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Why Borzoi?

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Relative Sizes
Relative size of man and borzoi
Man 5'10" - 178cm
Borzoi 31" - 79cm
The Borzoi originated in Czarist Russia. As far back as the early 1600's, it was the dog of choice for many Russian nobles. The dog was an excellent courser of wolves, hares, and foxes. The Borzoi's prowress as a hunter is due mainly to it's speed and agility. Hunting was often done in packs of three or more. The breed gradually spread around the world in the 1800's as nobles and royalty of other countries were often presented with breeding pairs as gifts. Borzoi are sometimes referred to as " Russian Wolfhounds ".

Borzoi are tall slender dogs with long silky coats. Males are generally about 28 - 33 inches ( 71 - 84 cm) in height and weigh 75 - 110 pounds ( 34 - 50 Kg ). Females are typically smaller and carry less coat than the males. Females are generally about 26 - 31 inches ( 66 - 79 cm ) in height and weigh 55 - 85 pounds ( 25 - 39 Kg ).

Would a Borzoi be a good dog for me?

To help you evaluate whether a Borzoi might fit in your future plan, we have assembled a list of points to consider before jumping into this breed. While every Borzoi has its own personality, there are four traits that define most Borzoi. Understanding these traits will help decide if a Borzoi is right for you.

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Why a Dog?

Dogs have developed a special affinity for human companions. They develop closer relationships with man than most other animals. As in any relationship, the quality and quantity of time spent developing this relationship will have a direct bearing on what you receive in turn.

Owning any dog carries certain responsibilities.

  • Dogs require Regular Care.
    Providing basic care to a dog at home requires time and money.
    • They must be fed and provided ample fresh water.
    • A safe exercise area ( fenced ) must be provided or they must be exercised daily on leash.
    • When dogs are left outside, even if just during the day - shelter from the weather must be provided. Dogs should never be tied outside and left unattended.
    • You have to clean up after them. The dog poop must be picked up and disposed of daily.
    • Most often overlooked - all dogs require training. Training takes time and must be done regularly. You have to teach them the household rules. Even the most eager to please dog will need these rules taught over and over and over again. Some rules will be easy to learn, others will take a great deal of patience on your part. Most people find dog training classes helpful in learning to teach their dog.
    • Dog require regular brushing. All dogs shed.

  • Dogs require Veterinary Care.
    Regular vaccinations, dewormings and health check ups are needed by all dogs. Veterinary care costs money. Unexpected illness or accidents may require more expensive care. You may want to buy pet health insurance to help pay the unexpected major bills.

  • Dogs need Licenses.
    Most communities require some form of annual licensing of dogs and limit the number of dogs you may keep. Without a proper license your dog may be seized and you may be fined.

  • Dogs need be Good Citizens in Public.
    You must walk them on leash in outside your property. You must clean up their poop.

  • A Dog is for Life.
    Your dog will depend on you for love and care for a long time ( 11 years or more ). Being a responsible dog owner is an important job and requires your serious commitment.

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Do you have Children?

Borzoi are very intelligent and social animals. They also have very strong pack instincts which means they expect some leadership order will be established within their household. Owners are responsible to ensure the pack order places them and their children at the top.

Small children can unintentionally abuse a Borzoi and provoke an unfortunate response. Although Borzoi have been successfully kept in households with small children, we recommend considering a breed more tolerant to this situation. The Borzoi has a very quick reaction time.

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Do you have Other Animals?

The introduction of any new animal into an animal group, including other Borzoi, will alter that group's interaction both within itself and with its owners. This addition will require not only extra time to acquaint the new arrival with the household rules but extra time to reassure and reinforce the training of the existing animals.
  • Borzoi and Cats
    Borzoi are instinctive hunters. A cat will be at risk unless you are prepared to socialize BOTH the cat and the Borzoi to each other. While a previously cat-socialized Borzoi may adapt easier, prudence suggests caution. When pressed most Borzoi and cat owners will confess that the only safe cat(s) is their Borzoi-socialized cat(s)-- all other cats are fair game!!! Many Borzoi owners successfully keep both cats and Borzoi. Their secret is their willingness to commit time and effort to the socialization and integration of the Borzoi into their household of animals and/or children.

  • Borzoi and Other Dog Breeds
    Borzoi generally adapt easily to other dogs. But be careful when first introducing them to much smaller breeds. These dogs may be overwhelmed by the Borzoi's size.

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Do you want a Puppy or an Adult?

The choice really is -- What age group should you consider. There are trade offs in any choice you make. Puppies are NOT easier to train. They just seem more manageable because they are smaller. Don't forget Borzoi will get BIG !

Borzoi have an extended puppy phase. Although they may appear full grown by one year, many continue to develop physically as well as emotionally until they are about 3 years old. During this extended puppy phase, Borzoi can forget their training and commit unexpected destructive acts.

The older a Borzoi is, the more sure of its adult conformation you can be. Borzoi grow and change drastically between 4 months and 10 months.

Puppies can be quite destructive to furniture and even walls and curtains during teething ( approximately 4 to 6 months ) .

Puppies are smaller and less intimidating to others. For people with small animals or other special household situations, this may make the initial acceptance and introduction easier.

A Borzoi at any age will be a good companion if you devote the time to integrate it into your household.

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Where do you plan to keep the Borzoi?

Borzoi need adequate daily exercise. Ideally this means a large fenced area where they can run freely and safely. Due to their size, 6-foot fencing is highly recommended. Young Borzoi and puppies require more exercise than older Borzoi. Otherwise the unexpended energies of the young may be channeled into undesirable or destructive behavior.

Borzoi adapt well to life indoors. They appreciate the extra human contact that invariably comes from being indoors. They still need regular outings or access to an exercise area. The house must be child proofed. Borzoi are inquisitive and clever. They can get into all kinds of trouble without the proper precautions. In some circumstances it may be wise to restrict their access to certain safer areas of the house.

When left outdoors, Borzoi must have adequate shelter and ample water. In warmer climates or hot weather, Borzoi must be protected from heat stress.

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What can you do with a Borzoi?

There are several organized activities you can participate in with your Borzoi. Some are competitive and others are just for fun. Classes and training are available from various sources in each of these endeavors.
  • Lure Coursing
    A plastic or fur lure is pulled by a battery powered pulley across an open field to simulate the hunt of small game. The lure may be pulled in short straight practice patterns about 100 to 400 feet in distance. Longer more complex patterns are used in competition, where a series of pulleys are used to control a course of 500 to 800 yards in length. Borzoi may run alone or in groups of three. They may also run with other coursing breeds. In some areas, live game is still pursued.

  • Conformation
    Each dog is judged on its relative closeness to the ideal embodied in the local Borzoi standard. The judge renders an opinion and award ribbons to the top dogs at each level of competition. A winner is chosen for each sex. These winners accumulate points toward a champion title.

  • Obedience
    Dogs learn to walk on leash, sit, stay, lie down and come when called. At the more advanced stages, they also walk with owner off leash, jump hurdles, retrieve objects and go as directed. All new dog owners will be well served by a series of basic obedience classes. They are an excellent place to be coached in the fundamentals of your dog's behavior and how to control it.

    When training Borzoi, your success will improve if you adjust your methods to recognize the Borzoi's intelligence and independence. Shorter, more frequent and more diverse training periods will help maintain their focus and increase the effectiveness of your work.

  • Agility
    Borzoi navigate a series of obstacles under the direction of their owner. Obstacle include hurdles, tunnels, weaving poles, seesaws, suspended and A-frame planks. The dog must also jump through a hoop and onto a table.

  • Racing
    Borzoi run a straight or oval track against others.

  • Tracking
    Although few attempt the rigors of this activity, Borzoi are periodically trained to track a scent across various surfaces.

  • Therapy Dog
    As a therapy dog, your Borzoi can bring the healing power of a dog companionship to bedridden patients in cooperating hospitals. However first you and your Borzoi must complete a basic obedience training and be tested for soft collar work.

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What are the special concerns with owning a Borzoi?

  • Borzoi Shed
    All dogs shed. The Borzoi's size and length of coat makes their hair much more visible. In warmer climates, the shedding will be more noticeable as they will also lose more of their undercoat in the summer months. Unaltered males and females will shed in greater volume and frequency than neutered dogs.

  • Borzoi Only Live About 11 Years
    As with many larger dog breeds, Borzoi don't have the same life span as the smaller breeds. The average life span is estimated to be about 11 years. Accidents or health problems may shorten this brief period more. With good care some Borzoi live much longer.

  • Borzoi can Bloat and Die
    Bloat is a health condition that can afflict all large or deep chested animals. Many different factors are attributed to causing bloat in dogs. Bloat results when the stomach suddenly expands with gas. The stomach may also twist. Either case is life threatening. The early recognition of the symtoms of bloat and being prepared to administer Bloat First Aid improves the chances your dog will survive. Modern veterinary surgical techniques have reduced the mortality of this terrifying killer.

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Are there different types of Borzoi?

The Borzoi standards allow considerable variation in appearance beyond the obvious differences in coat color. World-wide, several different Borzoi standards exist. Although each standard is worded differently, they describe a similar dog. Each standard describes an ideal than local breeders are suppose to seek in propagating the breed. As with most things in life, the precise meaning of the ideal is subject to interpretation. Each breeder will strive to produce one variation or another within the bounds of the local standard. Success varies among breeders.

Once you understand your local standard, your personal tastes will help choose among these diverse yet acceptable ( " correct " ) variations. Attending a Borzoi Specialty show ( where Borzoi are showcased as a breed ) is an excellent way to start appreciating the diversity allowed by the standards. Most local or national Borzoi clubs sponsor at least one such event each year. The large number of Borzoi attending such events allows you to compare among the entries and ascertain your preferences.

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Where to do you get a Borzoi?

  • Breeders
    Breeders (or other Owners) is the most common way to obtain a new Borzoi.

  • Rescue Organizations
    Occasionally due to unfortunate circumstances, Borzoi become homeless. Rescue organizations step in to temporarily care for these dogs until a new home can be found. Generally these Borzoi are already adults. Some are older and many are already neutered. Borzoi obtained from rescue organizations make excellent companions.

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More Questions?

If you have any further questions, please contact us and we will do our best to answer them.

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