Compiled by Margaret Davis for the years 1804 - 1891
One of the borzoi pioneers in the UK was Lady Emily Peel. She imported her first dogs directly from the Tzars kennels at Gatchina!
1804Borzoi owned by 5th Earl of Sandwich sketched by H B Chalon
1832Fawn colour Russian greyhound at the Zoological Gardens
1842 Two black/tans from Duke de Nemours in France to Prince Albert (parents were imported from Gatchina in Russia)
1846 Pair from Imperial Hunt Gatchina to Queen Victoria
1853 Pair from Imperial Hunt Gatchina to Queen Victoria. The bitch was used in Deerhound lines.
1856 Pair from Imperial Hunt Gatchina to Lord Grenville Zver and Arapka
Pair from Imperial Hunt Gatchina to Lady Stafford Pobedim and Milka
Pair from Imperial Hunt to Lady Emily Peel – Udaloi and Yasva
Litter born 1856 by Old Keildar (Deerhound) x unnamed (Imp Russia) owned by Queen Victoria. Progeny Hilda (Cole) in Deerhound lines down to modern dogs. A female for sale by George Wells
1857 Rush (Imp Russia) from Kertch area sold at auction in UK
1861 Imported male born 1856 from Baron Karn in Russia to C Williams
1860s Imported dog shown by Hill and Ashton
1863 Sultan (Imp Germany) b1858 bred by Prince Carl of Prussia shown by the Duchess of Manchester
Katai (Imp Russia) and unnamed bitch (Imported) shown by Arthur Shirley at Manchester
Litter born 26/8/1863 by Katai (Imp Russia) x unnamed (Imported) breeder A Shirley 6 pups Progeny names - Alexander owner A Shirley shown 1865, Sultan owned by J A Handy and Rush owned by E Slater both dogs shown 1867
1865 Pair from Imperial Hunt Gatchina to Lady Emily Peel renamed Czar and Czarina
1866 T Beasley owned Alma born 1858. No other information but probably imported
1867 Nijni (Imported) born June 1865 shown by J Wright
Litter advertised in April by Frank Smith (dealer) possibly bred by J Wright (Nijni x ?)
Pair from Imperial Hunt Gatchina to Prince of Wales – Molodetz and Oudatchka
Litter by Molodetz (Imp Russia) x Oudatchka (Imp Russia) bred by Prince of Wales 2 progeny known – Molodetz II owned by J Wright and Oudatchka II owned by S G Holland
Sultan (A Shirley) shown by J A Handy
1868 A UK Deerhound bitch was mated to a Borzoi (Imp Russia) in Paris Zoological Gardens the progeny named Moscow was owned by Captain Grahame and used in Deerhound and Irish Wolfhound lines.
Litter born February 1868 by Czar (Imp Russia) (Peel) x Oudatchka II bred by S G Holland progeny Volga (Holland) owned by breeder and Moscow (Holland) owned by J Porter (shown 1870).
Pair from Imperial Hunt Gatchina to Lady Emily Peel – Dorogai and Labidka
Unnamed Borzoi male owned by Lord H Bentinck may be from Prince of Wales or imported
1869 Molodetz and Oudatchka shown at National Dog Club in June by Prince of Wales.
Litter born Sept 1869 by Molodetz II x Volga (Holland) bred by S G Holland progeny named Cossack (Wright) owned by J Wright.
Litter born Nov 1869 by Dorogai (Imp Russia) x Labidka (Imp Russia) bred by Lady Emily Peel progeny named Dagmar owned by Rev J C Macdona later owned by A Stansfield in 1872
1870Cossack (Wright) shown by J Wright and Moscow (Holland) shown by J Porter at Birmingham
Dagmar (Peel) shown by Rev J C Macdona at Warrington
Deerhound litter sired by Lord Bentinck’s Borzoi progeny named Prince. The line continues to modern Deerhounds.
1871 Litter by Dorogai (Imp Russia) x Labidka (Imp Russia) bred by Lady Emily Peel progeny named Cossack (Peel) owned by W Fisher, Czar (Peel) and Neva (Peel) owned by breeder
Tom (Imp Germany) born 1867 (Podjor (Imp Russia) x Diana) shown by S T Holland at Crystal Palace
Lady Emily Peel and J C Macdona also exhibited at this show
1872Cossack (Wright) shown at Crystal Palace in June also Dagmar (Peel) shown by Agnes Stansfield
Litter by Molodetz (Imp Russia) x Oudatchka (Imp Russia) bred by the Prince of Wales progeny named Moscow (Hamilton) owned by Duke of Hamilton.
Litter born August 1872 by Tom (Imp Germany) x Oudatchka II bred by S G Holland progeny named Khiva owned by the breeder and Tom (Holland) owned by F J Holford
Cossack (Wright) sold to F Holland and shown at Birmingham in December
1873Czar (Peel) and Neva (Peel) shown by Lady Emily Peel at Birmingham and Cossack (Peel) shown by W Fisher
Cossack (Wright) shown in Paris by F Holland won medaille d’honneur and 250 francs
Litter born July 1873 by Tom (Imp Germany) x Oudatchka II bred by S G Holland progeny named Czar (Holland) and Tigar (Holland) both owned T W Holland shown at Northampton 1874.
1874Tom (Imp Germany) and his son Khiva shown at Crystal Palace in June
Litter by Molodetz (Imp Russia) x Oudatchka (Imp Russia) bred by the Prince of Wales progeny named Sandringham owned by J C Macdona and Cossack owned by H S Finch-Hatton in Australia
Show results published in December - number 599 unnamed was bred by Lady Emily Peel, number 600 Sultan owned by Mr Harris, number 601 unnamed and no details. No information on Sultan. Cossack (Peel) shown by W Fisher and Tom (Holland) shown by F J Holford at Birmingham (from studbook results) are probably numbers 559 and 601. Tom (Imp Germany) age 6 years shown by S G Holland at the same show.
Tcherkes (Imp Russia) (Gatchina) shown by Duchess of Sutherland in Inverness, Scotland.
Atilka (Imported) won silver medal in Paris 1874 owned by S T Holland
1875Molodetz (Imp Russia) shown by Prince of Wales won first prize at Crystal Palace in June also Moscow (Hamilton) shown by the Duke of Hamilton in same class.
Northampton show for sporting dogs in AOV class– The Czar owned by Southwell and Moltke owned by Lady Robinson. Possible Borzois?
Birmingham Foreign large size class – Zarratt owned by J Price. Possible Borzoi from France
Litter by Moscow (Duke of Hamilton’s) x Sandringham bred by J C Macdona and progeny named Czar (Macdona) owned by Lady Emily Peel
Litter born May 1875 by Czar (Holland) x Atilka (Imported) 8 pups advertised bred by S T Holland progeny name Cossack (Costello) owned by P Costello
Tom by Tsar x Dianne II (by Tsar x Diane I) advertised for sale by S T Holland is probably a French import. This is the third dog named Tom in the Holland family.
1876 Moscow (Imp Russia) bred by R Tolstoy presented to the Princess of Wales and shown at Brighton
Shah and Fly (Imported) littermates shown by F Rosing at Crystal Palace. Bred in Cologne zoological gardens both parents imported from Russia (Gatchina). Probably returned to Europe after the show.
Sandringham shown by Rev J C Macdona at Birkenhead
1877 Mynski (Imp Russia) bred at Gatchina 1874 to Lord Aylesford then J Briggs shown Wolverhampton
Sergei (Imp Russia) bred at Gatchina 1875 to Lady Loftus advertised for sale and sold to W J Thomas
Sarah (Imp Russia) bred at Gatchina 1875 to Lady Loftus advertised for sale
Sandringham shown by Rev J C Macdona at Manchester
1878 Czar (Macdona) shown by Lady Emily Peel at Tamworth won silver medal
Litter by Moscow (Imp Russia) x Sandringham bred by Rev J C Macdona progeny names Moscow II owned by Lady de Tabley and Czarina owned by J C Macdona.
1879 Czar (Macdona) shown by Lady Emily Peel at Alexandra Palace and Birmingham
Litter by Lady Emily Peel’s Czar (Peel) x Sandringham bred by J C Macdona progeny named Nihilist Anihilator owned by Lady de Tabley also Czar II owned by J C Macdona
Czarina (Macdona) shown by J C Macdona in Hanover, Germany.
1880 Narkal shown by W Musgrave in 1881. Probable Russian import arriving circa 1880
Lofky (Imp Russia) circa 1880 owner F Felix breeder stated as a Grand Duke Nicholas
Swan (Imp Russia) circa 1880 owned by F Felix
Caesar owned by Lady Innes Ker (unknown circa 1878-1879?) registered in 1880
1881Moscow (Imp Russia) Tolstoy shown by Prince of Wales at Woodbridge
Narkal shown by W Musgrave at Birmingham
1882 Dianne (imported) born 1878 by Sultan x Mirza bred by Sarah Bernhardt in Europe owned by M V Codina in UK.
Leppitt (Imp Russia) born about 1882 owned by F Felix
Hvita born 2 Oct 1879 by Geysir x Hruni listed in foreign dogs without the breed named. May be an imported Borzoi? owned by A B Woods.
1883 Zavlodai (Imp Russia) w/red sable breeder Mossoloff shown by E Goujon of Paris
Zikatch (Imp Russia) (or Likatch) breeder Mossoloff shown by E Goujon of Paris
Dosia (Imported) born Feb 1882 bred by Mons Bertin owned by E Holt Beever
1884 Belgrave Moscow (Imported) owned by Lady Combermere shown at Tunbridge Wells
Domovoy (Imp France) born 1884 breeder Desvignes owned by F Zambaco
Lady II (Imp Russia) shown in Ireland by T A Bond later owned by F Felix
Litter born January 1884 by Earl Spencer’s dog x Lady II (Imp Russia) progeny named Alice owned by J McCutcheon. This litter may have been bred in Ireland.
Lord Crowley had several Russian imports from Gatchina which went to Lady Innes Ker in 1884
1885 Moscow II shown by J C Macdona at Hanley
Doushka, Vedma, Fedora and Domovoy (Imp France) shown by F Zambaco but returned to France
The following litters were bred by Lady C Innes Ker with the dogs from Lord Crowley.
Litter born 31 January 1885 by Leppitt (Imp Russia) F Felix x Olga (Imp Russia) progeny names Paul owner Mrs Laxton, Prince (Felix) owned by F Felix, Lepid (Ker) owned by R Tilden and Leila owned by A Morrison
Litter born 16 May 1885 by Vodka (Crowley) x Dushka (Crowley) progeny name Iskra owned by Lady Innes Ker (This Iskra was registered but may have died young)
Litter born 29 July 1885 by Vassili (Imp Russia) x Nikita (Imp Russia) progeny name Iskra owned by Lady Innes Ker then to Lady Hoare in 1891.
Litter born 15 September 1885 by Don Cossack (Crowley) x Volga (Crowley) progeny name Azov owned by Lady Innes Ker
· Bud (Ker) and Peggy (Ker) owned by Colonel Wellesley came from two of these litters but actual parents not discovered yet. One of them is probably from the first litter.
· The Russian dogs were renamed in the UK. The ones marked (Crowley) are probably Russian imports. They were in the Crowley group of dogs but country of origin was not specified at the time.
1886Iskra (Vassili x Nikita) shown by Lady Innes Ker at Warwick
Koff (Imp France) Zambaco shown by R Sparrow at Maidstone
Krasotka (Imp Russia) born 1884 exported by Gleitzman shown by W Taunton at KC Show
F Zambaco showed Olga, Vedma, Barakai, Caucase, Galupshik and Tsar all imported from France but returned to France after the show.
Litter born 26 Feb 1886 by Ivan (Crowley) x Olga (Imp Russia) bred by Lady Innes Ker progeny Vassili (Ker), Dwina (Ker) owned by breeder and Neva (Ker) owned by Countess of Aylesford then R Tilden
Litter born 26 Sept 1886 by Sergei (Crowley) x Matushka (Imp Russia) progeny named Durak (Ker) owned by Lady Innes Ker
Litter born 4 August 1886 by Bud (Ker) x Peggy (Ker) bred by Colonel Wellesley progeny names Ivanavitch owner W Pain, Kinjal owned by G Pollock, Oobay owned by W Alcock, Tichrinka owned by W Vaughan and Katinka owned by breeder then C A Hoare in 1888.
Wera (Ker) owned by Lord Tennyson was from one of the 1886 litters bred by Lady Innes Ker but which parents are yet to be discovered. Dakka also owned by Lord Tennyson not yet identified and may be imported.
1887 Drouskok (Imp Russia) Sechendorf shown by W Barthropp at Barn Elms show
Yock (Imp Russia) born 1886 owned by F Felix then N Howard in 1889.
Toboeskie (Imp Russia) born 1887 owned by W H Wemyss
Iskra and Neva shown by Lady Innes Ker at Birmingham
Paul (Ker) shown by Laxton at Olympia
Koff (Imp France) shown by R Sparrow at Crystal Palace
Krasotka (Imp Russia) shown by W Taunton at Scarborough
Litter born August 1887 by Prince (Ker) (owner Felix) x Lady II (Imp Russia) bred by F Felix and progeny named Elsie owned by W Wade was exported to USA
Litter born December 1887 by Lepid (Ker) x Neva (Ker) breeder R Tilden and progeny named Lady Romanow was exported to Dr H Mallory in USA.
1888 Kapah (Imp Russia) shown by Colonel Wellesley at the Agricultural Hall
Tcherko III (Imp France) shown by M E Musgrave
Bujanovna (Imp France) owned by R Brandt
Albania (Imp France) Zambaco owned by W C Mellor
Iskra shown by Lady Innes Ker at Warwick
Litter born 25 June 1888 by Lepid (Ker) x Neva (Ker) bred by R Tilden progeny names Bobbie owned by W Gregory and Reggie owned by R Tilden
Litter born 28 June 1888 by Durak (Ker) x Iskra (Ker) bred by Lady Innes Ker progeny name Bosack owned by Captain Marshall
1889 Krilutt (Imp Russia) owned by Colonel Wellesley shown at Birmingham
Pagooba (Imp Russia) owned by Colonel Wellesley
Ivan II (Imp France) from the Paris Zoological Gardens and owned by the Duchess of Newcastle
Spain (Imp Spain) breeder Marquess of Qualdalmina. Parents were Russian imports from Gatchina. Spain owned by the Duchess of Newcastle’s mother.
Damon (Imp Russia) born 1886 breeder Prince Galitzen owner Colonel Wellesley
Trajan (Imp Russia) born 1887 breeder Count Stroganoff owner Miss Harvey
Kapah (Imp Russia) shown by C A Hoare at Olympia
Molodyets shown by G Pollock at Crystal Palace. Parents not stated
Durack (Ker) shown by Lady Innes Ker at Crystal Palace
Litter born 1 June 1889 by Wera (Ker) (b1886) x Dakka bred by Lord Tennyson progeny names Southampton Vodka owner A Andrews and Vooka owned by Dr Rowe.
Litter born 14 June 1889 by Krilutt (Imp Russia) x Iskra (Ker) bred by Lady Innes Ker progeny names Vladimir, Thrupp, Dolinka, Dvina, Mezene, Nagla and Vanity.
Litter born 6 October 1889 by Krilutt (Imp Russia) x Leila (Ker) bred by Mrs A Morrison progeny names Cedric, Sultan II, Quintin, Thistle, Aurelia, Brenda, Daphne, Diana III, Doushka II Maida II
Litter born 20 August 1889 by Ch Domovoy (France) x Albania (Imp France) bred by W Mellor progeny names Yaroslaf, Vera and Yarana
1890 Olga III (Imp France) owned by Lord Kilmorey
Micha (Imp France) owned by the Countess of Kilmorey
Zloeem (Imp Russia) owned by P Hacke shown in UK later exported to USA
Prokaza (Imp Russia) owned b P Hacke later exported to USA
Litter born 18 Feb 1890 by Ch Krilutt (Imp Russia) x Elsie bred by W Wade USA but born in UK. Progeny names Vladimir, Modjeska, Princess Irma, Lucca and 2 unnamed m & f exported to US Whirlwind owner Freeman Lloyd remained in UK.
Litter born 2 March 1890 by Ch Krilutt (Imp Russia) x Peggy (Ker) bred by Colonel Wellesley progeny names Lebed and Lady Kate owned by Wellesley, Pagrom owner C Paget, Strelka owner A Abbey
Litter born 15 March 1890 Ivan II (Imp France) x Spain (Imp Spain) bred by Duchess of Newcastle progeny 8 named pups including Macginty who has descendants to modern dogs.
Litter born 3 June 1890 by Ch Krilutt (Imp Russia) x Pagooba (Imp Russia) bred Colonel Wellesley progeny 8 named pups Oscar V owner Duchess of Wellington and Nagradka with Wellesley bred on.
Litter born 8 Oct 1890 by Ataman (Rousseau) x Prokaza (Imp Russia) bred by P Hacke born UK (Imported in dam) One progeny named Prokaza II later exported to USA owner P Hacke
Litter born 3 Dec 1890 by Sultan II x Empress bred by A Morrison progeny names Nachal owned by M E Musgrave and Renwick owned by A Morrison.
1891 This year began a flood of Russian imports and many litters bred between 1891 and 1900. The peak year was 1898 with 64 known litters recorded in 11 months. The 1890s generally wiped out the earlier bloodlines in the UK. Very few dogs from the early years continued but Leila born 1885 from the Innes Ker litter by Leppitt (Imp Russia) x Olga (Imp Russia) is behind Ch Miss Piostri and her brother Prince is the grandfather of Am & Can Ch Princess Irma.
The last known descendant of of the famous Russian imports Molodetz and Oudatchka (Prince of Wales) was born in Germany in 1885 bred by the Duchess of Hamilton. Her dog Moscow went to Austria but any progeny are unknown.
Pagooba (Colonel Wellesley) had several descendants but the last known was born 1901 however Ch Krilutt survives to modern dogs. He was also used in Deerhound and Irish Wolfhound pedigrees.
The early breeder S G Holland produced 4 known litters and S T Holland produced 1 known litter in the period 1868 – 1875. S G Holland was the main exhibitor for years including travelling to various European shows. A dog bred by him won the medal d’honneur in Paris in 1874. Holland & Sons were creators of fine furniture with a Royal warrant from Queen Victoria and they were responsible for decorating parts of Windsor Castle, Balmoral Castle and Sandringham House among others including some in Europe. The Holland family imported a dog from Germany and a bitch from France as well as using their foundation bitch bred by the Prince of Wales. UK shows confined Borzois to AOV or Foreign Dogs class of assorted breeds where some Holland dogs won the class but Borzois were recognised at shows in Germany and France where breed classes were held. Holland dogs also won in Europe. None of these lines survived.
Lady Emily Peel owned 6 Russian imports between 1856 and 1871. There are no known litters from the first pair Udaloi and Yasva or from Czarina in the second pair but Czar (Imp Russia) was used to sire a litter for S G Holland. The third pair of imports Dorogai and Labidka were bred from in 1869 and 1871. The last known descendant was shown in 1882. In later years Lady Emily exhibited a dog bred by Rev J C Macdona.
Researched and compiled by Margaret Davis including additional research by Andrus Koslow.
An early name for the Borzoi in the UK was "Siberian Wolfhound" with the word "Borzoi" appearing later in the 19th Century.
This much travelled lithograph showing the Siberian Wolfhound (Borzoi) in the Greyhound family was originally drawn and published in "Der Hund und seine Racen" by Leopold Joseph Franz Johann Fitzinger (1802-1884) in Germany in 1876. Subsequently it was published in UK dog books five years later. I purchased this copy in Sydney, Australia during a visit in 1996 and brought it back to the UK.
This lithograph of Siberian Wolfhounds was included in The Book of The Dog by Vero Shaw and published in the UK by Cassell in 1881:
I am publishing this article in The Borzoi Encyclopedia to encourage better understanding of the function of a Borzoi and its development as a breed. It is for all to enjoy reading but no part of my contributions to The Borzoi Encyclopedia may be copied, downloaded, printed or used in any way without my prior express written consent.
The Borzoi Or Russian Wolfhound (from the book ""A History And Description Of The Modern Dogs Of Great Britain And Ireland. (Sporting Division)", by Rawdon Briggs Lee")
There is no dog of modern times that has so rapidly attained a certain degree of popularity as that which is named at the head of this chapter. A dozen years ago it was comparatively unknown in England; now all well-regulated and comprehensive dog shows give a class or classes for him, which are usually well filled, and cause quite as much interest as those for our own varieties. Indeed, the Borzoi is a noble hound, powerful and muscular in appearance, still possessing a pleasant and sweet expression, that tells how kindly his nature is. He is one of the aristocratic varieties of the canine race, and the British public is to be congratulated on its discernment in annexing him from the Russian kennels, where, too, his reputation is of the highest.
In the early days of our dog shows, Borzois, then known as Siberian and Russian wolfhounds, and by other names, too, occasionally appeared on the benches. Most of them were similar in type to those we see now, and no doubt have a common origin with the ordinary Eastern or Circassian greyhounds, occasionally met with in this country. But the latter were usually smaller and less powerful than their Russian relative. According to the "Kennel Club Stud Book' a class for "Russian deerhounds" was provided at the National dog show held at the Crystal Palace in 1871. This was not the case, but a foreign variety class was composed almost entirely of Russian hounds, and one of them, Mr. S. T. Holland's Tom won the first prize. Lady Emily Peel and Mr. Macdona were exhibitors at the same show.
It will be nearly thirty years since the Czar of Russia presented the Prince of Wales with a couple of his favourite hounds, Molodetz and Owdalzka. These his Royal Highness exhibited on more than one occasion, and bred from them likewise, Mr. Macdona having presented to him one of the puppies. History repeated itself when in 1895 H.R.H. the Princess of Wales was presented with a splendid hound called Alex, from the Czar's kennels, which has met with a considerable amount of success at several leading shows. In 1872 Mr. Taprell Holland showed an excellent hound in the variety class at Birmingham, for which he obtained a prize. Even before this, specimens of the Borzoi (sometimes called Siberian Wolfhounds) were met with on the benches at Curzon Hall. In 1867, Mr. J. Wright, of Derby, had one called Nijni; and three years later the same exhibitor benched an excellent example of the race in Cossack, a grandson of Molodetz, already mentioned as having belonged to the Prince of Wales, and being from the Imperial kennels. Perhaps the earliest appearance of all on the bench was in 1863, when the then Duchess of Manchester showed a very big dog of the variety at Islington, and bred by Prince William of Prussia. I have the authority of Captain G. A. Graham for stating that this hound was 31 inches at the shoulders, quite equal in size, as he was in power, to some of the best specimens now on our shores.
Thus, after all, this fine race of dog is not quite such a modern institution in our country as would be imagined, though the earlier strains, I fancy, must have been lost, possibly on account of the inter-breeding consequent on an inability to obtain a change of blood. Communication between the eastern and western divisions of Europe is now much more rapid and easier of accomplishment than in the early days of dog shows.
Advancing a few years, Lady Charles Kerr occasionally sent some of these Russian hounds to the exhibitions, but most of them were small and somewhat light and weedy - far from such powerful animals as the best that are with us to-day, and even they in height do not reach that which belonged to the late Duchess of Manchester, and already alluded to. Of course, long before this, the dog, in all his prime and power, was to be found in most kennels of the Russian nobles. Some of them had strains of their own, treasured in their families for years. Such were mostly used for wolf-hunting, sometimes for the fox and deer, and bred with sufficient strength and speed to cope with the wolf - not, indeed, to worry him and kill him, but, as a rule, to seize and hold him until the hunters came up.
In 1884 a couple of Borzois, which even then we only knew as Russian wolfhounds, were performing on a music-hall stage in London, in company with a leash of Great Danes. The latter were, however, the cleverer "canine artistes," though the former the handsomer and more popular animals. I fancy their disposition is too sedate to make them eminent on the boards, resembling that of the St. Bernard and ordinary Highland deerhound, neither of which we have yet seen attempting to emulate the deeds of trained poodles and terriers in turning somersaults and going backwards up a ladder.
A correspondent, writing to the Field in 1887, gives the following description of the Borzoi, and it is so applicable to him at the present time as to be worth reproducing here. He says this Russian hound "Is one of the noblest of all dogs, and in his own land he is considered the very noblest, and valued accordingly. Like all things noble that are genuine, he is rare; and, like many other highly-bred creatures, the genuine Borzoi is, from in-breeding, becoming rarer every year. By crossing, however, with the deerhound and other suitable breeds, the race will no doubt be kept alive with stained lineage.
"From the earliest times, the great families of Russia have bred the Borzoi jealously against each other for the purpose of wolf hunting, but there are now few really good kennels of the breed. There are, I believe, various kinds of Borzois - the smooth, the short-tailed, etc. - but by far the handsomest, and the only one of which I have personal knowledge, is the rough-haired, long-tailed strain. Of these I have seen but very few good specimens in England, and, in fact, have seen prizes given at shows to very inferior specimens entered in the foreign class under his name. The true Borzoi is shaped like a Scotch deerhound, but is a much more powerful dog. In height he should be from 26m to 32m., with limbs showing great strength, combined with terrific speed power. Indeed, their speed is greater than that of an English greyhound. This quality is clearly shown by the long drooping quarters, hocks well let down close to the ground, and arched loins of such power and breadth as to give the dog almost a hunched appearance. The coat is silky, with a splendid frill round the neck, well-feathered legs, and a tail beautifully fringed on the under side. The carriage of the tail is peculiar, as it is almost tucked between the hind legs, so straight down does it hang until at the end it curls slightly outwards with a graceful sweep; but this, like the bang tail of the thoroughbred racehorse, adds to the beauty of the quarters. The depth of these dogs through the heart is quite extraordinary, giving them, with their enormous strength of loin, a very powerful appearance, and it seems strange that they do not possess more staying powers than they are generally accredited with. The head is very beautiful, being nearly smooth, and with immense length and strength of jaws, armed with teeth which make one feel glad to meet the Borzoi as a friend. The eyes are bright and wild, and have the peculiarity of varying in colour with the colour of the dog. Thus, a white dog marked, with lemon eyes; a mouse-coloured, eyes of the same tinge, and so on.
"The favourite colour of all, and. by far the rarest for these dogs, is pure white, but this is seldom met with. The usual colour is white, marked with fawn, lemon, red, or grey more or less mixed. Perhaps the prettiest features of all in the Borzoi are its ears, which are very small, fringed with delicate silky hair, and should be pricked with a half fall-over like a good collie's. In his movements he much resembles a wild animal, and has quite the slouching walk and long sling trot which is a characteristic of his born enemy, the wolf. Yet to see a Borzoi trot out with his long swinging action, and then just break into a canter, has always reminded me of a two-year-old cantering down to the post. The muscles on the quarters, thighs, and arms should be well developed, as these dogs are intended, and in fact used, to course the wild wolf. Strong must be the muscles, long the teeth, and indomitable the pluck of the Borzoi, who has to encounter single-handed the wild Wolf in his own haunts. No doubt the Borzoi, on such occasions, remembers the well-known fact that the favourite meat of the wolf is dog, and acts accordingly. It is usual, however, to employ two Borzois to course a wolf, and it is only the best specimens that can be trusted to account for one single-handed."
Perhaps, before going more fully into the Borzoi as a British dog, the following extract from an article by Mr. F. Lowe, who a few years ago spent some time in Russia, will give an idea of the extent of the kennels of the Borzoi hounds, and the value placed upon them in their native country. He says : " In the south of Russia, from which I have just returned, I had the good fortune to be the guest of a keen and well-known sportsman, Mr. Kalmoutzky, who, since coming into the inheritance of a magnificent property of something like twenty square miles, has built kennels which I should say are not surpassed in any country - being very large in size, and as near to perfection in detail as can well be imagined. The lodging houses, numbering three, are benched on two sides, and at each end there is a room for a man; three kennelmen being allowed for each kennel, two of them on duty night and day. This gives nine kennelmen to the kennels and, with five other officials, the number of men employed on it are fourteen. It is necessary to have men in attendance at all times, as the wolfhounds are very quarrelsome, and terrible fighters. Each kennel has a large yard of more than three-quarters of an acre. In addition to the above, there are commodious kennels for puppies (and these buildings are heated with hot air), cooking houses, and a hospital. There is telephone communication from all the kennels to Mr. Kalmoutzky's house, and he expects everything to be in readiness for a hunt in ten minutes from the time he sends his orders.
"In the kennels above described can be seen perhaps the finest pack of wolfhounds in the world, numbering twenty-two couples. They form a magnificent collection, their owner having spared no expense in getting the best to be found in Russia, and of the oldest blood. Some of them have cost £300 each; and the estimated worth of the pack is considerably over £5000.
"A perfect wolfhound must run up to a wolf, collar him by the neck just under the ear, and, with the two animals rolling over, the hound must never lose his hold, or the wolf would turn round and snap him through the leg. Three of these hounds hold the biggest wolf powerless; so that the men can dismount from their horses and muzzle the wolf to take him alive.
"The biggest Scotch deerhounds have been tried, but found wanting; they will not hold long enough. And to show how tenacious is the grip of the Russian hounds, they are sometimes suffocated by the very effort of holding. Some of them stand 32in at the shoulder, are enormously deep through the girth, and their length and power of jaw are something remarkable. They have a roach back, very long, muscular quarters, and capital legs and feet. In coat they are very profuse, of a soft, silky texture, but somewhat open.
"I took the journey to Russia with eleven couples of foxhounds, as additions for Mr. Kalmoutzky's pack. I had cases made to hold two hounds, so that I had eleven of these big packages, which went as my personal luggage, the weight being a ton and a quarter. It took me exactly seven days to get to my destination, from Dover via Paris, Vienna, and Jassy; and I was met in right regal state, as there was a carriage and four for myself, another for Mr. Kalmoutzky's steward, and five waggons, each drawn by four horses, for the hounds, with seven chasseurs to take charge of them.
"We had nearly forty miles to drive; and the hardy little Russian horses did this at a hard gallop, over plains, with no roads, and there were no changes. We were just under four hours doing this wild journey; and my good friend and host, who did not expect me to arrive so early, had gone out on a wolf-seeking expedition; but on his return, the first thing, after a most hearty welcome, was to inspect the kennel, with which I was, of course, greatly delighted. He would not show me the wolfhounds at this moment, as that inspection was reserved until after dinner, when they were all brought into his study, one by one, and their exploits separately recorded. Noble looking fellows they are; and by their immense size and powerful frames, of much the same formation as our English greyhound, they are admirably adapted to course big game. They look quiet, but the least movement excites them; and in leading them even through the hall, from the study, there was very nearly a battle royal or two. The Russian chasseurs, though, beat any men I have ever seen in handling a hound; and their influence, apparently all by kindness, is extraordinary. I noticed that even the puppies at play made for the same spot in trying to pull each other down - namely, by the side of the neck under the ear; and this mode of attack seems instinctively born in them. The wolf's running is perfectly straight, and if he attacks it is straight ahead; he will only turn if caught in a manner to do so; and a dog laying hold of him over the back or hind quarters would be terribly punished. The clever wolfhound never gets hurt, no matter whether he or the wolf attacks first; and some singular trials of this sort have taken place.
"Recently, a very big wolf, that had been captured with much difficulty, was matched against any two hounds in Russia. The challenge was accepted, and the wolf placed in a huge box in an open space.
The moment the trap was pulled the wolf stood and faced the spectators; on the hounds being slipped on him he attacked them; but they avoided his rush, and pinned him so cleverly that the wolf was muzzled and carried off without the least difficulty; whereupon an enormous price was paid for one of the hounds.
"The Russian style of hunting would not meet all our English views of sport; but there is doubtless a deal of excitement about it Mr. Kalmoutzky's domain is entirely on a plain, with scarcely any woodlands at all. It is all like a "sea of grass," the going being as good as on Newmarket Heath, with here and there the land turned up in cultivation, but looking much like patches in the vast expanse; so also did the reed beds of 300 or 400 acres each, and these are the coverts for the wolves and foxes. These reed beds are mostly eight or nine miles apart, so English foxhunters could see what a gallop could be had here; better than Dartmoor or Exmoor, as the turf is perfect, no rough ground, and the hills little more than undulations.
"Special hunts would have been arranged on my behalf, but, alas! like our own frozen-out sportsmen, I had to be disappointed, as frost and snow interfered. However, one morning I was given an insight into wolf coursing, by one that had been previously captured being let loose on the snow. First a very noted hound was slipped to show how one could perform single-handed. The start given to the wolf was about 200 yards, and in about 600 yards the hound had got up, and in the next instant had taken hold by the neck, and both seemed to turn head over heels in a mass. The next course two hounds were slipped, and these ran up to the wolf one on each side, catching him almost at the same moment; the foe was then powerless, and seemed to be as easily muzzled as a collie dog.
"I remarked to my host that I did not think the hounds seemed to go quite as fast as our greyhounds, and he replied, 'No, they do not. We have tried them, and the greyhound is the faster; but none of your breeds have the hold of our hounds.'
"The plan of a regular hunt was fully described to me. It is decided to draw a reed bed, and very quietly a mounted chasseur with three wolfhounds is stationed on some vantage ground near. Other points are guarded in the same manner, and then the head huntsman rides into the covert with a pack of foxhounds. The oldest wolves will break covert at almost the first cheer given to hounds; but the younger ones want a lot of rattling. However, the keen eyes of the men and hounds soon detect wolves stealing away; the three hounds are then slipped, a gallop begins, and generally, in the course of a mile or less, the wolf is bowled over. The chasseur then dismounts, cleverly gets astride the wolf, and collars him by the ears, the hounds still holding on like grim death. Another chasseur rides up, slips a muzzle on the wolf, which is then hauled on to one of the horses, tightly strapped to the Mexican sort of saddle, and taken off to a waggon in waiting near. Foxes are similarly coursed and killed with foxhounds, the latter being stopped at the edge of the covert."
The following account of a wolf hunt, from the pen of an English officer, will perhaps be found interesting, as it deals with one or two matters not alluded to by Mr. Lowe:
"Some years ago, while I was in the Russian service, the officers of a cuirassier regiment gave 'ours' a chance to see these fine dogs work. We had been trying to hunt wolves with our pack of boarhounds, but with little success. Occasionally we shot one, but, though our dogs could bring the biggest boar to bay, they were useless in tackling wolves. Several of the boldest and fiercest hounds had been crippled by the savage brutes.
"One day a courier rode over with an invitation for all of us to go to Bielowicz two days later. The Czar's wolfhounds were expected to arrive at the lodge at that date, and fine sport was promised. 'Don't trouble to bring any weapons,' the letter ran, 'for these are the dogs we have told you so much about, and they are to do all the work.
"Of course we all clamoured to be allowed to go, and gained our point with our good-natured colonel. As there were fifteen of us then on duty, it was arranged that three parties of five should each take three days off, for it took two days to go there and back. My party got off first, and by riding all day we reached the lodge before night. The cuirassiers gave us the best of welcomes and a fine dinner, to which the chasseur en chef was also invited. The gentleman had for twenty years had charge of the Czar's wolfhounds.
"After dinner he ordered his men to bring in some of the best dogs for our inspection. An attendant dragged them in one at a time, not without some trouble; but as soon as they saw the chasseur they became as quiet as lambs, and did anything he ordered. He was very proud of them, and gave us interesting details of their prowess. One huge fellow, called Dimitri, had the repute of being able to catch and hold the largest wolf single-handed, and the chasseur promised to show him off to us the next day.
"As the coverts to be drawn were seven miles away, we took an early start. Twelve chasseurs, each leading a fine wolfhound, rode in advance; four attendants, with a pack of common hounds, followed. Next came a big iron cage drawn by four horses, in which the captured wolves were to be put; for, while small and inferior wolves are killed, all the largest are kept for the young wolfhounds to practise upon.
"As soon as the common hounds were sent into the underbush, hares and foxes came rushing out, but the boars and wolves were harder to start. The chasseurs had taken up good positions along the edge of the forest, where a stretch of open plain offered a splendid chance to see the fun if any wolves were driven out. I kept with the man who had charge of Dimitri.
"With ears erect and nose in the air, this fine dog seemed to take as much interest in the sport as any of us. Though the barking and baying hounds in the coverts came nearer every second, he never moved a muscle nor made a sound. Suddenly a big, black wolf rushed out of the scrub, gave one glance around, then started off for the next covert a mile away.
"All the dogs tugged at their leashes; but not till the wolf had a clear start of two hundred yards did the head chasseur's bugle ring out. It was Dimitri's call; and as he was loosed, he gave one fierce howl and then bounded silently away.
"With such tremendous energy did he start that his feet hardly seemed to touch the ground. Every leap seemed longer than the last; and as he grew smaller in the distance, he looked like a big rubber ball bouncing over the plain. In less than a minute he had overtaken the wolf and seized him by the neck under the right ear. A cloud of dust flew up as dog and wolf rolled over and over; but when it cleared away, we saw that Dimitri had brought the beast to a standstill. His chasseur had followed him as quickly as his horse would run. On coming up the man jumped down, and, getting astride of the wolf, fastened a strong muzzle over its jaws, secured a chain round round its neck and dragged the now skulking animal back to where the cage stood.
"In the meantime other wolves had been started, and several of the dogs were hard at work. When two were loosed in pursuit of one wolf, they ran alongside of him, one on each side, until a favourable opportunity offered, when, with a sudden snap, one would seize the creature. As the wolf turned to try to free himself, the other would get a grip that prevented him from moving at all.
"So surely and neatly did these dogs do their work that not one was bitten, although no animals can do quicker or more damaging work with their jaws than wolves.
"Seven wolves were driven out of that covert, but only two were thought to be worth keeping. They were put in the cage, and we moved on to the next likely spot. In the course of the day the dogs caught sixteen wolves, not one got away when fairly out of cover, and we returned to the lodge with five fine live wolves.
"While discussing the ways of wolves that evening after dinner, one of us ventured to express a doubt whether even Dimitri could successfully face a wolf at bay. The speaker was satisfied that the dog could seize and hold a running wolf, but did not believe he could avoid the savage attack such an animal makes when cornered. Before we left next morning he was convinced of his error. The largest captured wolf was turned loose in an inclosed yard, and Dimitri was set on him. Seeing himself trapped, the wolf did not wait for the dog to attack, but rushed straight at him.
"The two animals met and closed, rolling over and over; but when the struggles ceased, Dimitri had the wolf securely by the neck, and had not received a scratch. Our friend, the chasseur en chef, offered to bring out other hounds that could do this feat as well as Dimitri; but we were convinced.
As our time was up, we departed, regretting that we could not take a few of the Czar's wolfhounds away with us."
Following the publication of Mr. Lowe's article some correspondence ensued, and Colonel Wellesley forwarded an interesting communication he had received from Prince Obolensky on the subject. His Royal Highness, who has a famous strain of Borzoi of his own, and may be taken as a leading authority on the breed, says :
"The dogs that have been catalogued at various shows in England for the last three years are pure Borzoi, and have come originally from the best kennels in Russia. For instance, Krilutt, Pagooba, Sobol, Zloeem, and others were not ordinary working hounds, but dogs that were admired in their native country, both on the show bench and in the field. Pagooba, for example, who is of exceptional size for a bitch, has several times pinned wolves single-handed.
"The English traveller mentions the size - viz., 32m. - of the dogs he saw as tremendous. There are exceptional cases where the Borzoi has stood very near that height. At the dog show in Moscow this year a dog called Pilai measured 31½ in., or 80 centimetres; but the average height is from 28m. to 29½ in. It often proves to be the case, however, that, for working purposes, the smaller dog shows itself to excel in speed, pluck, and tenacity.
"For wolf hunting I personally prefer the English greyhound, acclimatised here (i.e. born in Russia from English parents); but I am also a great admirer of the Russian rough-coated Borzoi. I may claim to know something about the latter, because for many years I have bred and hunted them, and my dogs are the lineal descendants of those bred by my grandfather, General Bibikoff, who was himself renowned for his sporting proclivities, and for the excellence of his breed of dogs. So valued is that strain now, that it can be found in most of the best kennels in Russia."
In addition to sport with Borzois obtained in the above manner, occasional meetings are held where hares are coursed; and "bagged," or rather "caged," wolves treated in a similar manner. Judging, however, from what I have been told of such gatherings, they are by no means desirable or of a high class, so need not be further alluded to here.
It is but natural that with the popularisation of a new variety of dogs, some discussion should take place thereon. In the present instance, an attempt was made upon the name of the hound, but as the word Borzoi had obtained general acceptance, was easy to pronounce, and not too long to puzzle even a child, the "raid" failed. It is now adopted by the Kennel Club, by the chief Russian authorities, and no doubt that hound once known as the Russian wolfhound will remain the Borzoi to the end of his days. On this matter, Prince Obolensky says: "I am glad to see English sporting papers adopting the Russian name for this breed, for the word itself (Borzoi mas., Borzaia fem.) means 'swift and hot-tempered;' and though poets sometimes apply the expression to a high-spirited steed, it is, with this exception, always applied to greyhounds only; for this reason the English greyhound is called, in Russia, 'Angliskaia Borzaia,' or English Borzoi."
Some little time before the above was published, Lieutenant G. Tamooski, writing from Merv, proposed the term "Psovi," which means literally "thick coated," as a fit name for the dog as it is known in this country, because he says "Borzoi" means any coursing hound whatever.
The Duchess of Newcastle, Colonel and the Hon. Mrs. Wellesley, the Duke and Duchess of Wellington, Mrs Morrison, of near Salisbury; Lady Innes Kerr, Mr. A. H. Blees, Mrs. Coop, Mrs. W. B. Stamp, Mrs. E. H. Barthropp. Mrs. M. E. Musgrave, Mrs. G. W. Fitzwilliam, Miss A. M. Head, Mrs. Young, Miss M. Thompson, and many others, have given particular attention to the Borzoi, and they, with Mr. K. Muir, an English resident in Moscow, who brought over with him, during a visit to this country, a couple of excellent hounds, own, or have owned, animals perhaps as good as can be found in any Russian kennel. Their best specimens are much stronger, and more powerful than most of those seen at our earlier shows. Mrs. Wellesley's Krilutt was measured to be 30m. at the shoulders, and pretty nearly 100lb. in weight, and Mr. Muir's Korotai was half an inch taller, and said to be 110lb. in weight. Both were Russian born, and proved their ability to win prizes at St. Petersburg and Moscow, as well as in our own country. Like the rest of their race, they are "thick coated dogs" - the smoother ones are not liked in this country - not so hard in their hair as the English deerhound, but the jacket is closer, and, if not so straight, is perhaps the more weather-resisting of the two. As the Russians themselves say that the two kinds of coat, thick and comparatively smooth, appear in puppies of the same litter, there is no other conclusion to arrive at, that they are one and the same variety. At any rate, they are allowed to be so in this the land of their adoption.
Considerable interest was taken in the extraordinary collection of this hound that appeared at the Agricultural Hall, Islington, in February, 1892.
Here, many classes had been provided, the result being an entry of about fifty. These included a splendid team from the "Imperial Kennels," most of which belonged to the Grand Duke Nicholas. However, three were actually the property of the Czar, including a beautiful bitch called Lasca, and a couple of dogs, Oudar and Blitsay. Oudar was a particularly fine hound, and though in bad condition, consequent on his long journey from St. Petersburg, he stood well with the best of our previously imported dogs, and in the end gained second honours in perhaps as good an open class as was ever seen anywhere. He stood 30½in. at the shoulders, and scaled about 1051b.
Most of these Russian dogs were sold, some of them for high prices, Oudar realising £200, the bitch already named as much, and the then Lord Mayor of London was presented with a handsome specimen. Their "caretaker" had instructions to sell the lot, but none for less than £20 apiece. The strains in this country have been improved by these importations, and any fears as to degeneracy from inter-breeding may now be set at rest. Another big dog of the race was Colonel Wellesley's Damon, 30¾in. at the shoulders, and about 110lb. in weight, but when we saw him he did not quite equal in symmetry and general excellence such dogs as Krilutt, Oudar, Korotai, and may be of another dog, imported by Mr. Summerson, of Darlington, called Koat, afterward H'Vat.
To dwell a little more upon the very best specimens seen in England - Krilutt and Korotai, with Oudar and Ooslad, have been and still are equal to anything I have seen. The latter, a fawn hound, is rather smaller than the others, but on one occasion, at least, he beat Korotai, a decision with which I did not agree; for if Ooslad was a little finer in the head, his opponent beat him in coat, colour, power, size, and in all other particulars. Korotai was a white dog with slight blue markings. It is said that when in Russia he had run down and overpowered a wolf. His strain was of the highest and most valued pedigree, and I certainly liked him the best of any of his race I had seen until Oudar came on to the scene. However, at the show already alluded to, the latter was not in good condition, and suffered defeat; Korotai winning chief honours in an extraordinary fine lot of dogs. Krilutt had been in the challenge class; Oudar was first in a division for novices, and at the present time he is well cared for in the kennels of The Duchess of Newcastle at Clumber, and, although now over eight years old, is able to take more than his part against the best on the show bench. At the present time there are over fifty Borzois at Clumber, of which Velasquez and Velsk, by Korotai - Vikhra, are perhaps the best couple ever bred in this country. Tsaritsa, bred by Count Stroganoff, also deserves special mention, a bitch by many good judges considered the best of her sex ever exhibited.
(Mr. O. H. Blees's), a black and tan in colour, was also a very nice hound, excepting so far as the colour goes, which is not good. The owner of the last named Borzoi, who is a Russian, has repeatedly been an exhibitor in this country, and at the Kennel Club's show, in 1891, he took first, second, and third prizes in dogs, but was not so successful in bitches, where Mr. F. Lowe won, with a powerful and excellent specimen he had brought with him from Russia, and called Roussalka. She would, no doubt, have been useful here, but, unfortunately, died soon after the show. Colonel Wellesley's bitch, Pagooba, and Mr. R. B. Summerson's dog Koat, afterwards H'Vat, were hounds of high class.
Of these many excellent specimens, Colonel Wellesley must have the honour of being first in the field with Krilutt, who made an early appearance - and a most successful one it was - at the Kennel Club show, when held at the Alexandra Palace in 1889 - the year of the bloodhound trials. Krilutt had come with a great reputation as the winner of a silver medal at Moscow, and quite bore out all the good words that had been said of him. Exquisite in coat and colour - the latter white with light markings of pale fawn - he stood taller than any other dog in his class, and up to this period and for some time after was certainly the best Borzoi I had seen. Since, two or three have appeared that are, I believe, quite his equals. Whether it is worth while mentioning a dog named Zloeem, which, a year later, had been purchased in Russia by an American gentleman, Mr. Paul Hacke, is an open question. However, it was said that Zloeem could lower the colours of Krilutt and all other opponents, and at Brighton and the Crystal Palace was produced for the purpose of doing so. How completely he failed is now a matter of history - a second-rate dog only when at his very best. Since the above dogs flourished many good specimens have appeared, notably H.R.H. the Princess of Wales's Alex, who has been particularly successful on the bench; Mrs. Coop's Windle Courtier, the Duchess of Newcastle's Velasquez, Vikra, and Milkha; Mrs. Kate Sutton's Vera III., Mrs. Barthropp's Leiba, Mrs. Musgrave's Opromiot, Mrs. Stamp's Najada, and some others, the names of which do not occur to me.
It might be well to mention that considerable risk is run by the loss of these dogs immediately after their arrival in this country. To my personal knowledge, three or four deaths have so taken place. No doubt the changes of food, in their manner of living, and in other surroundings, bring on a complication of disorders not unlike ordinary distemper. That handsome bitch, Rous-salka, brought over by Mr. F. Lowe, died soon after it left his kennels - it cost its new owner £100; and Mr Muir's Korotai had a narrow escape, lying at death's door for several days. Being a dog of strong, hardy constitution, and well nursed, he contrived to pull through.
The usual colours of the Borzoi are white with markings of fawn in varying shades, of blue or slate, sometimes of black and tan. The latter is not considered good, nor are the whole colours which are occasionally seen - fawn and black and tan. Some of the white dogs are occasionally patched with pale brindle, which, however, is not so well defined in its bars or shades as that colour is found on our greyhounds and bull dogs. Many persons object to the brindle or "tiger-coloured" marks, and Colonel Tchebeshoff, one of the great authorities on the breed, disqualifies black, and black and tan, and white with black spots, as indicating descent from English or Oriental greyhounds. Still, against this opinion there is a famous picture, in the possession of the Czar, of four Borzois chasing a wolf. At least one of these animals has the appearance of being black and tan, with an almost white face, very broad white collar and chest, white stern and hind quarters.
The size of the Borzoi and his coat will have been surmised from what has already been written. His general appearance will be seen from the illustration. As a companion he is highly spoken of, but, like all other dogs, he must be brought up for the purpose for which he is intended. In most of the Russian kennels he is kept solely for hunting a savage animal (by a few only to be used for fox and hare), and to do so successfully must be savage himself. Those which have been reared in this manner, and not had the benefit of civilising home influences, are not to be trusted any more than would one of our own foxhounds. But, as I have said, properly brought up and educated, he will be found as companionable as the best - no fonder of fighting than the deerhound, faithful as the collie, and as handsome and picturesque as either. His naturalisation with us is accomplished, and I can see no reason whatever why he is any more likely to be eliminated from "Modern Dogs" than the St. Bernard. He will be used here as a purely fancy variety; there are no wolves for him to kill, hares and rabbits are out of his line, and deer must be left for the big foxhound and the Highland deerhound.
"The general appearance of the Borzoi is noble and elegant. This is shown in the shape of the head, the silkiness and brilliancy of the hair, and even in the gait, which should be full of energy and grace. The different points of the dog, taken separately, have no value in the general appearance; the dog may have defects in head properties, in the body, in the legs, the coat may be too short, but nevertheless its air of nobility and elegance, its blue-blood aspect, will indicate purity of breeding. Only pure blood and careful breeding for several generations will impart this look, which excites the admiration of connoisseurs of Borzois and all other lovers of dogs.
"It is a pity that nowadays many of our sportsmen surrender general appearance for perfection in other points, so that the Borzoi of high and noble quality is becoming rare.
"The pure race of the Borzoi is principally characterised by the shape of the head, the ear, and by the tail. Many breeders concentrate their attention upon the head, and disdain the tail.
"We find, on the contrary, that the tail is one of the most characteristic points of race, because its thinness, its elasticity, and its shape, which resembles a reaping hook (a), among all the Russian breeds (we consider the Crimean and Caucasian varieties as Russian) belong exclusively to the Borzoi (b).
"Muzzle slightly arched and forehead prominent are typical of the Borzoi, but when the arch is too pronounced or the forehead too prominent, they are faults.
"The skull must be long, oval to the sides, and have a small slip to the back part of the head, finishing by a prominency sharp enough and well pronounced. Every other form is not typical.
"The muzzle is long, thin, and clean, the nostrils rather large and slightly projecting over the lower jaw. The nose must be black (a).
(a) A comparison very popular among Eussian hunters.
(b) The writer forgets the greyhounds of Poland, whose tails are exactly of the same shape as the Borzoi, only covered with very short hair.
"The eye must be full, and of oblong shape (an oblique eye is a defect, and a round one is not typical); it must be of a dark colour in a dark lining (b). Its expression is austere, but certainly not when indoors or when the dog is caressed, but at liberty or while hunting.
"The ear is small, thin (its thinness is a proof of high blood), having the form of a wedge. It must be very mobile, and is sometimes carried erect like a horse's ear (c).
"This last quality is one of the best proofs of high birth. The hair that covers the ear must be very short, soft as satin, and must not grow in bunches. The dog should carry its neck like an English greyhound, but the Borzoi's neck is shorter, and is not so straight. The shoulders should be flat and well seen; the elbows must not be turned outwards, but should be clear of the sides of the dog.
"The arch of the back of a dog must be quite regular and make no impression of a hump. The arch seems higher than it really is, because the hind part of the dog is higher than the fore part. The bitch has the back less arched, but even a high arch must not be considered as a great defect.
(a) A nose not sufficiently black, even when it has the colour of flesh, must not be considered as a proof of bad race. It is simply a symptom of poorness of blood.
(b) A light eye and the absence of a dark lining represent the same defect as a light nose.
(c) A favourite comparison with Russian amateurs.
"The ribs of the Borzoi must descend as low as the elbow They can be either flat or round, their form depending upon the breadth of the back; but they must never be too round (a). The ribs must gradually get smaller to the stomach. The stomach is drawn in and quite hidden behind' the groin. The groin of a dog must be small; the less the better. A bitch must have it longer.
"The hind quarters are long and broad. The dog is more sloping than the bitch. A short and drooping loin is a great defect, because it forces the hind legs to be quite straight (b).
"The fore legs are quite straight. The bone must be flat from the side, and not round. The foot resembles that of a hare (c), with toes of medium length. On each toe grows a bunch of hair, long and thin (a). The under part of the paw is of an oblong form.
(a) Not so round as the sides of an English greyhound.
(b) Many huntsmen begin to prefer a sloping loin. The reason is that this form was common to the majority of coursing winners in Russia.
(V) Comparison generally used by Russian amateurs. We consider a cat foot a fault for Borzois.
"The hind legs are parallel one to another, slightly set back (not too much).
"The thighs are flat, with very broad bones. The muscles are flat, long, and firm.
"The tail is thin, but strong in its beginning, growing gradually thinner and thinner to the end; it must be elastic, have the form of a sickle, and be of medium length. Its upper part is covered with curly hair, but the hair on the lower part is long and slightly undulated.
"The hair of the dog is curly on the neck, slightly wavy on the back of the dog - as far as the loins - and again more wavy on the thighs, much shorter on the sides, but falls long and satin-like from the chest.
"Personally, we admit as typical colour of the hair only white, grey, yellow, and white spotted with grey and yellow (b)."
In Russia, although judging dogs by points is in vogue, the procedure connected therewith is arranged on different lines to that followed in this country.
(a) Not for dogs in field condition.
(b) All our amateurs were quite astonished when we heard that a black dog (1 think its name was Argos) was proclaimed champion in England; This colour is one of the first proofs of a great deal of Crimean or Caucasian blood.
For instance, forty-five is taken as the complement indicating perfection, and each point of the dog is given five, no particular one having a greater number allowed than another. However, to modify this the various points are placed in order of precedence, according to the Russian standard, they being as follows: Hind legs, fore legs, ribs, back, general symmetry, muzzle, eyes, ears, tail.
In 1892 a Borzoi club was established in Great Britain, and the following is their description of the hound:
Long and lean. The skull flat and narrow; stop not perceptible, and muzzle long and tapering. The head from the forehead to the tip of the nose should be so fine that the shape and direction of the bones and principal veins can be seen clearly; and in profile should appear rather Roman nosed. Bitches should be even narrower in head than dogs. Eyes dark, expressive, almond shaped, and not too far apart. Ears, like those of a greyhound: small, thin, and placed well back on the head, with the tips, when thrown back, almost touching behind the occiput.
The head should be carried somewhat low, with the neck continuing the line of the back.
Clean, and sloping well back.
Deep, and somewhat narrow.
Rather bony, and free from any cavity in the spinal column, the arch in the back being more marked in the dog than in the bitch.
Broad and very powerful, with plenty of muscular development.
-Long and well developed, with good second thigh.
Slightly sprung at the angle of the ribs; deep, reaching to the elbow, and even lower.
Lean and straight. Seen from the front they should be narrow, and from the side broad at the shoulders and narrowing gradually down to the foot, the bone appearing flat and not round as in the foxhound.
The least thing under the body when standing still, not straight and the stifle slightly bent.
Well distributed, and highly developed.
Like those of a deerhound, rather long; the toes close together and well arched.
Long, silky (not woolly), either flat, wavy, or rather curly. On the head, ears, and front legs it should be short and smooth; on the neck, the frill should be profuse and rather curly; on the chest and rest of body, the tail, and hind quarters, it should be long. The tail should be well feathered.
Long, well feathered, and not gaily carried.
At shoulder of dog, from 28 inches upwards; of bitches, from 26 inches upwards.
Head, short or thick; too much stop; parti-coloured nose; eyes too wide apart; heavy ears, heavy shoulders; wide chest; "barrel" ribbed; dew claws; elbows turned out, wide behind.
The colour ought to be white, with blue, grey, or fawn markings of different shades, the latter sometimes deep orange coloured, approaching red. Pale brindled marks on the white ground are often found, and are not objectionable, and fawn dogs with or without black muzzles are not unusual. Whole colours are unsatisfactory. The lighter marked animals are the handsomest and the most admired in this country, though, as stated earlier on, one or two heavily coloured dogs of great merit have been shown here.
One Russian admirer of the breed gives some of the characteristics of the Borzoi as follows: "The structure of the body of a pure bred Russian Borzoi astonishes everybody by its thinness, elasticity, and form of the bones. The muscles are not hard and cushion-formed, but on touching, nearly elastic and long-stretched, which enable these dogs to reach any other animal at a short distance with a few leaps. They have a soft, silky, and glossy coat, the hair never hanging down in short hard locks. The character of the dog is mostly morose, but as a pet his intelligence mostly increases, but the most astonishing thing is his sharp-sightedness and rage against other animals when hunting."
According to our English notion of awarding points I should make those of the Borzoi as follows:
Head and muzzle ......
Ears and eyes..................
Neck and chest.........
Back and loins.........
Thighs and hocks......
Legs and feet.........
Grand Total, 100.
The height for a dog should be from 27 inches to 31 inches at the shoulder; a bitch about two inches smaller. Weight, a dog, from 751b. to 1051b.; a bitch, from 60lb. to 80lb.
I do not know that measurements are, as a rule, any great guide in determining excellence, still the following figures relating to the well-known Krilutt, and published in the Dog Owner's Annual for 1892, will give some idea as to what a perfect Borzoi ought to be when analysed statistically in inches: "Length of head, 11½ inches; from occiput to between shoulders, 11½; between shoulders to between hips, 23; between hips to set on of tail, 6¼; length of tail, 21 inches; total length, 73¼ inches. Height at shoulders, 30¼ inches; girth of chest, 33; of narrowest part of "tuck-up," 22; girth above stifle bend, 13; round stifle, 11½; round hock joint, 6½; below that joint, 4½; round elbow joint, 8¼; above that point, 8¾; girth, midway between elbow and pastern, 6½; round neck, 17; girth of head round occiput, 16½; girth between occiput and eyes, 16½; girth round the eyes, 13¾; and girth of the muzzle between eyes and nose, 9 inches. Weight about 981b.
As to the above, Captain Graham tells me he measured Krilutt carefully on more than one occasion, but could not make him more than 29¾ inches at the shoulders, and I have made his full height bare 30 inches.
It may be said that I have not entered with sufficient fulness into the history of the Borzoi, as he is known in Russia, and given the names of the various strains some writers claim there are in his native country. We are, however, contented with the animal as we have him here, and to tell his admirers that there is a strain of the hound, known as the Tchistopsovoy Borzoi, another as the Psovoy Borzoi, that the Courland Borzoi is extinct, and other such matter, would be a little too confusing.
And really so much has appeared about this dog since his popularisation in this country that is of doubtful truth, care ought to be taken in what is reproduced.
One recent writer tells us that, even so far back as 1800, certain Borzoi of the Courland strain were sold for from 7,000 to 10,000 roubles apiece, which, in our money, cannot be computed at less than from 1000 l. to 1500 l. a head! No wonder that so valuable a hound has become extinct (on the principle that the best always die), and it is interesting to learn that, at a time when we in England were giving 50/. each or little more for our very best hounds, more than twenty times that sum was being paid in Russia for similar quadrupeds.
Still the Borzoi always did flourish in the dominions of the Czar, and the Imperial kennels at St. Petersburg usually contain from fifty to sixty full grown Borzois and almost as many puppies. There are fourteen men kept to look after and to train them to their proper work, and the nature of this I have already stated. Whatever may be urged to the contrary, it must further be said that, in pace and general excellence for hare coursing purposes, this Russian hound is far behind our own good greyhound; but, as already stated, it is not our admiration for him as a sporting dog which has made him fashionable. His shape and elegance have made his fortune here, nor, so far as the present outlook is concerned, is it likely to wane in the near future. Perhaps before this volume is in the hands of the public a special exhibition of Borzoi will have taken place, for arrangements for holding one at South-port, Lancashire, are in progress, and it will be under the auspices of the Borzoi Club. Her Grace the Duchess of Newcastle has consented to judge, and, no doubt, the novelty of a canine exhibition of the kind will ensure its success, especially as it will be the first occasion upon which a lady of such social distinction and noble family has officiated in the judging ring.
H.W. Huntington, Marlborough Kennels, 1898; published in "Outing: Sport, Adventure, Travel, Fiction"
Far-off Russia, where winters are so severe that but for a few months in the entire year are the fields free from snow, is the home of a breed of dogs known there as the Borzoi, or Psovie. The dogs are grand in aspect, with long, flowing coats of silken texture that defy the terrible cold, and they are built on lines that speak volumes for the antiquity of their origin. In this country they are known as Russian wolfhounds.
The first speciman of the breed ever exhibited here was the property of Mrs. Edw. Kelly, who, seeing it in Paris late in the eighties, recognized its great beauty and showed it at the Westminster Kennel Club Show, where it created a decided sensation. Since that time some of our enthusiasts have imported the best specimens to be had in continental Europe, and today our exhibits at the various shows are well worth seeing.
England is the country that has perhaps done most for the breed. Some fifteen years ago the Brito secured the best that Russia had and bred them with the exceeding judgement he displays in such matters. He today possesses beyond question some of the grandest living. Within the past few years, however, Germany has made most wonderful strides in breeding these dogs, and together with the Britons has brought them very rapidly to the fore. It seems to be a breed particularly adapted to the Germans and their climate, which may perhaps in some degree account for the success they are reaping in the breeding. In fact, so much has the breed degenerated in Russia for want of intelligent mating, that one of our greatest German fanciers and judges of the breed claims that the purchasers of good specimens must hereafter look to Germany and Great Britain for what they want, and never think of seeking anything in Russia. The proof of the lack of knowing the essential and correct points of the breed on the part of the Russians was never more forcibly shown than some three years ago, when the Czar of Russia sent over to one of the great English shows a choice draught from his kennels. With the exception of one exhibit these dogs were not in any particular equal to the English-bred ones.
The Czar presented to the Prince of Wales Molodetz and Owdalzka, which were considered the choice of his kennels, but when they reached England they were found to be not nearly so good as some other dogs not born in the purple, as it were.
Lady Emily Peel and the Rev. J. Cumings Macdonna were the first of English enthusiasts to show these dogs in London, and there in the streets it was a common sight to see her ladyship with her two white dogs that created universal admiration wherever they appeared.
Later on the Duchess of Newcastle, Mrs. Col. Wellesley, Messrs. Muir, Blees, Dobbleman, Musgrave, Labouchere, and Prince Demidoff became sponsors for this magnificent breed, and under their fostering care it is hardly to be wondered that the improvement has been great.
The earliest of the finest specimens belonged to Colonel Wellesley, and with his Krilutt in the stud he probably did more for the advancement of the breed than any one else. Oudar and Korotai also have been very instrumental in producing good stock, so naught remains now but judicious breeding to bring the Borzoi to a state bordering on absolute perfection according to the standard for this breed.
Bytschock, owned by Mr. Vallmer, undoubtedly stands today at the head of all the Borzois of continental Europe, and, while standing full thirty-two inches at the shoulder, is most symmetrically made. Gaimane, however, is making a great bid for first honors, and when they meet excitement runs high. Five thousand marks have been offered for the former by Mr. Kraus, one of our American enthusiasts, but the offer was refused. Tartar, another great dog owned in Germany, has gone the way of all dog flesh. He during his lifetime was considered by many to be the equal of England’s champions.
There seems to be a fascination about the dog that few can resist, and where once it has gained a warm corner in the heart no other breed can take its place.
The Duchess of Newcastle, who recently entered the judging ring, donning the ermine for the first time and adjudicating upon the merits of the exhibits with great success, is now the most enthusiastic admirer of the Borzoi in England, while Mr. Kalmountzky holds the same position in Russia, he having recently given 25,000 rubles for a young dog. He expended in one year over 42,000 rubles in endeavoring to make his collection the finest in the world.
In the steppes of Russia, where wolves are so numerous, as well as throughout the entire realm, the Borzoi is used for hunting these beasts, which, in severe winters, will encroach upon towns, and even cities, attacking men and children alike, while sheep and cattle seem to be their especial prey.
When driven by hunger, the wolves stop at nothing, attacking and killing horses and cows. In addition to being large and heavy, the wolves are exceedingly cunning, and try not only the patience but the ingenuity of the hunter to catch them. It will, therefore, be seen that only a large and powerful dog endowed with great speed and courage is able to cope with them, and nature seems to have well provided the Borzoi for this purpose.
Nearly all dogs used in hunting wild animals not only
attack but endeavor to kill their quarry, but with the Borzoi it is entirely different. At an early age they are put into training with old and experienced dogs, so they soon learn how to properly attack their adversary.
The forests are full of wolves, so when a hunt is instituted the hunters assemble at stated places, each with a pack of hounds varying in number from eight to twenty. Beaters are sent deep into the forest hours before the hunt begins to drive the wolves out into the open. After these beasts are well in view, four Borzois generally are let loose as a team from slips, the same as are used in England in greyhound coursing, and then begins the race for life, for when once overtaken by the dogs the wolves know that death is soon to follow. The wolf and the dog being both of the same genus, one knows all the tricks of the other; hence, it is like the traditional Greek meeting Greek.
As soon as the wolf is sighted and the dogs slipped, the hunters, generally on horseback, follow as close as possible, and watch for the opportune moment in which to attack and kill their prey. When one of the dogs gets nearly side by side with the wolf he makes one bold spurt, and with the foreshoulder strikes the wolf so that he is knocked over. The other dogs coming up, each strikes him in the same manner as he tries to rise, or they pin him to the earth, and so engage him till the hunter arrives, who, with spear or knife, kills him.
In general appearance the Borzoi resembles a large English greyhound, but with long silky coat, attentuated head, and rather flat-sided body. The standard adopted calls for a very long and lean head throughout, with a flat, narrow skull, long snout, and hardly any perceptible stop. Though it is of this delicate outline, it should be covered with strong muscles, giving the appearance of being very powerful, for the duties it has to perform require that it should be without the faintest trace of weakness.
The nose is black, and, though rarely found, should be what is known as the Roman nose, and is, perhaps, more fully developed in Champion Argoss than in any other dog in America. The eyes are one of the most beautiful features of the dog, being dark, expressive and oblong. In our best specimens they are very gentle, soft and dreamy when in repose, but, when excited, are full of fire and exceeding determination. The ears are very small, thin of leather, set high on the head, with the tips almost touching each other when thrown back, and, when covered, as they should be, with soft, fine hair, they add greatly to the elegant appearance of the head.
There are two distinctive types of heads, although the general outline of form is the same. As it is almost impossible to describe the characteristics of both, the reader is referred to the reproduction of the heads of Argoss and Ardagan, each representing the ideal of its own type. At the English shows the fancy turns toward the type of the latter, while the Russians prefer the former, as representing more what is desired in a dog whose chief object is to hunt the wolf. This, however, is largely a matter of fancy. The head is on the general outline of the greyhound, only it is very much longer and more attentuated, some good specimens measuring eleven inches from tip of nose to occiput, and, in point of narrowness, far exceeding that of the greyhound. Taken all in all, it is one of the most ideal of heads, and perhaps is best shown in that of Champion Argoss, the celebrated dog the writer imported some years ago, and with which he won fifty-eight first and special prizes.
While the standard calls for a neck “not too short,” it is far better to err on the side of being too long than being too short, especially as all good specimens should be provided with what is called a profuse ruff, and which gives the head a most elegant, as well as quaint, appearance. This characteristic feature of the breed is best shown in the vignette of Mr. Kraus’s Ardagan.
In the males the back is somewhat arched, while in females it should be level and broad. The loins are broad and drooping, the ribs deep, reaching about to the elbows, but not so well sprung as in the greyhound.
Why the standard should call for ribs of less spring than the greyhound’s is inexplicable. Both are dogs of the chase, and well-spring ribs are the sine qua non of a fast running dog. The standard adopted by our fanciers for the breeding of every member of the hound family, down to the diminutive Italian greyhound, calls for well-sprung ribs, as such insure greater room for the action of the lungs and heart.
The forelegs are very straight and muscular, the hindlegs being thrown somewhat under the body, which gives the dog at times a rather stilty appearance. While the clause seems to have been made to fit certain dogs, it certainly is better to have an easy-moving dog for the chase than one which is, or at least appears to be, tucked up. Some of our best and most intelligent fanciers are now trying to breed out this peculiarity of the position of the hindlegs, and it seems a rational effort. It certainly will tend to improve the outline of the dog, and many claim it will add greatly to its speed.
The coat varies with the particular breed, as there are two recognized breeds of this dog, viz., Chesto-psovie and Gustopsovie. One is recognized as of the Circassian type,better for deep snow, as the snow then will not adhere to the dog, and so wet and chill him. The other is the long, silky, flowing coat, of wonderful texture, and on the body reaching sometimes to a length of five inches, while on the tail it should be of great length, the writer having had one female whose hair measured there fourteen inches. The more profuse and silky the coat the better, and it should always be a factor when purchasing.
Quality as well as quantity should be taken into consideration. A woolly coat is as objectionable in a Russian wolfhound as in a setter, and should so be penalized. Curly coats are much to be avoided, though some rare-made specimens have them. Those of some of our best specimens are a trifle wavy, which by many is considered far preferable to the flat-lying coat. The tail is one of the most beautiful features of the dog. It is very long, sickle-shaped, set on low, and gracefully carried. It should be heavily covered with long silky hair – the longer the better – parted in the center and falling gracefully over the sides.
The height of good specimens in males ranges from twenty-eight to thirty-three inches, and in females from twenty-six to thirty inches, and in every case, where all things are equal, preference should be given to the larger specimens, as they are accordingly more beautiful and useful. It is quite easy to breed good small specimens, for in them the faults are not so glaring, but it is very difficult to raise fine large ones, as in them any defects are greatly accentuated and cannot be overlooked. But in no case should height or size be made supreme, as, unless there is proportionate power and bone, height and size are worse than useless, as we then have a flat-sided shelly animal that is of no earthly good.
The legs and feet of the Borzoi are somewhat different from the English greyhound’s. The legs of the former are what the Russians call “lean”, or what we would term flat in bone, while in the latter they are more inclined to be round. In fact, it seems in many Borzois imported from Russia that the breeders had tried to discover how wholly flat a dog they could possibly produce. The feet are very long, but the toes are close together, between which there is a profusion of soft hair. As the work has to be done largely over snow, feet formed as called for by the standard will do well enough, but where frozen earth is to be traversed the dog would soon grow footsore, and a broken toe or two would not be uncommon; in fact, four of the best wolfhounds we now have here have broken toes. Shorter toes, after the style of the English greyhound’s, are decidedly preferable, as being far more serviceable.
His wonderfully long attentuated head, his style, character, love for his master and intelligence; his form, the most graceful of any of the canine race; his coat, profuse and silk-like in texture, all combine to stamp the Borzoi the aristocrat of the entire canine race, and as a companion, either on foot or horseback, none better can be found the world over.
The question of color has been a vexed one both here and in England, and it was only until recently that it was publicly admitted that the writer’s claim, made years ago, was correct, viz., that the Borzoi can be any color. Champion Argoss, who, beyond all doubt, was the greatest all-round Borzoi ever shown in America, was black, white and tan, with a preponderance of black; and when in Russia he won the great silver medal at Moscow in 1891, the award being made in Russia and under a native judge proved his right of color. Still, classified as a recognized color, there is no question but that the most beautiful color is either pure white, white and orange, white and lemon, or white and silver-gray. Pure white with mahogany patches is also extremely beautiful. There is now a standing offer of £200 for a solid pure silver dog, and yet no takers are to be found, as this color is very rare indeed.
Much harm has been done the Borzoi in this country by the statements made by prejudiced and unreliable writers that he was dangerous, treacherous and wholly unreliable. These statements were a gross libel. There are vicious specimens in every breed of dogs, but among the hunters there is perhaps none more docile, more lovable, more tractable than the Russian wolfhound or Borzoi. None loves the companionship of the human race more than he, and when kindly treated he is all the most exacting dog fancier could desire either as a companion or a hunter.
At the Brooklyn show several years ago the impression of his ferocity had gained such strength by malicious writings that one exhibitor, to prove the falsity of the statements, put his own little child into the stalls of every Borzoi benched there. Child-like, he pulled their ears, thrust his chubby fists into their mouths, walked on their feet, pulled their tails to his heart’s content, finally closing the scene by selecting one beautiful white bitch as his especial favorite, and falling asleep with his head across her loins. The bitch, from time to time, would raise her head, gently lick the face of the sweet young sleeper, then sleep herself. This one public proof of the lovable character of the dog did more toward disproving the falsity of the reports than pages of denials.
Of all spots in which to hold a dog show, the beautiful grounds of the Ranelagh Club are quite the most perfect. Opinions are unanimous on this point. The committee were fortunate in having these grounds lent to them for the occasion, through the influence of Her Grace the Duchess of Newcastle, who is president of the show. That the affair was a brilliant success is a matter of congratulation to all concerned. The Hon Secretary, Mr. Hood Wright, and Hon. Director, Mr. C. Cruft, worked very hard. Mr. Hood Wright was here, there, and everywhere, lending a willing ear to every one. [excerpted]
But I must now leave the vanities of the flesh and get me to the judging rings, where the judging went on right merrily. The show was held under Kennel Club Rules, and consisted of wolf, deer, and boar hounds. Mr. E.A. Shirley judged the Borzois, and a very conscientious judge he made. It is a pleasure to watch a man judging when his heart is in his work; and while not wasting time, he noted every point of the dogs very carefully. In the open class for dogs, the Duchess of Newcastle carried off, with her beautiful Champion Velsk, the club's 25-guinea challenge cup, and the silver cup presented by Mrs. Horsfall. Mr. S. Smith's Michael was second, and Velasquez third.
It is sad to record the death of that grand old dog, Champion Golub. He was entered by his mistress, though not for competition, with the rest of her kennel of Borzois, but died shortly after being removed from his travelling box, no doubt from the intense heat. There will be one champion the less to return to Clumber.
THE BORZOI RING: BUSY JUDGING
In the limit class, Miss A.M. Carless took first with Oscar Michael, and the special given by the Ladies' Field for the best novice dog. Her Grace of Newcastle took second with Nagradjdai III, better known to his friends as Nags. The latter gentleman strongly disapproves of dog shows; he thinks Clumber is quite good enough for him, and he doesn't mind if he never goes to Ranelagh again. Nags is a house dog, and a special favourite of the Duchess. He only consented to appear at Ranelagh to support the show, as he heard it was a case of all hands to the front, and he was assured before leaving Clumber that Her Grace or Lady Noreen Hastings would "valet" him the whole time. Nags is a dog who will have nothing to do with kennelmen. The Misses H. and A. Arnold's Lofki took third in this class. In the novice class for dogs Mr. A. Blook took a reserve, and the special given by the Duchess for the best dog or bitch sired by one of the Clumber Stud dogs, with Altoft Boris. This dog is by Champion Velsk out of Champion Tsaritsa. Oscar Michael was first, Mrs. Borman's Khan second, and Mr. N. Kilvert's Vologda third.
In the open class for bitches Champion Tsaritsa carried off her seventieth first prize, with the Borzoi Club's silver challenge cup, and the silver cup given by the Ranelagh Club to the best Borzoi in the show; Zairka was second, and Mrs. Borman's Starlight third. Mrs. Hood Wright took very highly recommended and reserve with Selwood Olga. In the limit bitches Mr. N. Kilvert took first and five specials with Knoeas, one of the specials being the special prize of £1 1s. given by the proprietors of the Ladies' Field for the best bitch in that class; Zairka was second, and Starlight third. In novices Knoeas was first, Theaodora second, and Miss M.T. Haple's Gyda third. In the maiden class Knoeas was first, Theaodora second, and Mrs. Kindell's Vazerki third.
Her Grace the Duchess of Newcastle took the silver cup in the leash class; she also took the stud dog prize and the breeder's prize, only open to members of the Borzoi Club. Mrs. Young had three dogs there. Grand Duke Konstantine was shown in the limit class; Grand Duchess Neva and Czarina Lubedka both were commended.
I am publishing this article in The Borzoi Encyclopedia to encourage better understanding of the function of a Borzoi and its development as a breed. It is for all to enjoy reading but no part of my contributions to The Borzoi Encyclopedia may be copied, downloaded, printed or used in any way without my prior express written consent.
At the time of writing this, the earliest record of the presence of a Borzoi in the UK appears to be 1804 with one owned by John Montagu, 5th Earl of Sandwich. This was more than eighty years before the formation of the Borzoi Club in 1892 and indeed many years even before the first dog show in 1859. Before the outbreak of World War I in 1914, across Europe, it was fashionable to hold hunting parties, sometimes with an international flavour, and fortunately some records have survived. The earliest I have ever read were French and from the twelfth century. Grand Duke Nikolai's Pershino Estate is one known to have hosted international guests. Evolving from the hunting parties had been the gifting of individual specimens of "exotic" breeds to guests and it is now thought this is how the Borzoi breed found its way to the UK.
Books, pamphlets, newspaper and magazine articles began to appear early in Queen Victoria's reign, all dedicated to canine breeds. The author of this book, W. D. Drury, was kennel editor of "The Bazaar" and by the third edition of "British Dogs" had condensed his writings into one volume. In the 1903 publication he has included chapters on the Greyhound, the Irish Wolfhound, the Scotch Deerhound, the Borzoi or Russian Wolfhound, the Barukhzy and Allied Eastern Hound and the Circassian Orloff Wolfhound.
Captain Sidney P. Borman is shown in the 1901 England, Wales and Scotland Census as a Captain of the Royal Irish Rifles (Militia) and resident with his wife, Louie, and two servants in Ramsden Heath, Ramsden Bellhouse, Essex. He was later promoted to Major and is a past Treasurer and a past Secretary of the UK Borzoi Club. Their affix was "Ramsden".
This is what Captain S. P. Borman, in collaboration with W. D. Drury, had to say when they wrote the chapter on the Borzoi in 1902:
"If for nothing else we have at least one thing to be grateful for to Russia---she gave us the Borzoi, one of the most beautiful of the canine race, combining at once strength, symmetry, and grace. The manner in which in recent years the Borzoi has steadily advanced in the public favour, while other foreign breeds, and unfortunately some of our own (e.g. the Mastiff) have gone to the wall, is in itself sufficient evidence that this breed, at all events, has come to stay."
Some fifteen or twenty years ago an occasional specimen was shown in variety classes, but it was then generally catalogued as a Siberian Wolfhound. Nowadays every show worthy of the name provides classes for the breed. In March, 1892, the Borzoi Club was founded-of which more anon-with the Duchess of Newcastle as President. Indeed, in a great measure the Borzoi owes its present position in the English dog world to her Grace, who takes a keen and active interest in the welfare of the breed, and who is acknowledged to be the best judge of the variety we have. Her Grace, between the years of 1889 and 1892, laid the foundations of her now famous kennels, importing, among others, Champion Ooslad, Kaissack, Champion Milka, Oudar, Champion Golub, and others, all pillars of the Stud Book. It was not, however, until the year 1894 that Borzois received a separate classification in the Kennel Club Stud Book (Vol. XXI).
In England, of course, the Borzoi is kept chiefly for companionship and exhibition purposes, although there is no reason why the dog should not be more generally used for coursing. A friend of the writer's owns a bitch which, when ten years old , successfully competed against trained Greyhounds. In their native country they are used for wolf-hunting, and regular meetings (or trials) are also held, much after the style of our own coursing events.
The trials take place in an enclosed place-e.g. with a high fence all the way round-and wolves were brought on to the scene in similar carts to our deer-carts. The hounds are always slipped in couples on a wolf and judging takes place on the performance of the brace let loose on the wolf. The whole merit of the course is where the two hounds can overtake their wolf and pin him down so that the keeper can secure him alive. It means, therefore, that if in a brace one dog should prove faster and stronger than the other, he would not add any more points to the score, as he would be working alone, and alone would be quite incapable of tackling a wolf. In order to win, one has to have two good dogs as equal as possible, but of course at the same time fast and powerful. Of late it is a very, very rare occurrence for any brace of Borzois to succeed in holding a wolf at all.
Some of the first specimens imported were not all that could be desired as regards temper, and people fought shy of the breed as "vicious". "One swallow does not make a summer," neither do two or three ill-tempered dogs constitute a breed a "vicious" one. That idea is now, however, happily exploded and it may truthfully be said that the writer has never possessed a "vicious" Borzoi, and he can only remember seeing two that could fairly be described as such. On the contrary, a Borzoi properly reared---not dragged up, chained to a kennel, a method of procedure warranted to spoil the temper of any dog---invariably turns out an affectionate and intelligent dog, devoted to those he knows. At the same time, the nervous system in a Borzoi appears (whether from inbreeding or other causes it is impossible to say) to be very highly developed, and a puppy's temper may easily be ruined by any undue harshness.A highly bred Borzoi puppy is a mass of nerves, and if beaten , either becomes a miserable, cowed brute or a snappy, bad tempered one, and the same applies in a lesser degree to the adult hound. There is probably no breed of dog less quarrelsome than the Borzoi. In the writer's kennel there are invariably a large number running loose together, both dogs and bitches, and kennel fights are few and far between. If attacked, however, their strength of jaw and rapidity of movement make them very unpleasant antagonists. Bitches, as a rule, are more inclined to quarrel than dogs.
The Borzoi makes an excellent house-dog, taking up little room, in spite of his size. He is a thorough aristocrat, quiet and dignified in his manner, never rushing about to the detriment of the "house-hold gods," and seldom given to unnecessary barking. In fact he is, as the advertisements say, "an ornament fit for any nobleman's drawing-room."
In constitution the Borzoi is hardy, and may safely be kept in any good outdoor kennel or stable, provided his quarters are dry, and a plentiful supply of straw be allowed in winter. The colder the weather, the better the dogs seem to like it. Damp, of course, must be avoided.
Mrs. Borman with Champion Statesman
The accompanying illustration of Champion Statesman - although the photograph from which it was made was taken when he was dead out of coat - together with the appended list of points, as laid down by the Borzoi Club, and the following measurements of some of the leading dogs of the present day (1902) may be useful as a guide.
Mr Gardener, head kennelman to her Grace the Duchess of Newcastle, kindly furnishes particulars of the following dogs, the property of her Grace:-
1. Champion Velsk (dog). Height at the shoulder, 31 3/4in. Length of head, 12 1/2in. Girth of chest 35 1/2in.
2. Champion Velasquez (dog). Height at the shoulder, 32 1/2in. Length of head, 12 1/2in. Girth of chest 36in.
3. Champion Tsaretsa (bitch). Height at the shoulder, 31 1/2in. Length of head, 12 1/4in. Girth of chest 35 1/2in.
4. Champion Tatiana (bitch). Height at the shoulder, 30 1/4in. Length of head, 12in. Girth of chest 35 1/2in.
To Mr. P. Farrer Baynes, owner of the late Champion Caspian, I am indebted for the following measurements:-
6. Champion Statesman's (owned by Mrs. Borman) measurements are as follows: Height, 31 3/4in. Head, 12 1/4in. Girth of chest, 35 1/4in.
Besides the above there are at the time of writing five other Borzois living entitled to the coveted title of Champion - viz. H.M. the Queen's Alex (dog), her Grace of Newcastle's Velsk Votrio (dog), Theodora (bitch), and Vikhra (bitch), and Miss Kilvert's Knoeas (bitch).
It will be noticed that the Borzoi Club list of points give the height of dogs as from "28in. upwards". At the present day dogs of 28in. would hardly be looked at by the majority of our judges; indeed, few of our best bitches are less than 29in. to 29 1/2in. at shoulder. Mere height is not everything, and breeders nowadays, it is feared, are sacrificing many other points to obtain height, and great height is only too often accompanied by coarseness. In the case of Champion Caspian (whose death last year was certainly a loss to the breed) this was not the case - he combined quality with quantity. What was a record price for a dog of this breed -viz.- £700 (2019 equivalent £60,154) was offered for Caspian.
Another fault which is unfortunately gaining ground is light eyes. These are not mentioned among the Club's list of faults, but they certainly are a fault, and a bad one. One of the Borzoi's greatest charms is his expression-and a light-eyed Borzoi cannot have this desired expression to any great degree!
The predominating colour is white, with or without fawn, lemon, grey, brindle, blue, or black markings, too much of the last colour being considered a detriment. There are also self-, or whole-coloured dogs; but these, unless specially good in other points, generally find themselves handicapped in the show-ring. There are, of course, exceptions, Champion Velasquez, for instance, being a handsome whole-coloured brindle.
To the intending purchaser, if a novice, the following hints on purchasing may be useful. Do not be satisfied with particulars of measurement sent to you in writing; one person may, according to his own ideas, make a dog's head one or two inches longer than it actually is, and three inches difference between the actual and reputed height at shoulder is no uncommon thing. The writer has often had particulars sent of measurements that put the dimensions of the champion dogs of the day to shame; but when the dog itself arrived, there was always a difficulty in getting the measurements to agree with those of the vendor. If you have no friend who understands the breed, place yourself in the hands of a breeder of repute, pay a fair price, and you will get fair value.
In selecting a puppy, choose the one with the longest head, biggest bone, smallest ears, and longest tail. If you can get these qualities combined, so much the better. As regards coat, it is preferable to be guided by those of the parents, if possible; a puppy may carry a splendid coat, but after casting this, may never grow a good one. Some dogs never grow a long coat, containing, as they do, much of the blood of the wavy and less profuse coated strain.
The colour will not be found to vary much in the puppy and adult dog. Some brindle or mouse-coloured markings change to fawn when the puppy coat is cast; but in this case the hair is generally of the shade it will ultimately attain at the roots. A healthy puppy at three months should measure from 19in. to 21in. at the shoulder, at 6 months about 25in. and at nine months from 27in. to 29in., and should continue to grow up to fifteen or eighteen months old. The above is only intended as a rough guide, and may be exceeded. On the contrary, from many causes-distemper, worms, inattention, etc.- such measurements may never be attained. Generally speaking, a Borzoi is in its prime when three years of age, as he continues to deepen in chest and otherwise fill out until then. On the other hand some get coarse in head after their second or third year.
As regards price, a puppy, say eight weeks old, should be had for £5 to £10 (current 2019 value £3,008 to £6,016). It is unwise to give more, as it is almost impossible to say with any degree of certainty how so young a pup will turn out, and to pay less is to probably buy a "weed".
One of the best methods in starting a kennel in this as in other breeds is to purchase a good bitch, a winner for preference, and mate her to the best dog whose pedigree is suitable. Do not think to breed good stock from a third rate bitch - the dam is quite as important a factor as the sire, perhaps more so. Again do not seek to save a sovereign or so in the stud fee. Like produces like, with certain modifications, therefore do not try to breed champions from a second-rate stud dog, however low the fee.
Having decided on the stud dog, it is always a wise precaution to dose a bitch thoroughly for worms, before having her served. If possible, accompany the bitch and see her properly mated. After her return she will require nothing but a little extra grooming, and if in whelp will probably exhibit an increased appetite, which must of course be satisfied. No jumping or violent exercise should be permitted during the last fortnight, but steady exercise only. Borzois as a rule make excellent mothers, and, if healthy, seldom have any difficulty in whelping. The bitch's food for the first few days after the birth of pups should be sloppy but nutritious.
Unfortunately, Borzoi pups are not the easiest of dogs to rear. They require plenty of room for exercise, and are liable to suffer badly should they contract distemper. Apart from these drawbacks they require no different treatment from other large breeds. Feed little and often: use oatmeal, rice, well-boiled meat, and butchers' offal, with good hound meal as the staple food, and as much new milk as they will drink.
Few breeds require less "preparation" for the show-bench (except the legitimate bath) than the Borzoi, and the "novice" shows on equal terms with the "old hand". For washing nothing is better than rainwater, if procurable, as it tends to soften the coat. If a little ammonia be added, it will greatly assist in removing any dirt or grease. A good brushing and combing after the bath is all that is necessary. A Borzoi should not be shown in too fat a condition, or the symmetry of outline, one of the beauties of the breed, is lost. Some exhibitors go so far as not to feed their dogs before leading them into the ring.
The general management of the adult dog may be summed up in a few words: Regular food-say dry biscuits in the morning and a good feed at night time-plenty of exercise, and grooming, for which purpose an ordinary dandy-brush is perhaps the best. To keep the coat in perfection, the dog should be brushed every day, and the feathering and tail carefully combed out. If this is done, washing will seldom be required, except before shows-a consideration where a number are kept. A Borzoi should never be kept "on chain"; if the dog cannot be allowed entire liberty, or at least a kennel with a run, the prospective owner had better confine his attentions to a smaller breed.
The interest of the breed is well looked after by the Borzoi Club, who support all the leading shows by offering their challenge cups, medals, cash specials, as well as guaranteeing classes. Club shows are also held. The first of these took place at Southport. In 1899 and 1900 specialist shows were held at Ranelagh, and at these collections of animals were brought together that in Russia itself could hardly have been excelled. As before stated, the Club is presided over by her Grace the Duchess of Newcastle, with the Duke as joint-President, ably backed by a committee of twelve ladies and gentlemen elected annually from among the members. The Club is represented on the Kennel Club Council of delegates by Mr W. Blatspiel-Stamp. The Hon Secretary and Hon Treasurer are Mr Hood Wright, Frome, Somerset and Captain Borman, Billericay, Essex, respectively, either of whom will always be pleased to give any information to those desirous of becoming members."
The remainder of the article comprises a description of the breed which was subsequently adopted by the Borzoi Club and equates to the idea of a modern Breed Standard. I will leave this for a later feature on Breed Standards.
by Herbert Compton
published in 1904, Grant Richards, London. “Compiled from the contributions of over five hundred experts.”
An aristocrat of aristocrats, the borzoi is at once the noblest looking as well as the newest addition to our bench of sporting hounds. He came with an Imperial halo about him, for amongst the earlier specimens introduced into this country were some from the Czar’s kennels.
The Russian wolf-hound, like its Irish prototype, bears a great affinity to the greyhound. Except for its fleecy coat and feathered tail it is practically built on greyhound lines with certain modifications. The chief of these is in the head, which differs in outline and conformation so much that it is practically distinct from any other breed of hound. The veriest tyro, having once seen it, can recognise a “borzoi head,” with its thin, narrow, Roman-nosed contour, and its long fine muzzle. And yet the grip of these hounds is far in excess of what you would give them credit for, and the boast of their masters in their native land is that we have no hound so tenacious of holding on to its quarry. Perhaps it would be more correct to ally the borzoi to the Asiatic greyhound, the hounds of Persia and Afghanistan, generically, notwithstanding that the Russian has kept the delicate and lightly carried ear – perhaps at the expense of a skull too narrow to contain much brains.
Truth to tell, the borzoi has acquired a character of being less sagacious than other dogs – outside his own sphere of sport, wherein he is peculiarly cunning and adept. I remember hinting this to a lady-fancier, and being crushed with the retort, “Stupid! Not a bit of it! My hound knows its name quite well!” Subsequently, a confession was made that the hound in question was a little rash in the risks it ran of getting run over, and was safer on a lead than when allowed to wander unattached. I trust I am unintentionally unjust to the borzoi, whom I have no desire to libel; but I must confess I retain the conviction that, mentally speaking, it is not a brilliantly witted hound.
But, as I have said, in its own sphere the borzoi is neither lacking in sense nor spirit, and perchance any dog, translated from such outlandish climes as the wilds of Russia to our busy centres of dog-showing, might not be able to adapt itself to its new surroundings and conditions for a generation or two. But the borzoi is being quickly anglicised; it has already ceased to be rare, and has increased marvellously within the last few years. This is reflected in the entries at the Kennel Club Show, which leaped from fifteen in 1900 to sixty-two, fifty-three, and seventy-two in the last three years. An even better proof is afforded by the advertisement columns in the dog-press. Picking up a paper at random I observe a column of borzoi advertisements, with a host of reputed champion-bred stock offered at prices which old fanciers of the breed would doubtless consider scandalous compared with prices current ten years ago, when, in the first blush of its invasion and the sunshine of Royal patronage, to possess a borzoi was to be in the first flight of fashion as regards dogs. Even now, when they are comparatively common, a borzoi at heel invests the owner with a certain distinguished air, which no other breed can do, and I remember an audible remark oerheard at a fashionable sea-side parade in reference to a very meagre specimen that was rather dejectedly following a somewhat seedy-looking individual, “Look! that’s one of the Queen’s dogs!”
It is probably due to Her Majesty’s interest in the breed that it has achieved this high tone. But, on the other hand, its lovers may insist that its fame is all its own, and due to its undoubted grace and beauty, which must ever continue to attract attention and command admiration. And one fact certainly cannot be denied: the borzoi is one of the most striking-looking dogs in our canine repository, and once seen is more easily recognized than any other. And if there is a certain want of quick intelligence in its glance, a certain languor in its action, these are merged and lost in its harmonious outline and its aristocratic mien, which enable it to comport itself with a lofty indifference to surroundings that is in itself a sort of acme of superiority!
The Russian wolf-hound has the advantage of justifying its name in its own country, where it is still employed in the chase of the wolf, being used in much the same way as the Anglo-Indian uses his Rampur hound or greyhound for jackal hunting, and as Irish wolf-hounds were utilised in the good old days. That is to say, it is essentially a coursing and killing hound – not a hunting one. The actual dislodging of the wolves from their cover is done by a commoner and less aristocratic dog. The borzoi is stationed at a suitable point outside to deal with the quarry after it has been hunted out. When the wolf has been driven into the open, sighted, and allowed a suitable start, – a hundred or two hundred yards, according to the ground and the proximity of the next cover, – then, and not till then, are the borzois slipped, generally in couples, though with noted “fliers” a single hound may be allowed to show itself off. When a couple are employed they approach the wolf from different sides, and on overtaking it await their opportunity until one or the other is able to pin it by the neck just below the ear. The next moment hound and wolf are on the ground, head over heels, – all in a muddle, so to speak. And it is here that the marvellous ability of the hound to hold on comes into play; it never lets go of the wolf; once fixed it is a permanency, until the keeper comes up, who proceeds to slip a muzzle on the wolf, the capture of which alive is the scheme of the chase. If, however, there is any delay the borzoi is quite capable of giving the wolf the coup-de-grace, and has frequently done so, for its hold is the hold of death. And it is a striking fact that the hound rarely if ever gets a scratch in the encounter. The best borzois can, and often do, kill a wolf without assistance, though, as I have said, the design is to take the animal alive in order to utilize it to enter young hounds for the sport. An ordinary adjunct of these wolf-courses is a cage on wheels, in which the captured wolves are carried from the field to provide tuition and entertainment in much the same way as our bagged badgers do. The speed with which the borzoi can travel in pursuit of the wolf requires to be seen to be appreciated, and is second only to that of a good English coursing greyhound.
Entered to such savage sport, it is not strange to learn that the borzoi in its native land is accounted a savage animal, and has a reputation of being a terrible fighter in the kennel. The greater its prowess, the more redoubtable its exploits, the more it is prized, and a considerable jealousy exists amongst those who own it, chiefly nobles and persons of rank and wealth, as to the relative merits of their respective strains, which are as keenly fostered and kept pure as are the occupants of noted sporting and hunting kennels in England. Not only the Czar, but many of the Imperial princes of Russia are fanciers of the borzoi, and their strains are the creme de la creme. Mr. Rousseau gave the Queen, when she was Princess of Wales, the famous borzoi Alex, which in 1900 divided honours for the Kennel Club championship. The present borzoi, Gatchina, owned by Her Majesty, and the dam of several winners, came from the Czar’s kennels.
Contrary to the popular belief, it is the smooth coated borzoi which is the most common in England. The Duchess of Newcastle is my authority for saying that the rough borzoi (Goustopsovy), even in Russia, is scarcer than the smooth (Psovy); both come in the same litter at times. A real rough coat, as seen on the imported hound Kaissack, is almost an unknown thing in England, and those who did not see this specimen cannot realize in the least what it was like. The imported hound Korotai also had a very heavy coat, but it was not so good in mixture, being coarser. Kaissack, however, never grew so good a coat as the one he landed with. The same applies to Sverkay, a dog at present in the Clumber kennels. He landed with a coat the equal of Kaissack’s, but now, although good, it is not what it was. The heaviest coated specimens that have been bred in this country have been sired by Kaissack or Korotai or their descendants.
The average height of our show-bench borzoi is about 30 inches, though one gigantic specimen, Caspian, measured 34 inches. The colours are white, splashed with lemon, red, fawn, grey, and occasionally darker shades, but black and tan is tabooed. Expatriation has decidedly improved the borzoi’s disposition, and it cannot be regarded as anything but a very docile creature in its English domicile, though it retains its inveterate habit of chasing anything that appears to it to be of the nature of a warrantable quarry, and for this reason requires looking after in its walks abroad.
Before recapitulating the criticisms on the type of the breed as it exists in England today, I will reproduce two descriptions of “ideal dogs,” so that a mental picture may be represented to my readers’ eyes of the exceedingly beautiful subject of this sketch.
THE DUCHESS OF NEWCASTLE’S IDEAL BORZOI – A perfect borzoi should show substance combined with quality. A long head, rather Roman-nosed; dark, almond-shaped eyes, soft and expressive, set half-way between the occiput and point of nose; small ears, set on high, but not prick; a strong neck, which should appear rather short in proportion to the size of the hound; well set-back shoulders, sloping to the points; well sprung ribs (but not round, like a barrel); deep chest, arched loin, stern set low. Very strong muscular quarters, so that, standing behind, they appear the widest part of the hound; hocks well bent and let down; stern long and carried low; long, silky coat, white, and should curl slightly on the neck; legs straight and well feathered; the bone and muscle on legs should not appear round, but flat. Feet rather long, with not too much bridge to the toes. Height from 29 to 32 1/2 inches.
MISS HELEN ARNOLD’S IDEAL BORZOI – My ideal only exists in fancy at present, but some day I hope to exhibit him to the public. He shall be about 33 inches high, with a lovely, long, curly, silky coat, waving up round his ears with quite a Queen Elizabeth ruffle, to set off a head 13 1/2 inches long, with a skull 16 1/2 inches in circumference, flat on top, and oval to the sides. The skin on his head will be so thin and the hair so fine that his veins will be perceptible all down his aristocratic “Wellington” nose. His eyes will be very dark and penetrating; his ears small, thin, and always alert when exercising, but tightly folded back when at ease. When he is fully furnished his chest will measure 3 inches more in circumference than his height; his ribs will not resemble a “weather-board,” but he will be “fish-sided.” There will be room for his heart to beat and his lungs to expand, so that I may not lose this dream of years (when I get him!) by sudden failure of the heart’s action. He will cover as much ground as his height, and will be wider behind than in front, owing to his sloping, muscular hindquarters. He will have a strong but not too short neck, and a sloping shoulder; his stifle well bent, his hind legs brought up nicely under him, owing to a good roach back, which roach will be a harmonious curve, not a camel’s hump of a thing. His long tail and his hind and fore-quarters will all be well feathered with long, silky hair; the bone of his fore legs will be flat, gradually tapering down to his hare feet, which must be this shape in case some day duty calls him to his proper work, which is, in winter, on the snow; and I should like him to meet his Russian brothers on equal terms. His temper will be generous and kind, and he will be equally happy in house or kennel; always willing to share his bed and food with his companions, as all mine do now. I hope his colour will be white, with deep auburn markings, shading off to black in the face, or a beautiful steel-grey. If I get all the other points I shall not mind if he is fawn, lemon, or orange-marked, though I believe Russians prefer a peculiar red-grey brindle if they cannot get a whole white, and for breeding many keep a whole-coloured bitch in the kennel, as such a one generally breeds good puppies, and is healthy and strong, thereby proving the old adage: "The darker the colour, the stronger the dog.”
With these two admirable pictures of what a borzoi should be, I will proceed to quote the criticisms of what it is in this year of grace in England:
THE DUCHESS OF NEWCASTLE – I think we have quite as good specimens, and, on the whole, sounder than are to be found in their native land, – owing, I expect, to our less severe winter. Light eyes are, I am afraid, becoming too common, and breeders here think too much of size, getting with it flat sides and want of depth in chest. (Subsequently, aftering seeing the proofs of this article, Her Grace added these notes): Luckily very few specimens of the borzoi came from the Czar’s kennels; his borzois, as a whole, are a particularly bad collection. It was the Grand Duke Nicholas who sent Mr. Cremiere over in February 1892 with a team of some twenty borzois, Oudar and his litter brother and two sisters being the best of the bunch. I thoroughly disagree with the statement that the borzoi is less sagacious than other dogs, and consider that in the criticisms of his sense and temper he has been much maligned. I have had fourteen years intimate friendship with perhaps three hundred borzois, and have come across no fools amongst them. Every one I have taken into the house, even including imported mature specimens that have been used for wolf-hunting, have been good-tempered, intelligent companions, absolutely devoted to me, and well able to take care of themselves. And during my experience of them I have not had a bad fight in my kennels. They are also easily taught tricks. As really faithful companions, they are first among breeds. A borzoi 30 inches in height should girth at least 35 inches, and the taller the dog the deeper in proportion the girth should be. This should prove to all borzoi breeders the great importance of not going for leggy, weedy animals; as far as height goes, the tall ones, at first sight, impress any one not really knowing the breed before the smaller but much heavier dog; but the judge who goes for height before heart room is doing his best to ruin the breed. Dogs from 29 to 32 inches are the best – bitches from 28 to 31. It is really only within the last ten years that the breed has become popular and quite common, but it may interest those who do not know it that the borzoi was known in this country as far back as 1863, when a dog, Katai by name, bred by the Czar, was shown at Birmingham. In 1869 H.R.H. the Prince of Wales showed a specimen at Islington. Lady Emily Peel was the next borzoi fancier, then Lady Charles Innes Kerr, Colonel Wellesley, and Mrs. Alfred Morrison. After this I came on the scene in 1890, and borzois have increased since then all over England.
MR. R. HOOD-WRIGHT – I am not satisfied with type as it exists today. I think we are losing sight of the original use of the dog, and sacrificing type to coat, size, and length without breadth in head; consequently they are losing brain-power and intelligence.
MISS HELEN ARNOLD – Taken as a whole the borzois just now lack the dark eye so characteristic of the breed, and the silky curly coat so prized by Russians. Also more attention should be given to heads and general soundness. Many think the silky curly coat wrong in a borzoi, but it is amongst the chief points in a Russian hound, as it clings closer to the body, and keeps out the weather (silk is warmer than wool). Others think that the borzoi should have ribs like a weather-board; a proper borzoi’s ribs are sprung, so that his heart has room to beat and his lungs to expand. When they are bred like this we shall not hear of so many dropping down dead after galloping. Dogs should have good arch, the bitches less. English breeders want bitches with as much arch as a dog, and are apt to say of really good bitches, “She lacks arch.” The borzoi’s arch should give his back a rounded appearance – not the “spikey” look so many have. No point values are given in the Club’s book; if I had to draw up a scale I should assess them – Head, including eyes, ears and expression, 20; neck, shoulders, and fore-legs, 20; body between shoulders and hips, 20; hindquarters and hind legs, 20; coat, tail, and general type, 20; total – 100. (Miss Helen Arnold also exercised over my insufficient appreciation of the borzoi’s character, and adds to her notes): – I agree with your notes criticising the intelligence of the imported borzoi. In Russia, of course, they are trained to be savage as possible, and are essentially hounds, not pets, and all the conversation they are treated to is the whip. An English bred borzoi, e.g., one that has been “talked to” and treated kindly, is as intelligent as any other breed of dog, and has a much longer memory than some. I will admit there are some strains that will not civilize, and have given the breed its bad name in this country. I carefully avoid them. Part of my ambition has been realised: I have just sold one of my strain of borzois to a Russian nobleman for breeding. Russian breeders may not like the new (English) disposition of the borzoi, and may call them “lap dogs!” My imported bitch, before she learnt English and took to domestication, could and would attack anything; but she soon learnt to obey, and became the most gentle with every one.
MRS. J.M’INTYRE – There are so many types of borzois that the question of satisfaction as regards type is difficult to answer. No two judges judge alike, and not one judge in ten is consistent in his judging throughout the classes. Borzois should be judged by their points, and points alone; we should then have on and the true breed. There is no use in having point values when the dogs are not judged by them.
MAJOR BORMAN – There appears to be a tendency on the part of too many judges to go for size, without taking quality sufficiently into consideration; and more attention should be given by breeders to getting the long, lean head so characteristic of the borzoi. The following is, roughly, my idea of what point values ought to be – Head and expression, 20; legs and feet, 20; loin, 15; coat, 10; eyes, 5; tail, 5; girth and general symmetry of outline, 20; total – 100.
The recommendations of the borzoi are infinite. The Duchess of Newcastle thinks “they have most charming dispositions, most affectionate to their masters, and although prefectly civil to strangers don’t make a fuss over them. They are, I consider, the most faithful of any breed of dog I have personally come in contact with, and are certainly the most handsome.” Miss Helen Arnold likes them as a breed “for their size, beauty, and symmetry, and because, for ladies’ dogs, they are not too heavy to handle, can follow horse or person, yet be contented and comfortable in a room.” Mr. Hood-Wright deems them “beautiful and graceful, and the bitches make charming companions; but the dogs natural instinct is to chase – consequently many of them are not desirable companions off the lead.” Mrs. M’Intyre thinks them “the most elegant of dogs; good friends and good companions, and very tractable. When reared properly they are very hardy. I like them best of any dogs; they are always sweet and clean, and free from the objectionable odour so many dogs have.” Another lady-fancier writes: “Borzois seem to come truer to type than any other breed, and to pay for getting the best blood, and using the best sires. If – but that is a big ‘if’ – you can get them over distemper, they are very ornamental, affectionate, and – jealous. For all intents and purposes they are pet-dogs in England; they never knock over furniture or ornaments in a drawing room; but otherwise they are stupid, and not always good-tempered under punishment, which is frequently necessary from their in-bred habit of chasing everything. But they are so graceful and so insinuating that one forgives them much. No doubt where they are kept for real sport they are different animals. One thing greatly in their favour is that they have no ‘doggy’ smell, which especially fits them for the house.”
The Borzoi Club, of which the Duke and Duchess of Newcastle are joint Presidents and the Marquis of Bath Vice-President, is one of the three institutions whose secretarial duties Mr. Hood-Wright so admirably conducts. The membership is over fifty, the annual subscription a guinea, and it possesses two twenty-five and two fifteen-guinea challenge cups. The following is the description of the hound given in the Club’s publication: –
STANDARD OF POINTS OF THE BORZOI
HEAD. – Long and lean. The skull flat and narrow; stop not perceptible, and muzzle long and tapering. The head from the forehead to the tip of the nose should be so fine that the shape and direction of the bones and principal veins can be clearly seen, and, in profile, should appear rather Roman-nosed. Bitches should be even narrower in the head that the dogs. Eyes dark, expressive, almond-shaped, and not too far apart. Ears like those of a greyhound – small, thin, and placed well back on the head, with the tips, when thrown back, almost touching behind the occiput.
NECK. – The head should be carried somewhat low, with the neck continuing the line of the back.
SHOULDERS. – Clean and sloping well back.
CHEST. – Deep, and somewhat narrow.
BACK. – rather boney, and free from any cavity in the spinal column, the arch in the back being more marked in the dog than in the bitch.
LOINS. – Broad and very powerful, with plenty of muscular development.
THIGHS. – Long and well-developed, with good second thigh.
RIBS. – Slightly sprung at the angle of the ribs – deep, reaching to the elbow, and even lower.
FORE LEGS. – Lean and straight. Seen from the front they should be narrow from side to side, broad at the shoulders and narrowing gradually down to the foot, the bone appearing flat, and not round, as in the foxhound.
HIND LEGS. – The least thing under the body when standing still, not straight, and the stifle slightly bent.
MUSCLES. – Well distributed and highly developed.
PASTERNS. – Strong.
FEET. – Like those of the deerhound – rather long. The toes close together and well arched.
COAT. – Long, silky (not woolly); either flat, wavy, or curly. On the head, ears, and front legs it should be short and smooth. On the neck the frill should be profuse and rather curly. On the chest and rest of body, the tail and hidnquarters, it should be long. The fore legs should be well feathered.
TAIL. – Long, well-feathered, and not gaily carried.
HEIGHT. – At shoulder of dogs, from 28 inches upwards; of bitches, from 26 inches upwards.
FAULTS. – Head short or thick; too much stop; parti-coloured nose; eyes too wide apart; heavy ears; heavy shoulders; wide chest; “barrel” ribbed; dew claws; elbows turned out; wide behind.
The hounds considered most typical in the breed include Champions Velsk, Tsaritsa, Kieff, Statesman, Zeneitra, Volno, Vikhra, and Selwood Olga, and I have selected the first-named for illustration.
Ch. Velsk was bred and is owned by H.G. the Duchess of Newcastle. His sire was Korotai, and his dam Ch. Vikhra, and he was whelped in December 1895. He stands 31 inches high, weighs 114 lbs., and is white in colour with silver-grey markings. He has very dark eyes, well carried ears and stern, and is the heaviest coated dog on the show-bench; also the strongest boned. He is absolutely perfect in expression. The photograph is a first-rate one, and shows the dog in his best coat; “but,” writes his owner, “as nothing in the world is perfect, I should like to see Ch. Velsk a shade shorted in the back, and with a trifle more arch; otherwise I can find no fault.” Velsk is the winner of eleven championships and seventy-six first prizes, and has sired an immense number of winning progeny, amongst them being Champions Tatiana, Velsk, Votrio, Knois, and Theodora; and he was the sire of the four borzois exhibited with great success by H.M. the Queen in 1903.
From the New Book of the Dog edited by J. Sidney Turner, Chairman of the Committee of the Kennel Club. Published in 1907. The Borzoi section was written by Major S.P. Borman of the Ramsden kennels.
Although known in this country as the Borzoi, or Russian Wolfhound, this dog belongs to the Greyhound family – is, in fact, the Russian Greyhound of “Psovoi”, and is closely allied to that large group of Eastern Greyhounds which includes the Persian, the Circassian Orloff Hound, and others. No doubt all these dogs originated from one common stock, the characteristics of the various varieties probably being caused by different crosses, and also, to some extent, by climactic influences.
The Borzoi in its native land is by no means a “poor man’s dog,” being kept principally by the nobles and rich landowners for hunting purposes, the various strains of the leading kennels being jealously guarded and seldom disposed of. Certain it is, that, even in Russia, really good specimens are hard to obtain, for as falconry was the national pastime of the Englishman in “ye goode olde days,” so is coursing that of the Russian, and he values his best hounds far too highly to part with them.
Indeed, a more fasinating form of sport than Wolfhunting can hardly be imagined. One method adopted, and perhaps the most popular, is as follows: Wolves having been located in a wood, the hunt proceeds there on horseback, each hunter holding in his left hand a “leash” of Borzois, as nearly matched in speed, size and colour as possible – generally two dogs and a bitch. Arrived on the scene of action, the chief huntsman stations the remainder every hundred yards or so round the wood, and a pack of Foxhounds is sent in to draw it. Should a wolf break covert and make for the open the nearest hunter, putting his horse at a gallop, slips his hounds. These are after their game like lightning, each hound endeavouring to seize the wolf behind the ears in such a manner that he cannot use his teeth, holding him until the hunter arrives, who, throwing himself from his horse, gives the coup de grace with his hunting knife; or perhaps the Wolf is taken alive and sent to the kennels, for the purpose of training the young dogs to get their neck-hold, as not until they have mastered this grip are they considered fit to take their part in field work. (As an interesting example of hereditary instinct, one has only to watch young Borzoi pups playing or squabbling among themselves, and it will be noticed that they invariably seek to obtain this “neck-gold”.).
Another form is called Field-hunting. In this case the hunters advance across the open country at intervals of 200 yards or so, slipping the hounds at any game they may put up, such as foxes and hares. Trials are also held, taking place in an enclosure railed in with a high fence. The wolves are brought in carts similar to our deer carts. A brace of dogs is loosed, and the whole merit of the course consists in the manner and power with which the dogs can hold the wolf, so that the keepers can secure him alive. It follows, therefore, that the dogs must be of equal speed; one dog alone would be unable to hold the quarry. It will thus be seen that in Russia the dog is not used for hunting the wolf only, but hares and smaller game; and it is a pity that some coursing-man does not take up the breed over here; properly trained, the Borzoi should hold its own with the Greyhound. Many dogs the writer has possessed have been excellent at both hares and rabbits.
It must now be some thirty years since the first Borzois were imported into England, when an occasional specimen was shown in “variety” classes, being generally catalogued as a “Siberian Wolfhound.” But the credit of being the founder of a large kennel of these aristocratic hounds belongs, undoubtedly, to the Duchess of Newcastle, who, between the years 1889 and 1892, imported several good specimens, among others Champion Osslad, Kaissack, Champion Golub, Champion Milka and Oudar. In 1894 the breed was granted a separate classification in the Kennel Club Stud Book (Vol. xxi.).
About 1895, the breed fairly “caught on” and has continued to make rapid strides in public favour, as witness the entries obtained at many shows where a good classification is given; 80 to 100 being by no means a record. Why? The answer is easy. To those who do not know what a Borzoi is, the writer would say, in the words of our neighbours across the channel, “picture to yourself” a dog combining at once the size and strength of the Deerhound, the speed of the Greyhound, the symmetry of the Whippet, with a long, silky coat (glistening white predominating), and a head, the length of which is unique, and possessed by no other breed. Add to these attractions the fact that the dog is affectionate, cannot be excelled as a lady’s companion (by the way, practically all the leading kennels are owned by ladies), makes an excellent house dog, and last, but not least, requires no “trimming” before he can be exhibited! Are not these sufficient reasons for the popularity attained in so short a time by this breed?
Below is given a list of points as adopted by the Borzoi Club, to which are added a few explanatory notes (in brackets), for the further guidance of the novice; but if the reader will refer to the illustration of the leash of Russian hounds here produced , he will find this of more educational value than any amount of printed matter. This wonderful team, from the Woronzova hunt, owned by Mr Boldareff, is said to be the best in Russia, and in the writer’s opinon there is nothing as yet in this country to touch them, although we are gradually approaching the type.
Head – should be long and lean. [It is, however, not only essential for the head to be long, but it must also be what is termed well balanced, i.e., the length from the tip of the nose to the eyes must be the same as from the eyes to the occiput. A dog may have a long head but the length may be all in front of the eyes.]
The skull should be flat and narrow, stop not perceptible. [Too much stress cannot be laid on the importance of the head being well filled up between the eyes] and the muzzle long and tapering. The head from forehead to the tip of the nose should be so fine that the shape and direction of the principal veins and bones can be clearly seen; and in profile should appear rather Roman-nosed. Bitches should be even narrower in head than dogs.
Eyes – Dark, expressive, almond-shaped, and not too far apart. Ears – Like those of a greyhound, small, thin, and placed well back on the head, with the tip, when thrown back, almost touching behind the occiput. [It is not a fault if the dog can raise his ears erect when excited or looking after game. They should, however, be carried as above at other times.] Neck – The head should be carried somewhat low, with the neck continuing the line of the back. Shoulders – Should be clean and sloping well back, [i.e., the shoulder blades should almost meet.] Chest – Deep and somewhat narrow. [The chest must be capacious, but the capacity must be derived from depth, and not from “barrel-ribs,” a bad fault in a running hound.] Back – Rather long, and free from any cavity in the spinal column, the arch in the back being more marked in the dog than in the bitch. [This arch is an important point and one of the characteristics of the breed. The writer likes to see the arch well developed in the bitch also.] Loins – Broad and very powerful, with plenty of muscular development. Thighs – Long and well developed, with good second thigh. Ribs– Slightly spring at the angle of the ribs, deep, reaching to elbow or even lower. Fore-legs – Lean and straight; seen from the front they should be narrow, and from the side, broad at the shoulders and narrowing gradually down to the foot, the bones appearing flat, and not round as in the Foxhound. Hind-legs – The least thing under the body when standing still, not straight, and the stifles slightly bent. [That is to say, the legs must be straight as regards one another, i.e., not cow-hocked; but the stifles and hocks should be bent. Straight hind-legs imply want of speed.] Muscles – Well distributed and higly developed. Pasterns – Should be strong. Feet – Like those of the deerhound, rather long, the toes close together and well arched. Coat – Long, silky (not woolly), either flat, wavy or slightly curly. On the head, ears, and front legs it should be short and smooth. On the neck the frill should be profuse and rather curly. On the chest and rest of the body, the tail and hind-quarters, it should be long. The fore-legs should be well-feathered. Tail – Long and well-feathered, and not carried gaily. Height – *At shoulder of dogs, from 29 in. upwards; of bitches, from 27 in. upwards [It must be borne in mind that few dogs of 29 in. would win in the show-ring at the present day unless particularly good in all other respects, most of the present day winners averaging from 31 to 32 inches.] Faults – Head short and thick; too much stop; parti-coloured nose; eyes too wide apart; heavy ears; heavy shoulders; wide chest; barrel-ribbed; dew-claws; elbow turned out; wide behind. [The Club standard does not mention light-coloured eyes and over-shot jaws, both of which are undoubtedly bad faults.]Colour – Immaterial, provided white predominates. Fawn, brindle, lemon, slate-blue, orange and black markings are seen. Black-and-tan is less liked. Whole or self-coloured dogs are also met with, but are not greatly favoured. Of all white dogs, few have been seen on the show bench of late years.
The uninitiated may say, “It is all very well to tell us that the head must be long, but what is long?” Therefore, below are given the measurements of some of the leading dogs, past and present, with their pedigrees, which latter should prove of use to the intending breeder.
First let us take a few of those which some years ago were “at the top” of their breed. Although no longer with us, their names appear in the pedigrees of most of the present day “cracks,” and a short summary of their good and bad qualities may be helpful to breeders; for it is to these former ancestors that many of their pups will “throw back,” and unless one knows the points possessed by the stud dog’s and brood bitch’s ancestors, it is difficult to breed with any degree of certainty.
Perhaps one of the most successful dogs on the show nech was Ch . Velsk(95), owned by Her Grace the Duchess of Newcastle. Almost white, with faint, light grey markings, this dog possessed a marvellous coat, great depth of chest and plenty of bone. He was unfortunately rather lacking in arch – his worst fault. His measurements were as follow: – Height at shoulder, 31 3/4 in.; length of head, 12 1/2 in.; girth of chest, 35 1/2 in. CHAMPION VELASQUEZ, his litter brother, a handsome whole-coloured brindle, was a more racily built and bigger dog. He left few descendants in this country before being exported to America.
The pedigree of these two dogs (Champions Velsk and Velasquez) is as follows:
CHAMPION STATESMAN (still alive, but retired on his laurels) and his brother, CH. SHOWMAN, were also big winners some four or five years ago. Both were big, sound dogs, with light fawn markings. Their names occur in many of the present-day pedigrees. Their pedigree (which, as an example of in-breeding, is of interest alone) is as follows:
Their dam, Windle Princess, by Korotai ex Windle Snow, was litter sister to Ch. Windle Courtier. Courtier was all quality; some say he was too flat-sided and too curly in coat; but there is doubt that for quality, more especially in head, one must look to dogs containing blood of the “Windle” strain, at least, that is the writer’s experience. This kennel, owned by a Mr. Coop, was dispersed some years ago.
Perhaps the biggest Borzoi, combining size and quality was Ch. Caspian, who when standing smartly, measured 34 1/2 in., length of head 12 3/4 in., girth of chest 37 1/2 in. Unfortunately he, too, left few descendants, dying when less than three years old.
By the kindness of the Duchess of Newcastle, the writer is enabled to include an illustration of her celebrated imported bitch Ch. Tsaritsa. A big, sound bitch, her measurements equalled those of many dogs, as a glance will show: – Height 31 1/2 in., length of head 11 1/2 in., girth 35 1/2 in. She was exhibited as “pedigree unknown.” Her success on the show bench was phenomenal. She won no less than 66 firsts, specials and championships
Although not a full champion, a dog that deserves mention as having left his mark on the breed is Piostri, a tall lemon-marked dog by Windle Earl ex Alston Queen, by Ch. Windle Courtier. He was extremely prepotent, stamping his wonderful head on nearly all his progeny. He covered perhaps too much ground, and wanted more substance; but with all his faults, his early death was a great loss to the breed.
The list would not be complete without mentioning some of those bitches, dams and grand-dams of our present champions whose names appear in all the best pedigrees. Foremost among these rank Ch. Vikhra, dam of Ch. Velsk, Ch. Velasquez, and of White Tsar; and Ina, dam of Champions Caspian, Vassal, Kieff and others. Ina was just a fair specimen, and never made a great name on the show bench, but as a brood bitch she was simply invaluable, as was Windle Princess, a tall white bitch, dam of Champions Sunbeam, Statesman, Showman, etc.
And now to turn to some of the present-day champions. These can be seen at any big show, and criticism here would be out of place. The writer, therefore, merely appends their pedigrees and measurements; for the latter he is indebted to their respective owners.
First let us bracket together the brothers Champions Vassal and Kieff (later litter), and give an extended pedigree, from which names occurring in following pedigree may be traced back.
Both these dogs, built on much the same lines, are brindle marked. Ch. Kieff’s measurements are: height, 33 in., head, 12 1/2 in., girth, 35 1/2 in.
Another good dog by Fedia is Ch. Padiham Nordia. His dam, Norah, is a Windle-bred bitch, by Korotai ex Windle Dainty; Nordia is also brindle-marked. Height, 32 1/2 in., head, 12 in., girth, 36 in.
Closely related to the above is Ch. Berris, one of the few sired by Ch. Caspian. His dam, Selwood Strelka, was by Ch. Krilutt ex Nagla II. Height 34 in., girth 37 in., head 13 in. Ch. Ivan Turgeneff, by White Tsar ex Ch. Sunbeam. Colour, white, with fawn markings, half Windle-bred, his dam being full sister to Ch. Statesman. Height 32 1/2 in., girth 40 in., head 13 1/2 in.
In Ch. Strawberry King, by Ch. Kieff ex Maid of Honour (by Ch. Windle Courtier), we have got another with Windle blood on both sire and dams’ sides; markings, light brindle.
H.M. the Queen’s Borzoi Vassilka, a capital photo os which appears here, is by Ch. Velsk. His mother, Gatchina, is an imported bitch, the pedigree of which is unknown. He stands 32 1/2 in. at shoulder, length of head 12 1/2 in., girth 35 ins., markings, light fawn.
Of the bitches on the show bench at the present time, it is perhaps invidious to mention names where many are so good: but the writer thinks it will be admitted that
Ch. Sunbeam and Ch. Miss Piostri head the list. A photo of a painting of the latter by the eminent canine artist, Miss Fairman.
The dogs living at the time of writing and entitled to the coveted prefix of “Champion” are:
Ramsden Kennels (Mrs. Borman’s):
Dogs – Chs. Kieff, Ramsden Ranger, and Statesman
Bitch – Miss Piostri
Padiham Kennels (Mr. Murphy’s):
Dog – Ch. Padiham Nordia
Mrs. Aitchison’s Kennels:
Dog – Ch. Strawberry King
Bitch – Ch. Votrio Vikhra
Mrs. May’s Kennel –
Dog – Ch. Berris
Now the photos here given, list of points, etc., should be an excellent guide to the intending Borzoi fancier; but it must be pointed out that the measurements apply to the best dogs of the past and present, and the novice must not expect quite such excellence unless prepared to open his purse-strings widely.
There are plenty of dogs living the measurements of which equal the above, but mere size is nothing unless quality is also present; and this is where the breeder’s difficulty arises – to get size without coarseness.
Assume that the reader has decided to start a kennel of Borzois. If one of Fortune’s favourites, and money is no object, the quickest way to reach the top of the tree is to purchase a full-blown champion, or at least a dog that has already made his name on the show bench. If this method does not appeal to him he has the choice of two other ways – either to buy a well-bred bitch and breed from her, or purchase a puppy. In either case, should he not understand the breed, he must not be led away by specious advertisements, but place himself in the hands of a breeder of repute – of whom there are many – and pay a fair price, and he will, in all probability, get fair value for his money. Especially does this advice hold good in the case of a young puppy (the purchase of which must always be more or less a lottery), for the following reason. Breeders cannot keep all their young stock, so that some must be sold, and a cast-off from a strain that has for years been carefully bred for certain points is far more likely to turn out a good dog than one the dam of which has been mated “haphazard.” Not only this, but the best kennels own the best bitches, and breed from them, and the dam is quite as important a factor as the sire. As regards price, a good puppy, when ready to leave the dam, should be had from Â£5 to Â£10, according to merit and parentage; one offered at a lesser price should be looked on with suspicion. Taking into consideration the value of the breeding stock, the risk to the dam, the cost of extra food, both for the dam while in whelp and the pups in the nest – for pups are, or should be, fed from three weeks of age – it stands to reason that no breeder can afford to sell a promising puppy under the figure mentioned.
As regards choosing a puppy, the writer would always recommend the intending purchaser, when feasible, to go and see the whole litter. He can then compare the pup with its brethren as regards head, bone, coat and other points, and the puppy will be seen to better advantage than if hauled out of a box or hamper after a long journey, to find itself amidst strange faces and surroundings.
Length of head, well filled up before the eyes, big bone, small ears, dark eyes and straight legs are the points to be chiefly looked for, or as many of these qualities as can be found combined in one individual. A long tail usually indicates ultimate large size. Coat is a minor matter; if both parents possess good coats the pups will, in all probability, inherit. If the parents fail in coat, then, no matter how good the “puppy coat,” once this is cast, the adult coat will most likely be poor.
Having got the puppy home, the first question is accomodation. It may be brought up indoors, or in a loose-box (which makes a capital puppy house), or it may be kept in a kennel with a railed-in run. Never chain up a Borzoi pup – or even an adult dog – if it can possibly be helped; not only is it cruelty, but the puppy would soon be ruined. If, therefore, you cannot allow the pup full liberty, at least during the day, the best thing to do is to try another breed.
The next question is food. A puppy up to four months old should be fed five or six times a day; lean meat minced fine, raw or cooked, stale bread and rice are suitable – in fact the greater the variety the better. At five months the number of feeds may be reduced, until, at six months, only three are necessary. Milk is most valuable, and should be given freely. At about four or five months of age, the puppy must be taught to go on a collar and lead.
Borzoi pups are a mass of nerves, and require very gentle treatment. If you can persuade the pupil that the collar and lead are merely accessories to a good game, probably he will take to them immediately, but once frighten him, and it requires hours of patient labour to induce him to follow.
The pups should be dosed for internal parasites when about eight weeks old, for which purpose the writer has found no worm medicine to equal “Ruby.” It can be safely given to Borzoi pups of seven weeks if necessary; in fact, all the writer’s puppies are dosed at that age, and he has never known “Ruby” to cause any ill effects.
As regards the height of puppies, the average height only can be given, and may be exceeded in some cases, or the contrary.
Three months old, 19 in. at shoulder,
Six months old, 25 in. at shoulder,
Nine months old, 27 to 29 in.
After nine months the growth is, as a rule, slow, continuing in some instances to 18 months. A Borzoi continues to fill out in girth, etc., up to two years, and may be considered in its prime at three to four years of age.
Borzois, as a rule, make excellent mothers, experiencing little difficulty in whelping. The litters vary from two to a dozen or more, but five pups are enough for the average bitch to rear; six may be allowed if she is a big, strong bitch. It is better to consign the remainder to the bucket, or to procure a foster-mother if the litter is very valuable. The first few weeks of a puppy’s life are all important, and it is wiser, by far, to sacrifice two or three pups for the benefit of the remainder, which thereby get a greater share of the dam’s milk. At the age of three weeks the puppies should be taught to lap, thus avoiding too great a strain on the dam’s system.
With regard to the all-important question of the sire, the writer would impress on the would-be breeder the maxim that “like breeds like,” and if you want to breed high-class stock you must use the best material available. Breeding from inferior dogs in order to save a sovereign or two on the stud fee is economy of the worst description. Fourth-rate pups cost as much to rear in time, trouble and food as first-rate ones; and when reared there is no sale for them: whereas pups by a well-known dog will always command a market. For the same reason breeding from a really inferior bitch is not to be recommended, because, however good the stud dog, he cannot counteract any excessively bad faults. Still, a bitch of good pedigree, perhaps not quite up to show form, can often be purchased for from Â£10 to Â£15 and even less, and mated to the best dog, the pedigree of which is suitable, should ensure a litter of likely winners.
Borzois, whether pups or adults, require only the same treatment as other large breeds. They can stand a great amount of cold, provided their quarters are dry; in fact, the colder the weather the more they seem to enjoy it. The writer’s hounds are kept in cold kennels, with open doors, the whole year round. Damp, of course, must be avoided. Rugs are unnecessary for this breed, except, perhaps, when travelling at night in winter, after leaving a show, where the building has been heated.
With regard to the preparation for showing, a Borzoi should be brushed regularly and the feathering combed out to prevent it matting. If this is done no further preparation for exhibition will be required, except a bath a day or two previous to the show. Rain-water, if procurable, tends to soften the coat – a little liquid ammonia in the water helps to remove dirt and grease. Borzois should not be shown too fat, as it spoils their symmetry of outline. It is one of the great advantages of the breed that the novice can show on equal terms with the old hand, without having first to serve a long apprenticeship in “trimming.” Keep your dog in good, hard condition, and show him clean – no one can do more.
The interests of the breed are well looked after by the Borzoi Club. It was founded on March 29th, 1892, with the Duke and Duchess of Newcastle as joint Presidents, by some dozen or so ardent fanciers of the breed, many of whose names are household words in the canine world, including G. R. Krehl, Sir Everett Millais – then Mr. Millais – Freeman Lloyd, W. E. Allcock, Colonel North and W. R. Hood Wright. At the present time the club consists of some 70 members, from whom a committee of 12 is elected annually. The income of the club is entirely devoted to guaranteeing classes and to offering medals and cash specials for competition among its members. The Hon. Secretary will at times be pleased to furnish full particulars to any lady or gentlman desirous of joining.*
Taken as a whole, it can safely be said that the breed has made good progress towards the desired type – as exemplified by Boldareff’s Russian team – in recent years. Fewer of the apple-headed specimens, with pronounced stop, are seen, and more of the “triangular” heads. The writer fears we are, to some extent, losing the former beautiful, silky texture of coat; and quantity is by some sacrificed to size. He has also noticed a tendency, in trying to improve the feet, to run to the other extreme, and breed the Borzoi “cat-footed.” However, Rome was not built in a day, and the writer can only suggest that, with the above-mentioned team for a model, breeders should “peg away” until they produce the perfect – or almost perfect – Borzoi.
*Originally 28 and 26 ins.; altered at the general meeting of the club, February 1905. The Russian Wolfhound Club of America gives the following definition of height, which is, in the writer’s opinion, preferable. Dogs, average height at shoulder, from 28 to 31 ins. Larger dogs are often seen, extra size being no disadvantage when not acquired at the expense of symmetry, speed and staying power.
A Croxton Smith was a Member of the UK Kennel Club and a journalist. He published several books including "Tail Wagged" in 1931. The Borzoi was illustrated by a photograph of Ernest Guy's dog Booklaw:
" THE BORZOI
Here we have the wolfdog of the Czars and sporting nobles of pre-revolutionary Russia. Great kennels were kept and the hunting was conducted with fitting pomp and ceremony. The usual method was to station men round a wood, each of whom had two or three borzois in leash. As the quarry was drawn out of covert by hounds, the borzois closest to him were slipped, and if they were fast enough the wolf was seized by the ear, thrown to the ground and held until the arrival of the huntsmen. He is the tallest of the greyhound family, with the exception of Irish Wolfhounds, and he is built on most graceful lines. The body is long, nicely arched in the back; the ribs very deep; chest rather narrow; shoulders clean and sloping well back. The thighs are long and well developed; stifles and hocks well bent. The forelegs are clean and straight, having bone of fine quality, that is to say, it is flat. The head is unusually long and lean, and inclined to be Roman-nosed; the jaws very powerful; ears small and fine; dark eyes. The coat, long and silky, may be flat, wavy or curly."
I am publishing this article in The Borzoi Encyclopedia to encourage better understanding of the function of a Borzoi and its development as a breed. It is for all to enjoy reading but no part of my contributions to The Borzoi Encyclopedia may be copied, downloaded, printed or used in any way without my prior express written consent.
Irma Sayerhoff was a white and lightly sabled fawn bitch bred in England by J. Morley and owned by Edgar Sayer of what was to become Reyas kennel. She was whelped January 20, 1933, sired by Ernest Guy’s Felstead, out of Beauty of Ellemore. Irma had four litters from 1938 through 1943, a grand feat considering the wartime effort. The line went on for a generation or two, mostly through Reyas and Rydens breedings.
This iconic image is of Miss Elizabeth (Betty) Vlasto and her Borzoi Tzigan Tiranka. Born in 1906 the daughter of Anthony Alexander Vlasto following her marriage to David Carnegie, 11th Earl of Northesk on 7 August 1929 Miss Vlasto was styled The Countess of Northesk. The Vlastos were a prominent Greek business family resident in London, UK. A further photographic image is held in the National Portrait Gallery, London.
With grateful thanks to Noel Patterson for identifying this image.
I am publishing these articles in The Borzoi Encyclopedia to encourage better understanding of the function of the Borzoi and its development as a breed. They are for all to enjoy reading but no part of my contributions to The Borzoi Encyclopedia may be copied, downloaded, printed or used in any way without my prior express written consent.
Bransgor kennels of Mrs. E. L. Gingold from The Book of Dogs by Stanley West.
"Here is a Borzoi, to walk, proudly and delicately as yourself, across velvet lawns at the hem of your trailing satins, and whose fidelity, moreover, will but increase as your mirror grows less and less courteous."
Jerrold Vassall Adams wrote in the introduction to the book.
The name of Bransgore is from a village in Hampshire, UK the county in which Mr and Mrs Gingold lived for a time. This was adopted by Mrs Gingold as her affix.
In the section on Borzoi of this publication the photographs are incorrectly named. These have been amended in the feature below:-
Ch. Ballerina of Bransgore
"This is one of the most attractive of all breeds, and whilst it may claim to be a relation of the Greyhound its type is certainly more beautiful. In the days before the Great War the Borzoi was world famous for its skill in the favourite Russian sport of wolf-hunting, rather a dangerous pastime, in which a pair of dogs were trained to chase and seize an individual wolf, the object being to grip the wolf by each ear and bring it down, keeping it there until the hunter arrived.
The Russian Imperial Court and many grand-dukes had numerous dogs in their kennels, and the famous "Bransgore" strain now bred in this country are from the original Russian stock.
This breed has been favoured by our own Royal family, both Their Majesties Queen Victoria and Queen Alexandra having kept them. At the present time it is one of the most popular exhibits at the larger dog shows."
Bransgore Mona Lisa
Brynzga of Bransgore
Brussiloff of Bransgore
I am publishing this article in The Borzoi Encyclopedia to encourage better understanding of the function of a Borzoi and its development as a breed. It is for all to enjoy reading but no part of my contributions to The Borzoi Encyclopedia may be copied, downloaded, printed or used in any way without my prior express written consent.
Annual Dog show on Pencester Gardens organised by the Dover Brotherhood and Sisterhood. Lady Anne Davenport presenting the ‘Davenport Cup’ for the best dog in show to Mrs C.A. Jenkins of Folkestone. Left to right, Mr A. Maxfield (Judge), Sir Henry Davenport (1866-1941), Mrs Jenkins, Lady Anne and Mrs Llewellyn Langley. The Winning dog was a black and white Borzoi, name not given. 1937, England
[first published in “Hark to the Hounds”, National Geographic, October 1937]
The Borzoi, or Russian Wolfhound, is not only a hound of great distinction in appearance, but one of the oldest, most carefully purebred of all the European varieties.
Long the pride of Russian rulers, nobles and their ladies, the Borzoi during Imperial times was maintained chiefly for sport coursing the hare, the fox and particularly the wolf. While one dog could easily cope with a fox, at least two strong Borzois were usually needed to hold a wolf by the neck until the chasseur could arrive and deftly muzzle or kill the beast.
About seventy years ago, the then Tsar of Russia presented the Prince of Wales [later Edward VII] with a brace of his favorite hounds, Molodetz and Owdalska [sic], and these were exhibited at English shows.
In 1892, when a highly representative aggregation was exhibited at Crufts show in the Royal Agricultural Hall, London, most of the Borzois were the property of the Grand Duke Nicholas. Others owned by the Tsar included a lovely bitch called Laska and two dogs, Oudar and Blitzray [sic]. Oudar stood 30-1/2 inches at the shoulder and weighed about 105 pounds.
Oudar and Lasca were sold for 200 pounds [$1,000] each and the then Lord Mayor of London was presented with another handsome speciman.The Duchess of Newcastle purchased some of the Russian exhibits and then added to an already strong kennel of Borzois, provided the leading aggregation of these hounds in Britain, and produced specimens of great size and excellence.
In 1895, when the Princess of Wales was presented with the Borzoi Alex from the Tsar’s kennel, the already rising popularity of the Borzoi was greatly enhanced.In that same year – 1895 – the Borzoi Club of England was formed at the Albemarle Hotel, Piccadilly, London. The late Duke of Newcastle presided, and to celebrate the event, a prize Borzoi belonging to the Duchess was “christened” with a magnum of champagne. This writer was elected a member of the club’s executive committee.
Many of the finest Russian dogs were imported to America, and some outstanding specimens have been exhibited here. Recently the American Kennel Club changed the breed name from Russian Wolfhound to Borzoi, the classification long ago adopted by the Kennel Club of England. “I am glad to see English sporting papers adopting the Russian name for this breed,” Prince Obelenski wrote. “For the word itself [borzoi, masc., borzaya, fem.] means swift and hot-tempered; and though poets sometimes apply the expression to a high spirited steed, it is, with this exception, applied to greyhounds only. For this reason, the English Greyhound is called in Russia ‘Angliiskaya Borzaya’, or English Borzoi”.
The general appearance, height and elegance of the Borzoi at once command attention. He appears the embodiment of speed and strength, and the silkiness and brilliancy of the profuse coat attract lovers of the beautiful. So it is that he is looked upon not only as a sporting dog, but as an elegant companion or lady’s dog.
The color ought to be white, with blue, gray or fawn markings of different shades, the latter sometimes deep orange, approaching red. Whole colors for show purposes are unsatisfactory. Height, males from 29 inches upwards, females from 27 inches.
[Editor’s note: this essay contains a few misspelled names which I have left to honor the integrity of the article]
Very graceful, aristocratic and elegant, combining courage, muscular power and great speed.
HEAD AND SKULL
Head long and lean; well filled in below the eyes. Measurement equal from the occiput to the inner corner of the eye, and from the inner corner of the eye to tip of nose. Skull very slightly domed and narrow, stop not perceptible, inclining to Roman nose. Head so fine that the direction of the bones and principal veins can be clearly seen. Bitches’ heads should be finer than dogs’. Jaws long, deep and powerful; nose large and black, not pink or brown, nicely rounded, neither cornered nor sharp. Viewed from above should look narrow, converging very gradually to tip of nose.
Dark, intelligent, alert and keen. Almond shaped, set obliquely, placed well back but not too far apart. Eye rims dark. Eyes should not be light, round or staring.
Small and fine in quality; not too far apart. They should be active and responsive; when alert can be erect; when in repose nearly touching at the occiput.
Teeth even, neither pig-jawed nor undershot.
Clean, slightly arched; reasonably long; powerful. Well set on, free from throatiness. Flat at the sides, not round.
Shoulders clean, sloping well back, fine at withers, free from lumpiness. Forelegs lean and straight. Seen from the front, narrow, like blades, from the side, wide at shoulder, narrowing down to foot; elbows neither turned in nor out; pasterns strong, flexible and springy.
Chest, great depth of brisket, rather narrow. Ribs well sprung and flexible; neither flat sided nor barrel-shaped. Very deep, giving heart room and lung play, especially in the case of mature males. (It is from depth of chest rather than breadth that the Borzoi derives it’s heart room and lung play.) Back rising in a graceful arch from as near the shoulder as possible with a well-balanced fall-away. The arch to be more marked in dogs than bitches. Rather bony, muscular and free from any cavity. Muscles highly developed and well distributed.
Loins, broad and very powerful, with plenty of muscular development. Quarters should be wider than shoulders, ensuring stability of stance. Thighs long, muscular, stifles well bent, hocks broad, clean and well let down.
Front feet rather long, toes close together, well arched never flat, neither turning in nor out. Hind feet hare-like, i.e. longer and less arched.
Long, rather low set. Well feathered, carried low, not gaily. In action may be used as rudder, but not rising above the level of back. From hocks may be sickle shaped but not ringed.
Long and silky (never wooly), either flat, wavy or rather curly. Short and smooth on head, ears and front of legs, on neck and the frill profuse and rather curly, forelegs and chest well feathered, on hindquarters and tail feathering long and profuse.
In the opinion of the Club a dog should never be penalized for being self-coloured.
Height at shoulder: Dogs from 29 inches upwards, bitches from 27 inches upwards.
Short neck, coarse and big ears. “Dish Faced”, coarse head, light or rounded eyes, straight shoulders, flat back, arch starting too far back, too narrow in front. Round bone, straight hocks, weak quarters coarse coat, splay footed, too close behind, also lack of quality and lack of condition.
Points decided on at the Club’s General Meeting in 1922.
Head complete (eyes and ears included) ………………………… 15
Neck …………………………………………………………………… 10
Shoulders and chest ………………………………………………… 15
Ribs, back and loins ……………………………………………………15
Hindquarters, stifles and hocks ……………………………………….15
Ch Zomahli Chernilla born 1958 by Zeraph of Carradale x Ch Zavist of Carradale. This advert from Crufts catalogue 1962. After that, the painting of him was used in the ad for several years. Chernilla was a top winner in the UK.
Copy from Borzoi Past/FB: <<International, English, American, Bermudian, Mexican, Canadian Ch. Zomahli Evolgo was an irish spotted tri dog bred in England by Lilli Pearson and Keith Prior of Zomahli kennel, whelped March 21, 1963.
My introduction to the breed came in 1965, when I was still at school and hoping to become a veterinary surgeon. I arranged some work experience at a local veterinary practice and it turned out that this was owned by Betty Murray of the Fortrouge Borzois.I very soon fell in love with the breed.
After I qualified as a vet, in 1971 I acquired two dogs from Miss Murray and a bitch from Richard Duckworth (Sholwood) and bred a couple of litters. Various problems caused me to look for a new foundation bitch and in 1978 I purchased Stonebar Reflection (Lara) from Gina Rose. All my subsequent stock is descended from her.
Lara was by Ch. Stonebar Nikolenka ex Francehill Full Hand. She became my first Champion and also won her Junior Warrant, a points award which was quite hard to achieve at that time. She produced two litters, both outcrosses. The first was sired by Ch. Greenhaven Barrie, a son of Ch. Keepers The Baron whose sire was the Russian import Boran. I kept a male, Byron, who was a very dominant dog of great character. He did a great deal of winning but sadly just missed his title, ending up with 2 CCs, both with BOB, a hound group 2, 4 reserve CCs and his Junior Warrant. He won his second CC aged 9½ years and was also a successful stud dog. Lara’s second litter was sired by Ch. Olias Tangerine Dream (Ch. Dimland Petya ex Ch. Colhugh Collette of Olias). Another male was retained, Topaz, and he also completed his Junior Warrant and won a reserve CC. His sister Tosca went back to the Stonebar kennel.
I had plans to breed Lara for a third time, to Ch Waycross Rockafella of Zackaville. This would have been a line breeding as his dam Ch. Waycross Roksana ( a Crufts hound group winner) was a full sister to Lara’s sire Nikolenka. Sadly only a dead litter resulted and shortly afterwards Lara succumbed to kidney failure. I was then left with just two males, but luckily Gina allowed me to have Tosca back and I mated her to Rockafella. Just two puppies arrived by Caesarean, and I kept another male, Rhett, who again won his Junior Warrant and became a successful stud dog.
Gina and I had long planned to linebreed Tosca to Ch. Stonebar Sebastian, whose dam was Lara’s full sister, but sadly the pair had other ideas. On the spur of the moment I mated Tosca to Byron instead. This was a half brother/sister mating doubling up on Lara. Four bitches were born and my pick was Laura, a wonderful character so like her sire. When she was 10 months old, I made a big mistake by selling her to Ann Tomlinson of the Yadasar kennel. I went on to mate Tosca to a Sebastian son, Ch. Rae Rembrandt, and this mating produced my second champion, Czardas.
Meanwhile Laura completed her Junior Warrant and won a reserve CC for the Yadasar kennel, then produced a litter of six sired by Olias King Crimson of Stonebar, another Sebastian son. Orlando, Odette and Oprah all gained their titles and Odell won a CC. Orlando became the first champion for Sue and Gary Peskett (Labinska). Sadly he died young and was only used twice at stud, but mated to Lorraine Marchant’s Ch. Olias Miesque at Starborough he produced the famous Ch. Starborough Gorse at Redbanner, owned by Julie Stevens-Smith. Odell became the foundation bitch for the Aberglyn kennel of Alma and Don Braybrook and Oprah became the first champion for Gay Slater of the Russkaya kennel, but sadly she was never bred from.
Odette came back to me and when she was 7 months old, I had the most enormous stroke of luck when Ann Tomlinson allowed me to have Laura back. She gained her title aged 6 years in 1994 to become my third champion and Odette completed her title aged 7 years in 1997, having also gained her Junior Warrant.
In 1992 Laura and Odette had litters within six days of each other, the only time I have ever had two litters together. Laura was outcrossed to the self brindle Ch. Sholwood Striking Midnight at Datcha, bred by Richard Duckworth and owned by Ingrid Knieschke. This dog was a grandson of Richard’s imported bitch, Ch. & Am. Ch. Stillwater Virginia Reel, and I had long been an admirer of these American bloodlines. From this litter I kept an exquisite self red bitch who became Ch. Maeve, one of the best I have produced. Sadly she did not enjoy showing so was another who did not complete her title until 7 years of age, winning 9 reserve CCs en route! I never coursed her competitively but she was death to any small animal which appeared on our ground. Also successful from this litter was Minstrel who won a CC and 4 reserves. Marya, who went to the Stonebar kennel, was only shown four times but won a reserve CC and produced four litters for Gina. Maestro was exported to the Nonsuch kennel owned by the Dumke twins in the USA, and sired several champions, but sadly he died fairly young before completing his title.
Odette was linebred to Czardas and my pick was Orion. He had a good show career winning a CC and 5 reserves, but sadly his title eluded him. He had no interest in bitches, but his litter sister Odessa had been sold to the Jolanda kennel owned by Julia Clarke, and she was mated to Sue Carter’s Ch. Rothesby Saker. This dog was another grandson of Virginia Reel and I had planned to use him on Odette, but decided to buy a male from Julia’s litter instead. This pup turned out to be a wise purchase as he became Ch. Jolanda Ivanhoe of R. J.W., my sixth champion. He also achieved two hound group 2 placings and was a successful stud dog, with champion progeny to his credit.
Gina Rose brought Marya to Ivanhoe for her first litter. This mating doubled up on both Laura and the American Stillwater lines. I acquired a white/brindle bitch, Stonebar Simone of R., winner of 1 CC, a reserve CC and her Junior Warrant.
I next mated Maeve to her nephew, Laura’s grandson Ch. Starborough Gorse at Redbanner. This was successful at the second attempt and I kept a bitch, Giselle, another who gained her title late aged 7 years. Her brother Gideon was sold and made a promising start to his show career, but tragically he was killed by a Staffordshire bull terrier when only 16 months old.
Partly because of this sad accident, I repeated the mating, the first time I have ever done this. It was a disaster. Initially all seemed well, although the eight pups were slow to gain weight and we began to supplement some of them. Maeve appeared perfectly well for eight days and then suddenly collapsed and died of toxic shock. We did manage to rear the litter successfully and I kept a self red bitch, Eve, but she was only lightly shown and never bred from.
Next in the whelping box was Giselle. She was linebred to Ivanhoe, and I kept two pups. Imogen won her first CC aged 19 months, then took 6 reserves before completing her title just before her sixth birthday. Igor was a big dog who made a promising start to his show career, but was then hampered by injury and illness.
My failure to obtain any pups from Ivanhoe’s other daughter Simone was a big disappointment. I therefore took advantage of the introduction of the Pet Passport scheme to import Rassim’s Diaghilev at Ryazan, ex Simone’s litter sister Ger. Ch. Stonebar Sancara, owned by Volker and Marina Niekamp. His sire was Am. Ch. Teine Windmaster of Foxwood, so in this way a new American line was introduced into this country. Diaghilev won 2 CCs and 2 reserves before his show career was cut short by injury. Like his parents he was an excellent lure courser, which reawakened my interest in this sport.
Some months before Diaghilev’s arrival, Giselle was mated to Sue Carter’s Ch. Rothesby Seahawk, going back again to the American Stillwater line. A litter of ten resulted and again I kept two. Heather turned out to be one of the best I have produced so far. She won 9 CCs with 6 BOBs and was Top Borzoi bitch in the UK in 2008. Haydn won 3 reserve CCs. Also successful from the litter were Hugo, with a CC and 4 reserves, and Hussar, a reserve CC winner.
I finally managed to get a litter from Imogen shortly after she gained her title. She was mated to Julie Stevens-Smith’s Ch. Redbanner Representative, which was a linebreeding on Ch. Starborough Gorse at Redbanner. Trying hard to keep numbers down, I only kept a dog and allowed the pick bitch Natasha to go to Dee Roth-Brown in partnership. Sadly the dog did not make the grade and on the day I decided he should go to a pet home, Dee offered to let me have Natasha back. This was the third time such luck had befallen me and needless to say I quickly accepted. Natasha settled in as though she had never been away. Now retired from the ring, she has 13 CCs with 5 BOBs and was Top Borzoi here in 2010 & 2011. She is another excellent lure courser and holds her Lure Courser of Merit title, only the third Borzoi to win this award and the first champion.
Next I bred a litter from Diaghilev and Heather, eight self reds! I kept a dog, Dante and his sister Danielle again went to Dee in partnership. Danielle has gained her title and Dante won couple of reserve CCs. Several others in the litter have been shown successfully, in England, Scotland, Denmark and Estonia.
Heather was then linebred to her nephew, Sue Carter’s Ch. Rothesby Sholwood Snow Hawk, a Crufts group winner. Just three dog puppies resulted when I was desperate for a bitch! The self gold Anton was retained and is enjoying a very successful show career. He won his first CC & BOB at Crufts 2013, aged just 2 years, with Natasha taking the bitch CC and her daughter Portia winning best puppy. Anton quickly completed his title and then repeated his Crufts win in 2014, taking the CC there again in 2016. He now has 12 CCs with 8 BOBs, a Group 3 and also 14 reserve CCs. In 2014 he was Top Borzoi and Ryazan was Top Breeder. His brother Andre has been very lightly shown by owner Christine Spencer but also gained his title, aged 7.
Natasha produced our P litter of eight to Sue Carter’s unshown import Borzowski’s Perfect Stranger. He is a mixture of American and Swedish bloodlines and is also a grandson of Ch. Rothesby Seahawk. Our Portia enjoyed a successful show career, winning a CC and a reserve before sustaining an injury. Palantroika sadly died young but had already taken a CC and a group place. Phoenix has won 2 CCs for owner Joyce Bell and Anthea Eardley's Perdita has 2 CCs and 5 reserves. Other siblings have been winning in Hungary and the Czech Republic.
Natasha and Anton were then mated to produce our J litter, from which Juliet has been retained. Both parents are sixth generation homebred in an unbroken line of a dual CC winning dog (Byron) followed by five champions. Juliet has now extended this champion line by another generation, gaining her title at just over 2 years old to become our youngest ever champion. Sister Julianna won the CC at Crufts in 2018 for owner Marilyn Dollan and now has a second CC and also a reserve. Their brother Joshua, owned by Julie and Graham Smith, is another CC and reserve CC winner.
Our next mating of Phoenix to Ch. Danielle produced just one puppy, Katalinka, owned in partnership with Dee Roth-Brown. Katalinka also gained her title at just over 2 years of age and then we sadly lost her following a gastric torsion, a great blow to our future breeding plans.
Juliet then took her turn in the whelping box to produce our F litter of ten, sired by Alma Abrahams' Hungarian import Ch. Go Go Bolshoi Sundance Kid to Jamarqui. Firestorm has been retained and is already a CC and reserve CC winner. Several of his siblings are also being shown successfully; to date two of his sisters are reserve CC winners.
Juliet was then mated to an import of Swedish/American breeding, Sue Pinkerton's Ch. Korsakov Radost Power of Love Menigma, and our V litter of thirteen puppies arrived! Five days later Portia produced just one live puppy, Quentin, again sired by Ch. Go Go Bolshoi Sundance Kid to Jamarqui. Verdi and Vogue are staying at Ryazan and will shortly be making their debut in the show ring, along with several of their litter mates and Quentin.
It is unlikely that any further litters will be bred here as age is finally taking its toll!
Harry Hawkin, the judge, with Jackie Bennett-Heard (Keepers) on the left, and Peggy Malone (Enolam) on the right.
I am publishing these articles in The Borzoi Encyclopedia to encourage better understanding of the function of the Borzoi and its development as a breed. They are for all to enjoy reading but no part of my contributions to The Borzoi Encyclopedia may be copied, downloaded, printed or used in any way without my prior express written consent.
English-bred Zomahli Istina was an irish marked tri color bitch whelped July 28, 1970. She was sired by Zomahli Gueroy and out of Zomahli Narida, making her linebred on the great Zomahli Chernila, of whom she seemed to bear a bit of a resemblance at least when comparing photographs. This bitch was bred twice to the same sire, producing her first litter in 1975 and the second in 1976.
This story is an example of what unlucky circumstances can do to people, their borzoi and even affect the whole breed. It is not published here to point fingers at one unfortunate person but to make us all aware of what can happen. Borzoi clubs and friends should be the first to see signs of illness or a beginning dementia and try to help avoid things go as far as in the article below!
A 73-year-old dog breeder broke down and cried before magistrates yesterday when she was banned from keeping dogs, following the discovery of three underfed Borzois in her home.
Xx, pleaded not guilty before the magistrates to failing to give proper care and attention to three Borzoi dogs - Russian wolfhounds.
But the case was found proved and when she was disqualified she cried from the dock: "Please don't say that, please don't say that. Don't take my life away from me - I have nothing else to live for."
She was banned from keeping dogs for ten years and fined £10.
"I can't do without my dogs - if you take them away, there is only one thing to do and that is to finish myself."
Prosecuting, Mr A N told the court that Xx premises were visited by PC H W of and Inspector, Mr H B on December 11, 1972
Three dogs were later taken away and after examination by a veterinary surgeon had to be destroyed.
PC Webb said in evidence: "When we went in I saw the floor was wet and covered in excreta and urine. The place was indescribably filthy.''
In the living room, there were about 18 dogs lying on the floor, he said, and three Borzoi dogs on the settee. "They were in a pitiful state and hardly moved. They appeared to be in such poor condition that I doubt if they could have stood up - they were almost going rotten.
"I think if they had stayed on that settee they would have been dead within 24 hours - they were literally drying out."
"I told her the dogs had to be put down but I wasn't getting through to her," said Mr Beech, "all she kept saying was 'aren't my dogs beautiful and about how happy they were'."
The dogs - two bitches and a dog - were about six-months-old and had sores and fleas. One had rickets and weighed only 14 lbs, while another, which was only 19 lbs, had a pressure sore on its shoulder which exposed the bone.
The normal weight of such dogs, he said, would be around 45 lb. Their condition was caused by inadequate care and feeding, he told the court.
Xx said the dogs were not the type of breed that carried a lot of flesh in their early months. "They never did very well," she said. "I fed them on glucose and milk but had to spoon-feed them because they couldn't take any solid food.
"They did not appear to be suffering in any way. They were quite happy - they didn't make a single sound."
Mrs E C P, chairman of the bench said: "This has been a very hard decision for us to reach. We feel the time has come when you should not be allowed to keep dogs."
The Champion Dog Breeder
The future of Xx personal pets is uncertain but it seems likely that her 60 dogs will now be put under the care of kennel manager, Mr B M
As she sat at home stroking her three-year-old Borzoi Regal, she said: "I still can't believe it. I have had animals all my life - how can they take them away from me?"
Inspector Mr H B said he had known Xx for six years and she was well-respected in the dog world. She had shown at Crufts, bred seven champions and picked up gold and silver medals all over the country.
"This is the most disastrous case I have ever had the misfortune to be involved in," he said.
Xx has been breeding dogs for 50 years. She was born in C, N, the daughter of a well-known farmer, and soon learned how to look after cows, sheep - and especially dogs.
In 1923 she moved and the following year set up her own kennels. Over the years she has kept Golden Retrievers, Terriers, Labradors and her greatest love - Borzois.Sad story
This picture was given to me many years ago and I understand the actual skeleton is held by The Natural History Museum, London, UK.
I am publishing these articles in The Borzoi Encyclopedia to encourage better understanding of the function of the Borzoi and its development as a breed. They are for all to enjoy reading but no part of my contributions to The Borzoi Encyclopedia may be copied, downloaded, printed or used in any way without my prior express written consent.
This inteview was conducted in the home of Mr Reg A Bassett on July 25 1984 by O W Roamer-Horn
How and when did you get started in dogs?
I didn’t start in dogs, I was born in dogs. I can say that because my parents had a little holding which is a small farm. There were always dogs present, little working Spaniels, Whippets, or some such things. When I was in school, I bought my first, or at least my father bought my first Corgi.
That one was also a winner?
Oh yes, because the competition was always my main interest. I kept it for a year or so, then went into Collies. It was a reasonable success, but I always had a passion for the borzoi. Possibly because of the glamour about them and the way they move like they walk on air, that sort of thing. Anyway, I bought my first Borzoi, which was an elderly dog.
What year was this?
What was his name?
Lataband Alexi. He wasn’t shown at all, he was used at stud. The person who used him offered me a puppy, and I said “No, one dog is enough”. I was in business at the time and I didn’t have the time to devote to showing him – it was too time consuming. When the old dog died (Alexi) I went to see the people who had bred the litter. I said, “Do you still have the young dog?” and she said, “Yes are you interested in him?” I said that I was and explained how I had lost Alexi and wanted a puppy from him. I saw this dog and bought him, and then the show bug started again. I showed him with mediocre success. I got his championship on him.
What was his name?
Grand Manner of Colhugh, he is the most important dog in my life. I bought a bitch to go with him from Greenhaven kennels, Annika of Greenhaven. She was a very good brood bitch. The first litter produced from them was a litter of nine and I kept two of them; both became champions, Alexi and Tina of Colhugh. Another puppy I sold, Galina, was also an English champion. Two more litters later there were two more champions, Valla and Mia in one litter and Ch Sarclash and Sadko of Colhugh in another. That was their main claim to fame. I kept Tina and Alexi. I sold Alexi when he was a champion to someone in South Africa. From the progeny of this dog, a few years later I bought Ch Wellthornes Tilosky who was nine months old. He was the top dog in England for two years running; he was a great dog. He produced a lot of winners, not only for me but for other people as well. I sold him to Mrs Roth in California, but he wasn’t used extensively after he made American Champion. His bloodline is combined with my own and he has produced a lot of super dogs. He was mated to Dimland Zerlina of Colhugh and produced Kohoutek for my nephew. I got him back and made him a champion. He wasn’t the most wonderful dog in himself but he produced a lot of winners. He was top stud dog for almost three years. He is the grandsire of the dog that took Best of Breed at Crufts and he is the father of Clangers, who is the breed record holder now. Also, quite a number of champions, both here and abroad, including Clangers' litter brother, who is a World Champion and Chomsky, who is a dear dog in America, whether he is alive, I don’t know.
Have you sold many dogs aboad?
Yes quite a number!
Where does your kennel name come from?
I was born in Wales, and it’s the name of the seafront area – Colhugh. (Named after the Colhugh river that runs down the valley at Llantwit major in South Wales - G Hill).
You just mentioned some dogs which became important for you. Would you say the first was the most important?
The second one, his son.
He put you on the map?
Yes, Grand Manner, he was my first champion in the breed. He was the important one and he produced a lot of stock for me. He was a personality himself because when I took him over he was quite an aggressive type of dog, but with a lot of love and affection, he became the reverse. He was everybody’s friend and every other dog’s friend.
What year did you have your first litter?
Could you say offhand how many litters you’ve had since then?
Tell us a little bit about how you keep your dogs, are they in the house or in the kennel building?
They are outside. They have individual type kennels, although there are four runs out here. Each run has decent kennel accommodations and most of the dogs aren’t separated, they are in communities. The show dogs are kept, dogs and bitches, except the old age pensioners. Three or four males are kept together; I wont stand for aggression and I don’t have it.
How do you raise your litters, do you have special program?
Good food is the most important thing.
What do you feed?
Basically meat. I would say about 70% meat biscuits and a lot of goats milk and egg mix.
You have chickens which produce eggs?
Yes, and goats for the milk. The dogs use a lot of goat’s milk, they get for their entire lives.
Do you do any special socializing?
Yes, for about seven or eight months we have been living here on the main road. I take them down the walk and down the drive. That plus the gallop on the paddock next door is all the puppies get. They run and play together. I never bring just one puppy up here, it’s always two, so they can play together. When they are about eight months, I start them in training classes, which is what we call them in this country. One or two nights a week there are training classes for show training. When I first take them they just sit down to get the atmosphere, and then after they have been there a few times and you find that they are ok, they take note of what is going on, I take them out and go through the motions, but never make them do anything. I just encourage them, if they don’t want to move, I don’t push them. Invariably they will want to get up after a few times, which is satisfying because if you try to make a borzoi do something, they just become a zombie. They are just like a dead dog. It usually works, but there are dogs where it doesn’t work at all.
As I look around here, I see some wonderful ribbons and certificates, statues and photos. How many champions have you bred?
I have bred 19
All your kennel name?
Yes, all Colhugh
You exported abroad from these dogs?
A lot, I couldn’t count how many champions there are elsewhere. There are a few in America, on the continent, New Zealand and one in Australia.
How many adults do you usually have at one time?
Maybe ten or a dozen, not including puppies. I try not to have a lot of puppies, maybe one litter a year. You have to accept the responsibilities of the puppies that you bring into the world.
You have to find good homes for them?
How do you feel about culling? Say, maybe you have a big litter of about 10 or 12, would you evaluate?
No, I don’t think you can evaluate a puppy in the first day or so. I have been sadly mistaken many times about a puppy that I thought would be just pet quality. If I had been culling, I would have put it down. Sarclash is a prime example, she was a very small puppy and that would have been one that I would have inclined. I thought I would keep her as a pet, but she turned out to be a champion, and bred me a champion also.
So it is better to be the opposite. At least you didn't think she was show quality and turned out to be a pet.
Yes, because she was a pet
She wasn’t a big bitch, but she was a very sound bitch and she had personality plus.
At what age do you evaluate your pick of the litter?
When they are about a year old. I usually don’t keep just one puppy, as I said, I keep three or four. Then when they are about a year old I decide. Sometimes you keep a puppy just because he has the personality and then it turns out to be quite decent. It is sheer luck.
What would you do if someone came in with a mediocre bitch and wanted to breed from her to your chamion dog?
She could be a mediocre bitch, but she might have a good pedigree. I might if she had some good dogs behind her,
Do you believe in linebreeding?
Do you ever do outcrossing?
Yes, but not as a common practice. You can inbreed too much or linebreed too much. About every seven years you need new blood. l brought in Tilosky first, then I brought in a Zomahli dog, who was linebred. Zomahli was the top kennel. Lilli Pearson and Keith Prior were in partnership, they produced the Zomahli dogs. Then Lilly died and Keith Prior went to Australia. I bought a puppy from him because I knew he linebred, although it was a completely different line than mine. I went and saw the puppies and bought one; he was nine weeks old. He was the top winning dog in this country last year and so far this year. He was shown on Saturday in Blackpool and got Best of Breed.
Have you ever refused to service a bich?
For what reason?
There were a lot of reasons, There are some people who come that just want to produce a litter of puppies and then want to cash in on using a top stud dog, whether the bitch is suitable or not, or whether they are people suited to the breed. You see so many litters produced for financial gain, and to me the borzoi is not that way at all.
Are you breeding for quality?
Quality is most essential. There is always room for improvement.
When we talk about “quality”, we must also have to talk about faults. When you have a dog with a serious fault, would you breed it if you thought there was anything outstanding in the dog?
Not if it is a serious fault. There are so many degrees of fault. If it were something very serious I would definitelöy not. I would probably have her spayed and find a suitable home for her.
What would be a serious fault?
That’s difficult to put into words. Something like a bad mouth
Lot of missing teeth; or only overshot or undershot?
I wouldn’t consider a few missing teeth, not lots, but a few as a serious fault because there are so many other things that are so much worse, such as narrow fronts, wry mouths, big bold eyes, thick heads and bad movers.
The dog still has to be functional?
Yes, 100% and I don’t think one or two missing teeth will stop the function of a borzoi, but a bad mouth certainly will.
Do you have different prices for show puppies and pet puppies? What do you usually charge?
If it is a really good puppy, I would say about 150£ to 200£. Less than half of that for a pet quality.
What would you say is a fair price for a stud fee?
I charge what I wouldn’t mind paying myself. For Clangers, who is the record holder now, his stud fee is 125£. He is still used for stud, even though he is an old dog. His latest litter had only three but they were three nice puppies. There is one that I hope to get back.
Could you mention some dogs that really impressed you over the years, either your own dogs or dogs that you saw somewhere else?
Obviously the previous record holder, Ch Zomahli Chernila.
You were really keen on him?
He was a nice dog, yes. Then Mrs McNeil, who is long since dead, she had Barnaigh Vorenoff Bielko. He was a very nice dog. Mrs Jackie Bennet-Heard had some very nice dogs from the Keepers kennel that also is no more. The dog that I particularly like is The Baron. Miss Murray had a very nice bitch, Ch Zest of Fortrouge.
Can you describe your ideal dog?
No, I can’t because if I see something and it’s balanced, that is the most important thing to me. When you see it, and it moves, it floats over the ground.
It must catch your eye.
So, you are not a detail lover?
No, it wouldn’t be just the detail, You have to see the dog overall, especially our breed.
How do you feel about temperament in the borzoi?
It’s essential. The borzoi is too big a breed to have aggressive temperament. I don’t like a shy dog, but most borzoi can be very aloof.
Aggressiveness would be a serious fault?
The worst fault. They can do so much damage, particularly to a child. It is all right if they are sociable to you, but if you are taking them to a show you have to have temperament. I don’t mind a dog that is slightly reserved, but as far as to the other extreme, when it is aggressive and will pounce on another dog or human being I wouldn’t entertain that at all.
Do you think the standard is a good one, or would you like to have it changed in some way?
The present standard is under revision and the Borzoi Club committee has spent a lot of hours discussing it. It will be quite a good one.
You have been in the breed since the 60’s, so you can look back twenty years at it. Has it improved, or do today’s Borzoi lack something.
The breed always lacks something because you always try to improve it, at least I feel I am, Whether I achieve it or not is another thing. On the whole, we have better dogs than we had twenty years asgo, but there is still a lot to be desired.
How do you see the future of the borzoi?
Do you judge abroad? What can you say about the borzoi in other countries?
I have judged in South Africa and in America. The Nothern Borzoi Speciality in California had quite a number of dogs under me. I would say that the presentation in America is far better than in England. I like to present my dogs and I think I could learn a lot from America, which I did try.
What did you like so much about American presentation?
The coats particularly. I wouldn’t say the dogs, themselves, are in the condition of the English dogs, in respect to the fact that they maybe it is hotter and they don’t get so much exercise as ours do. Their condition isn’t quite as hard, but the coats are superb.
What about the handling?
They are overhandled in America. That sounds witchy, I know, but I don’t like to see a dog strung up. I find that most handlers have the dogs leading one hand and the doggy is strung up. To me the dog should be shown on a slack lead and you can see more of the dogs natural outline, and especially on the move, some dogs front feet are not allowed to touch the ground, they just tiptoe along, whereas I would like to see them move on a loose lead and you could see the faults when they are loose in front or whatever else they might be doing. I like to see what it will do naturally; you see that over here.
Do you feel they are presented too fast?
Sometimes, but I ask people to walk slowly or whatever they want to, on a loose lead. I didn’t always get it. I suppose it is what you are used to doing. America is much more professional with their dogs than we are.
Do you think the judging is fair?
Do you advertise your own dogs in magazines?
Very rarely, even in the annuals I don’t advertise much,
Do you think advertising will help a dog become a champion quicker?
No, the dogs speak for themselves. I don’t believe in campaigning a dog in photographs.
A dog can look totally different in his natural state as opposed to a photo.
A photo can be flattering, can’t it.
Or can be pleasing.
Yes that’s one word for it.
Tell us a little about yourself. You live here, you have a lot of pets around you, you have a little Yorkshire which you rescued, so animals play a great part in your life?
The animals are my life, without a doubt. Without animals I wouldn’t be mobile. I have physical disabilities. The dogs keep me going, without them I would probably pack. I also have cats, and quite a number of goats.
Do you show them too?
I show cats, but not too much.
When you look back over the years that you are in dogs and in pets, would you like to do it over again, do you think it is worth it?
Without a doubt, yes. Because of the friends you meet and the social aspect of showing. It is worth it. You can’t buy that sort of thing. You meet a lot of friends and they are your friends for life.
What would you say to one just starting out?
Study the breed first.
Go to shows and talk to people?
Yes, study the dogs themselves to get an idea of their temperament, because a borzoi is different from any other dog. You can’t push them into anything, you have to lead them and coach them. You have to convince them they are doing the right thing your way. I don’t think everybody is suited to the borzoi. If you have a strong personality, you want something like a German Shepherd or a Doberman, who need a strong handling, but not a borzoi. They respond a lot better to love and affection than to strong commands.
Is there anything that you’d like to add, anything you’d like to say to the borzoi world here and abroad?
It was great talking to you. I thank you very much for giving us your opinion.
It was my opinion, not a lot of people would agree.
This article was supplied by Lorraine Harvey.
Copyright, the Borzoi Quarterly, Don Hoflin, deceased. Referance: Lyn Snyder Hoflin.
This article is published on behalf of Julie Sutton (Trancas), a long standing friend of the Late Julie Stevens Smith, and is for all to enjoy reading but no part of Julie Sutton's contributions to The Borzoi Encyclopedia may be copied, downloaded, printed or used in any way without her prior express written consent.
Photograph of Julie Stevens Smith with her Vronsky Ice Maiden at Redbanner, bred by Rose Marie Downes, and Olias Lanson at Redbanner, bred by Joan Mabey.
The two Julies first met in 1984 through a mutual interest in the breed, soon became firm friends, and, together with their respective spouses, enjoyed an active social life.
The Borzoi Quarterly Talks With Miss Betty Murray FORTROUGE BORZOI Devon, Great Britain
This interview was conducted at the home of Miss B. Murray on July 26, 1984 by 0. W. Roemer-Horn.
How did you get started in dogs and, especially, in Borzoi?
I never remember being without a dog. When I was born my mother had a little Smooth Fox Terrier called "Boy." She had bought it in a famous street market, called Seven Dials, for five shillings and taken him out to Canada with her in 1902. Some ten years later, Boy was getting too old to appreciate the attentions of a young child so I was given my own dog, a Husky called Peter. It was intended to have been trained as a sledge dog when he was old enough, but alas he died as a result of an accident. However, as we left Canada in 1916, I would have had to have parted with him anyway. My father was in France and we spent the next three years living in various places in "digs," where any form of livestock would have been excluded.
Then we went to live in Ireland. For the next seven years we were able to have dogs, cats, rabbits and horses on the farm where we lived. I bought a dog who appeared to be a Fox Terrier; I gave five shillings for him and gave him the name of "Boy." He grew and grew and grew and ended up looking like a docked Greyhound. He was very fast and, considering the handicap of his tailless condition, quite efficient. It was while I was a resident in Ireland that I decided to become a veterinary surgeon. Unfortunately, our time in Ireland ended with the death of my mother and we returned to Canada.
So you were born in Canada?
Yes, in Winnipeg. I lived there until 1916, returned in 1926, and finally came to England in 1928.
Could you tell us where your kennel name, Fortrouge, which is French, came from?
Winnipeg originally consisted of two forts, Fort Garry, held by the English, and Fort Rouge, which was held by the French, the two forts being situated on opposite sides of the Red River. As so many things are called Fort Garry, I decided to adopt Forte Rouge. The kennel club doesn't allow two words in a prefix, so I dropped the "E" and used the word "Fortrouge." I feared if I kept the "E" Imight find myself being called "Fortyrouge." I had originally wanted to have Keewatin, which means "land of the wind," which I had thought would be a suitable name for a Borzoi kennel, but it had already been given to someone else.
Where did you acquire your first Borzoi?
When I came over to London as a student to study at the Royal Veterinary College, I lived in "digs." I managed to get a small dog accepted. I bought a Cocker Spaniel, a grandson of the famous Ch. Invader of Ware, but it was not until I was qualified and set up in partnership with a friend that I was able to buy my first Borzoi. I was attracted to the breed because I thought that they had some of the sensitivity of the thoroughbred horse, their general appearance and the fact that it would be possible to use them competitively in sport, either racing or coursing. In
this respect, I was lucky in the first bitch which I acquired. I gave five pounds for her. I knew little of the show standard in those days, so her many faults did not worry me. She was, however, the finest huntress I ever had. She would course anything, and gaily clear a five-bar gate. When nothing else was available, she would course dogs. Unfortunately, this was not conducive to popularity, when the local veterinary surgeon's dog coursed the clients' dogs in the park! Exercise had to be taken farther afield. Those of us who were keen on coursing were often lucky enough to receive invitations to join the Saluki Cleve Coursing Club. We also had invitations from one of the Norfolk clubs. The chief Borzoi supporters were Mrs. Jenkins (Moskowa), Mrs. Staples-Smith (Powdra), a husband and wife whose names I have forgotten who had bought two from Mrs. McAlpine, Mr. Dawson and myself. I have a picture of the eight Borzoi which took part in one of these meetings in 1934. Later Edgar Sayer (Reyas) and Mrs. Hargrave (Shelbor) took part in coursing.
Personally I always enjoyed coursing, but only had one dog which would really try after a lure. They would watch with great keenness to start with but after the lure had gone around three or four times, and it was time for them to have a go, they would look at you superciliously as if to say, "What? Chase that? Not likely!"
I mated this bitch, Katushka, to Mr. Guy's Ch. Felstead. In the litter I had a bitch puppy, Bronka, which went out to Alberta. She was the best coyote courser in the area until overtaken by her daughter. Wanting to get nearer to civilization for their children's education, her owners moved to a small town and ran the local shop. Bronka, bored to tears in her new surroundings, turned to cats and proceeded to clear the town of cats; she chased them, then slid her nose under them, tossed them in the air, catching them and killing them on the way down. For the good of "business relations," this pastime had to be controlled.
Katushka came to a sad end by crashing into a tree while after a rabbit in the wood, breaking her neck. She did not die from her injury and I nursed her for seven months, taught her to stand again, but she never walked again, so I put her to sleep.
About this time I got a very lovely looking bitch, Zeeta, from Mr. Guy. But she had had distemper and her movement was awful. I showed her once and I remember the judge saying to me, "She moves rather like a kangaroo." She went away to be mated. A few days after her return, she suffered from gastric torsion and on post mortem I discovered a partly cooked potato in her stomach.
My next Borzoi was Marcus Andronicus. He was given to me by Mrs. Gingold. He was a son of U.S.A. Ch. Akuratni of Romanoff. He had a small white patch on his nose which Mrs. Gingold was of the opinion would never blacken. By thirteen months, the nose had completely blackened. I took him coursing, and the Reporter said that the dog was not "yet" registered. Mrs. Gingold saw the report in the dog press and wrote to me; the outcome was that she was to take him back, and compensate me for his keep. About a week later I received a phone call from our local railway station saying that they had a large box at the station with a dog in it for me. He made a hell of a fuss over me when I took him out of the box. I brought him back home. After a short while, his pleasure in the reunion seemed to be overcome by what he considered to be my betrayal. He ignored me for the next two days! I rang Mrs. Gingold to inquire why she had sent him back. She told me that she had tried him in a kennel, by himself, with last night he was there he completely demolished an expensive kennel. She felt that he had given his heart to me, and she asked me to keep him till the end of his days. He developed into a very good hound, and at Cruft's he was run out three times against Kouldon of Addlestone, who won the CC and was the last male to become a champion before the war.
Just before the war had started, I bought a lovely black and white bitch, Mythe Dolka, from Miss Robinson. I showed her once under the Russian judge, Major de Butezkoi, and she won her class. I also bought an extremely promising puppy bitch from Mrs. Jenkins (Moskowa) by Ch. Mythe Marinsky out of Ch. Brussilovna of Bransgore. Alas, none of these three dogs survived the war.
At the time of the "D" day landings, Mrs. Jenkins wrote to me concerning a thirteen-month-old dog she had. The result was that I bought him. He became the first post war champion, Ch. Moryak of Moskowa. Shortly after that, I was asked to get a Borzoi for a performing troupe of dogs. I was offered a dog and bitch who, on account of the war, were becoming a problem. Neither of them was suitable for this troupe. I sold the dog for her and bought the bitch myself. The bitch had been badly reared and was thoroughly unsound. However, she was a beautiful type and had an excellent pedigree. After the war, she whelped some very nice puppies for me. In a further attempt to get a suitable dog for the troupe, we had another dog and bitch sent down from boarding kennels where they had been abandoned. Neither was any good for performing but the bitch was beautiful and I bought her as well. She became Ch. Folly of Fortrouge, born in 1946. From Folly I bred Fleur, from whom came Whisper, to Odette, to Maya, to Nicolette, to Ch. Fortrouge Floby, born in 1981 - six generations in thirty-five years. I have been accused of waiting till my bitches are almost geriatrics before they are bred!
As we had still not settled the problem of a new Borzoi for the troupe, I lent "Anna" Moryak until we had got her a satisfactory new recruit. She found him an extremely easy dog to train. At the end of one week, he was performing twice nightly in the music halls with a monkey doing a jockey act on his back. Moryak had a fabulous temperament. Not many dogs would have adjusted themselves so rapidly to two strange humans, another Borzoi, a Terrier and a Peke, a Poodle and two monkeys. At the end of the act, the monkey would dismount and lead the dog off the stage.
He did quite a lot of T.V. work, including an appearance on Picture Page which was arranged by Enid Nichols, a well-known all-rounder judge. After the show we went back to Miss Nichols' house. Her father was an old man by then but had also been a famous all-rounder judge. Miss Nichols asked me if she could take Moryak up to his bedroom for her father to see. When she came down again, she said her father had said that Moryak had reminded him very vividly of Colonel Wellesley's Krilut who had been shown in 1888. Time may have clouded his memory but it was nice to think that about fifty-five years later, type had not altered all that much.
I had him in Ireland on a holiday. We went out for a walk across the bog and we walked too far. It was getting dark and I couldn't find this tiny little bridge over part of the bog to find our way back. I thought, "Well, the only thing to do is see if Moryak can find it." So I stood still and I told him to go home; he looked at me as if I was quite crazy because we were far from home. I hoped he would associate the hotel with home, so I just stood there and told him, "Go home, go home." Eventually he trotted off thinking, "Yes, this woman is crazy, but never mind." He stopped and looked at me and I just followed slowly. I said, "Go on, go home." So he went off and found the little bridge like lightning, so we went home together after that. He was a brilliant dog; I have never, ever had another like him. He was the one dog of my life.
During the food rationing, I had a little housekeeper working for me. Moryak stole the week's joint. She was afraid to take it from him, so she got a loaf of bread and dangled the bread in front of him. He looked at her in an amiable way and took the loaf of bread and she got the joint away from him with the end of a broom. So about a fortnight later, he did the same thing again, so she dangled another loaf in front of him and he looked at her and thought, "You old fool," finished the joint, and then took the loaf of bread. (laughter)
I had a litter from Folly with Moryak; it wasn't very good but she had a very good litter with Ch. Eglon of Rydens. From that we got Job (Fleet of Fortrouge). From Job's litter, the dog called Jonathan, and from a litter sister's litter was a bitch called Cymbal, and these two went to Mrs. Ruggles; they were the first two Borzoi Mrs. Ruggles ever had.
I've infected quite a lot of the breeders. I sold Annette Blair her first one; Mrs. Hargrave bought her first one from me. Spread the bug around, didn't I? (laughter)
Obviously, I couldn't spend my time on things that ordinary breeders would because from about 1952 or 1953, I was single-handed, so I couldn't do an awful lot.
In your breeding, do you tend to prefer a particular method such as linebreeding or outcrossing?
I have bred from quite a few lines but I have now, in the kennels, got Philby, who is just three years old and is a direct descendent (which is what I've struggled to keep) from Ch. Folly, who was born in '56, I believe. So I came straight down from mother-daughter without interruption, from Folly to Philby. This other litter through Philby I was able to take back through his mother, who was a daughter of Zariska, who was a daughter of Carlotta, who was in the same litter as the grandmother on the other side of the pedigree, so this came in together again, which was rather nice.
So you follow the female lines?
From circumstances more than from anything else. It was easier for me to go down the female line. I never kept many male dogs, probably about four bitches, but every now and again, I would do silly things. Selling a bitch and two puppies to one person, which sort of left me with rather a thin line to come down with. I did lose out on one that I was very sorry about which was by one of my own dogs as well, which got gastric torsion quite unexpectedly. I had hoped to have a litter from her.
One thing I have always done, the bitches are mated simply to keep the line going because I don't want to have too many at a time. Loki's mother was seven when she was born. Going back through, you find that the common lot was seven.
How do you raise your litters? Do you have a special program? Do you only breed at special times, such as in the spring?
I've always liked it so that the puppies would come out of the nest in April or so, but of course, it isn't always possible. As regards to special ways I've reared them, I started to rear puppies in the days when food was cheap. I bought meat very cheaply per pound; milk I bought at tuppence eight a pint; I bought a jam pot full of broken eggs at sixpence, and it was a very different way of rearing. You could have all those sorts of things for next to nothing. And they used to have a bit of biscuit thrown in as well to balance the diet. Various things have been popular over the years. We've had dexadim, halibut oil, cod-liver oil, calcium tablets, calcium injections ... I mean, they've come and gone.
Actually, since I've been here, Ihave reared on the mixed diet, the stuff you just pour milk on. The one I did use was a special puppy food; they did very well. That and the goat milk, and a little in the way of extras. I reared that white puppy on this diet, the puppy from Mrs. Gingold, because he had distemper very, very bad and I thought I was going to lose him. I must confess, he was so thin and so poor, his eyes were sunk into his head. When he recovered, he did remarkably well. And afterwards, when I was allowed to show him at one of the shows just before the war, he won out three times against another champion dog.
Do you do any special things in socializing your dogs?
I never had to before I came down here because I lived on the main road in Croyden and I had two resident staff. I used to have what I called my sitter girls; I would have about four school girls in on Saturday, so there were all different people handling the dogs; I didn't have to bother, but down here, it is quite different. They see people who come to the house, but they don't see many. Most of them don't seem to suffer for it.
When you look back over the years, which dog became very important for you?
Absolutely your highlight?
Absolutely, because he had it in every respect, from the intelligence point of view, the companionship point of view, and from the point of view of being a show champion. He was very nearly an international champion, but you see, in Ireland they will win four stars at the St. Patricks Day show. That happens only once a year, and you got eight by winning it two years. Then you had to get the rest by either winning another St. Patricks show or odd ones. Well, you never knew what you would get by way of stars; you might get one or two or you might not get any at all because the stars were awarded on the dogs who were present at the time. If you had six good dogs in your Open Class, you could get two stars, but if you didn't, you could get only one. You had, Ithink, fifteen stars to collect. This meant sending somebody over to Ireland with the dog, the hassle of the railway and all that sort of thing, on the
chance of one star or you might get two. But again, that was expensive so I gave it up. And of course, the dog was getting on then and if you reckon that he couldn't go to Ireland until after the war, he would have been about seven, so we gave that up. He went with one of my girls who took him into a hotel; didn't say anything, just took him into a hotel. The waiter came up to her and said, "Madam, dogs are not allowed." So she looked at the dog, and she said, "He is not a dog. He is a gentleman." The waiter shortly thereafter came back and said, "Would the gentleman like a steak?" (laughter) A beautiful, juicy steak was served him.
You had your first litter in the thirties. How many others since then?
Itmust be about forty, or about one litter a year. Most of the bitches had one litter. I bred quite a bit from little Fleur because she was a nice little bitch; Ithink she had five litters. Ihad three from Carlotta, two to Boran who was imported from Russia, and one to Ch. Bielko, who was a most beautiful dog. He was absolutely wasted; sent to America to Sunbarr Ranch in a badly shaped box - it wasn't Mrs. McNeill's fault. He died as a result of injuries while traveling about three days after he arrived. Basically, most bitches had one litter.
Tell us a little about how you keep your dogs. You have a kennel outside, a paddock, and a garden where they can run.
Yes. This, of course, is recent, only since I came down here, nearly four years. In Croyden I had a big old stable and when I say stable I don't mean just a single stable; it was an old style building and I kept the Borzoi in two thirds of that. In addition, I had about four or five individual wooden kennels and also a puppy kennel in a run which was two thirds roofed over, open to the air also, which is fantastic to have such as that on High Street in Croyden. It was an old property and it had never been built up, so I was very lucky. They had quite a large concrete run which I did not find ideal for puppies; they were always on concrete but it was all I could do there. I do not like concrete for puppy rooms - too much concussion to growing bones. Here I can do what I like; they can be on grass. I've never had a lot of dogs in the house. I have this vague notion that you keep animals in their own accommodation and you keep people in their own. That isn't to say I don't have dogs in the house; I usually have one companion dog in the house, but I don't have a whole herd like some people. I don't like it. It's a mistake to have too many in a house. In some of these houses where they have two or three dogs in every room, it is almost impossible to avoid a doggy smell. I don't think they are any happier for it. You saw my old girl go out and ask for the gate to be opened so she could go out to the pen. They all do that; they love to come in and march around and say, "Aha, what's Mum got in the kitchen?" But that's the end of it, though normally I do have one in at night. Moryak did live in the house with me because that was during the days of air raids and fences were flattened and the house was the only safe place for him. The dog I had before Mark, the one that died of nephritis, was also in the house. Basically, I would have one indoors but I really felt that the house dog had the least companionship of the lot. I know I was busy so I wasn't in the house and the others were having their own fun and games out of doors.
Can you say how many champions you have had all these years?
They fall into three categories:
Those that I bought and made up: Ch. Moryak of Moskowa and Ch. Folly of Fortrouge.
Those that I bred and sold: Ch. Joad of Fortrouge, Ch. Moses of Fortrouge, Ch. Martha of Fortrouge, Ch. Ruth of Fortrouge, Ch. Sudorka of Fortrouge, Aus. Ch. Saycha of Fortrouge, and Can. Ch. Black Watch of Fortrouge.
And those which I bred and qualified myself: Ch. Zircon of Fortrouge, Ch. Zest of Fortrouge, Ch. Black Jack of Fortrouge. Others were always limited by the fact that for thirty years I ran a busy veterinary practice single-handedly, and only those shows which were held in London were available to me.
How many dogs do you have in your kennel at one time?
I try not to have more than about ten at the most; I did get up to seventeen just before Icame down here, but Idon't like having so many.
Do you think that each one should have personal attention?
When I had them in Croyden, I had staff and so they got plenty of attention from them. I probably wouldn't ever want more than ten; I've got seven now and that's plenty.
It keeps one so busy.
Yes. How often are you going to breed them? If you have seven bitches and once a year you may get a litter; it is going to take you seven years to breed the other bitches. I mean, there is not the market to go on breeding. I am rather loath to breeding too many. Both exhibition and good pet homes are limited.
How do you feel about culling? Let's say you have a big litter, about ten or twelve puppies...
I am not reluctant to cull puppies. Idid bring a bunch of ten from the first Boran litter, but that was because the owner of Boran wanted to have pick of the litter. I had to keep the lot, but I don't very often bring up more than six. The condition of the bitch is dependent on how well you feed the bitch. Also, if you have a large litter you can always part them and just give the bitch four or five and then switch them. I wouldn't bottle them altogether, but what I have done is take five puppies away and then before Iput them back with the bitch, Igive them the bottle, but I do put them back on the bitch; I have never found that mixing the milk has upset them. People often suspect that mixing milk for very young pups will upset their little tummies. If available, I use goat's milk but I have had equal success with Whelpi and other good brands of substitute bitch's milk. Iuse a premature baby teat. I alternate the puppies four hourly, and give them a feed immediately before I return them to the bitch. I don't change them at night.
No, I'm more concerned with the ultimate end of the dog, because I don't think there are always ten good homes waiting for the puppies and that's why I would cull. I would cull more only that I would have to do it myself; if I could turn around and say, "Take that one to the vet and get it put down - it's a poor puppy and it is wasting time to bring it up." But of course, being my own vet, so to speak, I've always had to do it myself. I'm not too good on culling things that are, say, two months old, but in the nest I don't mind a bit. I can do that quite easily.
I remember speaking to Miss Robinson of the Mythe Kennels about it, and she said, "If you are going to cull Borzoi, always cull the ones with bad head markings; they never look nice. Wide blazes, crooked blazes, things like that. That is a very good idea, if you want to cull them down, those should be the first ones to go unless they are very outstanding." I have heard that Mrs. Vlasto (Addlestone) also culled quite heavily.
How do you feel about euthanasia in an old dog?
This is a very controversial subject, and very emotive. Sometimes people seem to confuse canine life with human life. Daily, cattle, sheep and pigs are slaughtered to feed us and our dogs. Yet this fact worries only a minute percentage of the world population, who become vegetarians. It is surely the quality of life that matters, not the length of life. In all forms of terminal illness and before life becomes irksome, I would advocate euthanasia. And in many cases where an owner dies, it is kinder than trying to make an old dog adapt to new surroundings and new people.
The reluctance, I feel, arises from a lack of knowledge. Many times when I have performed this service for someone, they have said afterwards, "I wish I had known before how peaceful it is; I would have had it done ages ago. I kept hoping that he would die."
In the case of show dogs, owners should give the subject more consideration. At first, they are young and are constantly being handled, trained, groomed and so forth, then comes their exhibition life - always kept in the pink of condition, masses of attention, traveling, shows and all the applause. Later, they have their breeding life with the excitement of matings and puppies. After this is over, they arrive at the stage of "existence." They are at the bottom of the list for exercise (they don't need it), for grooming (until someone notices that they are scratching badly due to the proliferation of external parasites). They are lame because of a broken toenail, the nails have been allowed to grow too long. Actually, this is not quite so applicable to Borzoi kennels where the average life is shorter but is very true of longer-living breeds who, for the last five or six years, do just "exist." I would definitely recommend euthanasia under these circumstances.
You have quite old ones in the house.
Yes; I wouldn't put it down simply because it is old. So long as it is enjoying itself and eating well, it is all right. I did put the old lady to sleep just two months short of her 11th birthday; she suffered from serious mental deterioration.
How old Is this one?
Sixteen; a good age, really. I've never had many Bassets but I started off with her granny, Amble. There were three in the litter - Amble, Plod and Saunter - three lovely names, and I had her for seven years. Unfortunately, the Bassets had picked up a bait in the wood. Ihad put Carlotta on a lead because they were quarreling over a dead pigeon. It was poison for foxes, arsenic! Both the Bassets, including Amble, died.
Would you refuse to breed a bitch for any reason?
I refused one that sticks in my mind, one with a bad jaw. Idon't believe I refused on any other occasion. It didn't have anything near a nodding acquaintance between top and bottom jaws. I refused point blank for that reason.
Would you breed to a dog with a serious fault if you felt that he or she is otherwise an outstanding specimen?
I would go down the pedigree very carefully to see whether it was the only one off; if, in the pedigree, most of them had good hindquarters or good shoulders, whatever the fault was, I would say, "Well, he's got everything else I want; my own bitch has got good shoulders," (we'll say it's a shoulder problem) ... "and behind that dog are good shoulders. He just happens to have a very ugly shoulder. I'll risk it." I did do it, actually. I bred to a champion dog who had very dodgy hindquarters but it wasn't in the pedigree and I bred a champion in the litter. It's feasible if the dogs behind him are not afflicted with it. If it was a fault you could trace the whole way down the pedigree, then I wouldn't have done it, but this dog was the only one off in his line. I didn't get the problem at all.
What do you feel is a fair price for a puppy? It has changed over the years.
It has changed very much, indeed. The first advertisement I answered Ithought was a preposterous price, so I turned it down. What I would say today is old news tomorrow. Prices at the present time are actually quite high. I don't think you could get anything for under one hundred twenty-five pounds. It used to be sort of related to the stud fee, but the stud fees haven't gone up as much. At least I haven't been asked for more than seventy-five; that's the highest I've had to pay so far. Yet you can get a hundred and fifty for those puppies.
Ithink the stud fee should be quite close to the price of a puppy. If that male is going to produce six puppies then people are going to have puppies costing a hundred pounds each, I don't see why you couldn't get one hundred for the stud fee.
Should there be a different price for a show quality and a pet quality puppy?
I had a puppy in a litter recently that had one misplaced tooth and a hernia, and I sold her for the price of her inoculations, twenty-eight pounds. The hernia could be rectified but the tooth was permanent, so she went without papers as a pet.
What would be the price for a puppy with show potential?
What you can get! (laughter)
Oh, you are honest. What dogs have impressed you the most, either dogs you saw abroad or that have been in your own kennel?
Isuppose one is usually most impressed when you are first into a breed and you see some of the really good specimens in the show kennels. I came into it, of course, when there were people who had been breeding dogs for a very long time. One of the biggest kennels of that time started early in the 1900's. They were started from the Ramsden dogs and the Ramsdens were pre-1914, and were disbanded shortly after the outbreak of the war because Major Ramsden had to go back into the army. The Addlestone dogs started from that line of Ramsden dogs, or very close to that time. Mrs. Vlasto believed in culling. She would mate about six bitches at the same time and then raise two or three pups on each bitch and the rest were culled. She really did have beautiful kennels and beautiful dogs. I remember Ch. Alesha of Addlestone, a very spectacular dog. I don't remember it quite so well but I do remember his dam, Chivarin. Then there was the Mythe kennels. They started roughly about 1900. She used to have very beautiful dogs all of a type; they used to come out sort of like peas in a pod, they were all alike. In actual fact, looking back, they weren't so absolutely alike, but they were all big, strong dogs of excellent type. She had four or five stud dogs all kenneled together; they had marvelous temperaments. Ialways admired her dogs and her handling in the show ring, but I saw them all in their own surroundings when I went down and bought this little bitch, Mythe Dolka, just before the war. Iwas very impressed with her. Then there was Guy, who had a large kennel; some of Guy's were very nice, but he had too many to generalize over. As a matter of fact, his last advertisement was "Over a hundred to choose from." When you have that number of dogs, it is difficult to remember them individually. At one time I knew him very well as I was his vet before he went to Taunton.
Another kennel which started just before the war was Mrs. Gingold, Bransgore; I remember her last champion. She was bought by Mrs. Jenkins, and I bought one of her puppies. I also remember the bitch with the awful name of Nitsitchen that Mr. Gingold had bought from Guy and renamed Zagavor; she was a beautiful bitch. She didn't make her championship but she had gotten two CCs before being mated and would have, in the normal course of events, become a champion, but she died young. There were no CCs available during the war.
Mrs. Huth had the Kestor Kennels -started about 1901. Inever knew the dogs very well. She was still going after the war, exhibiting Kestor Sergei. Mrs. McNeill lived in Scotland; I visited her kennels twice. She was a very wealthy woman and had a collection of jade only surpassed by Queen Mary's collection. Then about that time, another kennel started in Borzoi; they had been in Salukis, the Zomahli Kennel, sometime during the war. I remember Mr. Pearson brought a bitch down to be mated to Moryak at the time of the air raids. They had a wonderful kennel which had very definite uniformity; you could look at one and say, "That's Zomahli." Ialways wanted to be able to do that with a kennel. It's something that they have obviously liked and bred for and have kept. Although Ialso knew the Duchess of Newcastle, I never visited the kennels.
Have you judged in the U.S.?
Yes. I had to raise my sights when Iwent over there because the dogs were much bigger. I gave top dog to a very big dog, one of the Twin Elms dogs, a pure white dog. I liked him very much. He was big, I grant you, but he was very well balanced, a very gay-natured dog. I liked some of the Vala Ramas; Iliked Vala Rama Phoenix of Sunbarr and I liked Phoenix's mother, Pandora, who was very nice. The youngsters, Sirhan Poraschai and Sirhan Pobedim, in the Junior Classes. Poraschai became a very famous dog.
When I've been abroad, I've seen some nice dogs. There were some nice ones at Paris. I remember the last one that I saw, a dog called Esau, a spectacular dog, a beautiful mover, but to my way of thinking, just a little bit small, not quite big enough for a male, but he was a lovely dog.
I did see a dog which took my fancy very much in Sweden, Don-Cosackens Czardas. I gave him BIS. Now the thing that interests me, we had this conference in Sweden, and we were trying to get people to agree to a world standard of Borzoi. What interested me about DonCosackens Czardas was he had been Best in Show under a Dutch judge and under a American judge and under a English judge, and I thought a dog that could come out and do that was fantastic. He was a lovely dog; he stuck in my mind. He obviously fulfilled the requirements of all three standards, F.C.I., U.S.A., and British.
When I was in Australia, I was impressed with several dogs very much. I felt that the puppy I had under me, Astragorn Harad Dragon, was a magnificent puppy and I heard that he went on very well. There were one or two other Astragorn dogs of excellent type. The Best in Show was not Astragorn, it was a very nice, old fashioned type black and white dog, Ch. Res Rimski Korsakov; I liked him very much. The Best Bitch was a very well constructed bitch with a charming head and beautiful shoulders and hindquarters, Ch. Zivy Zubzah. I do wish people would give their dogs pronounceable names. They have made quite an impression on me. The thing that struck me in Australia was the amount of importance that they put on movement. The Borzoi ring in the Australian show would have swamped the Alsatian ring in this country. I also was very impressed with an older bitch which I saw at her home, Babuscha.
When were you in Australia?
Five years ago.
How would you describe your ideal dog?
The dog should conform as closely as possible to the standard, and the sex should be evident at a glance. I do not like bitchy dogs or doggy bitches. The silhouette is important, i.e., the proportion between the height, thelength and the depth of chest. The length of head, its correct carriage, and the line from the back skull to the tail should show a slight arch of neck and a gradual curve of the topline. Also the relative lengths of the rib cage, the length of the loins and the croup are important. The Russian Standard says a dog of long racy build. If the loin is too short, and the croup too steep, you will have the outline of a Whippet. Substance is essential. The rib cage should be oval shaped, and the loin broad, and it should be possible to have a four-inch width between the elbows at chest level and four inches between the pin bones of the pelvis.
In a running dog, the legs are very important. The hindquarters should be broad, the hind legs should be parallel and have adequate angulation. The hock should be low to give additional leverage for strength and length of stride. It is this powerful action of the hindquarters that hurls the dog forward. This force is accepted by the forelegs, which are constructed rather like shock absorbers, first impact taken by the strong feet and well-padded toes; secondly by the spring in the slightly sloping pastern, and finally by the angles of the elbow and shoulder.
The aforementioned description is broadly true of any dog bred to course, but each sighthound has breed characteristics. Firstly, the head. In the Borzoi, it is very narrow, beautifully molded in an aerodynamic design and gets its strength more from its depth of jaw rather than its width. Another feature is the bladed bone of the forelegs. This is rather a misnomer as it has little to do with the shape of the radius. The appearance being due to the fact that the Olscraon process is rather prominent and the muscles are located towards the back of the leg. The exact opposite is to be seen in the Chow. The other breed characteristic is the loin. No matter how much the muscle is developed, you will always see the "ridge of knots" - description from old Russian Standard. In a fit Greyhound, the loin muscle will rise above the spinal processes and there will be a depression along the center of the back. It is the absence of this feature in the Borzoi which gave rise in the old standard to the description "back free from any cavity."
This is a very broad description of the Borzoi, but it contains all the structural necessities. Many of the other features have little to do with their efficiency and can be classed as beauty faults. Large thick ears (hideous). Light eyes (give a horrible expression). Lack of coat, lack of fringes, wooly coat - all are beauty faults. But a really curled tail carried high, although possibly really only a beauty fault, does have a devastating effect on his "general appearance."
How do you feel about temperament?
Itis very important. Nervousness has cropped up every now and again in my own line. Every now and again I get a nervy one, but most of my puppies have been very reliable. It should be a wolf hunting dog. An outgoing temperament allows for much more intelligence, too. I always thought that I had better temperaments in dogs that had a bit of American blood in them. Iimported a Sunbarr dog and I thought then that the temperaments were better, more steady. I don't condemn the English temperament, but I think we have, rather unfortunately, slightly shy dogs. They need a lot of love and affection, so to speak, to bring out the best in them. So many Borzoi are almost apologizing for existing. This comes from the fact that, at one time, they were rather aggressive and in trying to eradicate this, too many shy dogs were bred from. This was before Iwas in it, when dogs were sold to people who didn't know how to handle them. They gave the breed a bad name. These people I told you about, who had the dogs on the stage, had a very big dog who was their pride and joy and he always had a fantastic temperament. He also had a sense of property. They rented a house for the summer. The previous tenant had two Alsatians. One day, one Alsatian came into the garden. And the Borzoi, Nicky, just picked him up and threw him over the fence! A dog as strong as that MUST have a reliable temperament, so unfortunately for some, the pendulum has swung too far in the opposite direction - beautiful, affectionate, but would they pace a wolf?
The standard is being revised now. Do you think it is necessary?
The revision that is being done, the English Standard, by the Kennel Club, is what the Kennel Club wants to do with all standards. That is to say, they've got to be done in a certain form. You've got to use the Kennel Club wording, the description of your mouth, and you've got to use the positions in which you take your descriptions. There are definite ideas of where you start and where you stop. They go through a sort of format that all breeds have got to sort of fit into - not obviously the description but in how they are described, the words they use and that sort of thing. I suppose this is going to be done so that everything can go into computers, I don't know. (laughter)
Miss Murray with Moryak and his son Igor of Moscowa
You have been in the breed for over fifty years now. Have you seen the breed improve or are there things that still need to be done after all these decades?
Before the 1939 war, there were several well established large breeding kennels in the hands of wealthy people who were primarily "breeders" although, of course, they did exhibit as well. They were in the enviable position of not having to sell puppies to keep going. The following is a list of names of kennels and owners with the approximate date of starting, who themselves remained interested in the breed but did no breeding after the war, but still officiated as championship judges:
Of Notts, Duchess of Newcastle, c. 1885; Moskowa, Mrs. Jenkins, c. 1934; Bransgore, Mrs. Gingold, c. 1930; Tangmere, Mr. and Mrs. George, c. 1929; Addlestone, Mrs. Erato Vlasto, c. 1905; Kestor, Mrs. Huth, c. 1901; Mythe, Miss Edith Robinson, c. 1900.
Mrs. McNeil (Barnaigh) and Mr. Guy (had no kennel name) both started about 1920 and both carried on after the war. There were also kennels founded in the thirties which carried on after the war.
Ialways considered myself lucky to have known these long established kennels and their famous owners. They were so ready to help the interested newcomers and to offer advice on matings and to help assess puppies in the litter. Their bloodlines had been going for so long that it was fairly easy to predict what you would likely get from a mating. From a Mythe stud dog you would be very sure of improving your heads, and getting wonderful temperaments. A dog of Mr. Guy would give you improved hindquarters. And other kennels were dominant for other physical and/or mental features.
Now it is much more difficult; there are only about three kennels who have kept their own line over a period of between 20 to 30 years. I do not mean that they have never gone outside for a mating; they have, but then gone straightaway into their own line again.
If Ihad to suggest a time when the English were at their peak I would choose the 1930's. Of the bitches, I would choose Gromkaya, Ivarin and Nadejda, all of Addlestone. Ballerina, Brussilovna, and Zagavor all of Bransgore; Fet and Ladoga Nalivka, who both belonged to Mr. Guy. Lady Luck and her daughter, Miss Mazeppa, both of Barnaigh.
In dogs I would choose Baraban and Brussilofkin, both of Bransgore. Yaroslav and Alesha both of Addlestone, Mythe Mazeppa, Mythe Maxim and Mythe Marinsky. Bahram and Loaningdale, both of which belonged to Mr. Guy. I knew Mr. Guy's dogs very well because, as I mentioned earlier, before he moved to Henlade I was his veterinary surgeon.
How do you see the future for the breed?
I don't know how this will turn out. In some breeds, breeders come together when they think they want something and import a male which they hope will help to eradicate their faults and produce what they want. They did it in Bassets, I remember. They had a rather wise vision of what they wanted to get, and believed that what they imported would benefit the breed. You can't always get that cooperation between breeders. I think I'm right in saying that no Borzoi has been imported into Britain, since I've been in it anyway, that has become an English champion. However, Boran sired six champions in three litters, and left his mark on the breed.
Would it have anything to do with the quarantine?
Not if you are bringing in an adult dog, no. I don't think quarantine will ruin an adult dog. It is hard on a puppy, both physically and temperamentally. It didn't do much good to the puppy I imported; I don't think he would have been awfully good anyway, but his hindquarters suffered a bit.
What advice would you give to a novice who wanted to get started in Borzoi?
Itis very hard to tell anybody to do anything slowly today; everybody wants it with the first litter, but personally, I would say go to a breeder of stock which has got a fairly long history and buy yourself a bitch, perhaps. Go to as many shows as you can manage, small shows to start with and later on, the bigger shows. See what you are up against all the time and try to honestly judge your own dog against what you are seeing in the ring. Decide whether you like the breed, whether you want to go on with it and if you do, if your bitch which you originally bought is good enough, breed yourself something from her. First, consult her breeder on possible stud dogs. If she isn't good enough, but you've learned a lot from her, then go and buy yourself something better, a really good dog or bitch. Dogs, of course, are much easier to show and get a reputation because they are so much more available for show. The wretched bitches are "out" because they are in season and "out" because they are out of coat - they are post season or post puppies or something - so they are out quite a lot, but that's how I would start. Also, watch and read, watch all the classes and the dogs and read up on care. Talk to people, and look at your own dogs as critically as you look at other's dogs. At all times, be honest with yourself about your own dogs. If your club runs seminars and teaches, attend as many as possible.
Tell us a little about Yourself. You are a veterinarian?
Well, it was something I decided to be quite early and I remember at home, I had a dog that had been badly chewed up by a badger and a couple of horses with bad legs. I was, I suppose, eleven or twelve, but certainly not more than that. I had been looking after these animals there, under supervision, and I thought, "Well, this is for me. This is what I'll do." Isubsequently went to boarding school (this was in Ireland) and in school, you write a composition of "What I Want to Be." So I wrote about this. The English mistress was such a nice character; she came to me and asked, "Is this just a composition or do you really mean it? Do you want to become a veterinarian?" Isaid, "Yes, I do." In those days, there were not many women vets. She said, "Iwill introduce you to Olga Woodward; she was also at this school and she was also one of my pupils. She has qualified in 1925." So she gave me her address and I corresponded with her, I should think, for about twenty to thirty years. Then we went back to Canada to live. I didn't want to go to the Canadian college because I was keen to get back to Ireland. I knew that if I qualified in Canada, I would have to requalify over here, and it would take an extra year. So I opted for going to Dublin. Unfortunately, my father sent me to London. I don't know why; I had no friends in London at all. It was only two years since I had left school in Ireland; I had lots of friends there.
You made history.
In 1928, Sir Frederic Hobday was appointed Principal of Royal Veterinary College in London. He opened the doors to women students. There were two second-year students from Glasgow, and two from Liverpool, and ten freshers. I had just spent a year at the University of Manitoba, where it did not matter a tinker's curse whether you were male or female. It was a change to enter this strict male society. We were frowned upon, because in our presence the lecturers had to forego many of their rather lewd jokes which had previously been used as helpful aids to memory.
In actual fact, we were certainly not the first women students. The first was Miss Eileen Cust, who had all the examinations in the early 1900's, but was not granted the title of veterinary surgeon till after the First World War, when, in 1920, one of the early sex discrimination acts made it illegal to withhold titles from her any longer.
When you look back at so many years and so many dogs in your life, would you like to have done it the same way?Yes, except that I would have much preferred to be based in Ireland because my first love is horses. But everything else would be the same; I would have the dogs as well, I expect. I like the Irish country life; I have quite a few friends there. Even though they still have their troubles there. Since 1919, the raiding by the IRA, and trees felled across the road to stop traffic, and all sorts of things like that, but in those days, it was much less violent. They stole bikes, rifles and so forth, but they seldom killed.
Is there anything you want to add? Anything you want to share with the Borzoi world?
One thing is the seminars they are holding. This is bringing together all the Borzoi enthusiasts from around the world; they have been very well supported, really. This must be good for the breed, the bringing together of ideas, and what we want for the breed, and we must be honest about things, both in our own kennels and our own ideas of what is wrong with the breed today. The interchange between the nations is giving a very good chance of improving our understanding of each other and of the dog. The idea of trying to make a world standard shows a great deal of understanding of each other, of what we really want, and I wish it every success.
Thank you very much. •
THE BORZOI QUARTERLY • Spring 1986
Credit to Lorraine Harvey, Dan Persson! Editor:Sue Vasick
The Jubilee show was held in the Ballroom of the Chesford Grange Hotel in Kenilwoth on 4th October in 1992.
283 Borzoi was judged by Barbara Long and Audrey Benbow, both very well known and respected breeder/judges. Pictures of the winners and the judges qritiques can bee seen as a complement to the film. https://borzoipedia.com/en/history/18073
The Borzoi Club was founded in 1892 and was the first and now the eldest borzoi club in existence.
The jubilee was a huge success and the entire event was filmed and has resulted in no less than 7 videofilms where the last, no 7 is now shown here in The Encyclopedia. Hope you will enjoy this outstanding historical documentation. Note, you can always go back and look at the other 6 films as you can with all other information!
[originally published in the Spring, 1992 issue of Borzoi International magazine] All Rights Reserved.
In England, Dorothy Dudley’s interest in Borzoi began in the 1930’s and continued to her demise at a ripe old age. Her first Borzoi were bitches, these being Iza, Zwogezdi and Zwogezdi’s dam, Icy Lass.
Zwogezdi was whelped November 13, 1936 and was sired by Cossack Carzoff, bred by the Tyrells who had moved to Canada. She was 11-1/2 months old when she went to live with Miss Dudley, and had had distemper as a puppy, resulting in a high strung nature. Unfortunately, Zwogezdi’s nature was to be the death of her, as she escaped from Miss Dudley one day and died of exposure. Miss Dudley was understandably very distraught over this incident and it took her many years to recover from the tragedy.
Sympathizing with her loss when they returned to England, the Tyrells hoped to fill the void Zwogezdi left by presenting Dorothy with her dam, Icy Lass. At the time Icy was too old to present anymore litters, but she gave Dorothy two very good years of love and companionship until she died two months after her 10th birthday on August 16, 1939. Icy had a wonderful temperament and pedigree, being a granddaughter of Nora of Shay; she had belonged to Ernest Guy for two years, presenting him with a litter sired by Russet of Llanfair, then two subsequent litters by Ch. Felstead before going to live with the Tyrells.
Miss Dudley’s next bitch was named Iza, a half-Barnaigh bred bitch officially registered as Isinglass. She cost four pounds at 11-1/2 weeks of age, which was quite a tidy sum in those days! Dorothy described her as an orange marked white by Bedinovitch of Barnaigh ex Patricia of St. Dulthus. She also described her as being very straight in the shoulder, having a Roman head and being undershot, so no one could accuse Dorothy of being kennel blind!
Dorothy adored Iza, but bad times fell upon her, as well. At the time, Dorothy was living at home with her parents, and her father did not like the dogs - particularly Iza - or understand her love for them. When she brought home another bitch – Marnova of Mantavani [Vasstri of Mantavani ex Marika of Mantavani] – in March 1944, things got rather difficult around the Dudley household. Then in 1946, Dorothy brought home the white and red Igor of Moskowa [Moryak of Moskowa ex Verba of Moskowa]; Dorothy’s father put his foot down ---- Iza had to go!
Iza went to what Dorothy felt was a nice family, but the people didn’t understand what Borzoi temperament was truly like and the poor bitch’s life became a living hell. Dorothy managed to get her back, but her father wouldn’t allow Iza to stay and ordered Dorothy to destroy her. Although Dorothy obeyed her father, she never forgave him, and never stopped crying for what she did to her bitch.
As time went on, Miss Dudley’s personal life sorted itself out as she got a job at a hospital in March 1949 and worked there until August of 1967. She was able to finally breed her first litter of Ukrainia Borzoi; this was, of course, Igor to Marnova. This breeding produced a bitch named Zinnia of Ukrainia, who was eventually shown but never made up, as Miss Dudley was often a bit short of money and had limited holiday time from her job. Because of that, Zinnia only attended some local open shows and two championship shows.
Dorothy described Zinnia as being a big bitch weighing 67 pounds at 15 months of age, and having a 34” brisket in her old age. She also said that Zinnia was white and red-gold, a bit flat in topline, straight in shoulder, and quick with a wonderful Borzoi smile.
In 1951, Zinnia was bred to the well known red sable and white Ch. Ivanoff of Rydens, producing a litter of 3 dogs, 7 bitches on December 8th. Of these ten, seven survived – 2 dogs and 5 bitches – and Dorothy particularly liked a bitch she named Cassia of Ukrainia, who was white with red head markings and patches on her sides. Cassia remained at Ukrainia.
She was bred to the well known red on white dog, Gay Cavalier of Yadasar, having a litter on October 30,1953, with the pups named Falcon, Fedro, Felix, Flamingo, Fieldfare, Flying Fox [all males] and Fressia. This was a tragic litter as within two months time they all contracted hardpad disease, and it was a fight to save any of them. Falcon was first to get sick and die. All the rest were then immunized with ‘anti-hardpad serum’, whereupon Flamingo got sick and put to rest on the 26th of December, as he had gone blind with meningitis. The remainder of the males also got sick but were saved, according to Dorothy, by Herb Royal Garlic capsules!
Fressia, the only bitch in this litter, was exposed to the disease but never got ill, so wasn’t even inoculated; she never did get sick. She was a spotted tri bitch of lovely type, beautiful head and nice angles, and did her share of winning at the few shows she was at. As a brood bitch, she was bred several times. Her litter with Zahedi of Carradale produced 2 dogs and 4 bitches, only to have the pups all die within their first week due to Freesia developing eclampsia. She was re-bred, but for some reason killed all her pups. Finally, though, Freesia was able to continue on the line when bred to Horst of Woodcourt, with the litter born in March 1956. This produced Verbena of Ukrainia.
Zahedi of Carradale was used again in hopes of incorporating his blood into the kennel, this time being bred to Verbena. A healthy litter was born April 3, 1961, and Henna of Ukrainia was retained.
These were the original foundations of the Ukrania Borzoi, nice animals by general standards of the time, certainly fraught with tragedy and hard times, but well brought on nonetheless. However, for some reason, which Miss Dudley did not relay to me, these lines were never bred on. Maybe it was the economy and just hard times, but whatever happened, the Ukrainia breeding program switched over to a spotted tri bitch named Tremis of Rega.
Tremis was sired by Jester of Fortrouge out of Rega’s Sapphire of Bobrowski, born June 26, 1960. This bitch was bred in 1962 to Natarka of Fortrouge and whelped her litter on September 4th. From this came Boris and Bistri of Ukrainia. Bistri was red and white in color, and her brother Boris colored like his dam; it was Boris who carried on the Ukrainia banner in both Great Britain and America.
Boris was bred to a bitch that Miss Dudley had purchased named Wendylou of Yadasar [Ch. Sabre of Yadasar ex Ch. Iliad of Woodcourt] which resulted in the Ukrania “L” litter, whelped May 2, 1966. From this litter came a spotted tri bitch named Lobelia of Ukrainia [who eventually was bred to Sorvan of Fortrouge to produce Xia of Ukrania] and her litter brother, Lasky of Ukrainia.
It is Lasky who came to America at 12 weeks of age, and it is Lasky who was able to be found behind a number of American breeding programs throughout the years.He was only used at stud three times, but Lasky was the sire of Elain-Ward’s Calico Patches, Sunbarr’s Sascha of Tyara Tam, Nightsong Eurydice and others, all who figured in American pedigrees. Sadly, Dorothy lost contact with Donald Robb, owner of Lasky, and never knew what became of him. She was quite upset about that.
To go back to Ukrainia, Miss Dudley tried breeding Lobelia’s daughter, Xia, to American import Sunbarr Invader of Fortrouge, but Xia lost the pup and was never again bred. Another litter bred at Ukrainia was a bitch named Iskra of Ukrainia, who was mated to the famous Ch. Zomahli Harorshyi, from which Miss Dudley retained a gold sable and white male named Gordey of Ukrainia.
This pretty much rounds out the breeding program at Ukrainia, although certainly not the end of Dorothy Dudley’s love for the breed nor of Borzoi at her establishment. She was not getting any younger and felt that it was no longer
wise to breed. When I “met” Dorothy through abundant correspondence, she still owned a white, black and cream colored bitch named Shelbor Charmaine [Greenhaven Buccaneer ex Keeper’s Shelbor Desirable], who spent many good years with her. Dorothy mentioned that Charmaine reminded her so much of her old line of Ukrainia dogs and was more precious to her for that reason.
The last Borzoi to ever grace the home of Miss Dudley was Fortrouge Myra, who remained with her for some time until it became too difficult for her to maintain her own home. Dorothy had to return Myra to her breeder, Miss Betty Murray, then sold her long time home, and moved herself into a well maintained nursing home. Myra produced two litters at Fortrouge, and Dorothy Dudley spent her latter years content where she was, still talking to Borzoi folks, and occasionally attending a dog show. Although Miss Dudley’s Ukrainia dogs did not make a lasting mark on the breed the way so many others had, there is no doubt that her love and dedication for her dogs helped to produce some very fine Borzoi during the kennel’s existence. Dorothy is no longer with us, but her friends remember her well for her genuine appreciation of a good Borzoi.
[This article has been revised to reflect current times, and modified to simplify some details]
David Gilmour played harmonica instead of singing and Roger Waters played one of Gilmour's Stratocaster guitars. A female Borzoi (Russian Wolfhound) named Nobs, which belonged to Madona Bouglione (the daughter of circus director Joseph Bouglione), was brought to the studio to provide howling accompaniment.
Well balanced, graceful, aristocratic, dignified and elegant.
A coursing hound which must be courageous, powerful and of great speed.
Sensitive, alert and aloof.
Head and Skull
Head long, lean and in proportion to dog’s size and substance. In bitches head finer than in dogs. Well filled in below eyes. Measurement equal from occiput to inner corner of eye and from inner corner of eye to tip of nose. Skull very slightly domed and narrow, stop imperceptible. Head fine so that bones and principal veins can be clearly seen. Viewed from side, forehead and upper line of muzzle form an almost straight, slightly convex line, inclining to Roman nose allowing flexibility of nasal cartilage. Jaws long, deep and powerful; nose large and black, nicely rounded, neither cornered nor sharp. Viewed from above skull should look narrow, converging very gradually to tip of nose. Occipital process very accentuated.
Dark with intelligent, keen and alert expression. Almond-shaped, set obliquely and placed well back but not too wide apart. Eye rims dark. Eyes not light, round, bulbous or staring.
Small, pointed and delicate. Set high but not too far apart. Nearly touching at occiput; when in repose folded back along neck. Should be active and responsive, may be erect when alert, tips sometimes falling over.
Jaws strong with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws. Full, strong dentition desirable.
Slightly arched; reasonably long and well muscled. Free from throatiness, flattened laterally, set at an angle of 50-60 degrees to the longitudinal axis of the body.
Shoulders clean, sloping well back. Muscular but not loaded. Fine at withers but not accentuated. Forelegs clean and straight. Seen from front, narrow like blades; from side, wider at elbows narrowing down to foot. Elbows directed backwards, neither turning in nor out. Pasterns slightly sloping, strong and flexible. Length of forearm nearly equal to half total height at withers.
Chest, ribs of narrow oval cut, great depth of brisket reaching to elbows, giving great heart and lung room, especially in mature dogs. Breastbone slightly pronounced with adequate width between elbows and abdomen very tucked up. Back rather bony, muscular and free from any cavity, rising in a graceful curve with well balanced fallaway. Highest point of curve is situated over last rib. Curve is more pronounced in dogs than bitches. Loins broad and very powerful with plenty of muscular development. Fallaway long and well muscled. Width between hip bones at least 8 cm (3 ins).
Quarters wider than shoulders, ensuring stability of stance. Thighs long, well developed with good second thigh; hindlegs long and muscular; stifles well angulated, hocks broad, clean and well let down. Posterior line of hock vertical. Seen from side, legs slightly set back.
Front feet oval, toes close together, well arched over strong, thick pads, turning neither in nor out. Hind feet hare-like, i.e. longer and less arched.
Long, rather low set, when measured between thighs reaches up to top of nearest hip bone. Well feathered, carried low in a graceful curve. From level of hocks may be sabre- or slightly sickle-shaped but not ringed. In action not rising above level of back.
Front, straight with long reach, pasterns springy. Hind, straight with powerful driving hocks. Moving wider than front. Viewed from side, appearance in action should be that of effortless power.
Silky, flat, wavy or rather curly (but never woolly). Short and smooth on head, ears and front of legs; much longer on body with heavy feathering on backs of legs and hindquarters, tail and chest. Neck carries a large curly frill. More profuse in dogs than bitches.
Any colour acceptable, with the exception of merle.
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 and on the dog’s ability to perform its traditional work.
Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.