Russian Greyhound or Borzoi: dog breed appearance, character, training, care, health


Among the characteristics of the Borzoi or Russian greyhound, its giant size and soft hair stand out. In a dog with a calm, sweet and cordial character. At Petlifey, we explain everything about the Russian greyhound breed.


Borzoi character

The Russian or Borzoi greyhound has an excellent character: sweet, calm, affectionate, tolerant of children and like a good greyhound, somewhat independent.

This dog gladly changes the hard life of the hunter to become a perfect companion animal with its owner.

Despite its instinct as a fearsome wolf hunter and its large size, today this giant dog with a soft coat is mainly used as a companion animal, since it is a very intelligent dog with a calm attitude that loves enjoy long walks with your master or varied activities in the middle of nature.

It is also an animal with a brave and very self-confident behaviour, sensitive, alert and, like the other members of its group, somewhat elusive and stubborn, but affectionate and loyal to its owner.

As a good hunter and runner, due to its personality, it needs its master to dedicate part of its time to exercising with them regularly.

It is important to remember that these dogs, like most greyhounds, tend to run wild when left loose in an open space.

For this reason, especially if there are roads or some other potentially dangerous area in the vicinity, it is essential to keep the dog well controlled in order to avoid unwanted accidents.In fact, the Russian greyhound is not a suitable dog for all types of people or for any family, because, for example, it is not too tolerant of rough games that young children can put it through.

In the event that the Borzoi has to grow up in a home where children live and must live with them, the best thing is that the parents teach the little ones very well to behave in a respectful way with the dog.

It should not be forgotten that it is a very large and strong animal, which will never attack a child to defend itself, but that, accidentally, it can hurt them, for example if the child climbs on its back while playing and the animal it gets up abruptly and throws them to the ground.

It is not an overly affectionate animal, so it does not usually receive its master with great licks, nor does it like to lie on its back to have its belly scratched.

In reality, it is rather an ideal dog to accompany mature people who enjoy taking long walks or even going for a run in the company of their pet.

It should also be noted the character of the Borzoi, which is a little playful dog, it is enough to encourage its owner to leave the house to enjoy nature.

The question of whether it gets along with other animals does not have an easy or immediate answer.

Its temperament is very similar to that of the rest of the members of its group, that is, if it is raised from a puppy with a cat or with another dog, it is most likely that its relationship with them is good, especially if they are in the interior of the house.

Now, if the house has a garden and the other pets are allowed to go outside together with the Russian greyhound, your attitude can change radically, even if you know these animals from a very young age.

And it is that we must not forget that it is a greyhound and that it is an animal designed to run and to chase prey, so its nature dictates that it must catch any small animal (or not so small), especially if it comes out running away.

The hunting instinct of these dogs is triggered by movement, so much of the success of a good relationship between the Borzoi and other pets depends largely on the character of the latter, but also on the personality of each dog, of Some may become great friends with their feline or canine companions, while others may find it almost impossible to get used to living with other animals.

At home, with the components of its human family, it is almost certain that the adult Russian greyhound will behave calmly, so in principle there is no need to worry, as it is highly unlikely that this giant dog will decide to run and destroy everything you have at your fingertips.

On the other hand, it is a very silent dog, it barely barks, not even in the presence of strangers, as it does not have a strong territorial instinct.

Despite the fact that its mere presence could make more than one person desist to enter a foreign home, the Russian greyhound does not constitute a good guard dog, since it is not an aggressive animal, a desirable characteristic in a dog that has to defend its home.

Thanks to its calm characterthe Borzoi adapts well to life in a flat, provided adequate exercise is provided.

In the event that it has to be left alone for many hours, it is preferable to do so in a closed area outside. Even in a large carrier in which the animal can stand up, sit down and lie down comfortably, as it is usually considered a special place.

And when you take it out for a walk in the city, especially due to its large size, it is essential to always have the dog well controlled and not allow it to run freely on the street.

  • Energy: medium / high. It is quiet, but you need to exercise daily. It loves to enjoy long walks with its owner.
  • Temperament: medium / high. It adapts well to life in a flat and in an urban environment, but provided that exercise is guaranteed.
  • Adaptability: medium / high. It adapts well to life in a flat and in an urban environment, but provided that exercise is guaranteed.
  • Sociability: It is affectionate with its owner and tolerates strangers well. With other animals it can get along well.
  • Health: It is a healthy breed.
  • Longevity: medium / high. Live from 11 to 14 years.
  • Utility: versatile. Hunting dog and company, and also racing.
  • Use: hunting and racing.

Characteristics of the Russian Greyhound

Regarding the characteristics of the Borzoi and its general appearance, it is a giant-sized dog, with an aristocratic appearance, robust, stylized and with great harmony in both forms and movements. Normally the body of females is slightly more elongated than that of males.

For your information, the full name of this breed in Russian is Russkaya Psovaya Borzaya, which can be translated as something like “speedy, wavy-haired Russian dog,” a description that suits them perfectly, except that it doesn’t refers to one of the most striking characteristics of this animal : its enormous size.

The Russian greyhound, also known as borzoi, is an animal specially designed for hunting wolf, fox and hare in the wide plains of Russia. It has an imposing appearance with powerful muscles and strong jaws.

Its presence is elegant and aristocratic, and its appearance reflects exactly what it is: a relentless hunter and imposing runner , with a long, muscular neck and powerful jaws that allow them to bring down and immobilize its prey.

On the other hand, its arched and flexible back, together with strong and muscular legs, enable it to reach high speeds in the race.

Regarding its body, it is a dog of very large proportions, with a slightly rectangular body structure; the broad back line is broad, muscular and elastic. The belly is very retracted, describing a sharp curve.

Its head is long, narrow and thin, it presents a noble, slightly convex and stylized profile. The snout is narrow, spindle-shaped, and the nose is large and mobile.

The Borzoi has large, almond-shaped eyes, almost always dark hazelnut or chocolate. They are implanted somewhat obliquely and are very expressive.

The ears are thin, small, but with good mobility, set high, above the line of the eyes and somewhat back. The dog holds them up when alert.

Their feet are of the “hare’s feet” type, narrow, long and oval. The fingers are arched and close together and the nails are very strong and also very long, as they touch the ground.

The tail is long, thin and set low, reaching the hocks. At rest, the dog lets it fall; in action, it wears it in the form of a saber. It is covered with abundant fur.

Its hair is very silky and soft. On the head, ears and limbs it is softer. The body hair is wavy and longer. The one on the shoulders and rump is curly and on the neck, very thick and abundant.

Let’s now see in more detail what the Borzoi and the breed standard look like:

Borzoi breed standard

  • General appearance: it is an imposing but aristocratic man, with great harmony of forms, a slim but at the same time robust constitution, and lean and developed musculature.
  • Size: giant.
  • Height at the withers: between 78 and 85 cm for males and between 68 and 78 cm for females.
  • Weight: between 35 and 50 kg for males and between 30 and 45 kg for females.
  • Origin: Russia.
  • Other names: Russian hunting sighthound / Lévrier de chasse russe / Russischer Jagd Windhund / Russkaya Psovaya Borzaya / Borzoi.
  • Body: robust and elongated, it presents the posterior line of the belly abruptly gathered towards the abdomen.
  • Head: it is thin, long, narrow and aristocratic. Viewed in profile, the upper lines of the skull and the muzzle form a long, slightly convex line. It is so thin that the main veins show through under the skin.
  • Skull: narrow, elongated and oval in shape, but almost flat.
  • Muzzle: It is approximately the same length as the skull.
  • Truffle: it is large and mobile.
  • Eyes: large, dark hazelnut or dark brown, slightly prominent, almond-shaped, but not slanted. They are set obliquely and are enormously expressive.
  • Ears: they are small, thin and mobile; they are inserted above the eye line and back and directed towards the nape of the neck when the dog is at rest. The tips of the ears are located close together and are oriented downwards, along the neck and close to it. When the dog is alert, the ears stand to the sides or to the front. Sometimes one or both ears are raised like a horse’s ears.
  • Nose-frontal depression (stop): it is very little marked.
  • Jaws: endowed with strong white teeth, they have a regular and perfect scissor or pincer bite.
  • Neck: it is long, thin and the sides are flat. It is strongly muscled and slightly arched, although the dog never carries it up high.
  • Chest: Of medium width, deep and long, reaching almost the level of the elbows and gradually widening towards the false ribs, which are short. The rib cage is made up of long, somewhat prominent bones.
  • Back: it is wide, muscular and elastic. Together with the back, which is long and muscular, and the rump, long and broad, they form a curve that is more pronounced in males.
  • Forelimbs: they are slim and muscular, perfectly straight and parallel.
  • Shoulders: The shoulder blades are long and oblique. The forearms are long and thin; Seen from the front they are narrow and seen in profile, wide. The arms are in a moderately oblique position. Your elbows are parallel to the median plane of your body.
  • Hind limbs: they are straight and parallel, and are a little further apart than the forelimbs. Their legs are long and muscular, and they are set obliquely. The tibia and femur and tibia and tarsal joints are well developed, wide, and well angulated. The knees are well angulated.
  • Feet: They are thin, narrow and in the shape of an elongated oval (the so-called “hare’s” feet). Their fingers are arched and close together, and the nails, very strong, are long, as they touch the ground.
  • Tail: It is long, thin and set low. At rest, the dog places it between the hind limbs, and in this case it reaches the hock. When the dog moves it lifts it and curves it in a saber shape, but never lifts it above the dorsal line.
  • Skin: it is loose and flexible.
  • Hair: The Borzoi dog’s coat is silky, smooth and in short loops (although never in tight curls). On the head, the ears and the limbs it is satin, short and tight against the skin. On the body it is quite long and wavy, but shorter on the sides and thighs; on the shoulder blades and rump it forms finer loops. The hair that forms the bangs, the pants on the thighs and the feather on the tail is longer. The hair on the neck is thick and abundant.
  • Color: as for the colors of the Russian greyhound, the coat can have any type of color combination, solid or with spots, except for blue and chocolate in all its shades. In the carbonized mantles the black mask is characteristic. The bangs, pants, and tail feather are a lighter shade.
  • Movement: When not hunting, the typical movement of the dog is a long, agile, very elastic and aerial trot. During the hunt it has an extremely fast gallop, with wide footprints.
  • FCI Classification: FCI nº 193 Group 10 – Sighthounds. Section 1 – Sighthounds with long or wavy hair.

Borzoi Cubs

If you are looking for information on the Russian Greyhound, you may be considering adopting or buying a Borzoi. As it is a very important decision, we believe it is appropriate for you to know a series of aspects about Russian greyhound or Borzoi puppies.

The puppies of this breed are always overflowing with curiosity and energy. Something that causes them to be quite destructive if they are not provided a good dose of attention and exercise, and it must be taken into account that they do not reach psychological maturity at least until two and a half or three years.

In general, Russian Greyhounds are calm and very balanced dogs, but in the puppy stage their energy level is higher and, therefore, they are much more playful and unruly than adult dogs.

Also, young dogs may respond unexpectedly to loud and rough play. On the other hand, it is necessary to start from the premise that most of the specimens, by nature, do not tend to be excessively playful, not even as puppies, so that children can get bored of their company.


Education and training of the Russian Greyhound

As for how to train a Russian greyhound, it is actually preferable to keep it on a long leash at all times, than to let it go and allow it to gallop, as the animal can be damaged before its owner even has time to react.

For this reason, it is also essential that the Russian greyhound is well trained and that its owner becomes for them a true leader to whom the animal obeys as blindly as possible.

Training this greyhound in obedience can be a bit of a task, since sight hounds in general are usually quite stubborn, so their owner must be firm and very patient.

It is always advisable to go to a professional or ask a good breeder for advice. You can also go or consult an association or club of the breed, such as this one.


Feeding of the Russian Greyhound

As for how to feed the borzoi, it is necessary to provide it with good quality food and preferably fresh prepared food, better than dry food for dogs or raw meat, since, like other sight hounds, it has a tendency to swell and suffer gastric torsion.

For the same reason, it is convenient to allow them to digest quietly and not take them out to exercise after meals. It is also advisable to feed her food in small amounts several times a day rather than allowing her to be satisfied with a single large meal.

However, it is not a dog that consumes large amounts of food, since, despite its height, its concentration of body fat is quite low, as in the case of all good runners, so that as a rule It generally does not need more food than an adult setter or a sheepdog, for example.

And as with other large dogs, it is a good idea to place the food and water containers on a raised platform to avoid the animal being forced to lower its head to the ground, with the discomfort that this supposed.

Luckily, today you can buy greyhound food in specialized pet stores and you can also buy it online.


Borzoi health and diseases

The Russian Greyhound is usually a fairly healthy dog, so much so that most of the specimens enjoy a greater longevity than other giant breed dogs.

The borzoi accompanies its owner for 11 or 12 years, and the lucky and especially healthy specimens can live up to 14 years.

Even so, the breed shows a certain tendency to suffer from some diseases or health problems common to all sighthounds, so its owner must be aware of this and be aware of any symptoms.

One of these conditions, the most frequent by far, is gastric torsion, already mentioned, in which case the animal needs immediate veterinary attention, because if it is not treated quickly and properly it can cost its life.

Another typical problem of sight hounds is the hypersensitivity they show to anesthesia, so the owner must ensure that their veterinarian is properly informed about this particularity in case any surgical intervention that requires sedation should be performed.

Also, because it is a giant breed, it can suffer from hip and shoulder dysplasia, although not as often as other dogs its size or even smaller.

Some individuals suffer from osteochondritis (a disorder in which cracks form in the cartilage of the joints) or retinal problems. But in general it is a healthy and healthy dog, easy to care for and with few daily demands.

Having said all this, it should be noted that, due to its enormous size, its high exercise demands and its rather independent nature, the Russian Greyhound is not a recommended dog for any type of family, as its owner must be willing to provide lots of activity and entertainment.

Now, whoever decides to share their life, their living space and their time with one of these giant sighthounds, can be sure that they will enjoy this ancient treasure of the tsars to the fullest.


Specific care of the Borzoi breed

As for maintenance, the truth is that it is simple, despite its long and abundant coat. It needs to be brushed two or three times a week with a stiff bristle brush to keep its silky, slightly wavy, or even slightly curly coat free of knots and tangles.

As it is not an animal that gets dirty easily, it is not necessary to bathe it constantly so that the coat remains in perfect condition.

Now, since it is a dog adapted to life in the Russian steppes, it has an abundant undercoat. It becomes even thicker during the winter or in colder climates, but that during the summer, or if the animal lives in a country with a warm climate, it falls off to avoid excess heat.

In these periods it is interesting to increase the rate of brushing to help the animal get rid of all that dead hair.


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