Borzoi Breed Magazine - Showsight



I n these days of small entries and the continuing loss of experi- enced fanciers, the best dog in the ring on a given day may still not be breeding stock. While this phenomenon is not limited to any specific breed, it is particularly frustrating for judges of Hounds. The majority of Hound breeds are rare breeds and, sometimes, even decent- sized entries at an all-breed show can challenge one to find individuals that actually have enough good points to carry on the next generation. Though Borzoi are not yet on the endangered species list, the number of dogs bred and shown has greatly decreased in the last fifteen years. Special- ties still provide a showcase for the breeders’ best, however, so a student of the breed will be well-served to attend the big ones, especially the National. A judge, on an average weekend, is faced with a wide variety of Borzoi and a limited amount of time. He must find the individual pieces and fit them into the class placements to complete the jigsaw puzzle that is a breed entry. When the pieces are all there, it is a very satisfying exercise. So, which pieces of the puzzle are key? The Borzoi standard sets immediate priorities for the breeder or judge in the opening paragraph on General Appearance: “Special emphasis is placed on sound running gear, strong neck and jaws, courage and agility, combined with proper condition… unmistakable elegance, with flowing lines, graceful in motion or repose.” The correct Borzoi is found in the big picture; that is, the outline that exemplifies a running dog—sound legs, muscular condition, and grace. An athletic, shapely, whole dog is far more important than the prettiest head, biggest coat, the darkest eyes or most perfect teeth. Nearly every breed can be identified by its head. Head planes are not mentioned in the standard. Although the Borzoi head comes in a number of historically varied styles, none can be mistaken for another breed. So, the head is integral to type, but it is much less defined than the function- driven body. By itself, the Borzoi’s outline is not exactly unique. It shares the shape of speed with Whippets, Deerhounds, and the classic Greyhound. But, when combined with any of the several acceptable coats, it is quite distinctive and unmistakably Borzoi—like no other breed.

Borzoi show their best out-of-doors.

© Kelly Brunarski

Short back combined with long, flexible loin.

Excellent shape, balance, and overall construction in a bitch.


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