AKC Hound Group


Photo copyright © Cook PhoDOGraphy. All rights reserved.

Photo copyright © Cook PhoDOGraphy. All rights reserved.

The Borzoi’s ancestors probably came from the Middle East to Russia in the Middle Ages. There this elegant sight hound was adopted by the nobility, crossed with longer haired sheepdogs, and used as a fierce and brave wolf hunter, earning the name Borzoi (meaning “swift”). The Russian nobility bred and hunted with these dogs for hundreds of years, often staging grand events. Eventually the Borzoi’s popularity spread throughout Europe. Queen Victoria owned Borzois, and many of the British aristocracy soon followed suit. The breed became favored for gifts among royalty. Initially called the Russian Wolfhound outside of its native land, the name was eventually changed back to Borzoi.


The Borzoi is a tall, aristocratic dog with a greyhound-like build, long hair, and a long, narrow head. The ears lie back on the neck, but may prick up partially when the dog is alert. The back is gracefully arched over the loin. The chest is narrow, but very deep, and there is a noticeable tuck-up. The tail is long and carried low. The longish silky coat may be white, golden, tan, black and tan, gray or brindle, solid or spotted. A heavy neck ruff is characteristic.

Key Facts

  • Height: Over 28 in. (male); over 26 in. (female)
  • Size: Large
  • Weight: 75 to 105 lbs. (male); 60 to 90 lbs. (female)
  • Availability: Might take some effort to find
  • Talents: Hunting by sight, and lure coursing


Though he can live indoors, the Borzoi needs regular exercise. Likes to roam and chase and is incredibly fast—in the city, he should only be let off lead in a safe enclosed space. Not to be trusted with small pets such as cats and rabbits unless raised with them. His lightning snap can kill a small animal in a second. Sensitive to some barbituate drugs. May be a picky eater and is prone to bloat. It is best to feed the Borzoi small meals two or three times a day.


Sweet, quiet, and undemanding. Intelligent and catlike. Very sensitive, and does not do well with harsh training. Calm indoors, but enjoys a fast run outside.


  • Children: Best with older, considerate children
  • Friendliness: Fairly friendly with strangers
  • Trainability: Moderately easy to train
  • Independence: Fairly independent
  • Dominance: Moderate
  • Other Pets: Generally good with other dogs; do not trust with non-canine pets
  • Combativeness: Most get along well with other dogs
  • Noise: Not a barker
  • Indoors: Relatively inactive indoors
  • Owner: Not recommended for novice owners


  • Grooming: Regular grooming needed
  • Trimming and Stripping: No trimming or stripping needed
  • Coat: Medium to long coat
  • Shedding: Seasonally heavy shedder
  • Exercise: Needs moderate exercise
  • Jogging: An excellent jogging companion
  • Apartments: Will be OK in an apartment if sufficiently exercised
  • Outdoor Space: Best with at least an average-size yard
  • Climate: Does well in most climates
  • Longevity: Average (10 to 12 years)

Useful Links

AKC® Borzoi Breed Standard

Borzoi Breed Club

Search for a Breeder

Rescue Organizations

Books about the Borzoi

Borzoi Gifts