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The Borzoi Club Championship Show

Photo by Colin Ashton
Best puppy in show was Mrs P Collard’s Blonz Blaze of Glory (l);
Best Veteran was Mrs N Lloyd-Williams’ Colhugh Carric of Kochka


This year the Borzoi Club celebrates its 110th anniversary. The first meeting was held at the Albemarle Hotel, Piccadilly, London on March 29th 1892 and the Club was first registered with the Kennel Club on May 3rd 1892 by the Duke and Duchess of Newcastle and seven other founder members.

The first show run by the Club was at Southport in April 1987, with the Duchess of Newcastle judging. This was not a championship show. After this the Club held no shows until 1907, when there was a short run of championship shows held in conjunction with the Great Dane and Deerhound Clubs.


The Club owned some very valuable trophies, which are still competed for today. The most imposing are the magnificent sterling silver Challenge Cups standing 20 inches high, which are awarded to best dog and best bitch. Also worthy of note is the Bleriot Challenge Bowl for best of breed, presented to the Club in 1913 by the airman Louis Bleriot.

During the first World War, an AGM was still held every year despite the reduction in members and activities. The first Club Book was issued around 1925. The first championship show after the second World War was held in 1946, and was called the Jubilee show as no show could be held during 1942, the actual Jubilee year. The dog CC winner and first postwar champion was Miss Murray’s Ch. Moryak of Moscowa.

Following this, the Club only held a championship show in the jubilee years, 1952 and ’62. The Diamond Jubilee Show in ’52 was held at Mrs. Vlasto’s home in Ascot. Winners were Mrs. Chadwick’s Ch. Winjones Ermolai and Mrs. Beresford’s Ch. Tessina of Yadasar. In ’62 the top honours went to Mrs. Pearson and Mr. Prior’s Ch Zomahli Chernila and Mrs. McNeill’s Ch. Barnaigh Barthill Red Rose.

During the 60s the Club held an annual open show at Mrs. Malone’s Moor Place Hotel in Windlesham, Surrey. In 1970 a championship show was held there and this has since been held annually at various different venues.

The Centenary Ch. Show in 1992 was a very grand affair, held at Chesford Grange Hotel, Kenilworth in conjunction with the fifth International Borzoi Conference, so many foreign visitors were present. 283 dogs were entered and the judges were Barbara Long from South Africa and Audrey Benbow from Canada. Most of the participants wore costumes appropriate for the 1890s and there were a tremendous number of specials on offer. BIS was Sue Carter’s Ch Sophia of Rothesby and the dog CC was won by Joan Mabey’s Ch. Olias Dancing Brave.

This year’s show could sadly muster an entry of only 104, as the breed has suffered from the decline in entries common to most. However a good atmosphere prevailed and there was plenty of applause for the winners. We look forward to the continued prosperity of our breed and the Borzoi Club in the future.

Jean Clare

Principal winners at the Borzoi Club Championship Show:

Best in Show and DCC Tuton’s Ch Vashla Vassago; BCC Real and Sallay’s Ch Falconcrag Beannchor Anna; Best Veteran in Show Lloyd’s Williams’ Colhugh Carrie At Kochka. The full critiques can be found inside this week’s

Origins of the Borzoi

The Russian Wolfhound or, more commonly known, Borzoi, which means ‘swift’ in the tongue of its native country, is an aristocrat among hounds. This is obviously displayed by its noble and elegant appearance, characteristic head and body shape furnished with a profuse silky coat and complemented on the move by an elegant and powerful gait.

The first written record of coursing in Russia occurred in 1260. It referred to ‘hunting dogs which catch hares’ at the court of the Grand Duke of Novgorod. This was at the time of the Grand Vasil of Moscow, father of Ivan the Terrible, the first Tsar of Russia.

The first detailed description or ‘standard’ was published in 1650 and the present standard conforms surprisingly to it.

The most valuable account of the early history of the Borzoi was published in Moscow in 1890, written by Peter Michailowitsch Gubinin who documents the development of the breed during the 17th and 18th century from the seven types of coursing hound or windhound breeds characteristic of Russia at that time

They are as follows:-

the wirehaired hound similar to a Deerhound.

the Polish or Chort windhound, being a mixed breed rather short coated but with feathering on the tail and legs mostly dark in colour including black.

mountain windhound having pendant ears.

Crimean windhound (Saluki like)

the short haired pure bred windhound being the oldest breed of Russian coursing hound and associated with northern Russia. These were described as the most beautiful and the fastest of the coursing hounds though not possessing the endurance of the mountain windhound.

Their colours were white, yellow of all shades, yellow and brindle but seldom pure white having slight shading on the ears. Their coats had a close underwool as protection against the severe northern climate. This type was very highly valued by the old hunters of Russia as they bred true to type being free from any crossbreeding with the Crimea or Polish windhound. They could course and catch small game easily but were not noted as wolf killers.


The Courland windhound was the strongest, largest and most powerful of all the Russian windhound types. However they were clumsy and awkward and had bear like movement Their coat was about 2 inches long with curls around the neck but longer towards the back and tail. Their colours were grey, yellow of all shades, marble, brindled and marked with all these colours. These were mainly used for coursing wolves and wild pigs and were much more efficient than the short haired variety.

From the two previous varieties was developed the ancestor of the true borzoi type. These hounds because of their origins and breeding were named ‘the wolf killers’. They had the conformation of our modern borzoi and their colours were white, pale or red markings, grey brindle or grey marked. Their coats were long and wavy, curly or silky and straight never woolly.

This type developed from the short haired and Courland Borzoi became by the nineteenth century the ideal, old type Borzoi which is so frequently referred to and was the type which the Grand Duke Nicholas strove to reproduce at the Perchino Hunt Kennels.

In 1860 there existed two types of borzoi, ‘The Close coated Borzoi’ and ‘The Normal coated Borzoi’ There were marked differences in the two types the Close coated variety being kept mainly in the north and central Russia amongst the large forests where they had to be very quick at catching deer before they regained the woods whereas the others were kept in the open country of the south where chases were longer and the quarry remained within view.


After 1861 most hunts ceased to exist and the Borzois survived only in small numbers. However in 1873 The Imperial Association for the propagation of hounds and regulation of hunting was formed and from this a show was held and sufficient enthusiasm regained to avoid what might well have been the virtual extermination of the Borzoi.

Eventually the description ‘Close coated’ and ‘Normal coated’ were dropped and a standard was created for the conformation of the Borzoi.

From then on the principal hunts, which had been reformed began to develop their own types out of the few pure ancient-type hounds which were available. The most well known of these being Perchino, Oseroff, Boldareff, Tschelischtscheff, Sumarkoff, Gejeroff, and Bibikoff.

The first Borzoi seem to have arrived in Britain as a gift from the Tsar to Queen Victoria and later the Prince of Wales, later to become King Edward V11 was also given a pair called Molodetz and Oudalzka who are reported to have been exhibited to the public in London.

The Royal Family’s interest in Borzoi was perpetuated by Queen Alexandra who bred and exhibited Borzoi and had the breed as companions for many years.

The first record of a borzoi being exhibited at a British show is at the Agricultural Hall Islington in May 1863 by the duchess of Manchester.

In 1890 the Duchess of Newcastle founded her ‘of Notts’ Kennel which had a great influence on the breeding of Borzoi in this country.

In 1892 the Borzoi Club was formed. The Duke and Duchess of Newcastle being its first joint presidents.

From that time there have been many influential kennels in Britain which have been important in the development of the Borzoi as we know it. Misses Robinson ‘Mythe’, Major and Mrs Borman ‘Ramsden’, Mrs Vlasto ‘of Addlestone’, from the first half of the century. In more recent years Mrs Chadwick ‘Winjones’, Mr and Mrs Sayers’ ‘Reyas’, Mrs Bennet-Heard ‘Keepers’, Pearson and Prior ‘Zomahli’, Mrs Beresford ‘Yadasar’, Miss Murray ‘Fortrouge’ and the evergreen Colhugh Kennels of Mr Bassett have been instrumental in perpetuating Borzoi type and many of those characteristics bred for in those early days in Russia