White and Tan Borzoi on Brown Leather Sofa

Can You Keep a Borzoi in an Apartment?

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We all want the best for our furry friends. Long before they come home, we’re already researching how to best care for them.

Whether you’re thinking about adopting a Borzoi or planning a move, you may be wondering: Can you keep a Borzoi in an apartment?

You can keep a Borzoi in an apartment, but it’s not advised due to the work required. Many apartment dwellers don’t have the time or desire to give a Borzoi the exercise they need, which requires visits to a fenced-in area like a dog park so that they can sprint.

Borzoi Resting on Wooden Floor in Home
Borzoi Resting on Floor in Apartment

Borzois are sighthounds. This means they were bred to hunt by sight. Their lithe bodies are built to sprint after prey in vast fields or deserts at speeds up to 40 miles per hour.

These strong dogs were originally used to hunt wolves in 1600s Russia. A breed this old with instincts so strong can’t be expected to suppress their desire to run!

In this article, we’ll talk more about how to keep a Borzoi in an apartment, why it’s ill-advised, and what the care requirements are like for a Borzoi.

Can Borzois Live in Apartments?

While some people keep Borzois in an apartment and many will even recommend this, it’s not advised for the average dog owner.

This is because Borzois need space to sprint. They were bred to run at speeds up to 40 miles per hour, and expecting them to never act on this instinct isn’t right.

A large yard is the easiest way to provide them with the freedom to race around.

If you do keep a Borzoi in an apartment, you will need to bring them to a dog park or other fenced-in area regularly so that they can run.

Tan Borzoi Standing at Edge of Field. Copyright NationalBorzoiClub
Your Borzoi Needs Time Outdoors and Space Where it can Run

Running with your Borzoi is a great activity, but it doesn’t really satisfy their urge to sprint—you definitely won’t be able to keep up with these dogs at top speed!

Never allow a Borzoi off-leash in an open area. These dogs rarely have a reliable recall, and will likely sprint off after an animal or other moving object.

They could injure themselves with their single-mindedness when chasing prey by running into traffic. You can also lose your dog this way, as they run too fast to be caught.

Is it Cruel to have a Big Dog in an Apartment?

Typically, big dogs aren’t recommended for apartment living. This is for many reasons:

  • Large dogs typically need a yard to run in
  • Many apartment buildings have weight limits for dogs
  • When running or playing indoors, they might disturb downstairs neighbors
  • Dogs that don’t get enough exercise tend to be destructive, especially as puppies

It’s cruel to not give your dog the exercise that they require, as this is a form of neglect. However, it’s not always cruel to keep a big dog in an apartment. It depends on the breed.

Low-energy dogs typically do best in apartments, such as those that just need one daily walk to stay fit.

Avoid high-energy dogs unless you’re able to bring them on daily activities outside of the apartment, and avoid sighthounds—especially large breeds—unless you’re able to let them sprint in an enclosed space.

Are Borzois High Maintenance?

Borzois are high maintenance in some areas. For instance, their long, curly double coats need to be combed out completely at least once every other day. Because they are large dogs, this will take time.

Giant breeds like the Borzoi stay puppies for longer. This means more puppy mischief! You can avoid this, of course, by adopting a rescue dog that is over two years old.

Training can also be difficult with Borzoi dogs due to their independent streak. Like many working dogs, they were bred to hunt without being guided every step of the way.

Borzois aren’t untrainable, however. They’re incredibly smart and want to please you. Offer high-value rewards that your dog loves and use positive training methods only.

Lastly, Borzois love to be around their people! This means that they sometimes have difficulty being alone. They do best in families where they won’t be left alone for long periods.

Train your dog to be alone starting when you adopt them, if they haven’t learned already. Start by leaving the room for a few minutes while they’re preoccupied, and slowly extend the time and distance that you’re away.

Always be realistic about how much time you expect your Borzoi to be alone for. New puppies, for example, can only be alone for two hours at a time.

Borzoi Exercise Requirements

These dogs need plenty of exercise. A long walk at least once a day, or broken into shorter lengths multiple times a day, and some time to run outdoors should be enough for them.

The nice thing about Borzois is that they are laid-back when not exercising, content to lounge around the house for the rest of the day. This is what gives people the misconception that they’re apartment dogs.

Borzoi Walking on a Paved Path
Lots of exercise, like walks, are importan for Borzois

Do Borzoi Bark?

One thing that does benefit apartment-dwellers, and even those living in houses near to neighbors, is the quiet nature of the Borzoi.

These dogs may bark at times, and can make good watch dogs—though they’re too friendly to make good guard dogs, they’ll alert you to what’s happening.

Borzois don’t tend to be problem barkers or howlers like some other dogs in the hound family. While scent hounds were bred to call out to hunters with loud voices, sighthounds like the Borzoi tend to be quieter than this.

However, remember that every dog is different! Just like people, some are more vocal than others.

How to Borzoi-Proof an Apartment

With large dogs, it can be even more difficult and necessary to puppy-proof your apartment. If you are bringing home a Borzoi puppy, be sure to follow the steps below to keep your dog and your apartment safe.

Keep in mind that, as a giant breed, Borzois are considered puppies until two years of age. This means that even a young rescue may get into more mischief than you expect.

Step One: Set up a Space for Your Pup

Your Borzoi puppy needs a space to call their own. This might be a crate of their size, a dog bed, or a room.

This should be a calm, quiet area where your puppy feels safe. It’s completely puppy proofed and you can leave your puppy alone in this space for short amounts of time if needed.

Also be sure to clear enough floor space in your apartment for your puppy to play.

Step Two: Buy Some Dog Toys

There are so many things your puppy can’t have. The best way to teach them is to redirect them to what’s theirs!

Purchase toys of various shapes and textures so that you’re sure to have something your puppy loves.

Step Three: Keep Your Stuff Very (Very!) High off the Ground

Borzois can reach much higher than your average dog, and thus you’ll have to puppy-proof higher up in your apartment.

Move anything your puppy could destroy. This includes shoes, clothing, glass items, and anything they can chew.

Don’t underestimate them—my dog once chewed a phone book apart as a pup!

Step Four: Protect Your Wires

Puppies can easily chew through wires, destroying them and potentially electrocuting themselves. Keep chargers put away when not in use, and place other wiring in your home out of reach.

Do this by covering your wires or tucking them behind furniture.

Step Five: Move Toxic Items

Many everyday items are toxic to dogs, like cleaning supplies, some essential oils, and toxic foods like chocolate or raisons. These should be moved to a place your puppy can’t reach, such as in a cabinet or on a high shelf.

Essential Oil on a plate. These are one of the items in an apartment than can poison dog.
Essential oils can poison your dog

Another toxin that some dog owners overlook is their houseplants. Many common varieties are toxic to dogs, and if you’re a plant lover like me you might have to find new homes for some of your plants.

Fresh flowers might also pose a problem if ingested by your dog.

The ASPCA’s awesome list of toxic and non-toxic plants is my go-to when I want to know if a plant I’m considering is safe for my pup!

If you’re unwilling to get rid of your plants, you can put them up high—just be sure they’re truly out of reach!

Step Six: Purchase a Trash Can with a Lid

Protect your puppy from eating what they shouldn’t by covering your trash with a lid. This will make it that much more difficult for them to scavenge for last night’s dinner.

If you’ve just thrown something especially tempting and dangerous into the trash, such as chicken bones, consider emptying it right away so that your puppy doesn’t knock it over and find their way inside.

Kitchen with a lidded trashcan. Can you Keep a borzoi in an apartment?  Keep your trash closed.
Get a trashcan with a lid that your dog can’t break into

Step Seven: Potty Training

Potty training is essential to protecting any carpeting in your apartment so that you don’t have to replace it or pay any fees down the line.

Watch your puppy closely for signs that they need to go potty and bring them outside whenever they need to go. Otherwise, they will have accidents.

Puppies can generally hold their bladders for one hour per month of age. So, a new two-month-old pup can only hold it for two hours before they have to go.

Don’t forget to bring your puppy out to go potty at night as well, or you’ll wake up to a mess!

Step Eight: Exercise!

If your puppy is getting into too much trouble, it’s often because they’re bored. Remember that Borzoi need plenty of exercise, and be sure to provide them with daily walks and time to run in a safe, enclosed environment.

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