5 Things to Know About Borzois

Borzoi dogs are fast, beautiful and tall. They are also pretty intelligent but can be stubborn.

Borzois are prey-driven dogs. Photo: iStock.com/bruev
AKC GroupAKC Group
75-105 lbs. (male);
60-85 lbs. (female)
28-33 in. (male);
26 in. (female)
Life ExpectancyLife Span
9-12 years

1. Key Characteristics of a Borzoi

The Borzoi is a beautiful, intelligent and large dog similar in shape to Greyhounds and Afghan Hounds.

This is a sight hound with graceful and elegant movements capable of chasing prey over long distances.

The long, silky coat may be flat or textured and in any colors.

2. Where the Borzoi Came From

Russian royals originally called the Borzoi the Russian Wolfhound and bred them as early as the 1200s, when they were present at hunting expeditions during the rule of Genghis Khan.

The dogs chased hares for sport in the mid-1200s, and the breed standard was written in 1650. Hunting with Borzois increased in 1861. Kennels bred a large number of them to hunt wolves and other wild animals.

The Borzoi appeared in the United States in 1889. Two years later, the American Kennel Club (AKC) accepted the breed, which is still used today to control coyote populations in some areas.

The name was changed in 1936 based on the Russian word borzii, meaning swift.

These dogs are elegant but tend to be stubborn. Photo: Kristine Lacoste/Petful

3. How Friendly Is a Borzoi?

These are sweet, intelligent dogs who are loyal and affectionate toward their families. Borzois are “typically quiet and well-mannered but … can have a silly side, too,” says Dr. Marty Becker, DVM.

They rarely bark, and they clean themselves in a catlike manner.

Socialize your Borzoi with cats and other pets as soon as possible, but don’t leave these other animals alone with them. Same goes for young children — Borzois may inadvertently knock them over.

Borzois see smaller animals as prey and will likely chase after them — and, boy, these dogs are fast! Don’t let yours roam outdoors without being contained.

Unfortunately, the Borzoi is known to be stubborn. “Borzoi are intelligent and very affectionate with their owners, but are also independent and sometimes stubborn, so training may be a challenge,” the AKC says in its Borzoi breed profile.

YouTuber Jacob Chattman, who has a Borzoi named Esper, puts it this way: “They just don’t want to do what they don’t want to do — they’re very independent dogs.”

Your new Borzoi “should learn some basic skills in order to live with you and your family as a well-behaved companion,” says the Borzoi Club of America.

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“Training your Borzoi should be a joy, not a chore,” the club says. “If you approach obedience/rally with the attitude that it provides an opportunity for you to spend time with your Borzoi and as a means of helping you to learn to communicate, then your Borzoi will respond in kind.”

“The happier and more playful your training sessions, the more happily your Borzoi will work.”

4. Is This the Right Dog for You?

Exercise Needs


HIGH: Take these energetic dogs on long daily walks or jogging.

The biggest danger to a prey-driven dog is a car. These dogs are so focused on their prey that they’re unaware of the dangers around them. Make sure your backyard fence is high enough.

Got other pets? “Keep in mind that your Borzoi may be just fine with your indoor cat(s) but may change his attitude dramatically outdoors when a cat, even his indoor cat, runs from him,” says the Borzoi Club of America.

Grooming Needs


MEDIUM: Grooming a Borzoi is easy when you do it regularly. Brush your Borzoi daily and use a dry shampoo as needed.

Provide baths when your Borzoi needs them, but you might find bathing these dogs difficult because of the breed’s large size. Shedding is seasonal.

Trim the hair between the toes. The nails, ears and teeth require regular maintenance as well.

Health Problems


MEDIUM: The Borzoi has a few health concerns:

“Most diseases that are known to be quite common in other breeds are rarely seen in Borzoi,” says Borzoi Canada, a breed club founded in 1976. “Hip dysplasia, PRA and OCD are sometimes found in the breed, but most breeders have tried to maintain clear bloodlines by removing known carriers of these diseases from their breeding programs.”

More Stats About Borzois

Friendliness ★★★★☆
Ease of Training ★★☆☆☆
Barking/Howling ★★☆☆☆
Shedding ★★★★★
Tolerate Being Alone ★☆☆☆☆
Very Good With Kids ★★★☆☆

In the video below, learn firsthand what it’s like to care for a Borzoi:

YouTube player

5. How to Adopt a Borzoi

Check for existing dogs who need a home before buying. Use our free online dog adoption search or check with local rescues.

If you decide to go with a breeder, read this list of puppy mill warning signs to ensure your chosen breeder is reputable.