speed on a short distance that is superior to the speed of almost any animal in Russia.

This beautiful dog is used to chase after animals.

The history of the breed

Russian borzoi appeared in Russia relatively recently. Indeed, only a few centuries ago, a typical landscape of Central Plains in Russia was a wooded area where borzoi simply would not have enough space to run. Although, in the southern parts of Russia borzoi also didn’t exist, because the way of hunting was in seeking out animals using dogs but the prey was chased after by hunters on horseback, and dogs only followed them. An indirect evidence of this is the absence of borzoi on Old Russian images. Most likely the ancestors of Russian borzoi come from the Middle East.

Grand Ducal hunting with first borzoi dogs (most likely far from modern Russian borzoi) in Muscovy appeared in the 15th century, and for a long time has been a very expensive activity, available only to the very high circles of Russian nobility. Borzoi, by crossing with local dog breeds, gradually evolved into a new breed – Russian borzoi.

Peter I on hunting with dogs (1902). V. Serov

Peter I on hunting with dogs (1902) / V. Serov

Russian borzoi became widespread in the 18-19 centuries, when the new class of Russian landowners recognized hunting with dogs as one of the most attractive activities. In many estates dog packs reached not just dozens but even hundreds of dogs, most of which were represented by borzoi.

Cross-breeding of dogs within packs led to the emergence of numerous subspecies of Russian borzoi. Over time, the breed got stabilized.

Borzoi in modern life and in hunting

Russian borzoi

Photo by Chuck Rogers / 2007 (CC, flickr)

Borzoi is a very large dog. The height of a male dog reaches 86 cm. But the weight of a borzoi dog is disproportionate to the size. A rare specimen weighs more than 40 kg.

Everything in the build of the dog is intended for a quick hunting dash: thin long legs, elongated snout, powerful lungs and a big heart.

Externally, the dogs look very refined and elegant.

The apparent calmness and aristocratic independence in everyday life, at a sight of an animal or even an ordinary ball turns borzoi into a bundle of energy. This should be taken into account, because you can’t own a Russian borzoi without periodic running activities.

This is the advantage of owning a borzoi dog: even a few animals will not turn your house into bedlam, will not cause havoc and will always remain calm, even invisibility. That means that this dog is perfect for calm, confident and thoughtful people. But these qualities are not very suitable for the company of noisy small children.

Excellent vision allows the dog to see their prey at a long distance, even on the horizon,.

And the ability to make a quick dash compensates for the lack of a developed sense of smell.

Hunting for hare with borzoi. Winter (1996)

Hunting for hare with borzoi. Autumn (2013) 

Usually using the hounds animals are chased to the edge, where a pack of borzoi catch up with the prey.

Borzoi pursues animals without barking. Indeed, borzoi rushes so quickly after the prey that reporting on their progress to the hunter becomes meaningless.

At the same time, borzoi, even after running away from the hunter for a few kilometers, is able to find his way back and not get lost.

Bred by Russian hunters, a wonderful in many respects breed of Russian borzoi is unmatched in speed and quickness on short hunting distances, and its long thin legs ensure a distinct advantage when hunting in deep snow.

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