Borzoodles are designer dogs with one Borzoi parent and one Poodle parent. These beautiful, intelligent, vigorous dogs offer all the benefits of both breeds without many of their weaknesses.
But that brings us to a fundamental question:
Why cross a Borzoi with a Poodle?
Keep reading to find out!
What is a Borzoodle?
A Borzoodle is a mix between a Borzoi and a Poodle. This unique Doodle dog can also be called a Poozoi or Porzoi . Borzoi (once upon a time known as Russian Wolfhounds) are famous for their regal appearance and poise. Poodles are beloved for their intelligence, trainability, and playfulness. Cross the two breeds, and you get many of the best qualities of both.
History of the Parents
Borzoodles aren’t exactly new. The New York Times ran a story about a Borzoodle from the old Soviet Union in 1976.
But Borzoodles have only recently become well known in the US and Canada, mainly through the efforts of the National Borzoi Club. Understanding why this designer dog is becoming so popular is easy if you know a little about the two parent breeds.
There’s a lot to love about a Borzoi.
“Designed for speed and endurance,” Animal Movie Clips on YouTube tells us, “capable of fast starts, turns on a dime, quick stops, this is not a sports car, this is a Borzoi.”
Borzois were bred as hunting dogs for the czars of Russia in the eighteenth century. The czars commissioned the breeding of several different breeds of sighthounds, dogs that pursue prey when they see it, not when they detect its scent.
There are actually several different kinds of Borzois in Russia even today. The breed that is crossed with Poodles is known as the Psowaya Borzoi. The name Borzoi comes from an archaic form of the Russian word “bistro,” meaning “really fast.”
There’s nearly universal agreement that Borzois are beautiful dogs. Silent films of the 1920s featured them alongside the most popular actresses of the day. Pink Floyd took to the stage with a Borzoi.
There’s also no doubt that Borzoi are graceful, athletic dogs. Researchers studying Borzois found that the slowest, oldest Borzoi they examined could run just a little under 41 feet a second. That’s 28 miles an hour, or 45 kilometers per hour. The fastest Borzoi they examined could run 35 miles per hour (57 kilometers per hour).
Borzois come in a rainbow of colors. They come in three colors unique to the breed: self red, self sable, and self black. They also come in reds, blues, whites, and blacks, with interesting highlights such as blue noses.
Unlike many other breeds, Borzois don’t get the crippling condition of hip dysplasia. This makes them safe for vigorous activity even when they are puppies.
For all of their beauty and athletic prowess, Borzoi come with a few negatives.
- Aloofness. Borzois seem to be aware of their royal origins. They insist on multiple introductions before they acknowledge new people.
- Size. Adult Borzois weigh up to 120 pounds (54 kg) and stand up to 32 inches (81 cm) at the withers, that is, at their shoulders. This is not a dog you can keep in a studio apartment.
- Not exactly hypoallergenic. Borzois have long, thick hair to protect them against the cold of Russian winters. They shed profusely twice a year. Grooming them right down to the skin is necessary, so their undercoat does not get matted. But their outer coat is delicate, so owners must use an oval brush with metal bristles coated with rubber.
- Prone to kidney stones. Borzoi don’t have many health problems, but they are more prone to developing kidney stones than most other breeds.
- Difficulty recovering from anesthetics. Like other sighthounds, Borzois have very little body fat, so their bodies cannot buffer anesthesia in normal doses.
- Borzois often carry a gene for a different kind of thyroiditis.
There is one more major negative to owning a Borzoi:
Borzoi is notoriously difficult to train. Canine psychologist Stanley Coren surveyed 100 American Kennel Club judges, ranking Borzois fifth in a listing of 130 breeds.
They sometimes have over 100 training sessions to learn a new command and obey commands the first time their owners give them just 25 percent of the time.
So, what could you do to create a graceful, beautiful, athletic Borzoi with more brainpower? The answer is crossing them with Poodles.
There are plenty of positives about Poodles.
The Doggington Post reports that Poodles are America’s fifth most popular dog breed. The popular conception of Poodles used to be that they were a frivolous, fru-fru petite breed with questionable haircuts, but more and more dog lovers are finding out that Poodles offer a lot more than their old stereotype.
Like Borzois, Poodles were originally bred as water dogs. More specifically, they were bred as German hunting dogs, not French. These dogs were trained to jump into the cold waters of a “Pudel,” a marsh or lake, to retrieve the ducks and other waterfowl their masters shot with bows and arrows.
Standard Poodles are not small dogs. These Poodles can weigh up to 85 pounds (39 kg). Poodles don’t have to be petite.
Poodles are prized for their hypoallergenic coats. There is no such thing as a truly non-allergenic dog, but Poodles come close. That’s because Poodles have hair, not fur. Fur falls out, but hair keeps growing.
But the main reason people love Poodles is their individuality compared to Borzois. Poodles are wonderfully intelligent!
In Dr. Stanley Coren’s The Intelligence of Dogs, Poodles are rated as the second most intelligent breed after Border Collies. They are effortless to train. This makes them an excellent choice for first-time dog owners.
Poodles are eager to please their humans. This makes them easy to house train. They learn commands quickly.
There are a few problems with Poodles. Unlike Borzois, they have a significant risk of hip dysplasia. Poodles also have a genetic risk for cancer, epilepsy, eyelid problems, thyroid problems, progressive retinal atrophy, and Addison’s disease.
What You Can Expect from a Borzoodle
Borzoodles benefit from a phenomenon known as hybrid vigor. Many hereditary health issues are caused by inheriting two recessive genes, one from each parent. When dogs have parents of different breeds, and every Borzoodle does, they only get one recessive gene for specific health issues or no genes for everyday health problems.
- Three genes together cause hip dysplasia. A purebred Poodle could have two copies of all three genes. A purebred Borzoi will have none. Their offspring will have at most one copy of these three genes, not enough copies of hip dysplasia genes to get the disease.
- A gene called GTF21 is connected to “aloofness” in dogs. A Borzoi may be unfriendly because he has two copies of this gene. Poodles will not have this gene, so Borzoodle puppies can only get one copy—not enough to become naturally unfriendly dogs.
- Borzois were bred for hunting. They have a gene that is related to more chasing behaviors. Poodles don’t have it, so the Borzoodle is less likely to uncontrollably go after a squirrel or try to get off leash at the sight of another dog.
Hybrid vigor dilutes problem genetics. As a result, hybrid, designer dogs have fewer bad characteristics but generally retain the good traits of their parents.
What does a Borzoodle look like?
Borzoodles are a combination of both parents’ most striking, desirable features. They will have the Borzoi’s regal muzzle and a cute, curly coat. Some Borzoodles inherit the Poodle’s floppy ears and shorter muzzle, however. Borzoodles bred from Standard Poodles will be lean but large dogs.
Borzoodles don’t have the range of colors that their parents do. They usually have coats in neutral colors, such as brown, tan, cream, and off-white.
Borzoodles inherit the heavy undercoat of their Borzoi parent. This means that they shed heavily twice a year. The rest of the time, however, brushing their coats twice a week will keep up with shedding. They will definitely, however, shed more than Poodles will.
The Borzoi’s large size is not a dominant characteristic. These hybrid dogs take after their Poodle parents more than their Borzoi parents in stature.
Borzoodles typically stand just 18 to 20 inches (45 to 50 cm) at their shoulders.
A Borozoodle may weigh as little as 35 pounds (16 kg) and up to about 50 pounds (22 kg).
Borzoodles can live as long as some Poodles, up to 15 years. Most will live to be between 10 and 12 years.
Borzoodle breeders usually charge $3,000 to $4,000 for a Borzoodle puppy. The puppy’s parents will have gone through genetic testing for common canine conditions.
The breeder will have begun training the puppy to get along with children, cats, and other dogs. You may have an opportunity to get to know the puppy and meet the parents before you buy.
Online puppy mills may offer Borzoodles for just $800 to $1500, but you won’t get to meet the puppy before you buy. You also run the risk of buying a puppy that is unhealthy, poorly-socialized, aggressive, or worse. Plus, you should never support a puppy mill!
Opportunities to acquire rescue Borzoodles are rare.
Temperament and Personality
Borzoodles inherit the intelligence and trainability of their Poodle parent. This makes them obedient and easy to train. They also inherit the sunny personalities of their Poodle parent. They are cheerful, playful family dogs.