The Borzoi and the Saluki are two magnificent dogs who are quite alike in appearance. Both have lean physiques and fairly long muzzles making them appear swift and smooth as they run in the fields. If there’s one major thing they are excellent at, that would be spotting prey from afar.
These large dogs are of the sighthound breed and they were developed to hunt using their superb vision. Although they both resemble each other and they are the same in many areas, each dog seems to bear his individuality in several other ways.
In this post, we will learn what the Borzoi and Saluki are and see which one would be the perfect family addition should you decide to bring a new puppy home.
The Borzoi breed used to be very exclusive in Russia, its place of origin, and Belarus. Even today, this dog is considered fairly rare and commonly sought out.
Many centuries ago, this dog was primarily bred by Russian nobles to stage or hunt wolves, hares, and foxes. For the success of his every hunt, this large dog needed to rely on his agility, speed, and endurance until his human companion could finally catch up and secure the prize.
For such a long time, this canine got heavily associated with the Russian aristocracy. When the Russian Revolution ended in 1918, many Borzois were mercilessly slaughtered simply because they had been linked to the Czars. This act almost gave way to the extinction of the said breed. Thankfully, a few Borzois were exported as gifts to several royal families and were thus used to regenerate the fading lineage.
Also known as the Persian Greyhound or the Gazelle Hound, the Saluki is considered to be one ancient breed thought to have been sent as a gift by Allah. Several pieces of evidence were found showing us dogs that resembled the Saluki on Egyptian tombs which date back 4,000 years ago and Sumerian carvings which depicted the same bodily makeup as the Saluki.
Fertile Crescent is the exact place where this breed originally came from. People from the past such as the Pharaohs often hunt hares and gazelles using this dog. Just like the Borzoi, the Saluki had some sort of relationship with people of high status in society.
Nomadic Muslims refer to this canine as El Hor meaning, “The Noble”. Despite their general dislike for dogs as they find them unclean, Salukis were given an exception to sleep in tents.
Currently, the Saluki is commonplace in the Middle East and other parts of the world, but it remains to be a rare treasure in the US.
Size, Appearance, & Coloring
Borzois have towering heights that ideally start at 26 inches for the female and 28 inches or more for the males. Complementary to their peaks are their heavy masses which can go anywhere between 60 pounds to 105 pounds. With that, these canines are giants!
Upon first glance, what anyone would instantly notice is his strong likeness to the Afghan Hound, Sloughi, and the Whippet. However, the Borzoi is robed in a long, silky coat that is distinct compared to the other mentioned breeds. He has a long muzzle and slender legs, a narrow and tapering body, and a feathery lengthy tail.
He comes in a variety of coat colors such as black, blue, white, grey, and fawn. Although the shades are numerous, the ones we can commonly see are white Borzois with patches.
Salukis are not far when it comes to being similar to the Greyhound. Their general build is composed of a narrow body, long and slender legs, deep chest, arched loin, and a long and curved feathery tail.
Ideally, the Saluki should be leaner and thinner than the Greyhound. His last three ribs and a couple of vertebrae are slightly noticeable. One remarkable physical trait that makes the Saluki appealing to the eyes would be his fuzzy ears. Aside from his tail, this is the only area in the upper body where long hairs grow.
Ideally, the Saluki should be 28 inches below in height and 40 to 65 pounds in weight. All Saluki colors are accepted and almost all the coat shades are found on this breed.
In understanding how a Borzoi’s personality works, every prospective owner must know the history of this breed first. Borzois used to hunt in packs. At times, there will be more than a hundred hunting canines in a hunting session. Considering this, Borzois are highly social animals and they do well in packs.
That means a Borzoi should have constant interaction with either other animals or humans or else bad behavior will exhibit due to boredom.
If raised properly, the Borzoi will be the most loyal and affectionate pet you’ll ever have. He is gentle around older kids and can be friendly toward your cat just as long as they were socialized early. He is not loud but rather behaved and very reserved until trust is established.
Going for the Saluki dog breed means that you have to settle with just one dog. However, if you prefer owning more dogs, another Saluki or another non-dominant dog breed will do just right for him.
Salukis tend to be standoffish and shy around strangers. They are, by no means, boisterous and are calm and gentle making them great family dogs. Despite their good nature, showing affection needs to be subtle. They’d rather just sit beside you rather than lay on your lap.
Moreover, he’s a good watchdog, but a bad choice as a guard dog. It is almost innate for this dog to seek a comfy lifestyle where he can be indulged with a soft bed and a warm area. He can be a bit lazy at times, so encouraging him to go out would be necessary.
Trainability & Intelligence Level
One of the common temperamental traits most hunting dogs share is their tendency to be stubborn. Training a Borzoi can pose a challenge for every owner. The eager-to-please attitude is not very prominent in this dog breed and what stands out more is his independence and strong will to do what he likes.
Although it is hard to teach him rules, it doesn’t automatically mean that he’s not a smart dog. For a triumphant skill-learning session, establish yourself as the pack leader so he’d feel obliged to follow your commands. Stay patient and consistent with him so he’ll accept training as part of his daily routine.
If you think you’ve done all the tips and tricks in training a Borzoi and he remains to be hard-headed, assess everything and see if the drills are unchallenging and repetitive. If so, these do not impress the highly-minded Borzoi at all.
As it is with other dog breeds, the perfect general recipe in training a Saluki includes patience and positive reinforcements. He can be motivated by food but be sure he won’t end up receiving treats as the only form of reward. Include praises too and avoid harsh words that can affect his sensitive nature.
In most cases, these hounds are stubborn too. They have high levels of independence and this shows mostly when they are bored with the session. Ensure that each training is fun both physically and mentally to keep him from boredom. Keep enhancing his potential by treating him as a Saluki and not as other dog breeds such as a German Shepherd.
The UK Kennel Club advises Borzoi owners to let their dogs exercise for at least an hour each day. These dogs do not particularly have high energy levels so a long walk divided into shorter periods will do them good. From time to time, they’d need to sniff around either in a garden or in a fenced park. Securing the area is essential due to their sharp visions.
If something catches their interest from afar, they are most likely going to go after it unless a gate surrounds them as a border.
Salukis may not be hyper, but their bodies would averagely need 2 hours of daily exercise. The best way for them to sweat off is to run hard in a wide but secured area. Even though they have fallen in love with the idea of dashing anywhere, what they love to do most is to chase. Their high prey drive will make them spot even the slightest move behind the bush and their curious nature will drive them to inspect it right away.
If your hound isn’t outside keeping fit, you’ll find him lounging on his bed waiting for the next meal.
What Borzoi owners love about the breed is its natural tendency to groom itself. He will spend a considerable amount of time ensuring that he’s clean so maintaining him is not much of a heavy task. Still, his coat would require a good brush twice every week and baths can be done when necessary.
Nails, teeth, and ears must be regularly checked as well to see if there are any signs of infection. In the use of products, choose the appropriate ones or those recommended by your vet.
The Saluki has two coat types: smooth and feathery. The smooth areas must be brushed weekly and the feathery ones, more frequently. This would prevent matts and tangles which can be painful if not fixed early.
Baths are required only when it is needed. Be gentle with his coat and use canine shampoos only. Ensure his overall hygiene to protect him from infections commonly caused by bacteria and viruses by checking his ears, nails, and teeth as well.
Your Borzoi can live a healthy life especially if you got him from a reputable breeder. However, he can still develop diseases and illnesses which would need to be diagnosed and medically treated right away. Some of which a Borzoi might have are:
- Wobbler syndrome
- Heart disease
- Progressive retinal atrophy
The Saluki is especially vulnerable to a life-threatening heart problem known as cardiomyopathy although he is a generally healthy breed. Saluki owners should closely monitor their dog’s health to avoid conditions from getting worse. Other problems he’s prone to are:
- Hip dysplasia
- Mitral valve disease
Both dog breeds aren’t something you’d commonly see in your day-to-day life. Currently, the Borzoi is 103rd in breed popularity ranking despite being recognized since 1891. Meanwhile, the Saluki is at 120th and he became an official breed in 1929.
- A Borzoi puppy needs more time for his head to completely mature.
- Russia perfected the Borzoi breed.
- They are great escape artists!
- Borzois appeared in several books such as Russian writer Leo Tolstoy’s ‘War and Peace’.
- Picasso and Marilyn Monroe used to own a Borzoi.
- He is sometimes called the royal dog of Egypt.
- He got his name from a city that no longer exists.
- It is believed that the Saluki breed is 4000 or 5000 years old!
- Salukis were often mummified along with their owners in Egypt.
- He is a fast hunting dog!
Which Sighthound Should I Get?
Salukis would need a more active owner who can encourage them to exercise for longer periods than the Borzoi who’d be content with an hour of peaceful walks. If you prefer a dog whose appearance is prominent, the Borzoi would be the top choice. However, for a more unique display, the Saluki would be right for you thanks to his attention-grabbing ears!
Since they both belong in the sighthound family, the Saluki and the Borzoi are almost the same in nature, appearance, and personality. Now, what you need to do is determine your lifestyle and personal preferences.