Grooming your borzoi
Grooming is not only for show dogs. Regular brushing; with coat, foot and nail, ear, and tooth care can ensure that your Borzoi continues to be healthy and happy, and is a credit to the breed both at home and while enjoying activities away from home.
The Borzoi should be well groomed with a clean, brushed coat and skin, trimmed nails, and clean teeth. Some scissoring may be used to accentuate the Borzoi’s natural good looks, but the Borzoi should always maintain a natural look.
Freedom from external and internal parasites are essential to a good, healthy coat and a healthy, happy Borzoi.
Borzoi should be brushed before bathing to avoid the occurance of mats. Bathing the borzoi is not as onerous as it might seem, they usually learn to accept bathing quickly, and even like it in the summer months. When bathing the Borozi do not rub the coat in a circular motion, rather clean the coat with the grain of the hair. Use a dog shampoo, as it is pH balanced for a canine coat. A canine cream rinse or conditioner may also be used, especially for Borzoi that are bathed frequently for dog shows or other events. Whether shampoos, conditioners, or cream rinses are used, it is essential that the Borzoi be rinsed completely.
After bathing, you can towel and blow-dry the coat of the Borzoi to fluff the hair. It is important the coat be dried and brushed in the proper direction to ensure that it lies properly.
About once a week, and after bathing and drying, the Borzoi’s hair should be brushed. When a Borzoi is blowing coat (shedding) you will need to brush more often to keep up with the falling hair. Pin brushes work well for a Borzoi’s coat, but when you encounter a mat in the coat separate the hairs with your fingers, rather than trying to brush it out. Make sure to brush the coat all the way through, because if you avoid the underside of the coat it will eventually mat.
Brush the feathering on the legs toward the rear of the dog. Brush the chest hair and underside hair forward and down. Brush the coat on the rest of the body toward the head.
Long nails on the Borzoi are unsightly and unhealthy. Nails should be clipped regularly with canine nail clippers, or ground down with a special grinder.
Dirty teeth can mar the elegance of the Borzoi’s good looks, and cause health problems for your Borzoi. Tartar should be scraped carefully from the teeth with a scaler. If the tarter has built up it may be necessary to have a veterinarian remove it.
Ear wax can be softened with a mineral oil before cleaning. Insert a few drops of oil and gently massage the ear, then swab with cotton tipped applicators.
Trimming is not necessary, but may be used in moderation to give the Borzoi a finished look. Trimming should only be performed after bathing, because trimming a dirty coat will result in inconsistent results.
Long hairs on the head can be stripped off (although removing facial whiskers remains controversial) to ensure that the facial contours are smooth. Use thinning shears to remove long hairs from the ears, being careful to always cut with the grain of the coat.
The coat in the loin area may be thinned to enhance the tuck up, but don’t overdo it because the area should not look trimmed.
On the front of the legs the long hairs can be trimmed off to smooth the coat. The hair on the pasterns and hocks can also be trimmed to give a finished look, but be careful to again trim in the direction of the coat.
Maintaining the coat on the feet is most important to the health of a Borzoi. If the hair on the feet gets too long it can pick up snow, ice, and mud, and can mat uncomfortably. This can cause lameness and splayed feet if allowed to continue. You should use blunt edged scissors on the feet to ensure that you don’t cut the pads or the feet. Trim the hairs between the bottom of the pads and the sides of the feet. Comb the hair up from between the toes and trim it, then comb back for a smooth look.