Borzoi Temperament: Do They Make Good Family Dogs?

Love romantic young couple girl, guy in snowy cold winter forest walking with pet, dog of hunting breed russian borzoi. Sighthound, wolfhound owner. Having fun, laughing. Stylish fur coat, woolen hat.
© Ira Lichi/

Written by Kellianne Matthews

Published: December 27, 2023

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Embodying unmatched gentility, grace, and elegance, the Borzoi is a dog breed that stands apart from the rest. With their slender and graceful physique, these dogs appear as if they were plucked straight out of a fairytale. However, beyond their undeniable beauty, do Borzoi dogs have what it takes to make good family dogs?

What Is a Borzoi?

Two beautiful russian borzoi dogs running lure coursing competition on a green field

Borzoi dogs can run up to 36 miles per hour!

©Natallia Yaumenenka/

Formerly known as the Russian wolfhound, the Borzoi breed dates back to the sixteenth century and served as aristocratic sighthounds and iconic symbols of Russian royalty. Russia’s noble families kept hundreds, even thousands, of Borzois in their kennels. These exquisite dogs were bred to hunt hares, boars, foxes, and even wolves. They can gallop and sprint at incredible speeds, fast enough to outpace and tackle a wolf! 

What Do Borzoi Dogs Look Like?

White Russian Dog, Borzoi, Hunting dog in Summer Sunset Sunrise

Borzoi dogs have unusually long snouts or noses.

©Ryhor Bruyeu/iStock via Getty Images

Borzois are tall and elegant dogs with long, graceful bodies covered with silky fur. They have a sophisticated and impressive appearance, reaching 26 to 28 inches tall at the shoulder and weighing 60 to 105 pounds. With their lean yet muscular build and flowing fur coat, Borzois almost look like living sculptures! Their silky coat comes in many different colors, from cream and white to brindle, silver, sable, black, gold, and red. 

Borzoi Temperament

Two Borzoi dogs

These beautiful dogs are very sweet and docile.

©Julia Shepeleva/

Although Borzoi dogs are regal aristocrats, don’t let their sophisticated appearance fool you — they are also gentle and calm animals with a good-natured temperament and a unique sense of humor. In fact, some owners compare their own Borzoi dogs to cats! 

These beautiful dogs are very sweet and docile, but also powerful, athletic, and utterly serious when it comes to the chase. If released off-leash, a Borzoi can sprint away in the blink of an eye. They love chasing just about anything that happens to run past them, from small animals to cats and even dogs. 

Do Borzois Make Good Family Dogs?

Love romantic young couple girl, guy in snowy cold winter forest walking with pet, dog of hunting breed russian borzoi. Sighthound, wolfhound owner.

Borzoi dogs make wonderful pets for active families.

©Ira Lichi/

Do Borzoi dogs make good family dogs? On one hand, yes, Borzoi dogs make excellent family dogs! They are gentle and affectionate with their family members and have a calm and even-tempered personality. They are not the friendliest with people they don’t know but remain polite and gentle. Borzoi dogs are incredibly intelligent and due to their calm and gentle nature, they are great around kids and can make wonderful family dogs. 

On the other hand, however, Borzois do not make good family dogs for small children who like to roughhouse or families who cannot devote enough time to their physical and mental wellbeing. They are very sensitive when it comes to being touched, which can make things challenging in a home with small children. They have lightning-fast reflexes and do not do well with teasing or being startled. Without early socialization, they tend to be very shy, skittish, or aggressive. 

If you’re trying to decide if a Borzoi would be a good dog for your family, there are some important aspects to consider: 

  • Exercise needs 
  • Training and mental enrichment
  • Grooming

Borzoi Exercise Needs

Borzoi dog running through deep snow

Borzoi dogs love to run and play.

©Trygve Finkelsen/iStock via Getty Images

It’s easy to think that Borzois are simply low-maintenance and beautiful gentle giants. However, you must give your Borzoi daily and consistent exercise, as well as intentional enrichment, mental stimulation, and positively reinforced training. Borzois need at least an hour of exercise each day. They also love outdoor activities with their humans, as well as participating in canine sports. 

Borzoi dogs need a leash and/or a fenced-in yard to run around in. They are simply too fast, and it is far too tempting for them to run and chase things. These dogs were born to run, and they must have a safe, fenced-in area to do so. Sadly, many breeders report that the largest cause of death in Borzoi dogs is being hit by a car.  

In addition, Borzois are large, athletic dogs and eat a lot. Fueling their high-energy needs will cost more than other smaller dog breeds. They also don’t do well in small spaces like pens, kennels, and small apartments. Once their exercise needs are met and their energy is spent, however, Borzoi dogs are happy to lounge about with their humans. 

Borzoi Training Needs

Borzoi Russian triad. The Borzoi Russian dog is on the green grass.

Borzoi dogs come in many different colors.


It is extremely important for Borzoi owners to be patient and consistent with training and positive reinforcement. Borzois are regal creatures that act almost cat-like, with both a gentle sophistication as well as an independent stubborn streak. They get bored easily with repetition and pointless activities and need lots of variety and mentally stimulating enrichment. 

In addition, Borzois have an incredibly high prey drive, so it is vital to begin positive reinforcement training and socialization when they are still young. They are bred to chase small animals and can cause harm to small pets like cats or smaller dogs. It is important to socialize and train these dogs early on when they are puppies. In addition, they should be introduced to other animals in the home while they are still young. Once they’ve begun a chase, it is virtually impossible to stop them!

Borzoi Grooming Needs

Portrait of happy beige dog breed russian borzoi running in the violet flowers field in summer.

Borzoi dogs have silky hair that is often curly or wavy.

©Anastasiia Cherniavskaia/

With great beauty comes great maintenance! Borzois are gorgeous dogs, but their uniquely textured fur coats shed a lot, and they need to be brushed regularly. This not only helps with keeping their hair off of all of your furniture, but it also distributes natural oils and removes dirt and loose hair. 

Pros and Cons: What Makes a Borzoi a Good Family Dog?

Portrait of beautiful dog breed russian borzoi sitting in the green grass and yellow buttercup field in summer at sunset

Borzoi dogs can make wonderful family dogs.

©Anastasiia Cherniavskaia/iStock via Getty Images

A Borzoi can make a good family dog for families who:

  • Want a dog who is gentle, elegant, and sophisticated. 
  • Want a dog who is polite and doesn’t bark a lot. 
  • Are active and ready to devote time to exercising their dog. 
  • Are willing to brush their dog consistently. 
  • Are patient and consistent with their dog, including socialization and training. 
  • Love spending time with their dog and are frequently at home with them. 

However, a Borzoi is not a good family dog for families who:

  • Want a dog who can run off-leash at the dog park. 
  • Don’t have an enclosed area where their dog can safely run.
  • Are unable to devote time to socializing and training for their dog.
  • Have small children who like touch, grab, or roughhouse.
  • Have other small pets.
  • Are away from home for long periods of time.
  • Do not have a consistent schedule.
  • Do not have time to exercise their dog daily. 

While Borzoi dogs may not be suitable for everyone, they have the potential to become extraordinary and devoted companions for the right family. If you are considering adding a Borzoi to your household, adopting an adult from a rescue or shelter can be a great option. By choosing an adult dog, you have the advantage of better understanding their personality beforehand, allowing you to make an informed decision. 

However, if you opt for a puppy, it is crucial to select a reputable breeder who can assist you in choosing the perfect one for your family. A trustworthy breeder will ensure that the puppy does not inherit any negative traits or significant health problems as they mature.

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About the Author

Kellianne Matthews is a writer at A-Z Animals where her primary focus is on anthrozoology, conservation, human-animal relationships, and animal behavior. Kellianne has been writing and researching animals for over ten years and has decades of hands-on experience working with a variety of different animals. She holds a Master’s Degree from Brigham Young University, which she earned in 2017. A resident of Utah, Kellianne enjoys creating, exploring and learning new things, analyzing movies, caring for animals, and playing with her cats.

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