Dogs of Today - the Russian Wolfhound or Borzoi

This article appeared in the Kennel section of the July 1987 Outlook magazine. The author is not noted.

This beautiful breed may be said to combine the graceful outline of the greyhound with the handsome coat of the high-bred English Setter. While good specimens are comparatively little known, people who have seen the noted winners at bench shows will not soon forget the clean finish and graceful dignity of the borzoi.

He is an aristocrat of canine circles, and, in addition to his beauty, he possesses excellent qualities which, under proper conditions, admirably fit him to be both pet and pleasant comrade. In general type, he should be something between the deerhound and the greyhound, for, while lacking some of the bone and wire-like sinews of the former, he should possess more substance than the latter.

drawing of a Russian Wolfhound or BorzoiEvery inch of his shapely form should be elegant, while one of his chief charms lies in his expressive face. His head is extraordinarily long, while skull and muzzle show the perfection of fine modeling. His eyes, and indeed his entire expression, are gentle, confiding, serene and most winning, for with it all is a certain air of repose and quiet well-bred self-reliance that is very pleasing. His neck is long, muscular, and gracefully arched, firmly set into beautiful sloping shoulders. The chest is narrow, but very deep, affording plenty of room between the long ribs. The brisket is prominent, and the flanks well tucked up. The back is shapely as it well can be, the loin elegantly arched, the tail long and fringed with silky hair. The legs should show power with grace, and the feet should be good. The hindquarters carry plenty of muscle to insure power and speed, yet it is so smoothly laid on as to appear less than it really is.

The coat is long and of silky fineness, forming a liberal "feather" upon the legs, chest, belly, and hindquarters. The color varies; black-and-white, with tan markings, being as pretty as any.

Here we have a tall, singularly handsome dog, larger, but keeping all te grace of the greyhound, with the added attraction of a coat as handsome as the finest ever worn by a Llewellin or a Laverack. There is a lot of intelligence, too, in this dog's narrow head; and his heart is in the right place and big enough to faithfully love those who love him, and to support him in a flying chase or in battle.

In his native Russia he is used to course the wolf, which he chases by sight. This fact may appear strange to those who have noted the gentle elegance of choice show specimens, yet the records tell that this canine gentleman is both game and powerful in attack. Of his speed and staying qualities there is no doubt, for no dog of his build could lack either the ability to get over the country or to withstand a reasonable amount of work. In repose he is a loving friend, but when roused, like the sterner deerhound, or a stout-hearted greyhound, he can give and take even with the keen-fanged wolf.

The first specimens brought to this country a few years afo excited much comment when they appeared on the bench. All sorts of ridiculous yarns were told about the fierceness of the dogs when hunting, the ease with which one of them could dispose of the largest wolf, and the phenomenal speed, courage, and endurance they displayed in the chase.

As frequently occurs in stories relating to dogs, most of these yarns either were manufactured out of whole cloth, or else woven of very stretchy material. Later on some of the new dogs were matched to course wolves against some Western greyhounds. As I remember the resulting fizzle, neither breed would take many liberties with the wolves of the West. My own private opinion is that I have seen timber wolves, any specimen of which would just enjoy eating one or two borzois, or greyhounds either.

But few of my readers are interested in the borzoi's ability where wolves are concerned. They will know him best as an elegant comrade. The dog is so large and active that he should never be kept where he cannot be given plenty of exercise. He is a thing of beauty, and a joy forever about the country house, and he shows to marked advantage when accompanying a smartly equipped trap, or, better still, when bounding beside some well-mounted and fair equestrienne.

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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