The aristocratic, elegant Borzoi is a Russian product, bred in Czarist days exclusively for hunting wolves, a favorite pastime of Russian nobility at the time.
A member of the sight hunting family of hounds, the Borzoi has all the characteristics of this group.
He will chase anything which moves, is very fleet of foot, runs mute and relies upon his keen sight rather than his nose to locate game.
He is a natural killer and is dead game in the field.
The gentle pastime of wolf coursing differed somewhat from live hare coursing.
The dogs hunted in pairs as they do after the more lowly hare, but instead of trying to lead each other to the game they would range up on either side of the running wolf and pounce on him simultaneously.
A northern wolf is a considerably tougher proposition to handle than a Dingo, so one can imagine what would happen if the dogs made a mistake.
Gift to Queen
The late Queen Alexandra was presented with a pair of Borzois by the Czar and exhibited them at Crufts Show, England, at the turn of the century. They aroused tremendous interest and, before long, Russian noblemen were being cultivated by their English brethren for gifts of Borzois.
Possession of a Greyhound by a commoner was a “crime” in England 250 years ago, so was ownership of a Borzoi a capital offense in Russia less than 100 years ago.
Russian peasant women were even required to wet nurse puppies in the event of the death of their dams, and while this indicates the esteem in which the dogs were held, it did not assist the pups.
Borzois had a brilliant era in England and many good Collie breeders cursed them bitterly, as astute owners used these dogs to “improve” the appearance of the modern Scotch Collie.
Quite a few Borzois were imported to Australia in the pre-war years but the breed did not make much progress in the show ring. They were used in Victoria for hunting kangaroos and dingoes.
Borzois are probably stronger now than at any period of their history in Australia. The breed has improved and their ability to hunt large Australian games is more widely recognized today.
Many are sold in Queensland for hunting dingoes and are proving a worthwhile investment, while others are to be found in kangaroo-infested areas and are doing a very good job there.
The Borzois is a most aristocratic dog in appearance and makes a decorative companion in a spacious home.
He is a good-tempered dog, like most members of this family, is not aggressive and is a devoted pal.
He is built much on the lines of an elegant Greyhound, but rather more arched in topline.
The head is long, lean and Roman nosed. Eyes, ears and jaws are similar to those of the Greyhound and, generally speaking, the type is similar throughout.
But the Borzoi is a larger dog, weighing 80-90 pounds and must be quite free from coarseness anywhere.
An outstanding difference to other sight hunters is his long, silky coat.
This is usually white body color with tan, brindle or black markings.
It gives the dog a lovely finish and when properly groomed, Borzois are extremely handsome dogs.