In 1892 a Borzoi club was established in Great Britain, and the following is their description of the hound:

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 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.

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 of the ribs; deep, reaching to the elbow, and 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 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 a 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 hind quarters, it should be long. The tail should be well feathered.

Tail

Long, well feathered, and not gaily carried.

Height

At shoulder of dog, 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 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:

Value.

Head and muzzle ......

15

Ears and eyes..................

10

Neck and chest.........

10

Back and loins.........

15

Ribs.....................

10

60

Value.

Thighs and hocks......

10

Legs and feet.........

10

Stern ...................

5

Coat.....................

5

General symmetry.................

10

40

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, 11 inches; from occiput to between shoulders, 11; between shoulders to between hips, 23; between hips to set on of tail, 6; length of tail, 21 inches; total length, 73 inches. Height at shoulders, 30 inches; girth of chest, 33; of narrowest part of "tuck-up," 22; girth above stifle bend, 13; round stifle, 11; round hock joint, 6; below that joint, 4; round elbow joint, 8; above that point, 8; girth, midway between elbow and pastern, 6; round neck, 17; girth of head round occiput, 16; girth between occiput and eyes, 16; girth round the eyes, 13; 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 29 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.