How To Breed Borzois

How To Breed Borzois

Breeding Borzois is such a pleasure as they are one of the oldest and most influential dog breeds. They are sight-hounds with precision level agility and high speed. Borzois have beautiful, silky coats and are often mistaken for fluffy Greyhounds.

In this FREE guide, we will tell you everything you need to know on how to breed Borzois ethically. This will include their history, health concerns, and even breed-specific breeding issues. Whether you are a breeder or a buyer interested in the rich background and unique character of the Borzoi, you can find the information here in our article on Borzoi breeding.

Background of Borzoi Breeding

In order to understand why the breed has the temperament and physical appearance it does, it is important to understand its history. It may be out of interest, to gain a further understanding of the breed, or to educate others, this section will explain how Borzois came to be and why.

Origin

Although this breed is recognized for being a sighthound, they have some strong face to face hunting background as well. Borzois were created in Russia through the combination of Arabian Greyhounds and an unknown breed with a thick, shaggy coat. This happened in the 17th century. Their purpose was to be able to have the quiet and coordinated agility to avoid being heard by prey whilst still being able to spot it well. Hence their increased instincts. Their speed and large size come in to play as Russia used Borzois in hunting trials, especially trials which were wolf-based. With their speed, they would easily catch up with the lone wolf target, whilst their thick coat would keep them warm in the snowy areas of Russia.

17th Century Russia

The numbers of Borzoi decreased during the revolution for two reasons.

First, the leading Russian family the Romanovs were slaughtered. This family endorsed hunting trials, hunting parties, and had hundreds of Borzoi on their property for this purpose. Sadly, when the family was killed, so was every Borzoi there.

Secondly, Borzoi numbers decreased hugely in Russia and the breed carried on its existence abroad. The Romanovs’ deaths decreased their popularity and wiped out many breeding pairs. Luckily, some Borzoi were sent to areas such as America, England, Europe, and Scandinavia just before the revolution. These places began breeding schemes which ultimately ended up saving the Borzoi.

When the breed was first created in the 17th century, hunters and rich families alike all craved to own the noble Russian hunting dog. One reason for this was recognition. Owning such a regal breed that was rich in your culture was admired and respected. Furthermore, their use in hunting both small and large prey animals was undefeated by any other Russian dog type at the time. Therefore, hunters and proud Russians adored the Borzoi for their looks, history, and use. However, during and quickly after the revolution, the breed’s popularity drastically declined. No one wanted a dog associated with the destroyed leadership of the revolution. Furthermore, many of the key breeding pairs were slaughtered during the revolution.

borzoi, a russian dog breed
Borzoi puppies were originally bred in Russia to become wolf hunters.

Popularity

Borzoi’s current popularity is right in the middle of registered AKC breeds at rank 103 out of 195. Their popularity has climbed in other areas as their Borzoi breeding schemes increased. However, they are not in the top ten of the AKC for a few reasons.

Often dogs with longer coats or those that require more maintenance will be less popular. Dogs that require less maintenance often appeal to a wider range of audiences, such as those who work longer hours. Furthermore, they are not well known in the media and this often influences the uptake in searches for puppies of certain breeds.

Appearance

This breed is strong, agile, and long in their face and their limbs. They are a large breed with an average height ranging from 26 to 30 inches. These large softies are most well known for their coat and their long faces. They have dark eyes but a soft and gentle expression. Their muzzle is long and their face and ears do not have the accompanying fluff that the rest of their bodies do.

From just behind the ears and the top of their chests, their bodies have a soft and almost shaggy in appearance coat. Their legs are not completely covered, and instead, have a line of fur which follows the back of both their front and hind legs. The Borzoi tail is covered in thick fur which requires regular grooming. When relaxed, it follows the curve of their hindquarters, almost reaching the ground but the tip curls up.

The Borzoi comes in a huge combination of colors. Most commonly they have a white chest and accompanying spots of another color. These can include brindle, black, fawn, red, cream, and white. Usually, the white is more dominant than the other color, but their coat colors range drastically. Some may have a higher percentage of white than others in their coat colors.

Temperament

The Borzoi is the definition of a calm and gentle dog breed. They have an agreeable temperament and are patient through and through. This breed can also be a wonderful family dog. They are incredibly affectionate and love attention. This paired with their gentle nature makes them a good dog breed to have around children. Furthermore, they are well-known for their loyalty, a trait which many dog owners adore. These pooches are happy and sweet dogs. They are also known for their comedic personality and playful character.

Although these dogs are friendly and gentle with everyone, they will have a small amount of reluctance to hold against them. They take time to form a bond which is why it is so precious and their loyalty is so strong when they do. Their comedic personality is wonderful for children and adults who want a playful companion, however, training may be a little more difficult. This is because the Borzoi just wants to cuddle and play and may, therefore, get distracted. Another consideration is that they may be hunting dogs, but they are not great guard dogs. Their bark is certainly worse than their bite and they will most likely lie down once a burglar is close to your home.

Borzois vs Salukis

Borzois are regularly confused with Salukis, another agile sighthound with longer fur than the Greyhound. Their physical builds are very similar, which is why it is easy to see how they are mixed up, but their origins and coats differ dramatically.

Chart of the Saluki breed standard.
Chart of the Saluki breed standard.

These two breeds are very similar physically, their faces and limbs are both long, and from a distance, they can easily be mistaken for one another. Their faces are especially similar with their long muzzles and gentle eyes. They also are similar in size and are both large breeds. Here are some key differences so you can distinguish them from one another.

Salukis have short fur covering their whole body except for their ears and their tails, this is because the breed originally lived in the hot temperatures of Egypt. The Borzoi, however, was created in the cold environment of Russia. Hence their thick coat. Their coat is the main identifier that they are different breeds. You should also compare their skull shape. The Saluki’s skull quickly tapers down after their eyes whereas the Borzoi has much more of a gradual arching skull. Finally, the Saluki is slightly more narrow physically and the Borzoi appears a little more muscular.

Borzois vs Greyhounds

As Greyhounds are so well known and recognized in today’s modern age, every similar breed is often identified as a greyhound. For example, the Borzoi is ‘an awfully fluffy greyhound’. But what are the defining differences between these two breeds?

For starters, Greyhounds are still a large breed of dog but are slightly smaller than Borzois. But similar to the Borzoi vs the Saluki debate, the main differences are once more, their coats. The Greyhound has a fine coat covering their entire body, their grooming requirements do not require coat brushing or detangling ever. The Borzoi, however, requires regular coat maintenance including washing after a dirty walk, brushing, de-knotting, and trimming. If you see a dog that is tall with long legs or a long face, ask yourself what coat identifiers it has. Greyhounds can withstand the heat a lot more and Borzois can withstand the cold, notice the general environment of the location as this may influence things too.

greyhound speed
Greyhound can reach a speed of 45 miles per hour.

Behaviorally, these two breeds differ as well. The borzoi is often much less tolerable to being left alone. Whereas the Greyhound can handle it, but not usually for long periods of time. Another differing factor is that greyhounds can have a lot more general energy than the Borzoi. For exercise, training, and play.

Health Concerns When Breeding Borzoi

According to the British Kennel Club, Borzoi’s have an average lifespan of 9 years and one month, this is below the average for all dog breeds. There are many different reasons that this may be the case, but overall, we have to be aware that health concerns may influence this number. Here are a few you need to be aware of.

Borzoi Focal Retinal Degeneration

This is an inherited disease that occurs commonly in pure-breed dogs, especially Borzoi. The retina is an area of the eye that receives light and converts this into signals for the brain to create a visual representation perceived by the whole eye. when it begins to degenerate, this can lead to your dog struggling to see well. It can take months or weeks but will continually get worse till the point of blindness.

The condition can be treated to prevent further loss of vision, but the vision already lost cannot be brought back. Symptoms include your dog walking into furniture, possible weight gain, and urinating inside.

Borzoi Chorioretinopathy

This is a condition where some fluid will collect under the retina and lead to a detachment and gradual loss in vision. This comes from gradual, increasing inflammation. This is not usually painful to your dog but you can usually see changes in the eye’s appearance. The iris may change in color, not massively but become lighter or darker in appearance. The surface of the eye may also appear to change in shape. Their behavior may change because of sight loss.

Behaviorally, your dog may go to the toilet inside because they are confused, or act more aloof or aggressive. If you are concerned, take your Borzoi to the vets as they can perform more thorough checks. These will display lesions that will confirm the disease.

Cancer

No one ever wants to hear this being a possibility in their dog’s life. But we have to be realistic and aware so we can get them treatment if it is needed. Unfortunately, Borzois do have an increased chance of getting cancer, higher than a lot of dog breeds. This disease can present itself in a variety of different ways.

Firstly, check lumps on your dog’s body. If they have grown suddenly or have changed in size or color recently, that is a concerning sign. Furthermore, if your dog’s behavior has changed, this can be another symptom. Check their eating habits for changes or alterations in their defecation/urination habits.

Cardiac Arrhythmia

This is when your dog’s heart has an irregular heartbeat of some kind. Depending on the reason why, the heartbeat may be too slow, too fast or have an unusual or anomalous rhythm.

Sometimes an arrhythmia can be harmless and just requires regular monitoring. Other times it can be a sign of something more concerning which is why a vet should always be consulted. Other concerning signs of cardiac arrhythmia include dizziness or physical weakness. Such as a dog struggling to move or breathe properly. Trouble breathing is a symptom that requires an emergency vet.

Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus

This is when your dog’s stomach becomes twisted or overstretched because of excess gas. This quickly becomes a life-threatening disease.

Breeds with larger chests or dogs that are older are more at risk of Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus. It is also suspected that dogs who eat a large meal will swallow a lot of gas which can lead to this condition. The severity of the illness can lead to a loss of blood to and from the stomach, a rupture in the stomach’s wall, and abnormal breathing due to pressure. Take your Borzoi immediately to the vet if you believe they are affected by this, it requires surgery.

Bloat and Torsion in Dogs
Bloat and Torsion in Dogs is a medical emergency more common to deep-chested dog breeds.

Hypothyroidism

This is where the thyroid is underactive and can lead to symptoms such as hair loss, thinning, itching, dandruff, and dry skin amongst many other symptoms. One of the key effects of hypothyroidism is weight gain in a short span of time. If you see your dog rapidly gaining weight, this is a likely cause.

Taking your Borzoi to the vets will allow them to test for hypothyroidism through a blood test. Usually, several different blood tests are used to check for the presence of hypothyroidism as many tests can present false results. The treatment for this is oral hormone replacement prescribed either once or twice daily.

Wobbler Syndrome

This is assumed to be an inherited disease from parent to litter in the Borzoi. This is a neurological disease that will affect your dog’s head, neck, and spine. It can be quite depressing to see your dog walking with a wobble and hanging their head low out of pain.

The disease will progress and although very rarely, it can end up with your dog becoming paralyzed. Usually, they will just begin to struggle to get up, walk properly, and will appear weaker in movement. In milder cases, vets will prescribe pain killers and anti-inflammatory tablets to help with movement. However, for more severe cases, surgery may be required.

Lens Luxation

With lens luxation, the lens of one or both of your dog’s eyes will shift out of place. The lens can either become trapped at the front of the eye which can cause pressure and water storage, or placed behind the retina and may damage the retina. The gradual damage can quickly lead to partial and then full blindness. This condition is most often hereditary but can occur due to your dog being affected by an eye disease. Most commonly, this condition requires surgery to remove the lens.

Primary Lymphodema

A particular area, usually a limb, will begin to swell up. This is because there is a problem with the lymphatic system, which causes fluid build-up. This leads to pain, inflammation, and a lack of movement. Sometimes the fluid will drain after a while and rest, but the more severe the case, the more quickly treatment needs to be implemented. This may include medication or a pressure wrap.

How To Breed Borzois

Now, for the most important section of the article, the actual considerations put into place for breeding! This section will prepare you for their litter size and price range, where you should be advertising along, with health problems you should be aware of during birth. This will ensure you are prepared, confident, and know-how to breed Borzois.

Litter Size

Borzois have an average litter size of 6, ranging anywhere from 3 to 11. This is a large range for a breeder to consider financially. On one hand, a smaller litter will have fewer birthing problems for both the mother and the pup.

borzoi litter size
As a Borzoi breeder, you can expect the pregnant bitch to give birth to 6 puppies (on average).

For example, the probability of miscarriage and stillborn puppies is minimized with litter size. A smaller litter also leads to cheaper costs for upkeep once the puppies are born, such as vaccinations, registering fees and food costs to start with.

However, a breeder’s profit will be greatly decreased if your bitch’s litter is smaller. The larger the litter, the more of an overall profit a breeder will gain which is, at the end of the day, one of the main purposes of dog breeding for breeders. Luckily though, six puppies in a litter is a perfect middle and is the best of both worlds.

Birthing Issues

The Borzoi does not have any breed-specific nor common problems related to birth. However, every breed and every mother is at risk of a dangerous birth. Here are a few factors you need to keep in mind when researching how to breed Borzois.

  • How old is your female? She should not be bred under the age of two of course. But just as important, is she older? An older bitch can often have more difficulties with birth due to fatigue and age-related pain such as arthritis. Very old females should not be bred at all.
  • Has your female given birth before? Has she had problems giving birth before? If so, this increases the chance that something could go wrong and she may require a Cesarean section. A serious procedure that can result in the death of both the litter and mother.

Clientele

Four main types of people are interested in the purchase and ownership of Borzois for their behavioral and physical traits:

  1. Borzoi enthusiasts,
  2. households with children,
  3. those with pest problems, and
  4. those in colder climates.

Families adore Borzois because of their calm nature and loving attitude. Once loyalty has been developed, this breed will adore you every moment you let it. They will be patient with kids and playful without being too boisterous. Those who have always wanted a dog but live in a cold area may choose a Borzoi due to its cold-resistant fur. Furthermore, any person interested in purchasing a hunting dog for small prey may choose a Borzoi because of its high prey instinct, designed agility, speed, and strong jaws. Advertise to these areas through social media, kennel clubs and other related areas such as hunting clubs to target these groups.

Pricing

If you are selling an unregistered Borzoi puppy, the average price we would recommend is $1,000. However, if your puppy is registered before being sold, you can increase the price to $1,800. Due to this breed’s giant size and its average litter size of six, it is logical that they will be sold for a higher price.

We would greatly recommend registering a puppy for multiple reasons. Firstly, for you as the breeder, this increases the profit you will make, which is a huge bonus. More importantly though, registering a bitch (before breeding ideally), mating her to a registered stud ensures that you are breeding your litter morally and ethically.

The registration proves to potential buyers that you care about your litter and any dogs in your procession, helping to make you a reputable breeder. Our dogs’ welfare should be the highest priority in our careers when considering factors about howto breed Borzois. Any high quality registering club will support you towards this goal.

Are Borzois Good House Pets?

The Borzoi breed can be a wonderful house pet for multiple reasons, although, there are a few considerations you must take into account. Firstly, these are very affectionate and loving animals. They enjoy human company, play, and cuddles. Therefore, even with a family of children, they are going to be happy dogs. Furthermore, with their laid-back and generally calm attitude they are not likely to knock your child over or be too boisterous with them.

However, like any dog, you need to make sure you are providing enough stimulation for their breed and size. This is to say that although they are not a high energy breed, they do enjoy running and having the ability to do so. You should either be able to walk them in an area with no lead, so they can run around properly and without restraint. Or, your garden should be big enough to provide this essential stimulation.

Do Borzois Have an Aggressive Nature?

Borzois do not possess aggressive tendencies; these are very calm and loving individuals who enjoy affection and attention. Their patience and gentle nature will make them perfect family dogs, especially for those in a household with children. Do be aware of their increased hunting instincts with small prey animals from their origins. Although some dog breeds have larger aggressive tendencies than others, it is important to recognize that aggression stems from anxiety and fear. Respect your dog’s boundaries, understand that their behavior is a reaction and does not come without some provocation. Consider looking at the dog aggression hierarchy for reference to subtle behaviors of fear and anxiety.

Do Borzois Cuddle?

The Borzoi is a very affectionate breed that loves to be stroked, cuddled, and if they are not being provided the attention they want, they will demand it! One loved trait about Borzois is their playful but gentle nature.

Borzois adore human interaction whether this is play or cuddles and will often go looking for it. You do have to bear in mind that these dogs will create a very strong sense of loyalty with the patience of an owner. Give your dog time to adjust to their environment alongside you and a new routine. Once they have formed this bond, it will not only be unbreakable but will also lead to lots of cuddles.

The Borzoi has a rich history alongside their gentle temperament and gorgeous coat. This lovable giant is truly a pleasure to breed and own. If you have time for grooming, long walks, and cuddles, you may be the perfect Borzoi breeder.