If you are torn between either getting a Scottish Deerhound or a Borzoi then you have come to the right place. Their similarities lie in their price, size, rarity, and the fact that they belong to the hunting group, but they possess other characteristics that either make or break the chances of them being a suitable addition to the family.
They will be put head-to-head in different categories so that you can make a clear and informed decision as to what dog is best for you. Although, be mindful that you cannot compare dogs and have one come out as the winner as it is subjective to what the owner is looking for and what they can provide for the dog.
As mentioned earlier, both the Scottish Deerhound and the Borzoi are classed as giant and reach similar heights of around 30-inches and 100 pounds in weight.
They both have deep chests and tucked-in abdomens. From the side, you can see that the Borzoi has a slightly more rounded back whereas the Scottish Deerhound has a flat back but they both have petite heads and long snouts that help them to run for longer distances as they were bred to do.
The coats of the Scottish Deerhound and Borzoi are different though as the Scottish Deerhound has a shorter, coarse, and wiry coat that is usually grey or grey/brown. A Borzoi coat is much longer and can also be coarse, but it is usually silky, flat, or curly and can come in a huge range of colors and patterns.
Both dog breeds are calm, gentle giants but will show a different side if they are outside in an open area as they will likely take off after anything that moves. This is not because they want to be naughty but because they have such a deep instinct to chase as it has been bred into them for thousands of years.
Even though Scottish Deerhounds can chase prey for miles, they are generally quite lazy and love nothing more than to lounge around the house. This laziness can make it hard to get them involved in training activities as it will have to be particularly interesting to them to make it worth getting off of the couch.
They are not the best dog breed for big families as they are reserved and sensitive so they can get overwhelmed with lots of activity in the household.
Borzois are like this too and do much better with one or two owners to give all of their love to. Because of their laid-back nature, they do not make good guard dogs even if they are a bit suspicious of strangers.
Scottish Deerhounds are generally more friendly toward strangers than Borzois but both breeds are affectionate with their family and those that they trust but are also known to be aloof at times and are happiest in houses with a large garden for them to roam around in.
If you live in an apartment maybe look elsewhere as these breeds will take up lots of space and get restless.
To be honest, training is not easy with these two breeds. They are stubborn and independent and if there is nothing in it for them that is worth the effort then they will lose interest in what you are trying to ask of them.
However, it is not impossible, and you will get the best results by keeping the training sessions short and varied.
The key to getting the most out of your Scottish Deerhound or Borzoi is to find out what motivates them, this could be a tasty bit of fresh chicken, or their favorite squeaky toy so don’t be afraid to make try new methods (as long as they are positive) to get your dogs brain to click.
Do not be fooled by the lazy nature that you witness inside of the home when the Scottish Deerhound or Borzoi is snoring on the couch because these dogs are recommended to get an hour to an hour and a half of exercise a day.
You can give these dogs a good cardio workout by running with them on a leash or taking them to an enclosed field to run around off-leash.
The Scottish Deerhound and the Borzoi both shed throughout the year with the Borzoi shedding more in the summer when they get rid of their summer coat to prevent overheating.
Borzois require more maintenance with their coat than Scottish Deerhounds do as they have long hair with a silky texture. This can result in tangles and mats if you do not keep on top of it and brush them twice a week.
When Borzois are shedding heavily during the summer you should brush them every day to remove any loose hair. A wire slicker brush is recommended to use when you brush a Borzoi because it won’t damage the hair – you can also use this brush to groom a Scottish Deerhound too.
Scottish Deerhounds do not need to be brushed as often and will do well with being groomed just once or twice a week to rid of dead hair. For the softer areas of the body such as the belly, face, and chest you can use a comb and use your fingers to pluck out any long hairs from the ears. Plucking hair from the ears can be left to a groomer if you prefer but need to be done either way to prevent ear infections.
You can bathe both dogs no more than once a week if they get particularly dirty and this will make the deerhound coat feel softer for a while before returning to its coarse texture. If you plan to bathe a Borzoi, make sure to brush it thoroughly before and after.
As well as their coat, they share similar grooming needs that all dog breeds possess such as cleaning their teeth and clipping their nails.
Since both dogs are so large, they do not have a particularly long lifespan. You can expect Scottish Deerhounds to live for 8 – 11 years and Borzois to 7 – 11 years.
Both breeds are generally healthy but there are still conditions they could get due to their breed. To ensure you get a healthy puppy, buy from a reputable breeder where you are shown the parents and certifications.
Scottish Deerhounds can be prone to dilated cardiomyopathy which is when the muscles of the heart become thin and cannot contract properly. They can also be sensitive to anesthesia which can lead to death if they are given it too much or too frequently, it is said that this is due to the lower percentage of fat they have in their body.
Borzois also have health issues that they are prone to such as bloat which can be life-threatening and is a common risk that breeds with deep chests have. Feeding them small and frequent meals instead of one large one in the evening will massively reduce the chances of this happening. Borzois can also suffer from progressive retinal atrophy that leads to the loss of vision of the course of the dog’s life but is not fatal and dogs adjust very well.
Once the comparison of the Scottish Deerhound and Borzoi has come to a close, you can clearly see that they are very similar in appearance, temperament, trainability, and exercise needs. Despite this, there are a few evident differences that may be the deciding factor of what dog would fit with you.
Scottish Deerhounds tend to be friendlier and more playful than Borzois and require less grooming, whereas instead of a coarse, wiry coat, Borzois have long, silky coats that give them an elegant appearance that will turn heads as you walk down the street.
Borzois also have a slightly shorter lifespan than the Scottish Deerhound but don’t let this put you off because the years that they do share with you will be full of fond memories that will last a lifetime.
Whatever choice you make, you are guaranteed to fall in love with your giant dog and if you can’t decide between the two, why not get both!