The Borzoi was formally known as the Russian Wolfhound; however, in an effort to maintain the same name as the rest of the world, the American Kennel Club changed the name in 1936. This breed’s origins date back to 17th century Russia by crossing Arabian greyhounds with a thick-coated Russian breed. They were bred by the Russian aristocracy for hundreds of years and developed to course wild game such as foxes, hares, and wolves, over the open plains of Russia by sight rather than scent. In wolf-coursing, a sport of danger and difficulty, there would be two dogs used on one wolf. They were trained to chase and seize the wolf behind the ears and throw their prey over. Once down, the two dogs had to hold the wolf until the huntsman arrived. Therefore, it was important that the two dogs should be equal in strength and courage as much as possible. Otherwise, any hesitation or weakness could result in the wolf getting away and/or potential serious injuries to the dogs. Upon the Borzois arrival in England, no such use could be found for the breed, and so the Borzoi was utilized for exhibition or as a companion.
IMPORTANT NOTES: The Borzoi is a versatile breed that can adapt to country living or the city provided they have sufficient daily exercise. They are not guard dogs and should not be considered for sentry duty. Due to their coursing nature, Borzois are extremely fast and must be kept on a leash or in a fenced area as they will chase anything that moves especially into a busy street. It is essential that if a Borzoi is acquired into a home with felines or small dogs, they must be introduced as a puppy in order to adjust to other pets as family members rather than prey, or acquired as an adult previously accustomed to cats and small dog breeds. This sighthound has an abundance of energy and is not suited for families with young children.
Resources: https://www.akc.org/breeds/borzoi/; Simon & Schuster’s Guide to Dogs by Gino Pugnetti and Elizabeth Meriwether Schuler; The Borzoi by Dr. Desiree Scott; and Hutchinson on Sighthounds by Walter Hutchinson.