With a history in Czarist Russia, the Borzoi was bred by the Russian aristocracy 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.

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Outeshai, 1895. Winner of the hare-coursing prize at Colombiagi (near St. Petersburg) two years in succession.

Known here prior to 1936 as the Russian Wolfhound, the Borzoi is a sighthound dependent on his extreme speed, agility and courage to pursue, overtake and hold the quarry.

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 Owtchar, as well as other ancient sighthound types. Whatever the Borzoi origin, by 1260 the coursing of hare for sport is mentioned in connection with the Court of the Grand Duke of Novgorod at the time of the First Czar.

photographer: Shot On Site

From the time of the first Czars hunting with Borzois reached the level of the national sport of the aristocracy. Large rural estates of thousands of acres with hundreds of serfs were given over to the breeding, training of and hunting with Borzoi. In 1861 serfdom was abolished but the hunts continued, to a lesser extent until the Russian Revolution in 1917. Time, effort and money that was expended on these "hunts" is surely unequaled in the development of any other breed.

photographer: Shot On Site


Grand Duke Nicholas

Due to many experimental outcrosses in the breed only a few Borzois of the old type existed by 1873. In that year the Imperial Association was formed to protect and promote this ancient type. Due to this Association many bloodlines of Borzois in America today can be traced back to breeders who were members of this group, most notable, Grand Duke Nicholas and wealthy landowner Artem Boldareff. It is to their hunts at Perchino and Woronzova that many of today's Borzois owe their heritage.

The Borzoi today remains largely unchanged from his Russian ancestors, both in terms of his appearance, his quiet, gentle nature and his abilities.

photographer: Shot On Site


photographer: Shot On Site

photographer: Shot On Site

While the hunt has been the primary purpose of the Borzoi, his beauty and temperament were also always of prime importance. He was always a companion par excellence and a favorite of the salon.


Though the circumstances of the Borzoi have changed from those of Czarist Russia, they remain true aristocrats. While he needed particular structural qualities to chase, catch and hold his quarry with special emphasis on a sound running gear, strong neck and jaws, courage and agility with proper condition, the Borzoi should always possess unmistakable elegance, with flowing lines, graceful in motion or repose.