Borzois

from the Kennel Encyclopedia, edited by J. Sidney Turner, Chairman of the Committee of the Kennel Club. Published in 1907. The Borzoi section was written by S.P. Borman.

Although known in this country as the Borzoi, or Russian Wolfhound, this dog belongs to the Greyhound family - is, in fact, the Russian Greyhound of "Psovoi", and is closely allied to that large group of Eastern Greyhounds which includes the Persian, the Circassian Orloff Hound, and others. No doubt all these dogs originated from one common stock, the characteristics of the various varieties probably being caused by different crosses, and also, to some extent, by climactic influences.

The Borzoi in its native land is by no means a "poor man's dog," being kept principally by the nobles and rich landowners for hunting purposes, the various strains of the leading kennels being jealously guarded and seldom disposed of. Certain it is, that, even in Russia, really good specimens are hard to obtain, for as falconry was the national pastime of the Englishman in "ye goode olde days," so is coursing that of the Russian, and he values his best hounds far too highly to part with them.

Indeed, a more fasinating form of sport than Wolfhunting can hardly be imagined. One method adopted, and perhaps the most popular, is as follows: Wolves having been located in a wood, the hunt proceeds there on horseback, each hunter holding in his left hand a "leash" of Borzois, as nearly matched in speed, size and colour as possible - generally two dogs and a bitch. Arrived on the scene of action, the chief huntsman stations the remainder every hundred yards or so round the wood, and a pack of Foxhounds is sent in to draw it. Should a wolf break covert and make for the open the nearest hunter, putting his horse at a gallop, slips his hounds. These are after their game like lightning, each hound endeavouring to seize the wolf behind the ears in such a manner that he cannot use his teeth, holding him until the hunter arrives, who, throwing himself from his horse, gives the coup de grace with his hunting knife; or perhaps the Wolf is taken alive and sent to the kennels, for the purpose of training the young dogs to get their neck-hold, as not until they have mastered this grip are they considered fit to take their part in field work. (As an interesting example of hereditary instinct, one has only to watch young Borzoi pups playing or squabbling among themselves, and it will be noticed that they invariably seek to obtain this "neck-gold".).

Another form is called Field-hunting. In this case the hunters advance across the open country at intervals of 200 yards or so, slipping the hounds at any game they may put up, such as foxes and hares. Trials are also held, taking place in an enclosure railed in with a high fence. The wolves are brought in carts similar to our deer carts. A brace of dogs is loosed, and the whole merit of the course consists in the manner and power with which the dogs can hold the wolf, so that the keepers can secure him alive. It follows, therefore, that the dogs must be of equal speed; one dog alone would be unable to hold the quarry. It will thus be seen that in Russia the dog is not used for hunting the wolf only, but hares and smaller game; and it is a pity that some coursing-man does not take up the breed over here; properly trained, the Borzoi should hold its own with the Greyhound. Many dogs the writer has possessed have been excellent at both hares and rabbits.

It must now be some thirty years since the first Borzois were imported into England, when an occasional specimen was shown in "variety" classes, being generally catalogued as a "Siberian Wolfhound." But the credit of being the founder of a large kennel of these aristocratic hounds belongs, undoubtedly, to the Duchess of Newcastle, who, between the years 1889 and 1892, imported several good specimens, among others Champion Osslad, Kaissack, Champion Golub, Champion Milka and Oudar. In 1894 the breed was granted a separate classification in the Kennel Club Stud Book (Vol. xxi.).

About 1895, the breed fairly "caught on" and has continued to make rapid strides in public favour, as witness the entries obtained at many shows where a good classification is given; 80 to 100 being by no means a record. Why? The answer is easy. To those who do not know what a Borzoi is, the writer would say, in the words of our neighbours across the channel, "picture to yourself" a dog combining at once the size and strength of the Deerhound, the speed of the Greyhound, the symmetry of the Whippet, with a long, silky coat (glistening white predominating), and a head, the length of which is unique, and possessed by no other breed. Add to these attractions the fact that the dog is affectionate, cannot be excelled as a lady's companion (by the way, practically all the leading kennels are owned by ladies), makes an excellent house dog, and last, but not least, requires no "trimming" before he can be exhibited! Are not these sufficient reasons for the popularity attained in so short a time by this breed?

continued >>>

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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