It is an old breed raised by the Russian nobles, who had large packs of such dogs to hunt wolves, foxes and rabbits. Its origin is very old and there are different opinions about its lineage. It is possible to be the descendant of the Russian Deerhound, of the rabbit hounds in Tatra and Ovcharka. Other opinions argue that during the 17th century, a great Russian duke imported some specimens of Saluki Hound from Arabia and crossbred it with the Collie and then with hounds from Crimea and Caucasus. The most known kennels of this breed was the one in Perchino, belonging to the great duke Nikolai of Russia, who had over 200 very beautiful specimens of Borzoi Hound. It came to Western Europe only in the second half of the 19th century. Queen Victoria of England was the first who owned a specimen. After that became it very popular in France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and other countries. The breed almost disappeared in Russia at the time of the 1917 revolution, because it was associated with the upper class, with the Russian aristocracy. Happily there were enough specimens in Europe at the time.
It is a large-sized, slender dog, but at the same time, graceful and strong. The head is long, narrow, the skull is flat, rather long, with a straight, long, narrow muzzle, almost without a stop and with a big and black nose. The eyes are almond-shaped, pretty close and dark. The ears are set high, towards the back, rather small, thin and pointed at the tip. When the animal rests, the ears stay over the neck, in the shape of a rose and when the animal moves, they are erect with the tips forward. The neck is long, brawny and the back is slightly curved, becoming round towards the loins. The back legs are brawnier than the front legs, which allows it to reach remarkable speeds. The tail is placed low, long, sickle- or sword-shaped, kept low at rest or high, up to the backline, when alert. The fur has medium length, soft hair, slightly wavy or with large curls. It is especially rich around the neck, chest, backside of the legs and tail. It is shorter on the head, ears and front side of the legs. It can be any colour or combination of colours.
It is an intelligent, brave, dynamic, proud, gentle, watchful, peaceful dog, quiet in the house, sometimes stubborn, independent. It is devoted to its master, cautious and suspicious of strangers, it accepts children, but without being play mates. If they are socialized from an early age with other dogs and or other household animals, they will tend to accept them, but they will hunt any animal (smaller dog, the cat or anything else) which runs. It barks just a little, even at strangers.
This dog's fur needs regular combing and brushing. The hair between the footpads must be removed.
It is a dog which feels good in a fenced space, where it can move freely and it adapts with difficulty to a flat. It is recommended to an active person with experience in raising dogs. If quiet indoors, outside it needs exercise, walks, it likes running (it runs in a typical gallop, in big leaps) in open fields or by a bike. One should take care, because the dog has the habit of catching any prey it sees. It needs socialization and training.
The training of this dog must be done by a person with experience, because it is not very obedient. With a firm, consistent training, without being harsh or severe, satisfying results can be achieved.
It is a dog used to hunt small and large animals, it can participate in dog races, it is a good watchdog and a peaceful companion.