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
Assume that the reader has decided to start
a kennel of Borzois. If one of Fortune's favourites, and money
is no object, the quickest way to reach the top of the tree
is to purchase a full-blown champion, or at least a dog that
has already made his name on the show bench. If this method
does not appeal to him he has the choice of two other ways -
either to buy a well-bred bitch and breed from her, or purchase
a puppy. In either case, should he not understand the breed,
he must not be led away by specious advertisements, but place
himself in the hands of a breeder of repute - of whom there
are many - and pay a fair price, and he will, in all probability,
get fair value for his money. Especially does this advice hold
good in the case of a young puppy (the purchase of which must
always be more or less a lottery), for the following reason.
Breeders cannot keep all their young stock, so that some must
be sold, and a cast-off from a strain that has for years been
carefully bred for certain points is far more likely to turn
out a good dog than one the dam of which has been mated "haphazard."
Not only this, but the best kennels own the best bitches, and
breed from them, and the dam is quite as important a factor
as the sire. As regards price, a good puppy, when ready to leave
the dam, should be had from £5 to £10, according
to merit and parentage; one offered at a lesser price should
be looked on with suspicion. Taking into consideration the value
of the breeding stock, the risk to the dam, the cost of extra
food, both for the dam while in whelp and the pups in the nest
- for pups are, or should be, fed from three weeks of age -
it stands to reason that no breeder can afford to sell a promising
puppy under the figure mentioned.
As regards choosing a puppy, the writer would
always recommend the intending purchaser, when feasible, to
go and see the whole litter. He can then compare the pup with
its brethren as regards head, bone, coat and other points, and
the puppy will be seen to better advantage than if hauled out
of a box or hamper after a long journey, to find itself amidst
strange faces and surroundings.
Length of head, well filled up before the eyes,
big bone, small ears, dark eyes and straight legs are the points
to be chiefly looked for, or as many of these qualities as can
be found combined in one individual. A long tail usually indicates
ultimate large size. Coat is a minor matter; if both parents
possess good coats the pups will, in all probability, inherit.
If the parents fail in coat, then, no matter how good the "puppy
coat," once this is cast, the adult coat will most likely
Having got the puppy home, the first question
is accomodation. It may be brought up indoors, or in a loose-box
(which makes a capital puppy house), or it may be kept in a
kennel with a railed-in run. Never chain up a Borzoi pup - or
even an adult dog - if it can possibly be helped; not only is
it cruelty, but the puppy would soon be ruined. If, therefore,
you cannot allow the pup full liberty, at least during the day,
the best thing to do is to try another breed.
The next question is food. A puppy up to four
months old should be fed five or six times a day; lean meat
minced fine, raw or cooked, stale bread and rice are suitable
- in fact the greater the variety the better. At five months
the number of feeds may be reduced, until, at six months, only
three are necessary. Milk is most valuable, and should be given
freely. At about four or five months of age, the puppy must
be taught to go on a collar and lead.
Borzoi pups are a mass of nerves, and require
very gentle treatment. If you can persuade the pupil that the
collar and lead are merely accessories to a good game, probably
he will take to them immediately, but once frighten him, and
it requires hours of patient labour to induce him to follow.
The pups should be dosed for internal parasites
when about eight weeks old, for which purpose the writer has
found no worm medicine to equal "Ruby." It can be
safely given to Borzoi pups of seven weeks if necessary; in
fact, all the writer's puppies are dosed at that age, and he
has never known "Ruby" to cause any ill effects.
As regards the height of puppies, the average
height only can be given, and may be exceeded in some cases,
or the contrary.
Three months old, 19 in. at shoulder,
Six months old, 25 in. at shoulder,
Nine months old, 27 to 29 in.
After nine months the growth is, as a rule,
slow, continuing in some instances to 18 months. A Borzoi continues
to fill out in girth, etc., up to two years, and may be considered
in its prime at three to four years of age.
Borzois, as a rule, make excellent mothers,
experiencing little difficulty in whelping. The litters vary
from two to a dozen or more, but five pups are enough for the
average bitch to rear; six may be allowed if she is a big, strong
bitch. It is better to consign the remainder to the bucket,
or to procure a foster-mother if the litter is very valuable.
The first few weeks of a puppy's life are all important, and
it is wiser, by far, to sacrifice two or three pups for the
benefit of the remainder, which thereby get a greater share
of the dam's milk. At the age of three weeks the puppies should
be taught to lap, thus avoiding too great a strain on the dam's
With regard to the all-important question of
the sire, the writer would impress on the would-be breeder the
maxim that "like breeds like," and if you want to
breed high-class stock you must use the best material available.
Breeding from inferior dogs in order to save a sovereign or
two on the stud fee is economy of the worst description. Fourth-rate
pups cost as much to rear in time, trouble and food as first-rate
ones; and when reared there is no sale for them: whereas pups
by a well-known dog will always command a market. For the same
reason breeding from a really inferior bitch is not to be recommended,
because, however good the stud dog, he cannot counteract any
excessively bad faults. Still, a bitch of good pedigree, perhaps
not quite up to show form, can often be purchased for from £10
to £15 and even less, and mated to the best dog, the pedigree
of which is suitable, should ensure a litter of likely winners.
Borzois, whether pups or adults, require only
the same treatment as other large breeds. They can stand a great
amount of cold, provided their quarters are dry; in fact, the
colder the weather the more they seem to enjoy it. The writer's
hounds are kept in cold kennels, with open doors, the whole
year round. Damp, of course, must be avoided. Rugs are unnecessary
for this breed, except, perhaps, when travelling at night in
winter, after leaving a show, where the building has been heated.