Breed love: Borzoi

Borzoi just waiting for you to take his picture. Click for source.

The borzoi, also known as the Russian wolfhound, is an undeniably fashionable dog. They are scattered throughout the portraits of the rich and famous in the early 20th century. These shaggy, elegant giants were especially popular among wealthy women in the 1920s, because they looked fabulous with every ensemble. At the very least, you would attract a lot of attention with a pair of borzois at your side.

These gentle and quiet-natured sighthounds were once used by the Russian royalty to hunt wolves, although it would be quite unlikely to find a borzoi hunting today. Today, you’d be most likely to meet one in a show ring. They are still quite rare in the United States and you would pay a pretty penny for a purebred borzoi.

Borzoi
Racing borzoi. Source: Flickr user wolfhound

Borzois, like other sighthounds, are not known for being champions of the obedience ring. In fact, many owners will find them very difficult to train. This is not because, as Stanley Coren posited, they are unintelligent, but rather because they are uninterested in learning what you’d like to teach them. Unlike the highly trainable herding breeds, hounds are notoriously stubborn and sighthounds in particular are famously aloof.

Despite the challenges to training, borzois make great house pets and probably won’t give you half the trouble that one of the highly trainable breeds, like border collies or Australian shepherds, would. They are clean and quiet and almost catlike in their affectations. I’d be open to owning a borzoi one day if the opportunity ever presented itself.

Borzoi links:

Breed Love: Saluki

saluki Atreyu owned by Laurie
Graceful and beautiful saluki. Source: Flickr, user hawksview

My lifelong dog obsession began when I was 8 or 9. Since that time, I have been enamored with the saluki. I mean, just look at these dogs! They are breathtakingly beautiful. I could look at pictures of salukis all day long. (I think when I was a child, I fancied that salukis were my “spirit animal.” I found this written in a diary by my 10-year-old self. I don’t know what it means, but there you have it.)

The saluki, the royal dog of Egypt, is one of the world’s oldest dog breeds. These fleet-footed sighthounds were used by the ancient Egyptians for hunting. Today, I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a saluki hunting. Rather, I’d imagine you’d find these regal dogs lounging on beds of purple velvet stuffed with goose down. Simply put, salukis are still very rare in the United States and you’d be paying thousands of dollars for a purebred puppy.

Saluki Bitch
Pretty lady in the show ring. Source: Flickr, user neil_e_lloyd

For that reason alone, I don’t think I’d ever actually get a saluki. Add their rarity and cost to the fact that they’re highly independent and cat-like, and I think the chances are slim that we’ll be buying a saluki anytime soon. But that still doesn’t stop my lifelong admiration for this breed. It’s one of my life goals, I think, to actually meet a saluki. I need to find some dog shows…

Saluki links: