Search Menu
  • Temperament: Affectionate, Loyal, Regally Dignified
  • AKC Breed Popularity: Ranks 98 of 192
  • Height: 28 inches & up (male), 26 inches & up (female)
  • Weight: 75-105 pounds (male), 60-85 pounds (female)
  • Life Expectancy: 9-14 years
  • Group: Hound Group

    The AKC has grouped all of the breeds that it registers into seven categories, or groups, roughly based on function and heritage. Breeds are grouped together because they share traits of form and function or a common heritage.

Borzoi standing sideways facing left in grass with pine trees in background
Borzoi lying down sideways facing forward
Borzoi head and shoulders facing left
lure coursing
Borzoi coat detail
Borzoi

Find a Puppy: Borzoi

AKC Marketplace | PuppyFinder

AKC Marketplace is the only site to exclusively list 100% AKC puppies from AKC-Registered litters and the breeders who have cared for and raised these puppies are required to follow rules and regulations established by the AKC.
Find Borzoi Puppies

GENERAL APPEARANCE

The Borzoi was originally bred for the coursing of wild game on more or less open terrain, relying on sight rather than scent. To accomplish this purpose, the Borzoi needed particular structural qualities to chase, catch and hold his quarry. Special emphasis is placed on sound running gear, strong neck and jaws, courage and agility, combined with proper condition. The Borzoi should always possess unmistakable elegance, with flowing lines, graceful in motion or repose. Males, masculine without coarseness; bitches, feminine and refined.

HEAD

Skull slightly domed, long and narrow, with scarcely any perceptible stop, inclined to be Roman-nosed. Jaws long, powerful and deep, somewhat finer in bitches but not snipy. Teeth strong and clean with either an even or a scissors bite. Missing teeth should be penalized. Nose large and black.
Ears: Small and fine in quality, lying back on the neck when in repose with the tips when thrown back almost touching behind occiput; raised when at attention.
Eyes: Set somewhat obliquely, dark in color, intelligent but rather soft in expression; never round, full nor staring, nor light in color; eye rims dark; inner corner midway between tip of nose and occiput.

BODY

Neck: Clean, free from throatiness; slightly arched, very powerful and well set on.
Shoulders: Sloping, fine at the withers and free from coarseness or lumber.
Chest: Rather narrow, with great depth of brisket.
Ribs: Only slightly sprung, but very deep giving room for heart and lung play.
Back: Rising a little at the loins in a graceful curve.
Loins: Extremely muscular, but rather tucked up, owing to the great depth of chest and comparative shortness of back and ribs.

FORELEGS

Bones straight and somewhat flattened like blades, with the narrower edge forward. The elbows have free play and are turned neither in nor out. Pasterns strong.

COAT

Long, silky (not woolly), either flat, wavy or rather curly. On the head, ears and front of legs it should be short and smooth; on the neck the frill should be profuse and rather curly. Feather on hindquarters and tail, long and profuse, less so on chest and back of forelegs.

HINDQUARTERS

Long, very muscular and powerful with well bent stifles; somewhat wider than the forequarters; strong first and second thighs; hocks clean and well let down; legs parallel when viewed from the rear.

1
2
3
4
5
6
borzoi illustration

About the Borzoi

Borzoi are large, elegant sighthounds. A mature male stands at least 28 inches at the shoulder and weighs 75 to 105 pounds. Females will be smaller. Beneath the luxurious silky coat, Borzoi construction follows the ancient Greyhound template. One known as the Russian Wolfhound, Borzoi were bred to be swift and tough enough to pursue and pin their ferocious lupine quarry.

In their quiet, catlike way they can be stubborn, and training is best accomplished with patience, consistency, and good humor. Affectionate family dogs, Borzoi are nonetheless a bit too dignified to wholeheartedly enjoy a lot of roughhousing. The sight of a cat or squirrel on the run will quickly stir their pursuit instinct, and fenced-in running room is a must.

National Breed Clubs and Rescue

Want to connect with other people who love the same breed as much as you do? We have plenty of opportunities to get involved in your local community, thanks to AKC Breed Clubs located in every state, and more than 450 AKC Rescue Network groups across the country.
Borzoi

Find a Puppy: Borzoi

AKC Marketplace | PuppyFinder

AKC Marketplace is the only site to exclusively list 100% AKC puppies from AKC-Registered litters and the breeders who have cared for and raised these puppies are required to follow rules and regulations established by the AKC.
Find Borzoi Puppies

Care

NUTRITION

Borzoi tend to eat less than one might assume for their size. Borzoi puppies consume more food than adults due to their rapid growth. The Borzoi should do well on a high-quality dog food, whether commercially manufactured or home-prepared with your veterinarian’s supervision and approval. Any diet should be appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior).

Because of the risk of bloat, strenuous exercise is not recommended before or after feeding time. Some dogs are prone to getting overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.

GROOMING

Like any long-coated dog, the Borzoi will shed a bit. In general, a quick brushing every day or two with a pin brush, slicker brush, and/or a comb will remove any loose hair and dirt from the coat. About once a year the Borzoi will shed more heavily for several weeks, and during this shedding season more frequent grooming is needed. Regular baths keep the Borzoi clean and looking his best. As with all breeds, the Borzoi’s nails should be trimmed regularly.

Grooming Frequency

Occasional Bath/Brush
Specialty/Professional
Weekly Brushing

Shedding

Infrequent
Frequent
Seasonal

EXERCISE

Even though Borzoi are large, they are graceful, athletic animals who make good housedogs. They do need daily exercise, whether in the form of long walks or running in a securely fenced yard. Being sighthounds, they are apt to chase anything that moves, so they should always be in an enclosed area or on a leash. It is never advisable to allow a Borzoi to run loose. Borzoi enjoy doing activities with their owners and excel in canine sports such as agility and lure coursing.

Energy Level

Couch Potato
Needs Lots of Activity
Energetic

TRAINING

Early socialization and puppy training classes are recommended. Exposing the puppy to positive experiences with a wide variety of people, places, and situations will help him develop into a well-adjusted adult. Borzoi are intelligent and very affectionate with their owners, but are also independent and sometimes stubborn, so training may be a challenge. Patience and consistency are key. Overall they are usually gentle, well-mannered companions. Remember that Borzoi were bred to chase game, and any small animal that runs may trigger this response, so the breed should be on leash when on outings.

Trainability

May be Stubborn
Eager to Please
Independent

Temperament/Demeanor

Aloof/Wary
Outgoing
Alert/Responsive

HEALTH

Borzoi are generally healthy dogs,and a responsible breeder will screen breeding stock for health conditions such as elbow and hip dysplasia, osteochondritis dissecans, and progressive retinal atrophy. Like other large and deep-chested dogs, they can experience bloat, a sudden and life-threatening stomach condition. Owners should educate themselves as to what symptoms indicate this is occurring and what to do if so. Sighthounds, including Borzoi, are more sensitive to anesthesia than other breeds. As with all breeds, a Borzoi’s ears should be checked regularly, and the teeth should be brushed often.

Recommended Health Tests from the National Breed Club:

  • Ophthalmologist Evaluation
  • Thyroid Evaluation
  • Cardiac Exam
  • Degenerative Myelopathy DNA Test

Read the Official Breed Club Health Statement.

Read the Official Breed Club Health Statement.

Borzoi
Borzoi
Borzoi
Borzoi
Borzoi
Borzoi

History

During the centuries of Romanov rule in Russia, wolf hunting was an all-consuming passion of the Russian aristocracy. Nobles would stage ritualized hunts—festivals, really—on their vast estates, with their guests, horses, and hounds ferried in on special hunt trains. It wasn’t unusual for a hundred Borzoi and just as many servants to be employed in these extravagant affairs, which traditionally concluded with a great feast at the manor house.

“It is difficult today to even imagine the grand scale and magnificence to which the gentle Borzoi is heir,” wrote a breed historian. “Before 1861, and to a lesser extent after that time up to the Russian Revolution in 1917, the time, effort, and money expended on these ‘hunts,’ as they were called, is surely unequaled in the development of any breed.” Russia’s great novelist Leo Tolstoy, himself a devoted Borzoi fan, immortalized one of these grand spectacles in his War and Peace.

With the Revolution came the wholesale slaughter of the Romanov family, their nobles, and their aristocratic hounds. This was a disaster that set back Russian breeding of Borzoi and other national breeds for much of the 20th century. If not for the Borzoi’s devotees abroad, the breed might have gone extinct.

In the years leading up to the Revolution, dog fanciers in England and America had begun the importation of Borzoi to their shores. These early imports ensured the breed’s survival. In the English-speaking world, the breed name was Russian Wolfhound. In America this changed in 1936, when after a long and spirited debate pro and con among the U.S. breed fancy, the breed was officially rechristened the Borzoi, from the Russian borzyi, meaning “swift.”

By all accounts, this noble breed of haughty looks and sterling temperament is little changed from the hounds Tolstoy described so movingly in his writings.

Did You Know?

The Borzoi originated in 17th-century Russia, when Arabian greyhounds were crossed with a thick-coated, Russian breed.
In 1650, the first Borzoi standard was written.
The Borzoi was bred by the Russian aristocracy for hundreds of years.
The Borzoi was known until 1936 as the Russian Wolfhound.
As far as is known, the first Borzoi that came to America was brought over from England in 1889 by William Wade of Hulton, Pennsylvania, this hound being purchased from Freeman Lloyd.
In the past, Borzois would hunt in packs of over a hundred dogs, as many Foxhounds, and as many people to assist. The most popular game? Wolf.

The Breed Standard

GENERAL APPEARANCE

The Borzoi was originally bred for the coursing of wild game on more or less open terrain, relying on sight rather than scent. To accomplish this purpose, the Borzoi needed particular structural qualities to chase, catch and hold his quarry. Special emphasis is placed on sound running gear, strong neck and jaws, courage and agility, combined with proper condition. The Borzoi should always possess unmistakable elegance, with flowing lines, graceful in motion or repose. Males, masculine without coarseness; bitches, feminine and refined.

HEAD

Skull slightly domed, long and narrow, with scarcely any perceptible stop, inclined to be Roman-nosed. Jaws long, powerful and deep, somewhat finer in bitches but not snipy. Teeth strong and clean with either an even or a scissors bite. Missing teeth should be penalized. Nose large and black.
Ears: Small and fine in quality, lying back on the neck when in repose with the tips when thrown back almost touching behind occiput; raised when at attention.
Eyes: Set somewhat obliquely, dark in color, intelligent but rather soft in expression; never round, full nor staring, nor light in color; eye rims dark; inner corner midway between tip of nose and occiput.

BODY

Neck: Clean, free from throatiness; slightly arched, very powerful and well set on.
Shoulders: Sloping, fine at the withers and free from coarseness or lumber.
Chest: Rather narrow, with great depth of brisket.
Ribs: Only slightly sprung, but very deep giving room for heart and lung play.
Back: Rising a little at the loins in a graceful curve.
Loins: Extremely muscular, but rather tucked up, owing to the great depth of chest and comparative shortness of back and ribs.

FORELEGS

Bones straight and somewhat flattened like blades, with the narrower edge forward. The elbows have free play and are turned neither in nor out. Pasterns strong.

COAT

Long, silky (not woolly), either flat, wavy or rather curly. On the head, ears and front of legs it should be short and smooth; on the neck the frill should be profuse and rather curly. Feather on hindquarters and tail, long and profuse, less so on chest and back of forelegs.

HINDQUARTERS

Long, very muscular and powerful with well bent stifles; somewhat wider than the forequarters; strong first and second thighs; hocks clean and well let down; legs parallel when viewed from the rear.

1
2
3
4
5
6
borzoi illustration

Colors & Markings

Colors

Description Standard Colors Registration Code
Black Check Mark For Standard Color 007
Black & Brindle Check Mark For Standard Color 008
Black & Cream Check Mark For Standard Color 010
Black & Tan Check Mark For Standard Color 018
Brindle Check Mark For Standard Color 057
Brindled Sable Check Mark For Standard Color 490
Cream Check Mark For Standard Color 076
Gold Check Mark For Standard Color 091
Gold Brindle Check Mark For Standard Color 485
Gold Sable Check Mark For Standard Color 486
Red Check Mark For Standard Color 140
Red Brindle Check Mark For Standard Color 148
Sable Check Mark For Standard Color 164
Sabled Gold Check Mark For Standard Color 491
Sabled Red Check Mark For Standard Color 492
Silver Brindle Check Mark For Standard Color 303
Silver Sable Check Mark For Standard Color 286
White Check Mark For Standard Color 199
Apricot 002
Blue 037
Blue & Cream 273
Blue Brindle 056
Brown 061
Cream Sable 348
Fawn 082
Mahogany Brindle 493
Mahogany Red 495
Red Sable 155
Sabled Cream 494
Silver 176

Markings

Description Standard Markings Registration Code
Black Mask Check Mark For Standard Mark 004
Spotted On White Check Mark For Standard Mark 071
Spotted On White, Black Mask Check Mark For Standard Mark 436
Spotted On White, Ticked Check Mark For Standard Mark 438
White Markings Check Mark For Standard Mark 014
White Markings, Black Mask Check Mark For Standard Mark 114
White Markings, Ticked Check Mark For Standard Mark 439
White Trim Check Mark For Standard Mark 101
White Trim, Black Mask Check Mark For Standard Mark 437

Other Breeds to Explore

Compare Breeds
If you have any questions please don't hesitate to contact us at enewsletter@akc.org
https://www.akc.org/wp-admin/admin-ajax.php
https://www.akc.org/wp-admin/admin-ajax.php
https://www.akc.org/subscription/thank-you
TOP