J.B. Thomas Says American Borzoi Lead the World

by Micheline de Zutter
April 1, 1934, American Kennel Gazette


"For hours, we passed through a closely cultivated grain country, where the peasants were gathering the last vestiges of the crops, by methods, in many instances, not far removed from those employed in Egypt in the days of bondage; past flocks and herds, and droves of hobbled horses attended by barefooted boys and girls; through forest and open plain until the eye was delighted bu the sight of the white walls of Monseigneur's mansion, nestled in the midst of an irregular hamlet of peasants' izbas.

"I was met by M. Walzoff, himself, that excellent sportsman and breeder, and by Capt. Golovin, the resident manager of the kennels, and was most hospitably entertained. The hunting-lodge, built many years ago by an Italian architect, as were many of the Russian country estates, looks over a broad expanse of prairie dotted with coverts. The magnificent kennels lie on the two slopes of a valley to the left. Nearly every room in the lodge is hung with hunting trophies killed by the Grand Duke, and rigorously 'protected' by his clown, a dwarf, about three feet six inches tall, bearing on his thumb the Seigneur's signet ring, a curious relic of mediaeval custom.

"I was not at all prepared for what I saw in these wonderful kennels. The size and evenness in type of the hounds were wonderful for any breed. Originally, they were all white and grey; but have now bred white and tan; tan and black; all grey; and even black; and pure white. The black ones are not kept.

"At first, it was nearly impossible for me to comprehend how these dogs could be so good, displaying everything that the ideal pictures had called for. Eventually I ascertained that, about 29 years ago, the Grand Duke Nicholas had started the kennel, and later had placed it in charge of M. Walzoff, who had had his own hunt at one time. With every resource at his command, M. Walzoff got together at first comparatively few specimens of real ancient type hounds, finding them in remote corners of Russia. Having a complete knowledge of their blood lines, he was able, by intelligent action, by never selling any, and by the severest process of selection, to produce the wonderful collection."

Later, Mr. Thomas visited the Woronzova Kennels of Mr. Balderoff, and before he returned to America he had arranged for the importation of quite a number of dogs from each place. The best of them came from Perchina, and upon them is founded the extremely good borzoi or Russia wolfhounds found in the United States, today. The following year, Mr. Thomas returned to Russia and hunted with the Grand Duke's wonderful hunt on the enormous Perchina estate, where the hare, the fox, and the wolf are preserved with the greatest care.

As far as the borzoi of the Continent are concerned, Mr. Thomas issued a challenge, in 1906, to place a group eight of his Valley Farm products in competition with eight borzoi from Western Europe, under a trio of judges, and for a stake of 5,000 francs. This challenge was specifically addressed to Mr. G. Van Muylem of Belgium, but it was never taken up.

America's dogs of today are descended of the ones that would have been involved in that contest. Mr. Van Muylem, by not accepting the challenge - whose terms were eminently fair, even giving a little advantage to the Belgian - admitted the superiority of the American dogs of Russian lineage. So, by a simple process of reasoning, the borzoi of the Continent, today, cannot be any better than their progenitors.

To go one step further, the glory of the borzoi died with the revolution back in 1917, so that it is extremely doubtful if any of the true, ancient type borzoi have come out of Russia in 17 to 20 years. Only in America does one find the true descendants of the remarkable Perchina and Woronzova kennels that bred the Russian wolfhound in its noble and traditional manner.

Coursing and Racing Dogs
(Freeman Lloyd)

(not exclusively Borzoi)

Coursing Excerpt from The Beasts of the Prairies

Dog of All the Russias
(W. Haynes)

Dogs of Today - the Russian Wolfhound or Borzoi

Dogs That Hunt Bears and Wolves (Excerpt)
Freeman Lloyd

Excerpt from Hutchinson's Encyclopedia

Excerpt from the Kennel Encyclopaedia

Freeman Lloyd on Borzoi

Hound of the Czars
(Walter Dyer)

Hunting Dogs: Sighthounds and Scenthounds
(L. P. Sabaneev, 1899)

Hunting Large Game Excerpt

J.B. Thomas Says American Borzoi Lead the World
(Micheline de Zutter)

An Outline of the History of the Borzoi
Baron G.D. Rozen, 1891

Ruby de Bolshoy
(Melanie Richards)

Russian Wolfhounds of Yesterday and Today
(Freeman Lloyd)

RWCA's History (1930)

the Borzoi
(H. W. Huntington)

the Borzoi or Russian Wolfhound
(Major Borman)

the Hare and Many Foes

the Russian Borzoi (excerpt from "Dogs From All Angles")

the Russian Wolfhound
(James Watson)

the Russian Wolfhound or Borzoi
(W. Johnston)

Twentieth Century Dog - Borzoi Section

Watson on Borzoi


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