With their characteristic long faces, slim builds, and luscious shaggy coats, Borzois are certainly a unique breed of dog when it comes to looks.
Originally known as the Russian Wolfhound for its country and purpose of origin, these dogs were first bred for hunting wolves and other game on expeditions as early as the 13th century. The breed standard was codified in the mid 17th century and was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in the late 19th century. That’s a lot of history for a single dog breed!
Although they’re mainly popular in Russia and Eastern Europe, they have been introduced to Western Europe and America for well over a hundred years now. With their distinct shape, calm temperament, and fairly good general health for dogs of their size, Borzois make an excellent addition to your family home, and will soon enough worm their way into your heart.
The short answer to “are borzoi loyal” is that while they are absolutely attached to their owners, they are also sight hounds, and therefore easily distracted.
Are Borzois a loyal dog breed?
There’s a saying about dogs that says, ‘The bond with a dog is as lasting as the ties of this Earth can ever be.’ by Konrad Lorenz. If you own a dog, you already know this. There isn’t anything quite like coming home from a hard day, for your dog to welcome you like your royalty. It might be quiet, it might be loud, but it is always filled with love.
But does this same affection extend to Borzois? Some breeds of dogs have a reputation for being disobedient or hard to trust. This is vital to know before you commit to buying any kind of dog, so you can best meet their needs when they enter your life.
Now, being a hunting dog, like a lot of breeds such as Jack Russells, Welsh Terriers, and other large dogs bred to hunt like Afghan Hounds, have to be intelligent to be able to recognize a target animal when on the hunt, like a fox, a rabbit, or wolves in cases like the Borzoi. And intelligent dogs have a tendency towards disobedience in some cases, as they get bored without a good routine to keep them stimulated.
Hunting breeds also have a habit of becoming single-minded when they find a target to chase. You’ve probably heard plenty of stories of dog owners letting their big hunting dogs off their leash in the park, only for them to see a squirrel and rabbit, lose all sense and reason, and bolt after them, disappearing off into the distance, despite their owner’s best efforts.
Unfortunately, being a hunting dog breed, Borzois fall squarely in this category. Being originally bred to hunt wolves, Borzois have a strong need to follow their target once they’ve found one. It’s almost catlike in some way, how they will keep doing their current task, despite any instructions that tell them not to from an owner.
Of course, this isn’t to say that it isn’t possible to have a calm Borzoi when outdoors. Upbringing is important when discussing how a dog behaves, a fact we will come back to later in this article. But given that officially recognized breeds are often described by their temperament as much as their looks, the majority of Borzoi’s share this characteristic.
Why are some dog breeds more loyal than others?
To a newcomer, without any experience in dog-related topics, it can seem a little bizarre at first. Why do dogs have such wildly different temperaments, but can still be categorized based on a few small details?
Again, it all comes back to what a dog was bred for.
Many dog breeds, often described as lapdogs, Shih Tzu’s and Pugs, are primarily bred to be domestic companions to people, breeds that don’t have high-intensity tasks or labor in mind for their original purpose to us.
And because of that, will typically be responsive to an owner’s commands if the reward is being close to them and affection, although this can lead to overprotectiveness and hostility to others if the owner isn’t careful.
Other breeds, like Labradors and Golden Retrievers, are often bred to work well with people in a social environment, so they are fairly easily taught to do tasks. This is why many retrievers are frequently support-work dogs of some kind, like helping lead the blind, for instance.
Then, there are breeds of work dogs. Types like Terriers, Beagles, and of course, Borzois. Who, as we previously mentioned, are excellent at spotting targets and giving chase.
Again, these are often intelligent breeds that are used to a high level of stimulation; being outdoors, picking up clues for and looking for prey of some kind, finding them, and bringing them down. If they aren’t doing tasks like this, or activities with a similar level of focus needed, they can become bored, disruptive, and disobedient.
It should be noted, though, that disobedience and loyalty, whilst they might be linked in some way, are not the same thing. A disobedient dog might still be incredibly affectionate to a dog owner, but the owner may simply not be able to keep the canine’s focus on them. However, an obedient dog is usually a good indicator that the owner and their pet have some kind of understanding, which is often a very good indicator of loyalty.
How to improve your Borzoi’s loyalty
However, for all the talk of a dog’s breed is so important to the temperament about things like being loyal, it isn’t the be-all, end-all of what they can do. How a Borzoi is raised, how they are taught to behave, can arguably have as much of an impact on a dog’s behavior as their breed, sometimes even more. For example, many breeds of lapdogs and working dogs can work in support roles.
Here are a couple of ways to build your bond with your Borzoi, which will help make them more loyal to you:
Creating a routine for your Borzoi to follow
This one is a great one for helping build a bond with any kind of work dog, especially Borzois. Given that a lot of their ancestry was focused on following routines for hunting, having a schedule planned out helps assure your Borzoi that you are making time for them, which will hopefully make them more affectionate and loyal to you over time.
Have a big fenced space for you and your Borzoi to play
The quickest path to a dog’s heart is through play, and whilst you can play with your Borzoi indoors, they’ll prefer to be outside a lot of the time. Just make sure that there isn’t a way for them to crawl out of your fenced play-pen in case they see an animal and get the urge to hunt.
Being outdoors will help give you Borzoi the exercise they need and fulfill those urges to run around at high speeds outdoors. What’s more, they will associate these feelings with spending time with their owner, which will help strengthen your bond if you keep this up.
Spend time with your Borzoi
That’s the common thread with these suggestions. Dogs, regardless of breed, are usually highly social pack animals and want to feel a part of a group, or in this case, your family. Put some free time aside to spend with your Borzoi in any scenario, whether that’s training, playing, or just relaxing with them.
You can’t just expect or force loyalty out of a pet. It’s something that is built up over a lot of time, energy, and love.
In short, Borzois can be described as disobedient at times, especially if they are bored or unattended. But this does not necessarily mean that they aren’t loyal.
Making sure that all your little furry friend’s needs are met, spending time with them, are a surefire way to build loyalty in any kind of dog, especially our special slim, long-haired friends.