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Borzoi
History
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The Russian aristocracy bred the Borzoi, also known as the Russian Wolfhound in America prior to 1936, for hundreds of years. There are accounts of hunting expeditions of several Mongol rulers from the time of the conqueror, Genghis Khan, in the 13th century, in which long hounds were mentioned as principal coursing dogs. In Russia, the precursors of the Borzoi were thought to be of several different types including the long-coated, smooth-faced bearhound of early Russia, the Southern coursing hounds of the Tatars, the Owtcher-a tall Russian Sheepdog, as well as other ancient sight-hound types. By 1260, the coursing of hare for sport is mentioned in connection with the Court of the Grand Duke of Novgorod, and in 1650 the first Borzoi standard was written (which did not differ greatly from the modern standard).

By 1861, hunting with Borzoi reached the level of the national sport of the aristocracy, and development of the breed was unequaled. Hunting parties would consist of over one hundred Borzoi representing several kennels, with many kennels breeding their dogs for a specific coat color. When a wolf was spotted, a trio of dogs, normally a dog and two bitches, were slipped to pursue the wolf and capture, pin it and hold the creature until the hunter on horseback arrived to finish the kill.

In 1889, the first Borzoi arrived in America from England. In 1903, Joseph B. Thomas (representing the Valley Farm Kennel) went to Russia 3 times to import dogs from the Perchino & Woronzova kennels that became part of the establishment of the breed in this country. Today the Borzoi is highly prized for its beauty, intelligence and gentle nature, making it a wonderful companion. In Western states it is still used by farmers to control coyote populations, tapping in to the breed's original heritage.





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