Secret Haven Kennel

Borzoi Standard as per the Canadian Kennel Club



Origin and Purpose

The Borzoi was originally bred for the coursing of hare, fox and wolves on more or less open terrain, relying on sight rather than scent. To accomplish this purpose, the Borzoi must be courageous, powerful, and capable of great speed. Special emphasis is placed on sound running structure, strong neck and jaws, keenness to game, and agility combined with proper condition.

General Appearance

A well-balanced hound which is graceful, aristocratic and dignified. The Borzoi should always possess unmistakable elegance with flowing lines, graceful in motion or repose. Dogs masculine without coarseness, bitches feminine and refined.


Sensitive, alert to the environment with a quiet dignity. Aggressiveness or shyness undesirable.


Dogs 28-32 inches (71-81 cm), and bitches 27-30 inches (68-76 cm) at the withers. The height at the withers is equal to the height at the hips, or the withers slightly higher. Extra size is no disadvantage when it is not acquired at the expense of symmetry, soundness, and efficiency.

Coat and Colour

Silky in texture, never harsh, wiry or coarse. Coat may be flat, wavy or rather curly. Short and smooth on head and ears as well as on forelegs and hind legs below the hock. Much longer on body with heavy feathering on backs of forelegs, hindquarters, tail, and chest. On the neck, the frill is profuse and rather curly. Coats tend to be more profuse in males. Quantity of coat and undercoat is determined by maturity and seasonal changes. The undercoat is dense and soft. Any colour or pattern acceptable.

Had Skull and Muzzle

Head long and lean and in proportion to the dog’s size and substance. Viewed from above, the skull should look narrow, converging very gradually to the tip of the nose. The occipital process is accentuated. Well filled between and below the eyes. Measurement equal from the occiput to the inner corner of the eye (canthus) and from there to the tip of the nose. Skull slightly flat to slightly domed and narrow. Stop almost imperceptible. Head fine so that the direction of the bones and principal veins can be clearly seen. Seen from the side, the head and muzzle form a smooth, uninterrupted and slightly convex line. From the end of the nasal bone the nasal cartilage slopes slightly down to the nostrils. Nose large, black, nicely rounded and over-reaching.


Jaws deep, long and powerful, with proportionally large teeth. Scissor bite preferred, level bite acceptable. Full dentition preferred. The lips are black rimmed, thin and well stretched. Eyes large, neither bulbous, staring nor sunken. Expression is kind, intelligent and alert. Eyes dark brown, placed well back but not too wide apart. Eyelids set somewhat obliquely. Eye rims black and slightly almond shaped. Ears small, pointed and fine-leathered. Set high, not too far apart: tips nearly touching behind the occiput; when in repose folded back along the neck. Should be active and responsive; may be erect when alert, the tips sometimes falling over.


The neck should be well set on, widening gradually into the shoulders; clean, free from throatiness, slightly arched, well muscled, flat on the sides. The length of the neck should be approximately equal to the length of the head.


Withers not accentuated. Shoulders clean, sloping back, flat muscled. Forelegs, when seen from the front, appear bladed, clean and straight, elbows neither in nor out. Seen from the side, width at the shoulder narrowing down to the pastern; elbows directed to the rear in a vertical line to the withers. Pasterns slightly sloping, strong, flexible and springy. The length of the forearms is about half the total height at the withers.


Chest: rib cage relatively long, of oval cut, slightly sprung, great depth of brisket to the level of the elbows. The sternum is slightly pronounced with adequate width of forechest. The abdomen is well tucked up. Back: rising in a graceful curve over the loins. The highest point of the curve is situated over the last rib. The spines of the vertebrae are prominent and the pelvic bones palpable. The curve may be less pronounced in bitches than in dogs. Loin: broad, powerful and very muscular; not long. Croup: long, wide and well muscled with a gradual fall away. The greatest width is at the hip joints.


Hindquarters wider than shoulders. Hind legs long and very muscular. Thighs long and well developed with good second thigh. Stifles well angulated, hock joints broad, clean, and set low. Posterior line of the hock is vertical. When seen from the side the legs are slightly set back where a line can be dropped from the end of the pelvis (tuber Ischii) through the knuckles of the foot.


Harefoot, well padded, never flat, neither turning in nor out. Toes close together and well arched. Hind feet longer. Removal of dewclaws optional.


Long, rather low set, the tail bone reaching well below the hock joint. Well feathered, carried low in a graceful curve. In action may be used as a counter balance but not rising above the level of the back except when galloping. From the level of the hocks the tail may be sickle-shaped but not ringed.


A typical trot is a gait of moderate speed. At the trot, the front legs must reach well out with pasterns strong and springy. The rear legs are wider apart than the front while walking, but the feet tend to move closer to the midline as the dog accelerates. A flexible back is observable. When viewed from the side, there should be a noticeable drive with a ground-covering stride. The overall appearance in motion should be that of effortless power, agility, smoothness, and grace. Hackney action or restricted gait is not desired. When in pursuit of prey, the dog moves at a very rapid gallop showing full extension and flexion of limbs and back exhibiting great speed and endurance.


The foregoing description is that of the ideal Borzoi. Any deviation from the above described dog must be penalized to the extent of the deviation, keeping in mind the original purpose of the breed.


A male animal should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

Borzoi Standard as per the American Kennel Club

Hound Group

General Appearance 

The Borzoi was originally bred for the coursing of wild game on more or less open terrain, relying on sight rather than scent. To accomplish this purpose, the Borzoi needed particular structural qualities to chase, catch and hold his quarry. Special emphasis is placed on sound running gear, strong neck and jaws, courage and agility, combined with proper condition. The Borzoi should always possess unmistakable elegance, with flowing lines, graceful in motion or repose. Males, masculine without coarseness; bitches, feminine and refined.


Skull slightly domed, long and narrow, with scarcely any perceptible stop, inclined to be Roman-nosed. Jaws long, powerful and deep, somewhat finer in bitches but not snipy. Teeth strong and clean with either an even or a scissors bite. Missing teeth should be penalized. Nose large and black.


Small and fine in quality, lying back on the neck when in repose with the tips when thrown back almost touching behind occiput; raised when at attention.


Set somewhat obliquely, dark in color, intelligent but rather soft in expression; never round, full nor staring, nor light in color; eye rims dark; inner corner midway between tip of nose and occiput.


Clean, free from throatiness; slightly arched, very powerful and well set on.


Sloping, fine at the withers and free from coarseness or lumber.


Rather narrow, with great depth of brisket.


Only slightly sprung, but very deep giving room for heart and lung play.


Rising a little at the loins in a graceful curve.


Extremely muscular, but rather tucked up, owing to the great depth of chest and comparative shortness of back and ribs.


Bones straight and somewhat flattened like blades, with the narrower edge forward. The elbows have free play and are turned neither in nor out. Pasterns strong.


Hare-shaped, with well-arched knuckles, toes close and well padded.


Long, very muscular and powerful with well bent stifles; somewhat wider than the forequarters; strong first and second thighs; hocks clean and well let down; legs parallel when viewed from the rear.


Dewclaws, if any, on the hind legs are generally removed; dewclaws on the forelegs may be removed.


Long, set on and carried low in a graceful curve.


Long, silky (not woolly), either flat, wavy or rather curly. On the head, ears and front of legs it should be short and smooth; on the neck the frill should be profuse and rather curly. Feather on hindquarters and tail, long and profuse, less so on chest and back of forelegs.


Any color, or combination of colors, is acceptable.


Mature males should be at least 28 inches at the withers and mature bitches at least 26 inches at the withers. Dogs and bitches below these respective limits should be severely penalized; dogs and bitches above the respective limits should not be penalized as long as extra size is not acquired at the expense of symmetry, speed and staying quality. Range in weight for males from 75 to 105 pounds and for bitches from 15 to 20 pounds less.


Front legs must reach well out in front with pasterns strong and springy. Hackneyed motion with mincing gait is not desired nor is weaving and crossing. However, while the hind legs are wider apart than the front, the feet tend to move closer to the center line when the dog moves at a fast trot. When viewed from the side there should be a noticeable drive with a ground-covering stride from well-angulated stifles and hocks. The over-all appearance in motion should be that of effortless power, endurance, speed, agility, smoothness and grace.


The foregoing description is that of the ideal Borzoi. Any deviation from the above described dog must be penalized to the extent of the deviation keeping in mind the importance of the contribution of the various features toward the basic original purpose of the breed.

Approved June 13, 1972


 FCI-Standard N° 193  / 22. 11. 2006 / GB


(Russkaya Psovaya Borzaya)

TRANSLATION : R.K.F., revised by U. Fischer, R. Triquet and J.Mulholland.

ORIGIN : Russia.


UTILIZATION :  Hunting sighthound, racing and coursing hound.

CLASSIFICATION F.C.I. :    Group   10      Sighthounds.

 Section    1     Long-haired or fringed Sighthounds.         

Without working trial.                  

BRIEF HISTORICAL SUMMARY : The Russkaya Psovaya Borzaya has been an integral part of the national culture and Russian history for 9 centuries. The French Chronicle of the XIth century shows that three Borzois accompanied the daughter of the Grand Duke of Kiev, Anna Iaroslavna when she arrived in France to become the wife of Henri I.  Among the owners and breeders there were many famous people including Tsars and poets :  Ivan the Terrible, Peter the Great, Nicolas II, Pushkin, Turgenev.  The creation of the famous kennel « Pershinskaya okhota » by the illustrious breeders the Grand Duke Nicolai Nicolaevitch and Dimitri Valtsev had great importance.  From the end of the XIXth century, the Borzoi is seen in the biggest breeding kennels of Europe and America.

GENERAL APPEARANCE : Dog of aristocratic appearance, of large size, of lean and at the same time robust constitution, of a very slightly elongated construction.  Females are generally longer than males.  Strong bone structure but not massive.  The bones are rather flat.  Muscles lean, well developed, especially on the thighs, but not showing in relief.  Harmony of form and movement is of prime importance.


·       In  males the height at the withers is equal or barely superior to that from the summit of the croup to the ground.

·        In females these two heights are equal. 

·       The height at the withers must be slightly inferior to the length of the body. 

·       The depth of the chest is approximately equal to half the height at the withers.

·       The length of the muzzle, from the stop to the tip of the nose, is equal or slightly superior to that of the skull, from the occiput to the stop.

BEHAVIOUR / TEMPERAMENT : In its everyday life the Borzoi has a quiet and balanced character. At the sight of game it gets suddenly excited.  It has a piercing sight, capable of seeing very far.  Its reaction is impetuous.

HEAD : Viewed from above as well as from the side, lean, long, narrow, aristocratic.  Seen in profile, the lines of the skull and muzzle form a long, slightly convex line, the line of the sagittal crest being straight or slightly oblique towards the well marked occipital protuberance.  The head is so elegant and lean that the principal veins show through the skin.


Skull : Narrow; seen from above : elongated into an oval shape; seen in profile, almost flat. 

Stop : Only very slightly marked.


Nose : Large, mobile, considerably prominent in relation to the lower jaw.

Top of muzzle : Long, filled out in all its length, slightly arched near the nose. 

Muzzle : The length of the muzzle from the stop to the tip of the nose is equal or slightly superior to that of the skull, from the occiput to the stop.

Lips : Fine, clean, well fitting. The eye-rims, the lips and the nose are black whatever the colour of the coat.

Jaws/Teeth : Strong underjaw. Teeth white, strong; scissor bite or pincer bite.

Eyes : Large, very slightly prominent, expressive, dark hazel or dark brown, almond-shaped, but not slit-eyed, set obliquely.

Ears : Small, thin, mobile, set on above the eye level and backwards, pointing almost towards the nape of the neck when not alert. The tips of the ears are situated near each other or directed downwards along the neck and close to it.  When the dog is alert, the ears are carried higher and on the sides or forward; sometimes one or both ears are erect like horse ears.

NECK : Long, clean, flattened laterally, muscled, slightly arched, never carried high.


Withers : Not marked.

Back : Broad, muscled, elastic, forming with the loin and croup a curve which is more pronounced in the males.  The highest point of this curve is situated ahead of the middle of the loin or in the region of the 1st or 2nd lumbar vertebra.

Loin : Long, prominent, muscled, moderately broad.

Croup : Long, broad, slightly sloping.  The width of the croup measured between the two hip bones (iliac crests) must not be less than 8 cm.

Chest : Of oval cross-section, not narrow, yet not wider than the croup, deep, well developed in length, spacious, reaching down almost to elbow level.  The region of the shoulder blades being flatter, the chest gets gradually wider towards the false ribs, which are short; seen in profile, it forms a change in slope.  The ribs are long, slightly prominent.  The forechest is slightly prominent in relation to the scapular-humeral articulation.

Belly : Well tucked up, the underline rises abruptly towards the abdomen.

TAIL : In shape of sickle or sabre, low set, thin, long.  Passed between the hindlegs, it must reach up to the hip bone (iliac crest), furnished with abundant feathering.  When the dog is standing naturally, the tail hangs downwards.  In action, it is raised, but not above the level of the back.



Forelegs clean, muscled, seen from the front perfectly straight and parallel.  The height of the forelegs from the elbow to the ground is equal or a little superior to half  the height at the withers.

Shoulders : Shoulder blades are long and oblique.

Upper arm : Moderately oblique; its length is barely superior to the length of the shoulder blade.  Angle of the scapular-humeral articulation well pronounced.

Elbows : In parallel planes to the median plane of the body.

Forearm : Clean, long, of oval cross-section; seen from the front, narrow, seen in profile, broad.

Metacarpus (pastern) : Slightly oblique in relation to the ground.

HINDQUARTERS : Seen from behind : straight, parallel, set slightly wider than the forequarters.  When the dog is standing naturallly, the vertical line dropping from the ischiatic tuberosity (point of buttocks) must pass in front of the centre of the hock joint and of the metatarsals.

Upper thigh : Well muscled, long, placed obliquely.

Lower thigh : Long, muscled, placed obliquely.  The femoro-tibial and the tibio-tarsal articulations well developed, broad, clean; the angles must be well marked.

Metatarsus (rear pastern) : Not long, placed almost vertically.

All the articulations are well angulated.

FEET : Lean, narrow, of elongated oval shape (called « harefeet »); toes arched, tight; nails long, strong, touching the ground.

GAIT / MOVEMENT  : When not hunting, the typical gait of the Borzoi is the extended trot, effortless, very supple and lifting; when  hunting the charging gallop is extremely fast, with leaps of great length.

SKIN : Supple, elastic.


HAIR : Silky, soft and supple, wavy or forming short curls, but never small tight curls.  On the head, the ears and the limbs, the hair is satiny (silky but heavier), short, close lying.  On the body, the hair is quite long, wavy; on the regions of the shoulder blades and the croup, the hair forms finer curls; on the ribs and thighs, the hair is shorter; the hair which forms the fringes, the « breeches » and the feathering of the tail is longer. The coat on the neck is dense and abundant.

COLOUR : All colour combinations, but never with blue, brown (chocolate) and any derivatives of these colours.

All the colours may be solid or pied.  The fringes, « breeches », featherings of the tail are considerably lighter than the ground colour. For the overlaid colours a black mask is typical.


Desirable height  at  the withers :         dogs :         75 - 85 cm,

bitches :    68 - 78 cm.

In males, the height at the withers is equal or barely superior to that from the summit of  the croup to the ground.  In females, these heights are equal. Subjects exceeding the maximum height are acceptable provided the typical morphology is preserved.

FAULTS : Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog, especially:

               Teeth :

·       Small, abnormally worn teeth.  Absence of one PM2.

·       PM1s and M3s are not taken into account.

Colour :

·       Flecks of the same shade as the ground colour.


General appearance :

·       Stocky appearance ; short trunk.

·       Heavy, round bone.

Head :

·       Soft tissues.

·       Blunt muzzle.

·       Very pronounced stop.

·       Very pronounced zygomatic arches.

·       Occiput not pronounced.

Teeth :

·         Lack of one PM3, one PM4 (lower jaw), one M1 (upper jaw), one M2.

Eyes :

·         Deep set; yellow or light; slit eyes (too narrow palpebral aperture); showing haw.

Ears :

·         Thick, coarse, with rounded tips.

Neck :

·       Presence of dewlap.

Back :

·         Sagging; straight back in males.

Croup :

·         Goose rump.

Belly :

·         Pendulous, insufficiently tucked up.

Tail :

·       Coarse; in action, falling downwards.

Forequarters :

·       Scapular-humeral angle too open (straight shoulder)

·       In or out at elbows.

·       Forearm : Of round cross-section. Any deviation of the forearm.

·       Knuckling over.

·       Weak in pasterns.

Hindquarters :

·       Over angulated or too straight angulation.

·       Close behind or spread hocks.

Feet :

·       Tendency to broad, round, thick feet; cat feet, flat feet; spread toes.

Coat :

·       Colour : Flecks on the body of another shade than the ground colour.


Behaviour / Temperament :

·       Aggressive or overly shy.

Teeth :

·       Overshot or undershot mouth.

·       Wry mouth. 

·       Lack of one incisor, one canine, one carnassial tooth (PM4-upper jaw    M1-lower jaw), lack of more than 4 teeth (any four teeth).

·       Faulty position of one or both canines of the lower jaw which, when the mouth is shut, can damage the upper gums or the palate.

Eye :

·        Wall eye.

Tail :

·       Corkscrew tail, broken tail (fused vertebrae), docked, even partially.

Hindquarters :

·       Presence of dewclaws.

Colour :

·       Brown (chocolate), Blue.

Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities shall be disqualified.

N.B. : Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

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