Borzoi Dog Breed Temperament

Give a Borzoi plenty of exercise and a large yard to run in to keep this sighthound happy and healthy.

White Russian Dog, Borzoi, Hunting dog in Summer Sunset Sunrise
The Borzoi has a sweet and biddable temperament mixed in with an instinct for hunting and a love of running. © bruev/Getty Images

Some dogs have a job and love to work, but ancient breeds bred for hunting like the Borzoi are not that type of dog, says longtime breeder Pamela Jo Leichtnam from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. “They love the fun of the chase. They love to run, and they need to exercise,” she says. “But, once they are done with their run and their exercise, they can come in and be a couch potato just like other breeds. They don’t have to be active all the time. They don’t run all day; they can go out and have their exercise and then they rest.”

Training sighthounds like the Borzoi

There is a stigma about the temperament of sighthounds that their minds focus solely on the chase, but the Borzoi is biddable and trainable to be successful in just about any sport or arena.

“They are as smart as a fox,” says Pamela Jo. “They’re not hard to train — it’s just the amount of time you want to put into them to get what you want out of it, just as with any other breed.”

Borzoi are treat driven when it comes to training, and it’s easy to train a dog that lives to please.

Best families for Borzoi temperament

Borzoi dog breeders have placed their puppies with families with children and with other dogs or with no children. However, Pamela Jo cautions against bringing an adult Borzoi into a home with smaller dogs or cats if the Borzoi is not used to smaller animals due his temperament.

“You must realize they are a hunting breed — they’ll chase a bunny or a squirrel,” she says. “If you have a smaller dog in the house or a cat, the best way to handle that is to buy a puppy and raise the puppy with that. It’s just their instinct.”

Borzoi do best in homes with yards so they can run and do not do well in apartments only because of the need to exercise — going for walks is not enough for this dog.

“I think Borzoi are just very sweet, very biddable dogs, and an educated owner will make for a happy, long lasting relationship,” says Pamela Jo.

Interested in getting a Borzoi? Check out the Borzoi Club of America.

Read about other sighthounds in the article Come See About 5 Sighthound Dog Breeds.

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