Borzoi Q & A
“THEY ARE BEAUTIFUL, SWEET AND INTELLIGENT, REGAL ONE MOMENT AND CLOWNS THE NEXT.”
Prudence Hlatky continued Once they become mature, Borzoi become the ideal housedog. Hogging the bed and couch. They love nothing better than to be around and snuggle with their people. What special challenges do breeders face in our current econom- ic and social climate? Unfortunately, the AR movement is nega- tively affecting and limiting our ability to do things that we use to be able freely to do. These days, especially when traveling or out in public, we have to protect our dogs from AR people We are current- ly finding many hotels that use to accept dogs no longer welcoming. At what age do I start to see definite signs of show-worthiness? By, the time they are up on their feet and trotting around I’ve usu- ally have picked out my leading contenders. Then it becomes a wait- ing game. Will their bites be okay? Will the males have their equip- ment? Will they pass their health tests? Normally with health-tested parents this shouldn’t be an issue. I had a bite problem reappear after six generations, changing a beautiful youngster from show/ breeding prospect to a companion. Does the breed’s aloof demeanor make training more interest- ing, or exasperating? Borzoi are highly intelligent, but not the easi- est to train. But they will be very successful in training you in no time at all. You obey them, not the other way around and if you err you will hear about it immediately. What is the most important thing about the breed for a novice to keep in mind when judging? Look for functional and not foo- foo. A Borzoi is a coursing hunting dog. It has adapted well to mod- ern society, but at heart it still has very strong instincts. My ultimate goal for the breed? Having Borzoi that are sound of mind and body. We are fortunate to have a breed that is over- all very healthy. Keeping on top of health testing and supporting health research is important to maintaining the health of the breed. Temperament is highly important. We have worked diligently to keep sound temperaments in the Borzoi breed. They are too big, powerful and quick to be a dog you cannot trust. Conformation-wise, as I’ve stated above, it’s important that Borzoi stay as a functional dog. Unfortunately, today many sight- hounds are slowly slipping away from function. My favorite dog show memory? Winning the National spe- cialty with my veteran bitch MBIS, MBISS Ch. Soyara’s Chantilly Lace JC ROM-C. At the National she was Best in Sweepstakes as a youngster, WB/BW/AOM as a two-year-old and finally coming out of retirement at eight years old she was Best of Breed. Borzoi have graced my life for almost 50 years. They are beauti- ful, sweet and intelligent, regal one moment and clowns the next. You couldn’t ask for a better dog to live with. They’ll even let you share your bed or couch. I can’t see ever being without one. LEIGH & VICKI LITTLETON I’m originally from Northwestern Ohio. I spent many years at the Laboratory for Astrophysics and Space Research at The Uni- versity of Chicago, providing computer support. Then I spent even more years at Centra Health in Lynchburg, Virginia, providing computer systems design, programming support, and IT contract negotiation for the Centra Hospitals. I’ve been active in breeding and showing Borzoi, and in ASFA and AKC lure coursing, since the mid 1970s. Organizationally, I’ve been President of the American Sighthound Field Association and of the Midwest Borzoi Club, on the Board of the Borzoi Club of America, and active in the Potomac
Valley Borzoi Club. I have just recently retired, and my wife Vickie and I live in Southwest Virginia with our 14 Borzoi. My wife Vickie and I live in a beautiful location outside Fin- castle, in Southwestern Virginia between the Blue Ridge and the Appalachian Mountains. What do I do “outside” of dogs? Until my recent retirement, computer system design, implementation, and contract review. On the side, reading, listening to music and attending concerts. Does the average person in the street recognize the breed? The average person does not recognize a Borzoi, but if I explain that it’s also known as a Russian Wolfhound, and is related to Greyhounds, they typically grasp the type of dog. I don’t think it’s an issue in placing puppies—pet homes are not typically looking for a Borzoi- sized dog and show homes know what the breed is. How has the breed adapted to civilian life? Actually, our Borzoi mostly do “work”: at lure coursing and racing, and some of them at open field coursing. I had the #1 Lure Coursing Borzois in 1988, 1991, and 2002. Qualities that are helpful at home would include being sturdy—not inclined to be easily injured, and also concentra- tion: keeping attention on something once it’s been pointed out. What about the breed makes them an ideal companion? I can- not see that any sort of special household is needed—except that one either needs a big fenced yard or a commitment to walk the dog extensively. I think everything about the breed make them ideal companions—they are calm, intelligent, loyal, smart and they love to have fun. What special challenges do breeders face in our current econom- ic and social climate? The response to that could fill the magazine. Our current climate has anti-pet organizations promulgating the idea that it’s immoral to get a pet unless it’s a rescue. And the most popular “breeds” these days seem to not be breeds at all, but crosses: things like SpitzaPoo, or Schmorkie. At what age do I start to see definite signs of show-worthiness? I’d say four months for first choices and six months to be definite. Does the breed’s aloof demeanor make training more interest- ing, or exasperating? I do not find that a typical Borzoi has an “aloof demeanor”. Some of our Borzoi may be aloof with strangers, but not with people they know—so that does not make even them difficult to train. Others of our Borzoi are careful but friendly with strang- ers, and still others are quite outgoing with everyone. And some are completely happy, and rejoice at whatever happens of interest. The most important thing about the breed for a novice to keep in mind when judging? This is a difficult question—the answer could go on for pages. What I look for particularly in Borzoi includes, as indicated in the Standard, sound running gear, strong neck and jaws, courage and agility, combined with proper condition. And I look especially for a properly refined and elegant head and a power- ful trot, with tail carriage not too low nor too high. My ultimate goal for the breed? In our current difficult world for purebred dogs, just to stay alive as a viable breed. To have enough of a gene pool to stay healthy and breed healthy pups, etc. And - to keep the breed health and mental health excellent, and preserve speed and athletic ability. It’s essential that we bring in a new gen- eration of Borzoi breeders, as much in love as we are with their rich history, purpose, and abilities. My favorite dog show memory? Judging PVBC Sweepstakes and awarding the trophy to an excellent puppy. I’d also like to share about the breed that they are marvelous friends. They have elegance, beauty and athletic ability. I can’t imagine why anyone would find them difficult.
280 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , D ECEMBER 2019
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