Known before as the Russian Wolfhound, the Borzoi was specifically bred for stamina and speed – qualities which are necessary to course hares, wolves and other game that can be found roaming the Russian plains. However, today, many Borzois are instead trained to be graceful and gentle companions – huge home lap dogs that sometimes may be even appointed as couch potatoes.
The traditional Borzoi is a running hound with strong instincts to hunt large and fierce game in cold climates. With its strong jaws, it can even hold down a grown wolf. And because it has thick, long coat which protects it from snow and the cold weather, the Borzoi makes an ideal companion for hunters living in the cold parts of the world. Borzois typically race into the wild when unleashed. They will go after any animal that runs, whether big or small. These hunting dogs also tend to be very independent but at the same time sensitive. Some may come timid though and act reserved when with strangers.
Although Borzois can be trained in obedience, it still pays to keep in mind that they are a breed of hound. They are less willing to please their owners and are more free- thinking as compared to other hunting dogs. Training Borzois should be kept consistent and firm, but still gentle. If you want to get these hunting dogs in their best shape, you have to display a natural authority over them. Make the home rules clear and stick to them confidently. Borzois have very little territorial instinct as well. This means they should not be trusted to run off without leash. The sight of even just a tiny animal will set them off and they may not even hear you calling them back.
These hunting dogs are similar in shape to Greyhounds. They have narrow, domed heads and slightly arched long muzzles. Their small ears lay at the back of their heads and they have distinct teeth that meet in a level (scissors bite). Borzois have back lines that are slightly arched upward. Their chest is narrow but deep; front legs, straight; and they have low tails set in a curve. Their coat is generally long and silky but can come either wavy or plain flat. This hound usually comes in several colors as well. They can be white, black, tan, golden or tan/gray with black markings. Males can stand 26 to 28 inches at the shoulder and weigh 75 to 105 pounds. Females can stand 23 to 26 inches at the shoulder and weigh 55 to 85 pounds.
Borzois tend to be very sweet and intelligent hunting dogs. When trained as house dogs, they can be gentle and well-behaved. Usually, they feel content just reclining on the sofa or in a soft, cozy bed. They have a calm nature but they still need good walks and free runs every day. As hunters, they are the wild runners. They get distracted by moving animals so easily and will run after them when they get the chance. Such is why it is discouraged that they be allowed to run free without a leash outdoors. Owners are recommended to build a large, securely-fenced area where their hounds can play.