- Once known as the Russian Wolfhound, the Borzoi’s written history can be traced to 1650, when the first standard for the breed was written in his homeland, Russia. Bred for hundreds of years by Russian nobles, the Borzoi is believed to have been developed from the early Russian bearhound, the coursing hounds of the Tatars, and the Owtchar, a tall sheepdog.
- The hunts of the nobles were quite the spectacle. They might involve more than one hundred Borzoi, hunted in trios of one female and two males, as well as an equal number of foxhounds, which were used to seek and flush the prey. When the wolf was sighted, the huntsmen released their dogs to capture, pin, and hold it. After they ceremoniously bound and gagged the wolf, the huntsmen sometimes set it free to be hunted again another day. These lavish hunting expeditions were common until 1861, when the serfs were emancipated and the nobles could no longer rely on an unlimited work force.
By 1873, few Borzoi remained, alarming those who admired the breed’s beauty and speed. Russian fanciers created the Imperial Association to protect and promote the breed’s characteristics, and the bloodlines of many Borzoi in America can be traced to dogs from the kennels of Imperial Association members. The association’s members included Grand Duke Nicholas, the uncle of Czar Nicholas II, and Artem Boldareff, a wealthy landowner.
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19 May, 2016
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