So you want a Borzoi...
Do they shed a lot?
A resounding YES to that question. With regular brushing (outdoors) this can be minimized. I should note, the bitches will profoundly shed several weeks after their season is completed. Dogs who are spayed or neutered will never have as luxe a coat as those who are not.
How much and what do they eat?
I recommend a Tier 4 or better food. The puppies are currently raised on a chicken and rice blend. I do not recommend raw meat or bones. If your dog needs something hard to chew on, I recommend a sweet potato. Great fiber, tough to chew and they love them...and they're cheap. I've never had a puppy damage tooth buds or adults fracture their teeth using sweet potatoes. Rawhide and cutesy treats are all bad for your dog - don't go there. For training I use low fat string cheese or turkey franks thinly sliced. I don't recommend creating your own diet for your dog unless you are a veterinay dietician who has considered the needs of your individual dog. Just like on Doctor Oz, there is a new whizbang diet someone has made up every day but I no longer pay attention. Each puppy leaves here with an adequate amount of food to see them through their first week in their new home.
How much exercise do they require?
Good question – A lot. This does not mean that you have to have a huge property for them to wander about. I have had puppies develop more completely living in a condominium than on a one acre lot. Dedication to getting them out in the early morning coolness to somewhere fenced where the puppy can really get going and stretch out without having to make constant speed changes and sharp turns is critical.
Are they easily trained?
Yes and no. The borzoi is an intellectual. They are not bred to serve their master and do his bidding like a herding dog or retriever. They have been bred for centuries to run from you at light speed after game. The become bored easily and brief training sessions are recommended. By brief I mean a few seconds to a few minutes. I have several methods of training for shaping different types of behavior. If we are working on sit, training at meal time is the way to go. They'll learn sit in no time by simply holding their feed bowl over their nose and moving it backwards. Off leash training is more difficult but suffice it to say, lots of string cheese is required and doled out sparingly. Frequent call backs, treat, repeat. No extra points are awarded to people or trainers who use no treats.
Will I have to sign a contract?
YES. However you will first need to fill out an questionnaire complete with references and the name and the phone number of your local veterinarian. If you don't have one yet, you will need to find one close that you like and begin your ongoing relationship with them. They will be your ally for the next 10 plus years. If you need help in finding a Borzoi knowledgeable veterinarian, I am happy to research this through my global network of Borzoi friends and fellow breeders.
How much do they cost?
Prices vary from breeder to breeder, litter to litter. You can expect to pay between $1,800 to $5,000 or up. Most Borzoi will land within the $2,000 - $2,500 range.
What is included in the sale price?
All puppies are raised in the house an understand 'house sounds'. Air conditioner, vacuum, running water, washing machine, dryer. They are accustomed to and not afraid of other dogs barking. They are wormed at 4 and 6 weeks, they are vaccinated at 8 weeks. All puppies leave here individually registered with the AKC. Each is microchipped and all pertinent information, your name, phone number, alternate number, e-mail, first born child are all in the system as well as the veterinary hospital you use BEFORE they leave here. All the chips are originally registered to Kelcorov, so if all else fails, they can find me. The puppy will be house trained, leash trained. Puppies will need a properly sized Martingale collar with a release clip. We can choose one together as there are not multiple manufacturers on Etsy. Proper leashes can be purchased on eBay and ID tags as well. I have stopped ordering these with puppy names on them because those names will invariably change once the puppy gets to your home. Puppies will receive a cursory vet check - healthy, clear eyes, no heart murmur, etc. - but should see your vet at the appropriate time to get its next vaccination and the next and next. They will have their first dose of Heartworm Prevention and Flea/tick prevention. In addition to all of this, you have access to your breeder 24/7 for questions, emergencies, help or tears.
Where can I get more information about Borzoi?
Several great books have been published about borzoi over the years. You may also be able to find some "yearbooks" from either Hoflin Publishing or the Borzoi Club of America. One everyone should have is "Visualization of the Borzoi Standard" . Other books of note are often available on E-Bay or Amazon. The Borzoi by Winifred Chadwick, Borzois by Lorraine Groshans, Observations of Borzoi by Thomas, and Life With Borzoi by Phyldelma Gillette. There is a beautifully Illustrated children's book called "The Wolfhound" and another wonderful novel called, "Laura's Gift" I've read and recommend both - regardless of age.
What about Borzoi groups on Facebook?
This is not a great source of information. You generally have no idea of the experience of the person answering your questions and as we in the breed all know, different lines and combinations of lines create different temperaments and abilities. Some people focus on performance dogs who can show in the ring and some focus on dogs in the ring who can also perform on the field. Or just one or the other. Some are great out on the trail hiking and swimming and others wouldn't put a foot in water if you were standing there with a pig's ear.
Breeders know the answers to these questions. Experienced breeders who know their lines.
What about health issues?
Some lines have more issues with one thing and not another. But Borzoi, like many breeds are tested for heart malformations and arrhythmia, thyroglobulin autoantibodies, vision abnormalities, Degenerative myelopathy, and there are some other geriatric issues that could affect your best friend. There are also cancers, as in all living creatures with no way to detect whether that could happen to yours.
Bone cancer (osteosarcoma) can occur at the sight of a break or injury, but it can also just show up. We have never had this happen in a young dog. Two dogs in 25 years have had this happen, both at the sight of an injury/break.
I shouldn't tempt fate but we have had no heart or thyroid issues with the dogs here. A few dogs have had a low thyroid (T4) but they have lived long lives and never developed thyroiditis. Degenerative Myelopathy is a degenerative disease where the dog will eventually lose function in the rear. Even a dog with two copies of the mutated gene may never be affected by it. And last, there is GOLPP - Geriatric Onset Laryngeal Paralysis Polyneuropathy. Now say that fast. There are varying symptoms with this and it is still being studied. There are many Borzoi who will get his, but they have to live long enough to get it. Usually it is dogs over 11 years that must deal with these symptoms. It is just recently that researchers are thinking that several degenerative processes are actually one related polyneuropathy. You can learn more about the disease and its symptoms here. https://cvm.msu.edu/scs/research-initiatives/golpp. The life span of a Borzoi is 10-12 years, plus or minus 6 months. We have some of our dogs live to be well over 14, some only 10 1/2. There have been several who died of unforeseen non-genetic or health related incidents. The heart break of losing one in the prime of life is devastating. Saying goodbye to that old fellow who you have watched along its life as a baby, a toddler, a teenager, and young adult - mother, father - and then they catch up with you and their life speeds by you in the link of an eye. And it is time. A life well-lived.
When can I spay or neuter? Or should I spay or neuter?
Sometimes managing a bitch in heat or an oversexed male who won't stop howling over a bitch in season six blocks over can be a real challenge. Often doggie daycare will not take dogs who are not spayed or neutered. For large breed dogs in particular, this operation should not occur before 18 months of age and even better, not until two or even up to four years. Marking or aggression are training issues, they will not be solved by neutering. If you alter your Borzoi, you should be prepared for a change in the amount of coat and the coat texture.
If you decide you'd like to try your hand at showing, it will need to stay intact. But if you are certain that you will not, or not with this Borzoi, and you find managing one that is intact will be a problem for you, by all means, spay or neuter.
Are Borzoi sensitive to Anesthesia?
I'd like to say, "No." But I can't. Just as with any mammal, these drugs will affect individuals differently. And from time to time, it could affect them. I have only had a problem once, with an incompetent veterinarian, and my dog did survive. After her daughter had a similar incident, the vet realized that her throat had a little curve in it and that although they thought everything was positioned well, it was not and she began to wake up. Instead of changing drugs, the tube was simply reinserted properly and all went well. But I am not so naive as to think it could never happen. That is the way of life. We cannot foresee everything.
Are Borzoi okay with cats or small dogs?
Many of the Borzoi born here do live with cats and/or small dogs. In 25 years, we have never had a problem. I would probably not leave them out together unsupervised...at least at first. I had a cat and he trained all the puppies. I had one Borzoi that I had purchased from another kennel that wasn't too keen on the cat but she knew better than to ever touch "the first born". They gave each other a wide berth. It works out for many people, so far, no problems.
What if I can't keep the Borzoi?
In the event of a life change, new baby is allergic, there is a pandemic and you experience a loss of income, divorce, a training issue, whatever, please let me know right away. None of these dogs should ever wind up in rescue. If it isn't working out for you or your circumstances have changed in anyway, I'm here for you. I have friends in nearly every state and every country. Please let us help you. If you need to return the Borzoi, we can begin negotiation as to the nature of the return.
More questions about the Borzoi?
Please feel free to use the contact form if you have more questions about the breed purchasing one of our Borzoi. To have a starting place for any discussion, you should fill out the questionnaire first.