woman with borzoi on a trail

Borzoi vs Silken Windhound: A Dog Breed Guide

If you see photos of Borzois and Silken Windhounds without scale, you may confuse them for the same breed. This is understandable, seeing as Silken Windhounds were bred to look like Borzoi—just smaller! Let’s look into Borzoi vs Silken Windhound.

Borzoi prancing on the grass

Silken Windhounds may be the Borzoi’s mini-me, but how similar are they beneath the surface?

These sighthounds are both fast runners that need plenty of exercise and an enclosed space to run. However, Silken Windhounds tend to be easier to train than Borzois, as the latter breed can be quite stubborn. 

In this article, we’ll discuss the similarities and differences between these breeds in-depth to help you decide which, if either, of these breeds is right for you.

Borzoi vs Silken Windhound

Borzois and Silken Windhounds are much like other sighthound breeds, though the Borzoi fits that description more precisely.

Silken Windhounds are friendly, intelligent, and active. They’re easier to train than your typical sighthound, and their small size means they don’t need quite as large of a yard to run in.

Silken Windhound hanging out in the grass

Both Borzois and Silken Windhounds have long double coats, and have higher grooming maintenance than short-coated sighthounds.

Borzois aren’t recommended for inexperienced dog owners, who may do better with a Silken Windhound or another breed.

BorzoiSilken Windhounds
Lifespan9-14 years12-20 years
EnergyHighHigh
GroomingHighHigh
TrainabilityIntermediateEasy
SizeGiantMedium

Borzoi vs Silken Windhound Appearance

Both breeds are quite long, from their boop-able snouts to their legs and coats. They are deep-chested with a slim frame.

Borzoi can be a variety of colors

Any coat color is suitable according to breed standards for both dogs.

If you take a look at either breed without context for their size, you may mistake them as one in the same! However, Silken Windhounds are quite a bit smaller.

The giant Borzoi stands at 26-32 inches and weighs 60-105 pounds. In contrast, Silken Windhounds are just 18-24 inches and 20-55 pounds.

Borzoi vs Silken Windhound Cost

When purchasing from a breeder, Borzoi can cost anywhere from $1,000-$5000. Typically the price will fall somewhere in the middle near $2000-$3000.

Silken Windhounds may be slightly cheaper, ranging $1500-$2500.

Adopting from a breed-specific rescue will typically reduce the price down to $500 or lower.

Finding a Rescue or Shelter Dog

When looking for a specific breed, especially those that are less common, it’s often easier to find a breed-specific rescue group than to search shelters.

Silken Windhounds may be more difficult to find at a rescue. In my search, I’ve mostly found them listed at sighthound rescue groups rather than dedicated Silken Windhound organizations.

Of course, these sighthound groups are a great place to look for Borzois as well. They’re also a perfect resource if you have any additional questions about these breeds and which is right for you.

Finding a Breeder

It’s always important to do your research when adopting from a breeder.

Don’t go with the first breeder you see, and don’t rush into a decision just because someone has puppies in the moment. It’s worth waiting to ensure you adopt a well-bred dog, and aren’t funding irresponsible or abusive breeding practices.

Never purchase a dog online or from a pet shop. These puppies often come from puppy mills, where dogs are bred with only profit in mind.

Puppy mills don’t care about the health or well-being of the dogs in their care. Often, puppies end up unhealthy and with shortened lifespans due to poor breeding practices.

Unfortunately, more well-meaning breeders can also cause some of these same problems unintentionally. Those who don’t know enough about the breed, or about breeding itself, are often referred to as backyard breeders.

These people may not abuse their dogs, but they also don’t know enough to breed responsibly. They may skip vital steps such as health screenings.

Here are some tips to avoid both puppy mills and backyard breeders, and ensure you’re adopting from a reputable breeder instead:

  • Always complete a home visit. See where the parent dogs and puppies are kept to ensure the environment is clean and suitable.
  • Ask for veterinary paperwork for the parents and puppies. Your breeder should screen for common hereditary conditions in the breed, and puppies should be vaccinated.
  • Ask questions. A reputable breeder will know about their breed. They will answer questions honestly and won’t downplay any health or behavioral problems in the breed.
  • Walk away if your breeder denies you any of these steps. It’s a huge red flag if your breeder won’t take the time for open and honest communication. Don’t accept excuses—these are all standard practices that a breeder should expect. If they aren’t willing to show paperwork and housing, or to answer your questions, they’re likely hiding something.
  • Never adopt a puppy early. Reputable breeders put their dogs first. Puppies need to be with their mother and siblings for at least the first 8 weeks of their life, and anyone willing to deny them this is putting profits first. Depending on your state, they may also be breaking the law.

In addition to these tips, it may be worth checking in with the International Silken Windhound Society. They are very protective over the breed and its health, and even have a list of breeders that they recommend.

Borzoi vs Silken Windhound Temperament

Borzois and Silken Windhounds are speedy dogs who need plenty of exercise via at least one long, daily walk or run. They aren’t the kind of pup that is hyper all of the time, however.

Their bodies were built for sprinting. Like people, there’s only so long a dog can run at top speed before they tire out. They’ll want to zoom around the yard for a bit, then lounge on the couch or wherever your family is hanging out.

These dogs love their people, and like to be included in family activities. Though they have an independent streak, they can also be quite clingy.

Watch for signs of separation anxiety and train them how to be alone as early as possible. This is just one part of the needed socialization for both breeds.

They should also be introduced to a variety of people, places, and other dogs so that they grow up confident and adaptable.

Borzoi may be difficult to train, especially when it comes to recall. Have patience and make training fun through games and high-value rewards.

Don’t try to dominate your dog or punish them for bad behavior, but instead ignore or redirect them. Offer lots of praise when they get it right.

Never allow either of these breeds off-leash in an unenclosed space, as they may take off.

However, Silken Windhounds are easier to train and tend to be more eager to please than most sighthounds.

Borzoi vs Silken Windhound Exercise

Each of these dogs needs at least one daily run or long walk to get their energy out. They’ll also need space to run independently, because they sprint quite a bit faster than you can!

Some great activities for them are agility and lure coursing.

Borzoi vs Silken Windhound Grooming

Both breeds have long double coats that require regular maintenance. Comb the entire coat once every 1-2 days.

Regular bathing is key

Regular bathing can help to further reduce any tangles or matting in the fur.

Do not shave these dogs, as it isn’t good for their coats. 

Although grooming requirements are similar between these breeds, keep in mind that Borzois are larger. They will take longer to groom than Silken Windhounds for this reason.

Borzoi vs Silken Windhound Environmental Needs

Borzoi don’t need to live in a huge house, but they do need a safely enclosed outdoor space where they can run. Fencing should be tall as, when these dogs get excited, they may jump the fence and run off.

Keep either breed leashed unless in an enclosed area

Silken Windhounds are often listed as apartment dogs. They can do well in this environment, but they’ll still need a place to safely run off leash multiple times a week. A fenced-in dog park is a great place for this.

Don’t allow either of these breeds to run off-leash in an unenclosed space.

When it comes to other household members, these breeds both do best in families. They can be clingy, and want to have someone else around.

If you have children, teach them how to interact nicely with dogs. Likewise, your Silken Windhound or Borzoi will need to be trained to interact appropriately with children.

Remember that all puppies have a teething phase, and you’ll have to teach them the difference between appropriate chewing (toys) and inappropriate biting (humans!).

Always supervise dogs and young children, and never allow them to play too roughly. Children and dogs can both injure one another without meaning to. 

Other pets can be a challenge with some Borzoi and Silken Windhounds, while others do just fine in multi-pet households.

Socialize puppies early on, and never allow them to sprint after another pet—especially a smaller one.

When adopting from a rescue or shelter, look for a dog with experience in multi-pet households. This way, you’ll know which animals they interact nicely with, such as cats or smaller dogs.

Borzoi vs Silken Windhound Health

All Borzoi and Silken Windhound owners should know the symptoms of bloat, as this condition can be deadly. It is most common in deep-chested breeds such as these.

If your dog displays any symptoms of bloat, they should be rushed to the veterinarian immediately—it’s an emergent condition, and dogs left untreated will die within hours.

Symptoms include:

  • Enlarged abdomen 
  • Retching
  • Drooling
  • Restlessness
  • Pain in the stomach area, especially when touched

Every dog breed comes with its own set of common health problems. Some of these are avoidable through responsible breeding, but that isn’t always the case.

Other health problems for Borzois include:

Because Silken Windhounds are a Borzoi crossbreed, they are prone to many of the same health conditions.

However, the International Silken Windhound Society does closely monitor health problems in the breed, which decreases their occurrence.

One thing breeders should watch for is Lotus Syndrome, which sadly kills puppies very early in their lives. Those adopting a puppy are less likely to come across a pup with the condition.

Borzoi vs Silken Windhound History

The Borzoi breed originated in 1600 Russia. Originally a cross between Arabian greyhounds and a thick-coated Russian breed, these dogs were used by the aristocracy to hunt wolves.

Like all sighthounds, they primarily used their sense of sight to hunt, sprinting after their prey at upwards of 40 miles per hour.

Silken Windhounds are a much newer breed, so much so that they aren’t recognized by the AKC. In 1985, a woman named Francie Stull bred the first litter of Silken Windhounds after longing for a smaller Borzoi.

She wanted the long-haired sighthound look and temperament, but in a smaller body. She achieved just that by breeding together Borzois, Lurchers, and Whippets.

2 thoughts on “Borzoi vs Silken Windhound: A Dog Breed Guide”

  1. Pingback: Dog Agility Walk Ramp - National Borzoi Club

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