Borzois stand as one of the most elegant and regal-looking dog breeds out there. They are known for their calm and agreeable temperament as well as their laid-back attitude. But this can’t be further from the truth, the borzois actually have a high energy level and need constant exercise and mental stimulation.
Borzois have a distinctive look, they have a long sleek body much like a greyhound and also have a long face. Their coat is usually curly and silky and of a medium length, unlike the short coat of the greyhound.
Male borzois will usually stand at around 2 feet and 4 inches but have been known to be over 32 inches tall, whereas the female borzois will reach a couple of inches below the male.
Because the borzois are very similar looking to the greyhound, it is often wondered if the borzois are as fast as the greyhound, or even faster. This article will explore the question of the borzoi’s speed. All stemming from their history as hunters in the 17th century. We know that Greyhounds are fast; are borzois fast?
The Borzois breed was first recorded in Russia around 1650 where they were used as hunting dogs, this is where the name ‘Russian wolfhound’, a common nickname for the borzois stems from.
The exact lineage of the Borzois is up for debate with some researchers speculating that they are descendants of the Tatars, Owtcher, and Russian sheepdog. Others speculate that the borzois were bred by a Russian duke to be hunting dogs, as the Arabian greyhound was not suited for the harsh Russian winters.
The duke bred the greyhounds with Russian sheepdog to produce the borzois, an effective hunter that could stand the cold winters.
Whether or not they were bred by the Russian aristocracy or descended from other breeds of dog, one thing we know for certain is that the borzois were used as hunting dogs. Borzois were kept in large packs of a hundred or more.
These large packs would hunt hares and foxes, but some were known to hunt down wolves for sport. The pack of borzois would be expected to pin down a wolf and wait for the hunter to catch up.
This hunting pedigree does mean that Borzois are naturally hunting dogs and they have the instinct of a hunting dog, one effect of that is speed as hunting dogs need to be quick to catch any prey.
In the modern-day, many borzois have been used for racing due to their hunter instincts, some even rival greyhounds on the track.
How Fast Are Borzois
Due to their rich, hunting sighthound history, the Borzoi is a fast dog. Borzois can easily reach around 56 to 64 kilometers per hour, for reference, this is somewhere in between a whippet that can run at 56 kph and a greyhound that can run around 72kph.
The Borzois is a very athletic dog and needs constant activity to stay healthy and entertained. Borzois will quickly become bored if not given the correct stimuli that an active dog needs and will shun any repetitive activity, becoming quite stubborn if not properly motivated.
The borzois can be very tricky to slow down due to their incredible speed and their hunting pedigree. Borzois are a ‘sighthound’ meaning they have an amazing field of vision. Their eyes are almond-shaped, this gives them a 270-degree field of vision, whereas a human only has 180 degrees.
This means that these dogs can spot any prey from a far distance and because of their hunting instincts they will not hesitate to dart after it as a fun activity. Therefore it is crucial that you keep your borzoi leashed until it is trained properly to recall every time without fail.
Looking After Your Borzois
The first most important thing to do when looking after a borzoi is to give it plenty of outside training. Borzois are fairly active dogs and will become stubborn and lazy if they are kept inside for long periods of time. Daily, hour-long, leashed walks are a great idea when looking after a borzoi, but as previously mentioned they will chase after anything, this could not only be dangerous to the animal it is chasing which could be a small dog or a cat, but traffic deaths are a very common occurrence with dogs and your borzois could seriously harm themselves.
You, therefore, need to make sure that you have your borzois under control at all times, although they look slim, their strength could surprise you, and if they break free it will be difficult to recall them if they have not been trained properly.
Letting Your Borzoi Run
Even if your borzoi has not been trained in recall, it is also important for them to be able to run around. This requires letting them off of the leash, you’ll want to do this in a fully enclosed space with high fences.
This is because as well as running at high speeds, the borzoi is also a very good jumper. If you have a big garden that has high fences then that is fantastic, however, if your garden is small or not fully enclosed then it may be a good idea to look for local dog parks.
This could also be a great way to stimulate your borzoi socially, meeting up with other sighthounds such as greyhounds and other borzois is a fantastic activity to entertain your borzoi.
Sighthounds are born to hunt and a lot of their stimulation comes from hunting activities such as running and chasing. There are programs called lure coursing that accommodate this, lure coursing is a sport that involves sighthounds chasing a mechanically operated lure.
Sometimes this is competitive but there are certain places that do it as a social event for your sighthound, it will bring out the borzois natural hunting instinct and can be a fun social activity.
Playing With Your Borzoi Indoors
When you are not outside with your borzoi, grab a toy and play with it inside. Borzois especially enjoy a game of fetch due to their hunting instincts. However, don’t be too pushy to play with your borzoi, and don’t be too disappointed if they don’t seem up for playing a game.
Borzois are a very independent breed and will often do things at their own pace, when they are allowed to dictate the tempo they can be a fun-loving and playful breed too. You should always use positive reinforcement when your borzoi wants to play and try to stray away from harsh training techniques.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Borzois Easy To Train?
Much like other sighthounds, borzois are a very independent species. Many borzois aren’t even motivated by food or treats. This makes them very hard to train. When training a borzoi, positive and gentle reinforcement is key as they are emotionally sensitive dogs.
Are Borzois Good With Other Dogs?
Borzois are usually fine with most other dogs but tend to prefer other sighthounds. It is advised that borzois are kept away from smaller, toy breeds of dogs as they have a tendency to try and catch small dogs, which could end up in injury to the smaller dog.