5 Things to Know About Borzois

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

Borzois are very prey driven. By: iStock.com/bruev

1. Key Characteristics

  • AKC Group: Hound
  • Height: Males, 28 inches; females, 26 inches (some Borzois may be as tall as 32 inches)
  • Weight: Males, 75–105 pounds; females, 60–90 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 10–14 years

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

The dog 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 They 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 breed 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; 2 years later, the American Kennel Club accepted the breed, who 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. By: Kristine Lacoste/Petful

3. How Friendly Are They?

Borzois are sweet, intelligent dogs who are loyal and affectionate toward their families. They rarely bark, and they clean themselves in a cat-like manner.

Socialize them with cats and other pets as soon as possible, but don’t leave these animals alone with them. Same goes for small children; Borzois might inadvertently knock them over.

Borzois see smaller animals as prey and will likely give chase — and, boy, they are fast. Don’t let them roam outdoors without being contained. The breed is also known to be stubborn.

4. Is This the Right Dog for You?

Exercise Needs


HIGH: Take these energetic dogs on long daily walks or jogging, and off-leash exercise is a great addition if your dog won’t bolt. This prey-driven and active breed can chase after smaller animals without warning, and they may run off in pursuit.

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 so your Borzoi can’t just clear it in a single bound.

Grooming Needs


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

Provide baths when your Borzoi needs them, but you might find bathing them difficult because of the breed’s large size. Shedding is seasonal. Trim the hair between the toes, and the nails, ears and teeth require regular maintenance as well.

Health Problems


MEDIUM: The Borzoi has a few health concerns:

  • Bloat and torsion
  • Sensitivity to drugs/anesthesia
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Retinal atrophy (eye problems)
  • Osteocondritis dissecans (joint problems)

Watch this Borzoi’s first year go by in a flash:

5. How to Adopt One

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

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

Additional Resources:

Kristine Lacoste

View posts by Kristine Lacoste
Kristine Lacoste, editor in chief of Petful, has been researching dog and cat breeds for nearly a decade and has observed the animals up close at dog shows in both the United States and the United Kingdom. She is the author of the book One Unforgettable Journey, which was nominated for a Maxwell Award from the Dog Writers Association of America, and was host of a weekly pet news segment on the National K-9 Academy Radio Show. In addition, she was the New Orleans coordinator for Dogs on Deployment, a nonprofit that helps military members and their pets, for 3 years. Kristine has researched and written about pet behaviors and care for many years. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology, another bachelor’s degree in English and a Master of Business Administration degree.

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