Group: Hound Group

Origin: Russia


    – Males: From 28 to 32 inches (71-81 cm).
    – Females: from 27 to 30 inches (68-76 cm).


    – Males: from 75 to 105 lbs. (34-48 kg).
    – Females: 15 to 20 lbs. (7-9 kg) less.
Ch. Lepus Abominable Snowman (aka “Yeti”)
Photo Copyright ©Mark Raycroft
Courtesy: Lepus Reg’d Whippets & Borzoi

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Breed Profile

With a quiet and gentle nature, the Borzoi is aloof with strangers but devoted to his family. He is gentle, affectionate and loyal with the appearance of being a graceful aristocrat, elegant, and brave combined with muscular power and extreme speed. By nature, the Borzoi is a very efficient hunter with fast reflexes and instincts, intelligent and an independent thinker.

Considered a giant breed, the males are generally larger than the females and have a longer and more profuse coat. The coat is long and silky, either flat, wavy or curly and can be any colour or combination of colours. On the head, ears and front of legs, the coat is short and smooth. On the neck there is a frill that should profuse and be rather curly.

One important characteristic of the breed is the topline which has a graceful curve over the loin. It is due to this that the Borzoi, along with a number of other Sighthounds, is capable of great speed and agility.

A Brief History of the Borzoi

The Borzoi (Russkaya Psovaya Borzaya – Barzoï), once known as the Russian Wolfhound, originated in the 17th century in Russia when Russian aristocracy crossed Arabian Greyhounds with a heavy-coated Russian breed. The first Borzoi standard was written in 1650. The Borzoi is a member of the Sighthound family of Hounds and was originally bred for coursing of hare, fox, and wolves on open terrain, relying on sight rather than scent.

The Borzoi was first registered in Canada in 1892.

Health Issues

Generally, the Borzoi is a very healthy breed with most diseases that are commonly found in other breeds rarely being seen in the Borzoi. However, like all breeds, some health problems have been seen, including: Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) and Osteocondritis Dissecans (OCD).

Two additional health concerns should be noted:

  1. Anesthetics — Like all members of the Sighthound family, the Borzoi is sensitive to a number of anesthetics. It is very important to discuss this with your Veterinarian in advance of any required surgery. For additional information, see: Anesthesia And Your Saluki from the Saluki Club of America.
  2. Bloat — As with any deep-chested dog, the occurrence of Bloat or Gastric Torsion is a real possibility in the Borzoi. If you are not familiar with this condition, it is absolutely necessary to learn about it and know the symptoms — This is a real emergency and a life threatening condition that requires immediate Veterinary attention. See Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (GDV) – Bloat in the Health and Nutrition section of Canada’s Guide to Dogs for more information and First Aid for Bloat for an article describing some of the things you can do if you are faced with this situation.

If you are considering the adoption of a Borzoi puppy, or any breed, it is very important to be selective in choosing a responsible and reputable breeder. Ensure that the prospective puppy’s parents have all health clearances. Breeding of any dog should not be done until after they have been proven to be free of evidence of significant hereditary diseases. (For more information on selecting a breeder, see the articles on the General Information page.)

Recommended Health Screening:

For the Borzoi, the CHICNote 1 database includes health screenings for:

  • Eye Examination by a board Ophthalmologist
  • Autoimmune Thyroiditis
  • Congenital Cardiac Database
  • Degenerative Myelopathy
  • Hip and Elbow Dysplasia are listed as “Optional.”

Additional Health Resources:


Grooming Information

  • Grooming Your Borzoi By Margery Armstrong
  • Grooming — This section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website includes tips, articles and information covering all aspects of dog grooming along with a listing of Groomers from across Canada.


Training Resources

  • Training — For training information, see this growing section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website for tips, articles, as well as listings of training centres across Canada.


Additional Information

  • So You Want a Borzoi…
  • Lure Coursing
  • Whippets and Other Sighthounds — A very informative website dedicated to Sighthounds explaining why a Sighthound thinks and acts differently from other breeds of dogs.
  • Clubs, Sports & Activities — For information on the many sports and activities you can get involved in with your dog.
  • Working Dogs — The Working Dogs section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website provides information and listings of organizations that are involved in various dog jobs, such as Guide Dogs, Therapy Dogs, Police Dogs, Protection Dogs, and much more.


*NOTE 1: CHIC – The Canine Health Information Center “is a database of consolidated health screening results from multiple sources. Co-sponsored by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) and the American Kennel Club (AKC) Canine Health Foundation, CHIC works with parent clubs to identify health screening protocols appropriate for individual breeds. Dogs tested in accordance with the parent club established requirements, that have their results registered and made available in the public domain are issued CHIC numbers.” To learn more, visit:

*NOTE 2: The Fédération Cynologique International (FCI) is the World Canine Organization, which includes 91 members and contract partners (one member per country) that each issue their own pedigrees and train their own judges. The FCI recognizes 344 breeds, with each being the “property” of a specific country. The “owner” countries write the standards of these breeds in co-operation with the Standards and Scientific Commissions of the FCI, and the translation and updating are carried out by the FCI. The FCI is not a breed registry nor does it issue pedigrees.

Breed Listing

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