The Borzoi (or Russian wolfhound) is a breed of sight-hound. Because of their eccentricities, they often need special care. This is a wonderful breed that is gentle and sweet. Beware that this is not a breed for everyone, and it is recommended that you learn as much as you can about them before adopting. If you’re interested in owning one, there are a few things you should look into regarding their care. With a little research and patience, you can learn how to properly care for your Borzoi.
Teach your Borzoi some commands.
Borzois are intelligent, yet they can be quite stubborn. Hounds in general are independent and have a mind of their own. Start by teaching basic commands (sit, stay, come, etc.) and go from there.
You can try teaching your dog to sit, training your dog to stay, or teaching your dog to come on command.
Try using positive reinforcement training where you give the pup praise and cuddles when they behave the way you want them to. This is a better option than using treats because you don’t want your Borzoi to gain too much weight on their slender frame.
If possible, get help from a professional. Taking your dog to obedience school can help it learn how to behave and respond to you properly from the beginning.
Take the dog out for a daily walk.
They should walk beside or behind you, not in front of you. They can walk for an hour once a day or for 30 minutes twice a day.
Never let a Borzoi go off a leash unless they are in a safely enclosed space. They will chase anything that looks like prey and may not come back. Worse, they could be hit by a car because they can get so preoccupied when they run or chase.
Unleashing a dog, even if you think it’ll listen to you, is often how they get hurt. Walking on the beach or in empty fields where they can safely run is great fun for borzois.
Let your Borzoi run free in a fenced-in space.
While these dogs certainly need their daily walk, they also need a large enclosed space to run in. A walk won’t satiate the urge to stretch their limbs and run around at top speed. You will have a destructive Borzoi if it is not given off-leash running time.
Make sure this is always in an enclosed space. The Borzoi can and will get away from you and be gone in a second.
Get involved in lure coursing or some other activity. Lure coursing is where sight-hounds chase an artificial lure across an open field. They are judged based on speed, endurance, enthusiasm, and other traits.
Get help from experienced breeders/trainers.
If you have any questions about the breed, whether you adopt or purchase from a reputable breeder, it’s always best to call a breeder to get the down-low on how these dogs actually act. Generalized information is nothing compared to the hand of experience.
Accurate information will give you the tools you need to effectively train your dog and help you develop a strong bond.
Bring your borzoi to the vet for regular check-ups.
It’s important that you bring your borzoi to the veterinarian at least once per year. The vet can give the dog a check-up and run blood tests or other labs, if necessary, to let you know of any health concerns there may be.
Vaccinate your borzoi and provide preventative treatments.
While a rabies vaccination is mandatory in the U.S., your vet may also recommend other vaccinations for your dog, such as for parvovirus, distemper, and parainfluenza. Your vet can also provide preventative medications for issues like heartworms, fleas, ticks and internal worms.
Get your borzoi spayed or neutered.
Spaying or neutering your borzoi minimizes or eliminates the risk of them developing certain kinds of cancer, like breast, ovarian/uterine, and testicular. It is also the mark of a responsible pet owner, as it prevents unwanted puppies from being born. Desexing your pet can also reduce undesirable behaviors, like wandering in males.
Microchip your borzoi.
It’s a great idea to microchip your borzoi in case it is ever lost or missing. Veterinarians encourage microchipping as it offers secure, permanent identification for your pet. A microchip will be inserted under your dog’s skin, and if it ever ends up in an animal shelter or veterinary office, the chip can be scanned. The scan reveals your name and contact information, which you provide when registering the microchip when it’s implanted.
Speak to your veterinarian to learn more.
Purchase all the necessities.
Whenever you bring a new dog into your home, you need to make sure you have all the necessary supplies so that you won’t be caught off-guard in the moment. Make sure you have everything you need.
You’ll need to buy a leash, collar, dog bed, dog food, food bowls, grooming supplies (like a dog hairbrush), some doggie toys, and possibly a crate.
Use a martingale collar for your Borzoi. Sighthounds have narrow heads and inset ears, so normal collars can slip right off of their necks.
It is not recommended to keep Borzois in crates because of their high-energy nature, so only use this method when absolutely necessary. However, if you must use a crate for your Borzoi, get one that is 26 in (66 cm) wide by 36 in (91 cm) high by 48 in (120 cm) long.
Feed your dog high-quality food that is made for large dogs.
Since Borzois are a larger breed of dog, they need specialized formulas to ensure they’re getting the proper nutrients for their larger bodies. Check with your vet to make sure the food you choose is meeting your Borzoi’s nutritional needs.
You should feed the Borzoi a few small meals throughout the day instead of a large one once a day. They are prone to bloat and torsion. Eating small meals will aid in this a lot.
Additionally, don’t let your Borzoi exercise right after eating to help avoid bloat and torsion.
Groom your Borzoi.
Be sure to take extra care with grooming your Borzoi. You should brush a Borzoi’s long, silky coat once or twice a week. This will help prevent your dog’s coat from matting up and getting tangled. While you’re at it, clip the hair between the toes and clean the ears. You can get an ear cleaner at the pet store.
Be sure to bathe your Borzoi, though you don’t have to bathe them as often as some other breeds. Three times a year should do the trick.
You’ll need to purchase a dog hair brush, comb, and nail clippers for your Borzoi.
This breed is gentle and sweet and your dog will want you to love it. Don’t hit the dog or be harsh with training. They don’t like harshness. Keep in mind, they are sighthounds. Sighthounds are peaceful dogs who relish positive interaction with their owners.
Showing affection is an important part of bonding with your dog and creating a loving lifelong relationship.
Play with your dog.
Make sure you spend some time playing with your friendly Borzoi. Set aside at least 15 minutes daily to play with your dog. In addition to exercise, Borzois need to engage in playful activities, like tug or hide and seek, that make them think and remain active.
Use motivational play training to help build a bond with your pet and keep it happy.
Estimate the amount of time you can devote to a pet.
Borzois were bred in Russia as hunting/racing dogs, so they have a very specific temperament. They are high-energy dogs that require a lot of exercise and activity.
Borzois need owners who can commit time to them. Because of its racing nature, you will probably need to spend about an hour each day doing physical activity with your Borzoi.
Be careful with Borzois if you have children.
The Borzoi breed usually does not like children. They are sensitive dogs and if not raised with children they can become frightened, nervous, and anxious. Take special care if you want a Borzoi and have children.
It is also easy for a large dog to knock children over and accidentally harm them.
They are usually quite gentle and good with humans, but often don’t like outsiders.
Use caution if you have other pets.
Borzois are hunters by instinct and some of them cannot be placed in homes with other, smaller animals. If raised with a cat or smaller dog, these dogs might be able to adjust with proper training, but some Borzoi are aggressive in their instincts and cannot be trained to ignore or adjust to small animals in a home.
If you have existing pets (especially small ones), you should seriously consider adopting another breed of dog. At the very least, you should try to introduce your existing pets to the new Borzoi before adopting it so you can gauge how the dog will react.
Purchase a Borzoi from a reputable breeder if you want a puppy.
If you want a Borzoi with a traceable lineage that you can track, you should consider purchasing one from a reputable breeder. Avoid buying them from pet stores because these puppy’s often come from puppy mills and encourage irresponsible breeding.
You never know what happened to a dog when you adopt them. Purchasing a puppy, or a full grown dog, from a reputable breeder prevents temperamental issues, promotes proper socialization, and gives you a record of health via that dog’s bloodline.
You should always be able to visit the breeder’s location and meet the parents of the puppies to see if their personalities match with yours. The breeder will also try to select for you a dog that will match your personality or lifestyle.
To find a reputable breeder, you should do a search on the internet and look for reviews. They will also have paperwork documenting the lineage of their breeding dogs that you can ask to see.
You might want to look for reputable breeders at dog shows that feature Borzois too. Well-respected dog shows will not accept disreputable breeders.
Adopt a Borzoi if you’d like to rescue an older dog.
If you are comfortable with this option, it could be a good idea to adopt a Borzoi that needs a home. You should try to get one from a rescue group or try searching for borzois at local animal shelters.
Find a borzoi specific rescue agency to get matched with the dog you want.
Make sure you visit several dogs before agreeing to adopt one.
To find a good Borzoi adoption agency or rescue group, look for organizational websites on the internet. You can also contact the National Borzoi Rescue Foundation for recommendations of agencies in your area.
If you have your heart set on a Borzoi, you should be prepared to wait a while – especially if adoption is important to you. There are not a large number of Borzoi rescues, so you may need to wait. Take your time and wait for the right Borzoi for you.
If you don’t find a breeder you love right away, it is probably best to keep looking.
No matter what method you wish to use to acquire a Borzoi, it is important to remember that adopting a dog is a big commitment that will last many years – so you should not rush into it.