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 be poor.

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 system.

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.

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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