We all want our pups to live as long as possible. If you have a Borzoi or are considering adoption, you may wonder how long they live.
A Borzoi’s average life span is 9-14 years—a bit longer than many giant breeds! These dogs are prone to health problems such as anesthesia sensitivity, bloat, heart problems, eye conditions, and hypothyroidism.
In this article, we’ll discuss how long Borzois live, their life stages, how to increase your Borzoi’s life span, and common health conditions to watch for.
Table of contents
- How Long do Borzois Live?
- Do Borzois have Health Problems?
- How to Lengthen a Borzoi’s Lifespan
- The Lifespan of a Borzoi: From Puppyhood to Old Age
How Long do Borzois Live?
Borzois typically live between 9-14 years. This is actually a long lifespan for a giant breed, as larger dogs tend to live shorter lives than smaller ones.
Borzois tend to stay puppies for a long time and aren’t the right dogs for everyone—this giant breed must be well-trained, and you’ll need patience to deal with their puppy years.
Do Borzois have Health Problems?
Like all dog breeds (or any living creature, really!) Borzois are prone to health problems. Below, we’ll talk about the most common of these so that you know what to watch for in your Borzoi pup. Remember, your first line of defense is a regular checkups by your trusted veterinarian.
Sensitivity to Anesthesia
All sighthounds are sensitive to anesthesia. When undergoing any procedure, such as a spay or neuter surgery, it’s crucial to ensure your veterinarian is experienced with sighthounds and their care.
Bloat (Gastric Torsion)
Bloat, or gastric torsion, is an incredibly deadly condition that affects sighthounds and other deep-chested breeds the most.
It kills 30% of affected dogs, even when they receive the best veterinary care possible—which is why it’s so important to be educated about its symptoms.
This painful condition happens when the stomach fills with air and flips around, damaging organs and cutting off blood circulation.
Symptoms of bloat include:
- Swollen, sensitive abdomen
- Excessive drooling
Bloat can be caused by eating too much, too quickly, or eating foods that contain soybean meal, oils, or fats in the first four ingredients. Male dogs are twice as likely to suffer from bloat, and there also seems to be a genetic component.
The best way to avoid bloat is to feed your dog at least two meals daily using a bowl with grooves at the bottom to slow their eating. Keep stress levels to a minimum and feed your dog alone if they tend to scarf down food around other pets.
Reputable breeders will screen their dogs for heart problems. Cardiomyopathy affects the muscle in the heart, making it less able to pump blood. It has a genetic component, but diet may also be a factor.
Borzois with hypothyroidism have a slow metabolism because their thyroid isn’t working properly. Symptoms include:
- Your Borzoi gains weight, but isn’t eating more food
- Gets cold easily
- Hair loss; dry fur
- Dark skin coloration
- Skin and ear infections
- High cholesterol
- Slow heart rate
- Thick skin on the face
- Sore legs, lack of coordination
- Head tilt
- Infertility, loss of libido, or failure to go into heat
- Fat deposits in eye corneas
- Dry eyes
Elbow and Hip Dysplasia
Most large breeds are prone to elbow and hip dysplasia. A reputable breeder will screen for these problems, as they do have a genetic component.
Dysplasia happens when the ball and socket of your Borzoi’s joints don’t grow properly, causing issues with their hip or elbow. Healthy joints move in a smooth motion, but in dogs with dysplasia, the joints grind together.
Symptoms include being less active, unable to move properly, pain, lost muscle mass, limping, and gained muscle in unaffected limbs as they overcompensate for the affected joints.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
This is another condition breeders should screen for, but it’s always important to know what your breed is prone to, especially if they’re a rescue!
PRA is the breakdown of cells in the eyes, which leads to blindness. There are two types of PRA: early-onset that occurs around 2-3 months and late-onset that occurs when the dog is 3-9 years old. Early-onset tends to be inherited.
Also known as OCD or OD, this condition causes cartilage to develop abnormally in the shoulders, elbows, hips, or knees.
The exact cause is unknown, but it may occur due to too much calcium in a Borzoi’s diet, rapid growth, genetics, poor circulation, hormones, or injury. OCD is more prevalent in male dogs and is typically diagnosed around 6-9 months.
How to Lengthen a Borzoi’s Lifespan
A breed’s average life span gives us a good idea of how long a dog will live, but it’s important to remember that each dog is individual. Some will, sadly, die much younger, while others may live several years longer.
We can’t completely control how long our dogs live, but we can ensure they receive the best care possible. This begins before you bring a new puppy home and continues into the senior years when many dogs develop health conditions.
Here are some ways to ensure your Borzoi lives as long as possible:
- If adopting from a breeder, ensure they’ve health-screened their dogs. Reputable breeders will screen for many of the conditions above, while puppy mills or backyard breeders likely won’t. This is why it’s so important to vet your breeder before adopting a puppy.
Of course, this doesn’t apply to rescue pups, who typically have a more unpredictable lineage. But when adopting a rescue you can think of it this way—you’re already increasing your dog’s lifespan by providing them with a home!
- Bring them to the veterinarian regularly. Vaccinations for common ailments, parasite prevention, and regular check-ups will all keep your Borzoi at their healthiest. As your Borzoi ages, it’s even more important to ensure they’re visiting the vet at least once every six months.
If you notice changes in behavior, appetite, or other symptoms, report to your veterinarian as soon as possible. This will help you to catch health problems early, potentially lengthening your dog’s life.
- Feed your Borzoi a healthy diet. Especially in a breed so prone to bloat, diet is everything. Feed your dog high-quality food with all the nutrients they need and as few fillers as possible.
Speak with your veterinarian about how much your dog should be eating daily—you don’t want to feed too much or too little.
- Exercise your Borzoi daily. They’re sometimes seen as a “lazy” breed, but Borzois need plenty of daily exercise. A large, enclosed yard for them to run is also crucial to keep them fit.
- Never allow them off-leash in an unenclosed space. Borzois have a strong hunting instinct that cannot be trained out, and recall is often impossible for them to master. Always keep them leashed or behind a tall fence. This will prevent disasters such as your pup racing into the road and getting hit by a car.
See Also: How Fast Can a Borzoi Run?
The Lifespan of a Borzoi: From Puppyhood to Old Age
Growing Up: Birth to 14 Months
As a giant breed, Borzois grow quickly. From birth until 7 months of age, they’re continuously growing and developing. It doesn’t end there, though!
For the next 5-7 months, they will continue to grow slowly, mostly filling out their bodies rather than growing in height.
It’s important to note that Borzois are puppies for a long time—much longer than smaller dog breeds!
Mental Maturity: 2 Years Old
Borzois are considered fully grown and mentally mature at two years old. However, dogs at this age and even older may still act like puppies!
They can be a handful for the first years of life, and training is essential to manage behaviors like destructive chewing. Always use positive reinforcement methods when training a dog, and try not to lose your temper—remember, they’re still maturing and learning right from wrong!
Senior Dogs: 8+ Years Old
At 8 years and over, a Borzoi is considered a senior. They may slow down, not sprint as much, and lose some of that adult dog energy. You might see them gradually lose weight or develop health conditions.
Any changes in behavior, activity levels, or other symptoms should be discussed with your veterinarian. Senior dogs of all breeds should be watched for arthritis, which is incredibly common in seniors and can be managed with pain killers to keep them comfortable.
Of course, Borzois are more susceptible to health problems in general as they age, so keeping a close eye on them is crucial during this time.
All isn’t bad when it comes to senior dogs, though—they’re still as sweet, adorable, and loving as ever. As rescues, they can make great pets for seniors or people who are less active and want to spend more time cuddling than playing fetch!