"INTRODUCING THE BORZOI"
DESCRIPTION, TEMPERAMENT, NEEDS AND CARE OF THE BORZOI
The Borzoi is a large, beautiful and speedy hound with a lovely, flowing coat. They enjoy being in the house with their owners and are generally quiet and well-behaved. Although an outstanding companion, the breed's size and speed may make ownership a greater than average responsibility. The following information is offered as a guide for perspective owners, to help in the decision to adopt or not adopt a Borzoi.
More info about Borzoi temperament at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Borzoi#Temperament
Males range in size from 29" to 34" at the shoulder and weigh from 75 to 105 pounds, but can sometimes be larger. Females are generally somewhat smaller, 26" to 30" in height and usually 60 to 90 pounds, but again can sometimes be larger. Though usually quiet, a full grown dog can easily knock a person down, so a Borzoi is not usually a breed for the elderly or infirm. Obedience training is strongly recommended for control of any large breed, including a Borzoi.
Borzoi come in all colors and color combinations.
AGGRESSIVE AND PROTECTIVE INSTINCTS:
These traits vary with individuals. Since most Borzoi rarely bark, they are not usually good watch dogs. Most are not aggressive with strangers, but many male Borzoi are aggressive with other male dogs. They must be supervised closely when around other dogs.
TRAINING AND DISCIPLINE:
Most Borzoi are eager to please their owners and rarely need to be punished: a stern "NO" is usually sufficient. It is necessary to establish control over your dog, and an obedience class is often the easiest and most rewarding way of doing so. Be careful to choose a good trainer, possibly one with sighthound experience. It is not necessary to hit your Borzoi, but discipline must be consistent, fair and firm, without being overly rough. A pronged choke collar is NEVER used as Borzoi are very sensitive. Remember to make training fun for your dog and always end the session on a happy note, with an exercise the dog does well. Lots of praise and sometimes a dog cookie work very well.
SMALL CHILDREN IN THE HOME:
Adaptability to small children varies with the individual dog. Many are tolerant and loving toward toddlers; others resent the rough treatment a small child can unknowingly inflict. The former life of a Rescued Borzoi is not always known. It is threatening to some dogs (not only Borzoi) to have an 18 month to a 5 or 6 year old child stagger, run walk or jump towards them. Some breeders recommend waiting until children are at least school age or preferably older before getting any large breed. The space in your home, the age of your children and the amount of time the dog will be in contact with the children, as well as your ability to "read" a dog, should all be considered when making your decision.
Since Borzoi were bred to course (chase) other animals, they should be closely watched around cats and small dogs, although many do live happily with both. Remember also that even though a Borzoi may live happily in the house with a cat or small dog, and actually be very affectionate with the animal in the house; outside may be a different matter, particularly with a cat.
Borzoi are puppies for a long time (18 months or more). The level of destructiveness (digging, chewing, etc...) varies with age, training, temperament and the activity level of the individual dog. In general, the younger the dog, the more damage it may do. Any dog left alone for long periods will often be destructive from boredom. Lots of attention and daily exercise will usually help a great deal.
We recommend crate training your Borzoi to insure against any destructive behavior. This is not hard, nor is it cruel. What is cruel is leaving a dog for any period of time alone and being upset when the dog as done something destructive, chewed an electrical cord or injured itself, or ingested an object which may require a trip to the veterinarian. If your dog is safely in his or her crate, the dog as well as your home are secure. You do not have to worry about what your dog is doing while you are out and both you, and the dog, are happy upon your return.
Be sure to purchase a crate that is large enough so an adult dog can stand, move around and lay down comfortably. We recommend a wire crate as opposed to an airline crate. This way, even when the dog is in the crate, it can see its surroundings and still feel safe. Remember to keep the crate pulled away from the wall, electrical outlets or anything the dog may be able to pull into the crate such as curtains.
Every time you put the dog in the crate, use a word or phrase such as "kennel-up". At first, the dog may not willingly enter the crate, so you must put it inside. Stay with the dog for a short time (5 minutes or so) and talk reassuringly to it, then let the dog out and give it lots of praise and a treat. Repeat this two or three times. Next, put the dog into the crate with a treat, secure the door and leave the room for 5 or 10 minutes. If the dog barks, cries or whines, ignore it. At the end of the allotted time, return to the dog and let it out. Give him or her a treat and lots of praise. After doing this several times, start leaving the dog for longer periods, always leaving the dog toys or treats in the crate and giving the dog a treat and praise upon your return. If the dog is left for long periods of time always leave clean food and water inside the crate.
You will find that after a period of time, your Borzoi will actually like the crate and go into it when tired or when it just wants to be left alone. DO NOT USE THE CRATE AS PUNISHMENT! You want your Borzoi to like the crate and to think of it as their "den". It is alright to put the dog into the crate for a "time-out" period to settle down if it has become over active in the house as most puppies do at times.
A large yard with a six foot fence is ideal, but Borzoi have been successfully kept in apartments. A fenced yard or large dog run is essential for a puppy or young dog; it will help keep the dog exercised and reduce boredom. If you do not have adequate space, or the time to walk a dog several times a day, you may want to consider a smaller dog.
Borzoi tolerate cool weather better than excessive heat. Dogs should never be left outside in direct sun during the summer weather. Regardless of the locale, the dog must have shelter.
A Borzoi's coat requires little care other than occasional shampooing and a weekly brushing. Yearly veterinary check-ups, immunizations as well as heartworm and fecal checks are of course, imperative for continued good health.
REQUIRED GROOMING EQUIPMENT:
- A medium metal comb
- A large, heavy duty, slicker brush. (The best ones are referred to as universal brushes)
- A pair of heavy duty nail clippers
- Ear cleaner and real cotton balls. The best ear cleaner can be made in your own kitchen. (In a plastic container such as an empty rubbing alcohol bottle mix 1/3 part water, 1/3 part rubbing alcohol and 1/3 part white vinegar. This can be stored till used up.)
- A pair of sharp, slightly curved scissors
After toughly brushing your dog with the slicker brush, comb the dog with the metal comb. In this way you can be sure there are no mats or tangles left in the coat. If there are, work with your fingers and the brush to remove them. Pay special attention to the dog’s rear feather area, chest, behind the ears, tail and underbelly. Particularly with a male, be sure not to pull or tug on their private areas.
If you are up to it, trim the dogs nails only a little at a time. It is best if you have a professional groomer or your vet show you how to do this before you attempt it at home. In case you trim the nail too far back and cause it to bleed, you should have a product on hand to stop the bleeding. The powdered products work best and can be purchased at your local pet supply store. A good one is called "Quick-Stop".
Now you can scissor any hair growing on the bottom of your dogs pads (bottom of the foot). Be careful not to cut the pads of the foot. Sometimes a curved scissor is the best using the curve of the scissor level or just above the curve of the dog’s pads. (The curve of the scissor and the curve of the dog’s foot should be the same. Never cut the hair when the curve of the scissor is opposite the curve of the dogs foot; you will cut the dog). With your brush lift the hair on top of the foot up and with your fingers, gently pull the hair between the toes up. While holding the dog’s foot in your hand, scissor the hair level with the dog’s foot.
Most Borzoi are quiet house dogs, but all need regular exercise for good health. Since the Borzoi is a Sighthound, (using its eyes to find quarry) it is very alert to movement and may run off unexpectedly after what it perceives as "game" (a cat, squirrels, blowing leaves, etc...). For this reason, your Borzoi must ALWAYS be kept on a leash when not in a fenced area.
Eye disease is common to many breeds including the Borzoi and many cause blindness. An annual check by a canine ophthalmologist is recommended. Bloat (gastric dilation) and torsion are not uncommon in all deep-chested breeds. Prompt recognition of symptoms and immediate veterinary attention are imperative.
KNOW WHAT TO LOOK FOR..........
BLOAT AND/OR TORSION
- Unproductive vomiting
- Profuse salivation
- Disinclination to move or the inability to get comfortable
- Walking with legs held outward from the body
- Shallow respirations
- Shock (pale mucus membrane, rapid, thready pulse, drop in body temperature (normal rectal temperature for a dog or cat is 101 to 102 degrees.
- Abdomen tense and painful
- Abdomen distended
- Whining and nuzzling of dogs side or flank.
TORSION OF THE SPLEEN
- Inability to keep food or water down
- Abdomen may or may not be distended
ANYTIME YOUR DOG DISPLAYS ANY OR ALL OF THE ABOVE SYMPTOMS, YOU SHOULD IMMEDIATELY SEE YOUR VETERNARIAN. IF YOUR VETERINARIAN IS NOT AVAILABLE, SEEK THE CLOSEST VERTERINARIAN POSSIBLE. SYMPTOMS MAY BE CAUSED BY SOMETHING ELSE, BUT WITH BLOAT/TORSION, TIME LAPSE IS CRITICAL!!! THIS IS AN EMERGENCY SITUATION!
BREEDING AND SHOWING:
Spayed and neutered dogs may compete in obedience trials and enter in lure coursing events. Should you decide to show in breed competition or possibly breed Borzoi, you should purchase the very best. Purchase only from a reputable breeder with dogs free from structural and temperament faults. Remember, breeding is a great responsibility as well as very expensive. There are far more Borzoi then there are homes for them. A breeder is responsible for every dog he or she produces. That include all puppies produced by their sire while being used as stud as well as their bitches.
YOU, YOU’RE FAMILY AND YOU’RE NEW, RESCUE, BORZOI......
You must expect an adjustment period and during this time, you must spend quality time with your new Borzoi. If you work, your evenings will be committed to helping your new dog feel secure in his or her new home. You will also probably have to get up a little earlier in the mornings to spend some quality time with your new dog before leaving for work. If you are home all day, or an adult member of your family is, this should pose no problem, but please remember that your new Borzoi does need rest. The adjustment time varies from dog to dog. You should see a marked improvement in a few days, but the total readjustment can take from four to eight weeks.
A FIEW BASICS:
- Always have water available in a location where the dog has easy access to it, and it will not be knocked over by human or animal.
- Dogs are creatures of habit. A schedule for exercise, eating and sleeping will add to the dog's security.
- Public access gates to the dog's area should be padlocked; those within your property should b e latches the dog cannot open.
- Your Borzoi should have its own area. A place with a blanket or crate that is theirs alone. This is not a place for punishment. Placing your dog in a corner with a dunce cap does not work. When the dog is in his or her special place, it should be left alone and children should be instructed not to bother it. Everyone, including children and yourself, needs privacy. That includes your Borzoi.
- Dogs like to please the pack master (YOU, as its owner). Regular training exercises will benefit both owner and dog. Training may be as little as the "shake hands" trick or an obedience course. Obedience classes are highly recommended. There is no better way to get a dog to respond to a new owner (and vice versa)! The rewards are tremendous.
A FEW TIPS AND THINGS TO WATCH FOR:
All sighthounds are chasing (coursing) hounds. Your new Borzoi should NEVER be allowed off-lead in any area that is not closely fenced. Borzoi can wiggle through surprisingly small openings. Do not leave your windows open more than a few inches and of course do not ever leave your dog in a car during warm weather!! Watch your dog’s behavior in your yard for a week or so. If your new Borzoi exhibits signs of climbing, jumping or digging under your fence, you will need to take appropriate measures, such as a "HOT WIRE".
You can purchase a unit from most feed stores made for household pets that plugs into a wall socket. Stay away from battery power4ed units. They do not work well if you have a determined Borzoi. Run the wire at the bottom, middle and top of your fence. This will discourage your dog from trying to get out. After the first "shock", your Borzoi may be reluctant to go away from the outside door, but he or she will get over this soon and use the yard as usual.
The former life of your rescued Borzoi is not always known. Most Borzoi get along wonderfully with children IF they have been raised around them. It is dangerous to assume your new Borzoi will like children. It is threatening to a dog when a toddler or young child staggers, runs walks or jumps towards it. You must remember the Borzoi were hunters and this ancient art is inborn in any hound, no matter how many years his or her forbears have spent on the couch being fed by humans. Cats, small dogs, chickens, etc.. are "game" and unless you KNOW for a fact that your new dog does well with any, or all of the above, go VERY CAREFULLY! Remember also, until your dog has time to get to know and trust you, no kisses on the dogs face or head and no hugs! You need to develop a bond of trust with your dog first. Never allow strange adults or children to kiss or hug your dog! Some dogs think of this act as a threat.
There are many brands of dog food on the market and making a good choice can be confusing to any new owner. A high quality, non soy food is recommended. Most Borzoi do well on a self feed program where dry food is left out all the time for the dog to nibble on when ever it is hungry, or you may choose to feed regular meals. Just remember not to feed two hours prior to or after vigorous exercise. This may contribute to bloat. Until your dog adjusts to his or her new home, keep children and other dogs or animals away from the dog and its food bowl while he or she is eating.
Grooming should be considered quality time by you and your Borzoi. Brushing, nail trimming, etc.., can be done in a relaxed manner, maybe while watching TV. Some Borzoi do not like their feet touched or their nails trimmed. Unless you have had experience with the breed before and can deal with a dog pulling away while you try to cut its nails, it is best to have this done by a professional groomer or your vet.
The MOST important thing to remember regarding your new Borzoi is to call the Foundation at the very first moment you have a question, no matter how trivial or silly it may seem. The first few days or weeks are very important and we are there for you, to help in any way we can. As a matter of fact, call us with all your good stuff too!! Pictures are also a must.
Good Luck and Than You for Loving Our Borzoi.
To print copies for use at borzoi events (shows, walks, meet the breed): click on the above image to download the pdf & save it to your desktop. Then either:
- Burn it onto a CD & carry it to your favorite printshop.
- Use FEDEX/Kinkos to print online at fedexkinkos.com
- For the printer savy with a really good color printer, do it yourself.
By printing them yourself, you keep money in NBRF coffers for Borzoi in need.