Borzois were originally bred to hunt wolves. These strong, giant dogs have a great bite force and a high prey drive. Unfortunately, they often see small dogs or cats as prey rather than friends.
Borzois can live with small dogs successfully, however, so long as they were raised around small dogs and have a low prey drive. It comes down to personality: some Borzois are a perfect match for living with your small pup, while others will chase, injure, or even kill tiny dogs.
In this article, we’ll discuss how to adopt a Borzoi into a multi-dog household with small dogs while keeping everyone safe!
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Can a Borzoi Live with Small Dogs?
Borzois raised with small dogs or with lower-than-usual prey drives can live with them successfully. However, many Borzois have an instinct to chase and even kill small animals. This can make them quite dangerous.
If you’d like to adopt a Borzoi to keep your small dog company, try talking to a local sighthound rescue group. Ask them if they test their dogs with smaller animals such as dogs and cats.
Many rescues will test their dogs for reactivity to ensure they’re going into the best homes possible. They’ll also be able to tell you if the dog is safe to bring around small children.
If the rescue knows about the dog’s past homes, they can also tell you information such as whether they lived with small dogs in the past. This is a good indicator that the dog is the right fit—but it’s not perfect.
Some Borzois are fine around certain dogs and not others. Or, they might see a running dog, such as a small pup at a dog park, as a target while being calm around still, sleeping dogs.
Will Borzois Kill Small Dogs?
Borzois can, and unfortunately have, killed small dogs. Remember that they were bred to hunt large wolves, so they have very powerful jaws and teeth.
It’s important to take the proper precautions when introducing any pets, but especially when bringing a large sighthound around smaller animals.
This includes learning as much as possible about your Borzoi’s past, adopting a Borzoi who’s been tested around small dogs, and keeping your Borzoi leashed around unfamiliar dogs.
How to Socialize Borzoi Puppies to Other Dogs
Socialization is introducing your puppy to a variety of stimuli and teaching them how to behave calmly in different situations.
Examples are introducing your pup to a wide variety of people and places, or teaching them how to be alone without fear.
Another part of socialization is introducing your Borzoi to other animals in a safe way. The more used to being around small dogs they are, the less likely they’ll be to injure one.
Most Borzois become socialized to small dogs through living with them, though others may have frequent play dates with a small dog or spend a lot of time at the local dog park.
Introducing Borzois and Small Dogs
When introducing dogs, always keep them leashed. If you’d like some extra security, train your Borzoi to wear a muzzle. This will keep the small dog from being bitten and also protects you—you never want to be in a position where you’re jumping into a dog fight.
Start by scent swapping. This is when you allow the dogs to sniff one another without interacting. You can do this by bringing one around the yard to use the bathroom, then letting the other out to sniff where they peed. Or you can allow them to sniff the other dog’s crate or bedding.
Dogs interact a lot through scent, so this allows them to learn about each other without meeting physically.
The next step is to introduce them through sight without allowing them to interact. Leash both dogs and keep them far enough apart that neither is reacting to the other’s presence.
Slowly bring them closer together, distracting them with yummy treats so that they learn to associate each other with positive things.
You can then move on to allowing the dogs to sniff one another, so long as there weren’t any negative reactions up to this point. Don’t allow your Borzoi to chase your small dog or either of them to nip one another.
Some growling or barking is okay, as this is how dogs interact and learn each other’s boundaries. However, you should separate them if you notice signs of aggression or stress.
Introductions between dogs take time and shouldn’t be rushed, but instead taken at the dogs’ pace.
Borzois and Large Dogs
If you already have a Borzoi and want to adopt another pup, it might be best to choose a large breed. Borzois tend to get along best with dogs of a similar size, or even another Borzoi!
Of course, there are still considerations to make with large dogs. Both dogs should be well socialized to other dogs and non-aggressive.
When adopting another large dog, you do have the chance that the large dog could hurt your Borzoi as well as the other way around.
As you likely know, giant breeds also require quite a bit more food than small dogs and can thus be more expensive—so make sure you have the funds before going this route.
We would also still recommend adopting a grown rescue in this case. Puppies defeat the purpose of adopting a larger breed since even giant breeds start out small.
Adult dogs are also more predictable in personality since they’ve fully grown into who they are. You can also often get a history of your new dog and learn about their experiences with other large dogs.
Just like when adopting a new Borzoi into a household with other dogs, you want to ensure your new rescue has been tested around dogs. This will keep your Borzoi safe and your household peaceful.