from Hutchinson's Popular and Illustrated Dog Encyclopedia, published Great Britain in weekly excerpts in 1934.


It is an in interesting fact that, although the breed was well known in France and illustrated in books of the eighteenth century, British books of that period give no mention of such a breed, nor any suggestion that such a breed might be discovered. This is strange, for these books deal with the rarest of dogs in every corner of the world, and the authors exhibit a marked anxiety to include them all - indeed, to create a few extra breeds to fill the pages!

Rumanian Borzoi

But in 1812 two Englishmen visited Russia and wrote a book describing, amongst much else, the Russian huntsmen, in their original and attractive clithing, going out wolf-hunting with Greyhounds of great beauty. They described the dogs as not unlike Italian Greyhounds, except that they were much larger and had long silky coats. They called them Fantailed Greyhounds, and went on to say that whilst the Court spent much money on these dogs, they seldom went hunting. Two years later another visitor to Russia mentions dogs known as Siberian Greyhounds.

click to enlargeIt was thirty years or so later that great interest was aroused in England by the arrival in London of two of the Russian Fantailed Greyhounds, presented to Her Majesty Queen Victoria. Their beauty was noted, and the "dog expert" of those days hurried along with a tape-measure to report later that they were three feet tall to the top of their heads!

They were described as being very much a kind of Scottish Deerhound, but the authority adds, possibly to show his loyalty to native breeds, that they did not compare with the Scottish breed in courage, for he asserts that these Russian dogs would often run along by the side of the wolf for a hundred yards or more before either of them could make up its mind to grapple with him!

This gift to Her Majesty was the start of the breed in England. It became a Society breed. It was never generally kept, for it hardly suited the average person. It became a dog of the fashionable hom. The public were, however, greatly interested, and it was only necessary to advertise that a Borzoi was to be seen to collect a crowd. The Czar presented further examples of the breed to the British Royal Family and to some of the nobility. In 1863 the first Borzoi was exhibited at a show held in Birmingham, and immediately became the great attraction. A large number of people visited Birmingham that day with the sole object of seeing "Katae", the Duchess of Manchester's pure-bred Borzoi that had been presented to her from the Czar's Imperial kennels. In 1876 Lady Emily Peel exhibited a dog by the name of "Czar", a son of the Duke of Hamilton's "Moscow", out of "Sandringham", the last-named being the property of that interesting dog enthusiast, the Rev. J. C. Macdona.

Among other Borzois that arrived in England from the Imperial kennels were two sent to the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII), "Molodetz" and "Owdalzka", the former being exhibited by His Royal Highness at Laycock's Yard, Islington, London.

click to enlargeThe Princess (later to be Queen Alexandra) made her Borzoi her constant personal companion, and many pictures are to be seen of her with this very beautiful example of the breed, showing Her Royal Highness standing with "Alex" by her side. "Alex" was much exhibited and became a champion.

In 1885 Lady Innes Ker started her Borzoi kennel, and in 1888 Colonel Wellesley showed "Krilutt", which became the first Borzoi champion in England. He also exhibited a dog named "Damon", noted for the beauty of its head, and it is very possible that this head set the ball rolling that in time nearly brought the Borzoi breed to an end in England. For "Damon's" head roused breeders to attempt to get similar heads and, further, to improve them, and when a thing like that starts it is difficult to stop it.


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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