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( Originally Published 1920 )
In Russia, the land of their birth, these handsome, stately, high-bred dogs are known as Borzoi or Psovoi, and are used for coursing and wolf hunting. They are carefully trained to run up alongside of a fleeing wolf, collar him by the neck just under the ear, and never loose their hold, no matter how often they may roll over together, until the hunter comes up and either muzzles or dispatches the victim.
When slipped in pairs, which is the usual procedure, the art comes in in having them so evenly matched in speed that they can range up on either side of the wolf simultaneously, pin him by the neck, and hold him safely without injury to themselves.
In the early trials that these dogs were given on western wolves they did not perform as satisfactorily as had been expected of them, probably due to the fact that they lacked experience and training.
Their aristocratic appearance is very much in their favor as companions. Some question has been raised as to their disposition, and there is no disputing that many of them are snappy, quarrelsome, and uncertain, while others are sweet and lovable as it is only possible for a dog to be. It may be safely said that all depends upon the way they have been raised.
The points to look for in Borzoi puppies at from two to four months old and after, are: A phenomenally long head, rather Roman in shape of muzzle, very well filled up under the eyes, small eyes, set in obliquely; very narrow skull, with occipital bone well developed; powerful neck; very narrow shoulders; long, straight forelegs; very deep chest; loin arched; graceful outline.
The following is the Borzoi Club's standard of points, the height at shoulder being fixed at a very low minimum:
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 seen clearly, and in profile should appear rather Romannosed. 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.
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 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.
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; deep, reaching to the elbow and even lower.
FORELEGS.-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.
HINDLEGS.-Just a trifle under the body when standing still; not straight, and the stifle slightly bent. MUSCLES.-Well distributed and highly developed. PASTERN s.-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 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 hindquarters, it should be long. The forelegs should be well feathered.
TAIL.-Long, well feathered, and not gaily carried.
HEIGHT.-At shoulder of dogs, from 28 inches upward; of bitches, from 26 inches upward.
FAULTS.-Head short or thick. Too much stop. Parti-colored nose. Eyes too wide apart. Heavy ears. Heavy shoulders. Wide chest. "Barrel" ribbed. Dewclaws. Elbows turned out, wide behind.