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Discussion Starter #1
I've been looking at potential new additions. Keep in mind you won't be seeing a cute puppy on my hands for another year or so, but I can't help but always be looking at the next one.

I have said in the past no prey drive, but dang! These freaking dogs are making me seriously reconsider how important off leash abilities are.

A couple questions about Borzoi.

1) Is off leash really a strict no? What about on hikes? Can prey drive be driven out of them (to the point of reliable recall on a chase) at a young age? Will I just need to have them on leash all the time?

2) I know they're known to be independent which just reads to me as "more training classes". Can they be good listeners? Can they be eager to please? Are they considered velcro? Are they really affectionate one person dogs?

3) I have Cosmo. He is my main priority before any new dog. Would a Borzi be fine with other dogs growing up with them? He's a barker and a bit rambunctious. I've heard they're sensitive dogs. Is this ok?

4) Would they be interested in learning agility? I love agility and it would be nice to have a dog that can be in the same activity as Cosmo. I want to avoid lure coursing to discourage chase but would also be willing to learn scent work.

5) Could they keep up with a fast paced active lifestyle?

6) Are they barkers? Any major health issues? Anything else you can think of?

Thanks!!!
 

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@K9Chaos has TWO Borzoi puppies current, so I'm sure she can weigh in with some helpful info!
 

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If you'd go so far to prevent "chasing" as to avoid things like lure coursing altogether I'd question why you are interested in a sighthound in the first place. IMO when choosing a purebred dog it's vital look at what the dog was originally bred to do and whether or not a dog with such tendencies is what you're looking for. Theoretically, a well bred borzoi will still have a very high drive to run and chase things, so you're fighting a losing battle if you plan on getting one and actively working against those tendencies. I also think that, when possible, owners should make attempts to get dogs involved in what they were bred to do. That doesn't mean you need to go coursing every weekend, but I do think that sighthound people should be willing to give it a shot to let their dog have some fun. And, if nothing else, make sure there's plenty of time for the dog to run freely in a secured open area.

If you plan on doing off leash hiking then I wouldn't consider a sighthound to be a very good fit. IMO any dog of any breed can prove to be a poor off leash candidate, but I personally wouldn't consider getting a sighthound for that reason. If you're ok with keeping the leash on then I don't see that there would be a big problem.

I see a few issues as to why a borzoi may not be a great fit for you (namely the "chasing" and recall reliability), but you don't mention any of the reasons why you ARE interested in the breed... I don't mean to sound snippy or say that a borzoi is not the breed for you, but really think about what you want in a dog. More of whether or not you and a particular breed are compatible, not whether or not you can make a specific breed fit into your lifestyle, if that makes sense.
 

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More of whether or not you and a particular breed are compatible, not whether or not you can make a specific breed fit into your lifestyle, if that makes sense.

Makes perfect sense.

I have had Borzoi most of my childhood and although any dog can be all you ask with at times a lot of work, there are many more suited dogs for your wants.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
If you'd go so far to prevent "chasing" as to avoid things like lure coursing altogether I'd question why you are interested in a sighthound in the first place. IMO when choosing a purebred dog it's vital look at what the dog was originally bred to do and whether or not a dog with such tendencies is what you're looking for. Theoretically, a well bred borzoi will still have a very high drive to run and chase things, so you're fighting a losing battle if you plan on getting one and actively working against those tendencies. I also think that, when possible, owners should make attempts to get dogs involved in what they were bred to do. That doesn't mean you need to go coursing every weekend, but I do think that sighthound people should be willing to give it a shot to let their dog have some fun. And, if nothing else, make sure there's plenty of time for the dog to run freely in a secured open area.

If you plan on doing off leash hiking then I wouldn't consider a sighthound to be a very good fit. IMO any dog of any breed can prove to be a poor off leash candidate, but I personally wouldn't consider getting a sighthound for that reason. If you're ok with keeping the leash on then I don't see that there would be a big problem.

I see a few issues as to why a borzoi may not be a great fit for you (namely the "chasing" and recall reliability), but you don't mention any of the reasons why you ARE interested in the breed... I don't mean to sound snippy or say that a borzoi is not the breed for you, but really think about what you want in a dog. More of whether or not you and a particular breed are compatible, not whether or not you can make a specific breed fit into your lifestyle, if that makes sense.
That makes sense however I didn't post any of the reasons I want a Borzoi because that's not what the thread is about, it's about learning more about them to determine whether or not they would fit in with my lifestyle so I really don't think it's fair to leap at me for not posting every reason I want them while I myself am not even sure about them. This thread is aimed to learn more about them by people who have them. My dog was attacked by two greyhounds fairly violently so the chasing avoidance would not only be for the benefit of the Borzoi but for the safety of dogs that may run quickly and play with them. If I could train a Borzoi to play kindly with other dogs big or small so I am able to exercise them at off leash beaches for example and trust they won't go after someone walking their yorkie, that would be a point that would be extremely important to me and the reason I would avoid lure coursing - for the safety of the animals around my dog. My question was can I train a Borzoi to be kind with other small animals like dogs and cats, as well as would lure coursing have a negative impact on the ability to not try to kill someone's poodle. And at the very least can I train a solid recall off of a chase? (Keep in mind I will be taking and paying for many classes and am really in to obedience training)

I don't have a problem with having my Borzoi on leash much of the time like for hiking since there will likely be squirrels and I don't want them lost chasing one, but for an open area like a beach which there are many of around me, I need to know if I can effectively do a couple things: train a solid recall, even off of a chase, and minimize the prey drive so I can properly exercise a Borzoi and allow them to really stretch their legs. I will have a yard but not acres for them to run in. That doesn't seem like a good way to exercise a dog, and I doubt most Borzoi owners let their dogs out back and call it a day.

Again, totally fine with keeping on leash. Would just like to know if it's possible with hours and months of work I'm willing to put in - to effectively train a solid recall in different situations with these dogs.

Borzoi personalities are absolutely perfect to what I consider a good dog and a dog I would be thrilled to spend 10+ years with. Prey drive is the only real concern which can be managed but before I go ahead I'd like to know to what extent it can be managed. The prey drive can be worked around so long as the dog can give me a little leeway and isn't just a kill master when it comes to something running.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Makes perfect sense.

I have had Borzoi most of my childhood and although any dog can be all you ask with at times a lot of work, there are many more suited dogs for your wants.
I have not stated my wants so to you that is unknown.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Also want to add that while it would be fun to train agility and scent work with my Borzoi, so long as someone with a borzoi thinks it's possible to engage in lure coursing while being able to be obedient with recall, I would be completely willing to do lure coursing every weekend.
 

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It all depends on your skill as a trainer whether you can train a 100% reliable off lead recall in the face of running prey type animal. I'd certainly not avoid lure coursing because you believe that will help. You don't drive out prey drive, as you put it. You understand it and you give the dog outlets for it's genetic propensity to chase prey.

I don't think you were leapt on by DuckDodgers. Some facts were pointed out. You can be offended or you can take it in as helpful info.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
It all depends on your skill as a trainer whether you can train a 100% reliable off lead recall in the face of running prey type animal. I'd certainly not avoid lure coursing because you believe that will help. You don't drive out prey drive, as you put it. You understand it and you give the dog outlets for it's genetic propensity to chase prey.

I don't think you were leapt on by DuckDodgers. Some facts were pointed out. You can be offended or you can take it in as helpful info.
Wasn't offended at all haha.

Thanks for the advice, that makes sense. That's why I made this thread, to learn. It makes sense to work on lure with a Borzoi to give them an outlet for their desire to chase. I do that with Cosmo with sparrows in the field near my house.

I also don't believe that a dog bred for chase and hunt needs or HAS to be used for such. Cosmo would make an excellent herder. He doesn't herd and that's ok. I work on other things with him.

I was reading the Borzoi Club of Americas website and it helped a lot. I also looked up some Borzoi Obedience videos and it's nice to see how responsive they are and watch a nice heel and a good recall in action from them. There's also a surprising amount of Borzoi I saw succeeding at Agility.

Also my training skills are fine but I won't be training my Borzoi alone, we will attend far past the basic obedience puppy classes. We will work together and attend classes throughout the majority of his life likely.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Also to add: no dog can be expected to return 100 percent of the time, and to expect that out of a Borzoi on a chase would be unrealistic. I don't expect that and am fine with the knowledge of how unrealistic that is.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Does anyone have any answers to one of the many other questions I asked? :)
 

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I have a ridgeback catahoula mix Jake. Ridgebacks are sighthounds and catahoulas are herders/hunters so they for obvious reasons have a high prey drive. I've worked with him his entire life and I can call him off of a rabbit chase mid-chase (with the other 4 rhodies) and he'll come bounding back to me. It's really just a matter of working with them and being able to keep them extremely focused on you.
Hopefully that helps I'm not good at this! Borzois are so elegant and amazing, I've yet to see one irl
 

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I have a ridgeback catahoula mix Jake. Ridgebacks are sighthounds and catahoulas are herders/hunters so they for obvious reasons have a high prey drive. I've worked with him his entire life and I can call him off of a rabbit chase mid-chase (with the other 4 rhodies) and he'll come bounding back to me. It's really just a matter of working with them and being able to keep them extremely focused on you.
Hopefully that helps I'm not good at this! Borzois are so elegant and amazing, I've yet to see one irl
Thank you! I am quite into obedience. I've gotten to the point where I can keep Cosmo interested for up to 30 minute sessions using only Cheerios. Today we worked on touch, wave, crossing paws, leave it with IYC method just to try it out, and a few other proofing things like stand to down and sit to down and sit to stand etc.
 

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@cos I would love to chat Borzoi with you! We have two Borzoi and an Afghan hound and will likely be adding a third Zoi sometime in the future. To answer the questions that you posted!

I would not trust mine off leash. Our boy Basil would actually probably be fine but I don't feel comfortable taking that chance. Our girl Coraline would be gone the second she saw something moving. She has crazy prey drive though and is a demon on the lure. I really recommend keeping them on a leash if the area is not fenced. Though you could get a long line - like one of the 20-30ft lines to give them more of a chance to be off sniffing stuff. Prey drive cannot be driven out of them. They either have it or do not have it. Any good Borzoi breeder fits the puppy with the person and does temperament and drive testing on their puppies. Just let your breeder of choice (I can make some good recommendations!) know that you want a low drive pup.

Second: Oh boy this is a loaded question. My two are about as independent as ..well nothing. Basil LOVES people all people but especially little people (children). Coraline likes people well enough and will accept attention from them with good grace however she is very much -my- dog. She wants to be as close to me as absolutely possible. I always know when she is up to something because if she is not right there with me ... she is into mischief! They want to be where their people are. Basil has perfected the act of "playing dumb" when training but is very easily motivated by food. Coraline is whip smart and picks things up almost immediately but gets bored easily and is not always so keen to listen to a command even though I know she knows it! A lot of Borzoi have done really well in obedience rings.

Borzoi were bred to work in a pack - they generally get along very well with other dogs. Our Coraline is a bit guardy when it comes to her food bowl (our dogs are fed separately) but that is her only issue with other dogs. She shares toys just fine with them. Basil could care less about another dog being near his food or his toys. Most sight hound people have half a dozen or more dogs living quite happily with one another.

Borzoi can do great in agility! though they are not usually as fast at it as your typical agility dogs (border collies, aussies, shelties). Also lure coursing does not necessarily have much to do with how prey driven they are in other circumstances. Mine live with five cats for instance and leave the cats alone completely but put a lure in front of them and WOOOOSH they are off.

They can keep up with anything you want them to keep up with and if you are taking a break they are happy to be on the couch watching television. Though some are on the shy side or the high strung side. So like I said just make sure to tell your breeder what you are looking for in a puppy and they will pair you up with the right personality.

Mine only really bark when they are playing. They are pretty quiet dogs - though again that depends on personality. They are not known for being problem barkers though.

As far as health concerns go there are a few including some eye issues, some heart issues, and DM (Degenerative Myelopathy) which good breeders health test for. The only other issue that comes to mind is bloat but you get that problem with any deep chested breed of dog. In general they are pretty healthy and live on average 12-14yrs - though I know of a few that have made it to 16!

If you have any other questions or just want to chat please feel free to PM me! I am kind of a slacker and do not always remember to check the board.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
@cos I would love to chat Borzoi with you! We have two Borzoi and an Afghan hound and will likely be adding a third Zoi sometime in the future. To answer the questions that you posted!

I would not trust mine off leash. Our boy Basil would actually probably be fine but I don't feel comfortable taking that chance. Our girl Coraline would be gone the second she saw something moving. She has crazy prey drive though and is a demon on the lure. I really recommend keeping them on a leash if the area is not fenced. Though you could get a long line - like one of the 20-30ft lines to give them more of a chance to be off sniffing stuff. Prey drive cannot be driven out of them. They either have it or do not have it. Any good Borzoi breeder fits the puppy with the person and does temperament and drive testing on their puppies. Just let your breeder of choice (I can make some good recommendations!) know that you want a low drive pup.

Second: Oh boy this is a loaded question. My two are about as independent as ..well nothing. Basil LOVES people all people but especially little people (children). Coraline likes people well enough and will accept attention from them with good grace however she is very much -my- dog. She wants to be as close to me as absolutely possible. I always know when she is up to something because if she is not right there with me ... she is into mischief! They want to be where their people are. Basil has perfected the act of "playing dumb" when training but is very easily motivated by food. Coraline is whip smart and picks things up almost immediately but gets bored easily and is not always so keen to listen to a command even though I know she knows it! A lot of Borzoi have done really well in obedience rings.

Borzoi were bred to work in a pack - they generally get along very well with other dogs. Our Coraline is a bit guardy when it comes to her food bowl (our dogs are fed separately) but that is her only issue with other dogs. She shares toys just fine with them. Basil could care less about another dog being near his food or his toys. Most sight hound people have half a dozen or more dogs living quite happily with one another.

Borzoi can do great in agility! though they are not usually as fast at it as your typical agility dogs (border collies, aussies, shelties). Also lure coursing does not necessarily have much to do with how prey driven they are in other circumstances. Mine live with five cats for instance and leave the cats alone completely but put a lure in front of them and WOOOOSH they are off.

They can keep up with anything you want them to keep up with and if you are taking a break they are happy to be on the couch watching television. Though some are on the shy side or the high strung side. So like I said just make sure to tell your breeder what you are looking for in a puppy and they will pair you up with the right personality.

Mine only really bark when they are playing. They are pretty quiet dogs - though again that depends on personality. They are not known for being problem barkers though.

As far as health concerns go there are a few including some eye issues, some heart issues, and DM (Degenerative Myelopathy) which good breeders health test for. The only other issue that comes to mind is bloat but you get that problem with any deep chested breed of dog. In general they are pretty healthy and live on average 12-14yrs - though I know of a few that have made it to 16!

If you have any other questions or just want to chat please feel free to PM me! I am kind of a slacker and do not always remember to check the board.
That was absolutely and incredibly helpful! If you hadn't told me to request a low drive dog I may not have even considered that as I didn't know some are bred with low prey drive, so thank you! If you don't think luring will make them jump at small dogs as we pass them on leash or something I would be happy to practice lure coursing as that sounds incredibly fun. If you know of any good breeders in the Oregon/Washington area that would be amazing!

Speed in agility isn't an issue as I'm not trying to compete seriously, just for the fun and enjoyment of my dog. If they were into it then it doesn't matter to me when they finish :)

Also I'm really glad to hear about the independent aspect, as I prefer a dog who is Velcro and wants to be with me. I could never own a dog with the aloofness of a husky!

So far their ability to learn obedience, their personality, and their ability to join me in an active life has really made me want to learn and meet more. I've had the pleasure of meeting three in my lifetime and they were all incredibly pleasant. Keeping them on leash isn't a big issue, I just needed to know if I should expect to need to do that.

Thanks so much!!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I also wanted to ask if you take them to the dog park and if so how they do and if you're concerned about other dogs getting chased? Thanks! @K9Chaos
 

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@cos - we don't regularly go to dog parks because our local ones have some less than desirable people that attend them. However the times we have gone they have done fine.

We recently returned from a trip to San Diego where we took the dogs to an off leash dog beach! though we kept our 'Zoi on a leash because I did not want them to chase a seagull across a busy street.

They had a good time playing with a golden retriever puppy and an adorable scruffy terrier/shih tzu mix.

I am actually surprised that Borzoi are not more popular as family pets. They are fantastic dogs! There is a very good breeder up in Washington I will PM you her info. She can help get you started! The 'Zoi community is pretty small so everyone seems to know everyone else.
 

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Also to add: no dog can be expected to return 100 percent of the time, and to expect that out of a Borzoi on a chase would be unrealistic. I don't expect that and am fine with the knowledge of how unrealistic that is.
I was just about to make a comment on this, haha. You can drill recall reliability for years until you're blue in the face, but you always run a risk with any dog when off lead in a non secured area. This is especially true when getting a new dog of any sort, particularly when getting one of a high prey drive breed not known for reliable recall. We can do all the research in the world, but there's no guarantee that a certain dog will/wont exhibit certain traits such as chasing/killing small animals or hitting the road when off lead. Having a dog that won't run away and never come back when off lead is quite important to me, so for that reason I don't consider most sighthounds to be appropriate for my lifestyle. Of course, it's entirely possible that I'd get a "reliable" breed and not be able to trust that particular individual off leash.

It all depends on your skill as a trainer whether you can train a 100% reliable off lead recall in the face of running prey type animal. I'd certainly not avoid lure coursing because you believe that will help. You don't drive out prey drive, as you put it. You understand it and you give the dog outlets for it's genetic propensity to chase prey.

I don't think you were leapt on by DuckDodgers. Some facts were pointed out. You can be offended or you can take it in as helpful info.
Thanks, I certainly wasn't attempting to offend! Simply point out what I read from the original post.

Wasn't offended at all haha.

Thanks for the advice, that makes sense. That's why I made this thread, to learn. It makes sense to work on lure with a Borzoi to give them an outlet for their desire to chase. I do that with Cosmo with sparrows in the field near my house.

I also don't believe that a dog bred for chase and hunt needs or HAS to be used for such. Cosmo would make an excellent herder. He doesn't herd and that's ok. I work on other things with him.

I was reading the Borzoi Club of Americas website and it helped a lot. I also looked up some Borzoi Obedience videos and it's nice to see how responsive they are and watch a nice heel and a good recall in action from them. There's also a surprising amount of Borzoi I saw succeeding at Agility.

Also my training skills are fine but I won't be training my Borzoi alone, we will attend far past the basic obedience puppy classes. We will work together and attend classes throughout the majority of his life likely.
I definitely do realize that the "good" reasons for getting a certain breed aren't the be-all, end all, but I do think they're 100% relevant. Virtually any breed can sound unappealing to most owners if you only mention the potentially undesirable aspects. It's about weighing the pros and cons. There are a number of things I don't like about ratties, but overall I think we're a great fit for each other. You did fail to mention a number of (imo) important things in your original post- that you ARE willing to provide a "chase outlet" for the dog, you're ok with keeping it on leash in unfenced areas, and WHY you want to reduce the chase drive (small dogs). That stuff was rather ambiguous in your first post to a reader that isn't familiar with your situation.

I don't think that a dog HAS to do what it was bred to do to live a fulfilled life, but I certainly think it should be given the opportunity. And, most (imo) well bred dogs will succeed/thoroughly enjoy the opportunity as part of being a well bred dog is retaining working ability, or at a minimum showing interest in the activity. That's cause for debate amongst some breeders, but I would imagine that most borzois would go crazy to chase a lure. I'm certainly not advising that a herding breed who shows no interest in sheep be forced on it, or a retriever that hates water to go swimming. But I do think they should be given the opportunity, or at a minimum not have it be restricted for training purposes. FWIW, in the rat terrier standard it specifically mentions that the breed was bred for hunting vermin and "coursing small game". I took my dog once, and he was 110% into it. Went absolutely nuts over it, and had a blast. It was to the point where someone approached me after the class and asked if I'd considered doing real trials with him, assuming from a distance that he was a basenji. He went on an off leash hike the next weekend, no problems caused by the coursing the previous weekend.

On the chasing/attacking note: I've met plenty of greyhounds that have been 100% ok with smaller dogs, and even cats. My friend owns one (a retired racer) and he does great at the dog park. It's always the same thing whenever she goes- he races around the park full blast for a couple of minutes, and everyone in the park stops to look in awe. The rest of the time he just sort of trots around at a leisurely pace, sniffs things, and pees on things. He'll jet around one more time, and then he's ready to go. Meanwhile, my terrier will be racing around at his (much slower than full blast greyhound) full speed for the better part of an hour, and her dog won't pay him any attention. It's definitely possible for large sighthounds to be ok with smaller dogs. It depends on the dog, and also on how it's raised/what it's exposed to. Most greyhounds you see about are retired racers, so likely were never really exposed to small dogs or cats in the way you could socialize your puppy.

A few somewhat scattered thoughts there. I can't comment too much on borzois specifically, but I am pretty familiar with some of the other sighthound breeds.
 

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I can forward your questions to a Borzoi shower/breeder I'm familiar with to get her perspective on it if you'd like. From what I remember when I expressed interest in the breed, at least regarding the question about independence and velcro, she told me that they are generally very aloof and are basically like cats... attention on their terms. They'd much rather have a couch all to themselves rather than share one with anybody (even their person). But that's not a strict "rule".
 
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