The Borzoi Hound


English Cast Brass Borzoi Hound Sculpture (LEO Design)


The Borzoi is the modern name for the Russian Wolfhound (which was the common name for the breed before 1936).  In Seventeenth Century Russia, North African "sighthounds" (that is, dogs which hunt with sight and speed, rather than smell and endurance) were cross-bred with local, thick-coated dogs.  They became popular with the Tsars who used them for hunting wolves.  A pair (or trio) of the Wolfhounds would be sent after a sighted wolf.  The dogs would attack the wolf's neck, eventually subduing and immobilizing it until the hunter could catch-up and kill the animal with a knife.  The breed was so highly-esteemed that it was illegal for commoners to breed the dog; they could only be given by the Tsar.  With the revolution of 1917, all things "aristocratic" became suspect and fell from fashion, including this method of hunting.  During the Soviet years, the Borzoi breed was not guarded or well-maintained in Russia and the standard slipped.  Fortunately, there were already enough of the dogs in the U.S., England and Europe to support and improve the breed outside of Russia.

The name "Borzoi" is derived from the Archaic Russian masculine adjective for "fast."  The dogs come in a wide variety of colors—sometimes with large spots—but always have a longish, wavy top coat.  A fluffy, thick undercoat grows-in for the winter and is shed in the summer.  The dogs are considered loyal, calm, and intelligent.

The little brass sculpture of a Borzoi, shown above, was made in England in the Teens or Twenties.  He'll stand proud, loyal and handsome—though, in this case, displays little in the way of speed.  He won't chase a wolf, either.  Click on the photo above to learn more about him.


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