Also Know as:

Russian Wolfhound, Russkaya Psovaya Borzaya, Psovoi, Barzoï


Origin: Russia

Type: Pure Breed

Height: up to 71 inches

Weight: 60 to 105 pounds

Life Expectancy: 10 to 12 years


The borzoi are gentle dogs, even though they are active in nature, they are highly intelligent and unlike the Basenji, this intelligence shows itself in the good manners which the dog has around people, they are nervous around kids because kids are unpredictable around them and confusing, unlike adults. Very brave dogs, they want to dominate other dog breeds around them. They are fearless against other animals and this is shown in the various faceoffs they have had with wolves with them coming out victorious, but unfortunately for them, this bravery and fearlessness backfire when faced with bigger breeds. You will find the Borzoi making alliances to face off a bigger breed but the endpoint is always for them to lead the pack when it comes to other dogs.



Having an uncanny resemblance to the Afghan hound and the Saluki, the Borzoi’s coat is silky and flat. The coat may be slightly curly or wavy at times but should not be wooly. In cold seasons, you will find that their soft undercoat gets thick to give them more protection from the cold, this thick undercoat is shed off naturally in hot seasons to avoid them overheating.

As per color, they can come in different variations of Black, Brindle, Cream, Red, Sable, and White.

In height, the male borzoi stands up to 28 inches and the female stands up to 26 inches. In weight, the male borzoi can weigh between 75 to 105 pounds with the females weighing between 60 to 90 pounds.



The Borzoi tend to eat more as puppies than as adults. This can be attributed to the need to sustain their rapid growth as puppies, which will not be necessary as adult dogs. As Borzoi parents, we should be careful not to overfeed them as adults, doing this can lead to a fat Borzoi with weight-related problems. Whether you feed them commercially made food or homemade food, you need to be sure of the quality of the food. With homemade meals, be sure to liaise with your vet doctor so as to get the best advice on what to feed them at each stage. This is because their eating should be strictly in proportion to their age, weight, and activity levels. Also, make sure to have fresh water available for them always. As a precaution, do not feed them immediately before they engage in exercising activities or immediately after. Their feeding should be such that their food has time to digest before engaging in any form of exercise. If not you might find your dog developing GDV(gastric dilatation-volvulus) which can be very dangerous for them.
Even though an average Borzoi looks glamorous with their long, silky coat which may be flat, wavy, or curly. They are known to shed heavily especially in hot seasons. Regular brushing of their coat is required at least once every week. We recommend using a pin brush for this as it is able to get into the long coats and brush them properly. As you are brushing their coat, make sure to check behind their ears and joint areas for mats that may be hiding there. Luckily the Borzoi coat is resistant to dirt and mud so they don't get dirty easily and should only be bathed when it is absolutely necessary. Having said that, maintain their normal dental routine and ear cleaning routine for a perfectly groomed dog.
Most intelligent dogs pose an issue when training and the same applies to the Borzoi breed. Socializing them early in life and having basic puppy training classes with other puppies will help to break this mold in them. As they grow, patience and consistency would be required for any training tactics you choose. This is because the borzoi has an independent nature. This comes naturally to them being sighthounds. Training them in an environment where they feel respected is the main way to get the best out of them. Keep the training interesting as they can easily get bored with repetitive tasks. The Borzoi loves agility games and any other game competitive in nature.
The borzoi needs plenty of exercises to keep its lean athletic feature, long walks daily are recommended, also allowing them to run off the leash only in very controlled environments good for them. It's worth noting that some countries have a ban on allowing the borzoi of the leash so you should confirm before you do so, the reason being their hunting drive can easily override their loyalty to you and endanger the people around them. Having said that, the borzoi would make an excellent jogging partner.
Generally, the Borzoi is a healthy breed, but as with all living things, they are predisposed to certain types of ailments. First of all, they are susceptible to GDV(gastric dilatation-volvulus) or stomach bloating. A condition that worries all deep-chested dogs, you will do well to learn all you can about this condition as it is usually a life-threatening one. Next, you have elbow and hip dysplasia which affects their joints diminishing their agility and leading to reduced mobility, progressive retinal atrophy which affects the eye and leads to progressive sight loss and sometimes blindness, and osteochondritis dissecans.


The first mention of the Borzoi dog was when Kublai Khan came to Russia. It is said that he brought the Borzoi breed with him. Although this claim has been challenged, one major thing that sticks is that most of the breeds he came with were crossbred with Russian dogs and today’s Borzoi dog is a result of this cross-breeding. This also explains the dog’s exceptional ability to deal with wolves as this was one of the major requirements of dogs back then in Russia apart from their normal herding jobs.

The Borzoi was very popular among the elites in Russia before the revolution of 1917. Then, these dogs could not be bought but were only given as gifts from the Tsars of then to elites of grand standings. One of the famous breeders then was the son of Nicholas 1 of Russia, the Russian Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaievich. He is known to have bred hundreds of Borzoi dogs in his private kennel at Perchino. There were many variations of the Borzoi breed then but after the revolution, most of them were ignored with led to them going extinct.

During this period, the Russians carried out tests in which the Borzois were expected to hunt wolves in pairs. This was mainly organized by hunters. They would sight the wolf and release the Borzois to attack the wolf. The Borzois would usually attack the wolf from both sides at the same time, making it hard for the wolf to defend itself. The Borzoi would then hold the wolf down and wait for the hunter to finish the hunt with a vintage kill, usually done with a knife.

After the 1917 revolution which saw the slaughter of the Romanov family, Russian nobles, and aristocrats, it took Borzoi enthusiasts from Europe and America to maintain the breed by importing them into Europe and America. It was during this time that the Borzoi got the name “Russian wolfhound”. It wasn’t until 1936 after much debate that it was agreed to be identified by its original name “borzyi” meaning swift in Russia.

Even though today’s breed does not look like what the nobles and aristocrats of the Russian family breed, there is no denying their nobility and grace even with the way they carry themselves around today.