Possessed of a quiet dignity and independence, the Borzoi is sometimes compared to a cat – a very tall cat!
Once past the boisterous puppy stage, most Borzois are calm and quiet indoors, gliding through your living room with light-footed grace.
Off-leash, though, the Borzoi can explode into a powerful, driving, floating gallop. Therefore the space where he is loosed to run must be safe Breeders say one of the leading causes of death in Borzois is being hit by a car.
With strangers, most Borzois are polite but reserved. Because of their great size and strength, they require early socialization to avoid either skittishness/shyness
Usually sociable with other dogs of their own size, the Borzoi is a chaser of anything that runs, including cats and small dogs. Once known as Russian Wolfhound, this breed can easily dispatch almost any smaller animal.
Like all sighthounds, Borzoi are independent and not inclined to obey slavishly.
Though usually sweet and docile, this breed can be touch-sensitive and may react with lightning reflexes if grabbed unexpectedly or startled. This is a not a breed to be taken lightly or teased.
If you want a dog who…
Is tall and slender, yet very powerful – a racy athlete
Has a silky coat that comes in many colors
Is extremely athletic and graceful – can run swiftly and jump .
Carries himself in a calm, dignified manner
As an adult, is mannerly and undemanding in the home
Is polite with people
Doesn’t bark much
A Borzoi may be right for you
If you don’t want to deal with…
Providing a safe area where he can gallop
Shyness or suspiciousness when not socialized enough
Emotional sensitivity to stress and abrupt changes in schedule
Instincts to chase other living creatures that run
An independent “what’s in it for me?” attitude toward training – can be stubborn and strong-willed
A Borzoi may not be right for you.
Keep in mind that the inheritance of temperament is less predictable than the inheritance of physical traits such as size or shedding. Temperament and behavior are also shaped by raising and training.
If you want a puppy, you can avoid some negative traits by choosing the right breeder and the right puppy. Unfortunately, you usually can’t tell whether a puppy has inherited temperament or health problems until he grows up.
If I was considering a Borzoi, I would be most concerned about…
Providing enough running exercise. Borzoi don’t need miles of running, but they certainly can’t get by with leashed walks around the block and a small yard. These dogs need access to a large safe area – for free movement.
See if there is a dog club in your area that offers an activity called lure coursing, which is chasing a mechanical lure in a controlled setting. This is an appropriate outlet for the full-speed galloping behaviors that are “hardwired” into your Borzoi’s genes.
Chasing other animals. Most people have no experience with how lightning-fast Borzoi really are. They might be fine with other family pets in the home.
Providing enough socialization. Standoffish by nature, Borzois need extensive exposure to people and to unusual sights and sounds. Otherwise their natural caution can become shyness or suspicion, which are difficult to live with.
The independent temperament. Sighthounds are very different from other kinds of dogs. They are independent thinkers who don’t particularly care about pleasing you. They may display passive resistance by bracing their legs and refusing to move. You must show them, through absolute consistency, that you mean what you say.
Emotional sensitivity. Be honest…. is there tension in your home? Are people loud or angry or emotional? Are there arguments?
Borzois are extremely sensitive to stress and can end up literally sick to their stomachs, with severe digestive upsets and neurotic behaviors, if the people in their home are having family problems. Sighthounds are peaceful dogs who need a peaceful, harmonious home.
Shedding. Borzoi shed a . You’ll find hair all over your clothing and furnishings.
Potential health problems. More than most other breeds, Borzoi are prone to a life-threatening digestive syndrome called bloat. It occurs out of the blue and can kill a Borzoi in a matter of hours. In addition, an alarming number of Borzoi are dying early of inherited cancer and heart disease.
© by Michele Welton