Originally known as the Russian Wolfhound, the Borzoi temperament is loyal, calm, and agreeable.
Borzoi Temperament and Personality
Make sure you get a good feel for the Borzoi temperament by reading these 7 traits.
Don't focus on looks only. That's always a recipe for problems down the road. It's the personality and tendencies of the Borzoi breed that will determine most if you are a match for the elegant dog.
That said these are only Borzoi breed guidelines. The individual dog you meet can have some, all or other temperament traits not mentioned here.
1. Gentle, Friendly, and Playful
Borzoi dogs are famously known for their gentle spirit. However, their personality also ranges from goofy and silly to quiet and respectful.
Note that while a Borzoi puppy is rather rambunctious and playful, the Borzoi’s personality evens out by the time he reaches adulthood, making him a calmer, more graceful dog.
Though, just because he’s a graceful adult doesn’t mean he loses his sense of humor as he ages either. He still has his adorable moments of goofiness from time to time.
2. They crave companionship
The Borzoi does not do well when left alone for long periods. Learn more about separation anxiety and how to prevent it.
3. Don’t judge them by their looks
The Borzoi is a large breed, but don’t let that fool you into thinking they’ll make a great guard dog. Borzois will let you know when a stranger is near, but they will rarely act aggressively. These dogs are the very definition of “all bark, no bite.”
They are generally trusting of people and not shy. However, Borzois sometimes act aloof towards strangers. In rare instances, Borzois can become aggressive, but they tend to be shyer on average.
In either case, early socialization makes a big difference in how a Borzoi interacts with dogs and people he doesn’t know. The more you socialize a Borzoi, the better off he (and you) will be.
4. They’ve are comparable to cats
Post-puppyhood, Borzois are comparable to cats – much larger cats, of course! While these dogs adore affection, they are independent and have no problem entertaining themselves. They don’t need constant supervision.
5. Animal (and child) selective
Borzois do well with other dogs, but they might not be the best companion for cats or other small animals. They are sighthounds, originally bred as trackers and chasers of small game.
Borzois like children, but they do not like rough play. You should always supervise small children around the Borzoi, as the Borzoi can snap or even bite if pushed too far.
In fact, some Borzois can be “touch-sensitive.” What this means is that if you startle a Borzoi by touching him when he doesn’t realize you’re near, he’ll jump out of his skin and may do something rash.
It is therefore incredibly important that you teach children how to behave properly while in his presence. (It’s also a good tip for you to remember, too, so you don’t accidentally surprise him.)
6. They aren’t apartment dogs
Despite their laid-back personality, Borzois are athletic dogs and do best in a home where they can stretch their legs in a large, fenced backyard. One of their favorite pastimes is running – not a surprise, consider their long gams.
On a related note, you have to be so careful when you’re out with a Borzoi. He has an incredibly strong prey drive. He will blindly chase after prey with such focus that he won’t heed your calling him back to you – or cars in the road.
In fact, Borzoi breeders say one of the most common causes of death for this breed is being hit by a car, so please be careful when you allow your Borzoi out of the house.
7. Borzois are Intelligent and Intuitive
The Borzoi is a very intelligent and sensitive breed. They have a knack for picking up tension in the home. Too much tension can even make them physically ill. A harmonious home is a happy home for a Borzoi.
*Here’s an interesting little side note: some Borzois tend to pant regularly. This can be unnerving for some people, as you may think the dog is in distress, but it’s just something common for this breed. This is good to know in advance, in case you think this may be something you find difficult to live with in a dog.
A Brief History of the Borzoi Breed
The Borzoi breed’s history dates to 1650, when Russian nobles began to breed them.
For quite some time, Borzois were hunters for noblemen in their native Russia. After the Russian Revolution, the Borzoi’s popularity declined. But they came to the United States in the late 1890s.
Although the breed’s name changed from the Russian Wolfhound to the Borzoi in 1936, they remain the glamorous, tall sighthound from Czarist Russia they always were.
How Do You Train a Borzoi?
Borzois are part of the hound family, meaning they can be a challenge to train. They typically have an independent temperament, can be stubborn at times and do not like when you tell them what to do.
In fact, you may actually feel sometimes like your Borzoi is just humoring you when he performs a version of what you’re asking him to do. And he’ll make sure you know that he’s doing this for you because you want him to – not because he’s actually interested in learning what it is you’re trying to teach him.
Training a Borzoi will require confidence, patience, – and a lot of treats. They may try and fool you into thinking they are untrainable, but they just need the right motivation.
Positive reinforcement is the only way to train your Borzoi. Negative or harsh punishments will only cause them to ignore you or do the opposite of what you asked.
You can successfully train your Borzoi with the right motivation, short training sessions, and a consistent schedule.
And, of course, if you’re training your Borzoi outside, remember his strong prey drive, and keep him on a leash or in a securely fenced-in area at all times.
The Borzoi Appearance
Their average weight is between 75-105 pounds. Male Borzois are about 28 inches tall while females are about 26 inches tall.
Caring for a Borzoi
The following are the important things you will need to do on a regular basis to provide proper care for your Borzoi. Without proper grooming, health and exercise there is no way you should expect your Borzoi to express its positive temperament traits.
How Do You Groom a Borzoi?
Borzois come in a variety of colors, like black, white, brindle, fawn, red, or cream. They have a long, silky coat that can be curly, flat, or wavy. They have smooth, short hair around their head, ears, and front legs, with curly hair around the neck.
Their gorgeous, silky hair texture is dirt- resistant, so it is quite easy to keep clean.
Do Borzois Shed?
Yes, Borzois are heavy shedders. Borzois require weekly brushing with a pin brush, as a wire brush could ruin their coat. They are seasonal shedders and often require extra brushing during that time.
Thankfully, the Borzoi’s shedding season only comes around once a year, but it lasts for several weeks when it does. So, if you don’t think you’ll have the patience to keep up with grooming the high-maintenance Borzoi, then this breed may not be the right choice for you.
Also, because Borzois are heavy shedders, these are not what you might call “hypoallergenic” dogs. While no dog is allergy-free, a good rule-of-thumb is that, the more a dog sheds, the more likely you are to develop allergies when you’re in his presence. The Borzoi, therefore, is not a good choice if you’re prone to sneezing and itchy eyes when you’re around a dog.
You only need to bathe your Borzoi as needed, like when his coat is obviously dirty, or he has that “dirty dog” smell.
Read this if you are new to grooming your dog for the steps to follow for great results.
Staying Healthy: Borzoi Health Issues to be Aware of.
The Borzoi lifespan is typically between 9 and 14 years.
While most Borzois are healthy dogs, Borzois can still suffer from several health conditions, such as:
- Gastric dilatation volvulus or gastric torsion (also known as bloat),
- Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA – a degenerative eye disorder)
- Cardiomyopathy (enlarged heart)
- And Osteochondrosis Dissecans(OCD -an orthopedic condition).
Helpful Dog Health Resource:
Borzois do require a moderate amount of exercise – even though they are quiet indoors.
Daily exercise in the form of long walks or runs will keep them in shape and tire them out.
As I mentioned earlier, these dogs have an incredibly strong prey drive, so whatever you do, when you bring him outside for exercise, keep him either on a leash or in a securely fenced-in area. You should never allow him to run free, even in a dog park.
Since the Borzoi’s Russian days involved hunting, they naturally excel at fetch and other dog sports like agility and lure coursing.
Finding the Perfect Borzoi
Ready to add this sweet-natured breed to your family? It’s time to do your research.
Your first question should be: “Do I want a puppy or an adult Borzoi?”.
Puppies are a lot of work!
They require time and patience – lots of patience!
Adult Borzois are often already housetrained and know basic commands – perfect for busy families.
If you decide on a puppy, a breeder is your best bet. If you’d like an adult Borzoi, adoption may be the best option.
How much do Borzoi Puppies Cost?
The average price for a Borzoi puppy is between $1,000-$1,200.
Keep in mind Borzoi prices are dependent on the availability of litters, location, and lineage.
The average price of Borzois for adoption depends on where you adopt your Borzoi from (i.e. rescue organization or local shelter) as well as the dog's age.
For example, younger Borzois cost more than an adult or senior Borzois.
Borzoi Price vs Cost
Borzoi Rescue and Adoption
Borzoi puppies are cute, but not every dog owner is fully aware of what it takes to own this breed.
Borzois often find themselves in rescue organizations or shelters when a family isn’t fully aware of the Borzoi temperament.
If you are looking for an older dog or are willing to open your home to a special needs Borzoi, adoption is for you!
If you resort to your local shelter try these temperament tests to assess the temperament of the Borzois you are adopting.
To find a purebred Borzoi for sale from a breeder, your first stop should be the American Kennel Club Marketplace. You can search for Borzoi breeders based on location as well as pedigree.
Don’t pick the first breeder you find. Shop around to find a good breeder that makes you comfortable and is knowledgeable about the breed.
Ask as many questions as you can. A responsible breeder will spend as much time as necessary with you to make sure the Borzoi breed is right for you!
If this is your first time researching or thinking about buying a dog from a breeder then you should read our No BS Guide to Finding the Right Breeder
Top Borzoi Mixes
If you’re a sucker for a mixed breed dog, and you’re interested in getting a Borzoi mix, there are several out there to choose from.
A Final Word about the Borzoi Breed and Temperament
The Borzoi temperament is an active one. They love to run, so don’t be surprised if you find them chasing something that catches their eye.
They do well with other dogs and children but are not suitable for apartment life, or a home with cats. Just be sure to keep an eye on them when they’re around children, especially younger ones. If a child goes too far with a Borzoi, he may just snap or even bite to let the child know he’s not pleased.
Otherwise, these tall and slender pups are intuitive and well-mannered, making them the perfect family companion.