The Borzoi is a tall, aristocratic dog with a greyhound-like build, long hair, and a long, narrow head. The ears lie back on the neck, but may prick up partially when the dog is alert. The back is gracefully arched over the loin. The chest is narrow, but very deep, and there is a noticeable tuck-up. The tail is long and carried low. The longish silky coat may be white, golden, tan, black and tan, gray or brindle, solid or spotted. A heavy neck ruff is characteristic.
The Borzoi's ancestors probably came from the Middle East to Russia in the Middle Ages. There this elegant sight hound was adopted by the nobility, crossed with longer haired sheepdogs, and used as a fierce and brave wolf hunter, earning the name Borzoi (meaning “swift”). The Russian nobility bred and hunted with these dogs for hundreds of years, often staging grand events. Eventually the Borzoi's popularity spread throughout Europe. Queen Victoria owned Borzois, and many of the British aristocracy soon followed suit. The breed became favored for gifts among royalty. Initially called the Russian Wolfhound outside of its native land, the name was eventually changed back to Borzoi.