Borzoi.jpg
Breed Group Group 8: Sighthound Breeds
Sub-group 8-B: Long Haired Sighthounds
Origin Country Russia
Weight Males: 75-105 pounds. Females: 55-90 pounds.
Height Males: 28-34 inches. Females: 26-31 inches.
Other Name(s) Barzoi, Borzaya, Russian Hunting Sighthound, Russian Wolfhound, Russkaya Psovaya Borzaya
Breed Type Pure
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Borzoi

Breed Group Group 8: Sighthound Breeds
Sub-group 8-B: Long Haired Sighthounds
Origin Country Russia
Weight Males: 75-105 pounds. Females: 55-90 pounds.
Height Males: 28-34 inches. Females: 26-31 inches.
Other Name(s) Barzoi, Borzaya, Russian Hunting Sighthound, Russian Wolfhound, Russkaya Psovaya Borzaya
Breed Type Pure
click here for FULL BREED STANDARD

Origins

The Russian Borzoi is an iconic sighthound from Russia. Also known as Russian Greyhound or Russian Wolfhound, their history can be traced back as far as the seventeenth century. The breed is a culmination of breeding programs that used swift and agile sighthounds from the Afghan plains that were crossed to robust and hardy native Russian hunting dogs, such as the Tartar hounds. These dogs were used to hunt a variety of game well before guns became more widely available.

In traditional Russian hunts, dogs were released upon the quarry. For small game, such as hares and foxes, only one Borzoi is used. For larger game, such as mature wolves and stags, a pair or trio of hounds would be used. The dogs would hold the game until the huntsmen arrived and dispatched the animal with a blade.

The Borzoi breed has always been favored by Russian Aristocracy, with their elegant lines, noble appearance, and exceptional temperaments making them wonderful companions to noblemen and noblewomen. They were often traded or gifted to nobility of other countries and, therefore, were associated with aristocracy not only in Russia, but throughout much of Europe and Central Asia.

The name “Borzoi” is derived from the Russian word “Borzaya,” meaning “fast,” the description that was used to describe and distinguish the dogs from others. Their native name, “Borzaya Psovaya” translates to “fast dogs.”

Breed Characteristics

Head: Dolichocephalic skull type, moderate in size, being elegant, elongated, and lean, yet full in substance. Although the head is narrow overall, the topskull is sufficiently broad to allow for an intelligent and capable expression. Form above, the topskull forms the shape of an elongated oval. In profile, the topskull may range from slightly arched to almost flat. When viewed from the front, the topskull appears slightly arched to slightly domed. The planes of the head, in profile, are long and elegant. The occiput is well-marked. It is in proportion to the rest of the body. The head is clean-cut and without excess skin or wrinkle.
Eyes: Moderate to somewhat large in size, almond to open-oval in shape, and amber to hazel, or medium to dark brown in color. They eyes are set slightly oblique. The eye rims are well-fitted and preferably well-pigmented, although lacking pigmentation around the eyes in dogs lacking color around the eyes is not uncommon, nor is it incorrect. The eyes are never bulging. There should be sufficient bone in the surrounding orbital sockets to protect the eyes. Any signs of entropion or ectropion are incorrect for this breed.
Ears: Fairly small to moderate in size. Set on with the inner corner level with, or slightly above eye level. They appear set fairly well back on the skull. The ears are triangle in shape, and rose in type. When in repose, the ears are held back and close to the head, with tips almost touching near the occiput. When alert, the ears may be held outward, or semi-erect, “broken,” fully erect, or asymmetrical. The ears are never long or overly large.
Muzzle: The muzzle is long, yet full, somewhat deep, and broad throughout, enough so to prevent a weak or snipy appearance. The plane, or bridge of the muzzle, may be straight, or slightly convexed toward the nose, or “roman-nosed.” It tapers only slightly from the broader base toward the pointed nose. Upper and lower jaws are well-developed, equal in length, have good bone substance.
Nose: The nose is well-pigmented and black, or self-colored according to the coat in nonstandard color varieties. The nostrils are well-opened. The nose somewhat prominent, protruding slightly beyond the vertical line of the end of the muzzle, further exaggerating the length of the muzzle and head.
Neck: Fairly long in length to allow for excellent mobility. The neck is powerfully muscled with a good arch. The neck tapers smoothly from the deeper and broader body toward the head. The neck is clean-cut, without excess skin, throatiness, or dewlap.
Chest: Very deep and fairly broad, but never wider than deep. The brisket extends to the point of the elbows. The forechest is well-developed without being excessively pronounced.
Body: Deep, agile, powerful, aerodynamic, and of good substance throughout. The body is never light and weedy, nor heavy and cloddy. Width at forequarters is approximately equal to the width at the hindquarters.
Feet: Oval to somewhat elongated (hare foot), yet still compact, with well-arched toes and tough pads.
Tail: Set low on the croup as a natural extension of the topline. It is thick at the base and tapering toward the tip. The tail is carried in accordance with the dog’s mood and energy level, usually in a low, neutral position. It may appear tucked against the abdomen, nor carried high up above the level of the topline, or over the back. The tail is long, with the tip of the last vertebrae extending to the hock joints when held down. The tail may be straight, gently curved, sabered, or sickled.
Movement: Smooth, effortless, efficient, energetic, and springy, the characteristics of healthy structure are evident: when moving away, the forelegs and rear pasterns should remain parallel to one another. When viewing movement from the front, the forelegs should remain parallel, with elbows and paws moving neither in nor out. From the rear, the back pads should be visible when the rear legs are extended. As speed increases, the forelimbs and hindlimbs will converge to the centerline of gravity. From the side, the topline should remain firm and level. Good reach of movement in the front allows the forepaw to extend out in a line with the nose. The width between the forefeet when extended should be approximately equal to the width between the hindfeet when extended, indicating balance, good reach, and good drive. Dogs that exhibit any sign of breathing or locomotive difficulty shall be disqualified from the show ring.
Temperament: For the most part, the Borzoi is calm, even-tempered, and gentle throughout much of his life. His calm demeanor and avoidance of high-intensity situations makes him a great candidate for living in almost any type of home. However, a true predator at heart, he becomes a fierce and capable hunter at the sight of prey (either intended or unintended). Borzois can clear entire fields in seconds, and once they are on a target, getting them off is near impossible unless something physically stops them, or they’ve captured their prey. Being bred to chase and capture such game as mature wolves means that they were bred to continue the chase and the hunt despite the threat or potential for bodily harm and physical pain. This makes them especially tenacious and persistent, which many interpret as stubborn.

This persistent and potentially stubborn nature, coupled with a high prey drive, makes early puppy training and socialization imperative to ensure that the Borzoi can be controlled in all possible situations. Fenced yards and parks are also necessary. Any unprovoked aggressive or fearful behavior toward people is incorrect for this breed. In homes that are well-suited for the breed, they are known to be somewhat lazy, almost cat-like, and extremely loyal and affectionate.
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Breed Standard

BREED GROUP 8: Sighthound Breeds

Proportions: Squarely proportioned to slightly off-square, with length of the body, measured from the point of the forechest to the point of the rump may range from equal, just slightly greater, to just slightly less than the height at the withers. The ideal body height to length ratio may range from 1:1, 10:9, or 9:10. Females tend to be slightly longer. The Borzoi is powerfully and aerodynamically built. He is well-constructed and lean, yet sturdy, with strong (yet moderate) bone and powerful well-developed muscle throughout. Males should appear masculine, being more substantial in size and mass, while females should appear more feminine and slightly less substantial. Neither should lack overall type.

Head

General Appearance: Dolichocephalic skull type, moderate in size, being elegant, elongated, and lean, yet full in substance. Although the head is narrow overall, the topskull is sufficiently broad to allow for an intelligent and capable expression. Form above, the topskull forms the shape of an elongated oval. In profile, the topskull may range from slightly arched to almost flat. When viewed from the front, the topskull appears slightly arched to slightly domed. The planes of the head, in profile, are long and elegant. The occiput is well-marked. It is in proportion to the rest of the body. The head is clean-cut and without excess skin or wrinkle.
Expression: Aristocratic, elegant, and self-composed, yet powerful and capable.
Stop: The stop is only slightly to scarcely marked, however, it should be slightly perceptible.
Skull: The ideal muzzle-to-skull ratio is 1:1 to 5:4, with the topskull being equal to, or just slightly shorter than, the muzzle.
The ideal muzzle-to-skull axis may range from almost parallel to slightly divergent.
Muzzle: The muzzle is long, yet full, somewhat deep, and broad throughout, enough so to prevent a weak or snipy appearance. The plane, or bridge of the muzzle, may be straight, or slightly convexed toward the nose, or “roman-nosed.” It tapers only slightly from the broader base toward the pointed nose. Upper and lower jaws are well-developed, equal in length, have good bone substance.
Lips or Flews: Lips are well-pigmented, clean, and fit tightly over the teeth and jaws. The lips should never extend beyond the lower plane of the bottom jawline.
Nose: The nose is well-pigmented and black, or self-colored according to the coat in nonstandard color varieties. The nostrils are well-opened. The nose somewhat prominent, protruding slightly beyond the vertical line of the end of the muzzle, further exaggerating the length of the muzzle and head.
Cheeks: The cheeks are smoothly muscled with long, powerful masseters.
Dentition and Bite: Forty-two strong, clean, white teeth. Bite may be level, scissor, or reverse-scissor. Contact must be made between the top and bottom incisors. Missing or broken teeth as a result of routine work is not to be penalized.
Eyes: Moderate to somewhat large in size, almond to open-oval in shape, and amber to hazel, or medium to dark brown in color. They eyes are set slightly oblique. The eye rims are well-fitted and preferably well-pigmented, although lacking pigmentation around the eyes in dogs lacking color around the eyes is not uncommon, nor is it incorrect. The eyes are never bulging. There should be sufficient bone in the surrounding orbital sockets to protect the eyes. Any signs of entropion or ectropion are incorrect for this breed.
Ears: Fairly small to moderate in size. Set on with the inner corner level with, or slightly above eye level. They appear set fairly well back on the skull. The ears are triangle in shape, and rose in type. When in repose, the ears are held back and close to the head, with tips almost touching near the occiput. When alert, the ears may be held outward, or semi-erect, “broken,” fully erect, or asymmetrical. The ears are never long or overly large.

Body and Tail

General Description: Deep, agile, powerful, aerodynamic, and of good substance throughout. The body is never light and weedy, nor heavy and cloddy. Width at forequarters is approximately equal to the width at the hindquarters.
Neck: Fairly long in length to allow for excellent mobility. The neck is powerfully muscled with a good arch. The neck tapers smoothly from the deeper and broader body toward the head. The neck is clean-cut, without excess skin, throatiness, or dewlap.
Chest: Very deep and fairly broad, but never wider than deep. The brisket extends to the point of the elbows. The forechest is well-developed without being excessively pronounced.
Topline: The back is of a good length, broad, powerfully muscled, supple, and level from withers to the start of the loin. The loin is of a good length, taut yet flexible, with an elegant (yet supportive) arch that forms a graceful curve with the croup. The highest point of the loin should be located at around the first or second lumbar vertebrae, and should never rise above the height of the withers. The arch may be more pronounced on males than females. This should not be mistaken for roach or wheel backs. The topline is never elongated, swayed, steeply inclined, or flat and level.
Croup: Broad, long, powerful, and gently sloped. Forming a continuation of the gentle arch of the loin.
Underline: Moderate to well tucked. The underline is taut and firm, without any indication of sagging or excess weight.
Ribs: Long, well-sprung, well-laid-back, and oval-shaped, never barrel-chested or slab-sided.
Tail: Set low on the croup as a natural extension of the topline. It is thick at the base and tapering toward the tip. The tail is carried in accordance with the dog’s mood and energy level, usually in a low, neutral position. It may appear tucked against the abdomen, nor carried high up above the level of the topline, or over the back. The tail is long, with the tip of the last vertebrae extending to the hock joints when held down. The tail may be straight, gently curved, sabered, or sickled.

Forequarters and Hindquarters

Forequarters: Forequarters are always in balance with the hindquarters. Forequarters are well-angulated with well-laid-back shoulder blades. Shoulder blades are long and approximately equal in length to the upper arm and forearm, or the upper arm may be just slightly greater in length.
Elbows: Elbows are close to the body. The distance from the withers to the brisket may be equal to, or just less than, the distance from the elbows to the ground.
Forelegs: Frontal View: Straight, of good muscle, moderate yet sturdy bone, and parallel to one another.
Side View: The forelimbs appear straight with strong pasterns.
Pasterns: Never weak or broken.
Hindquarters: Upper thigh and lower thigh are long, equal in length, strong, of moderate, yet sturdy bone, and well-muscled.
Rear View: When viewed from the rear, the rear pasterns are parallel to one another.
Side View: Good angulation will allow the vertical line falling from the point of the rump to fall in line with the hock joint and the toes. Toes may fall within one to two paw-lengths behind the point of the rump, with the rear pasterns remaining perpendicular to the ground and parallel to one another.
Stifle Joint: Well-angulated with a good bend to well-let-down rear pasterns.
Angulations: Angulation of hindquarters is always in balance with angulation of forequarters.
Feet: Oval to somewhat elongated (hare foot), yet still compact, with well-arched toes and tough pads.

Coat

Skin: Well-fitted, yet supple. The skin should never obstruct the outline of the dog.
Coat Type: The Borzoi comes in a variety of coat types and lengths; and all are correct so long as they are “silky” and “soft” to the touch. The coat is a double-coat, with a dense, short undercoat. The outer coat can range in length from almost smooth-coated to medium-length. However, the coat should never be so long as to appear approaching afghan length, nor to obstruct the Borzoi’s unique outline. In all, the coat on the muzzle, head, and front portions of the lower legs are usually shorter, although some may have some longer hair, which is not incorrect.
The shorter coated dogs will have a body coat that is somewhat longer than the head and face, and slightly longer on the neck, forming a light ruff, chest, shoulders, underline, backs of the legs and thighs, and on the tail. Longer coats can be a moderate length on the body, and especially so on the ears, neck, chest, shoulders, underline, rear of the legs and thighs, and the tail, forming well-developed fringe and furnishings. The Borzoi should be exhibited and kept in as natural a coat as possible, with sufficient grooming to keep the coat clean and free of tangle. Trimming and scissoring is discouraged.
Coat Color or Pattern: CKC recognizes two color varieties of the Borzoi breed: the standard color and nonstandard color variety.
Standard coat color variety: Any color, except liver or blue, ranging from white to black, including cream to red (with or without masks, called fawn), brindle, sabled, agouti, tan pointed, creeping tan, running tan, or saddled. All solid marked, with white markings, or piebald.
Non-standard coat color variety: Liver, blue, silver, or Isabella varieties, including fawns, grizzles, sables, agoutis, brindles, or with tan (points, saddle, creeping, and running). Flecks, ticking, or mottling.

Movement

Smooth, effortless, efficient, energetic, and springy, the characteristics of healthy structure are evident: when moving away, the forelegs and rear pasterns should remain parallel to one another. When viewing movement from the front, the forelegs should remain parallel, with elbows and paws moving neither in nor out. From the rear, the back pads should be visible when the rear legs are extended. As speed increases, the forelimbs and hindlimbs will converge to the centerline of gravity. From the side, the topline should remain firm and level. Good reach of movement in the front allows the forepaw to extend out in a line with the nose. The width between the forefeet when extended should be approximately equal to the width between the hindfeet when extended, indicating balance, good reach, and good drive. Dogs that exhibit any sign of breathing or locomotive difficulty shall be disqualified from the show ring.

Temperament

For the most part, the Borzoi is calm, even-tempered, and gentle throughout much of his life. His calm demeanor and avoidance of high-intensity situations makes him a great candidate for living in almost any type of home. However, a true predator at heart, he becomes a fierce and capable hunter at the sight of prey (either intended or unintended). Borzois can clear entire fields in seconds, and once they are on a target, getting them off is near impossible unless something physically stops them, or they’ve captured their prey. Being bred to chase and capture such game as mature wolves means that they were bred to continue the chase and the hunt despite the threat or potential for bodily harm and physical pain. This makes them especially tenacious and persistent, which many interpret as stubborn. This persistent and potentially stubborn nature, coupled with a high prey drive, makes early puppy training and socialization imperative to ensure that the Borzoi can be controlled in all possible situations. Fenced yards and parks are also necessary. Any unprovoked aggressive or fearful behavior toward people is incorrect for this breed. In homes that are well-suited for the breed, they are known to be somewhat lazy, almost cat-like, and extremely loyal and affectionate.

Faults

All dogs should be in proper healthy condition, free from disease or defect. Any departure from this description is considered a fault. Unless altered, all male dogs should have two fully descended testicles.