Remarks on the Borzoi Award in Kassel, 25.-26. October 1913
by General George de Meyer.
Kieff, February 12, 1914
Photo from the magazine "Hundesport und Jagd" 1913, Nr.45, pg.1044, through courtesy of Andrus Kozlov.
When I, at the request of Dr. Ing., A. Wegener took over the judges assignment over Borzois (Russian greyhounds) at the exhibition in Kassel, I was highly curious about how the type and conformation of our Russian Borzois bred in Germany bred on, and our beautiful breed in the care of German lovers has become. Through this kind of expertise, the Borzoi owner learn to know the shortcomings and good qualities of a dog perfectly, because they are rated in detail by the judge with points.
If it seemed that I was too severe in my expertise, I beg you to believe that I was far from criticizing the Russian foreign-born Borzoi. If I only focused on the traits needed to point out that Russian Borzoi breeders demand of us from a Russian Borzoi, in order to further draw their attention to the shortcomings which in future may spoil the true type of Russian Borzoi.
I have been able to convince myself of the high responsibility of your breeding, and I was truly touched to see how deeply you love our Borzoi in Germany and take care of them.
Actually, you can find faults with every animal; but I do not want to lose myself in details with every single dog, but rather allow myself to express only my opinion about the exhibited dogs and the claims which our experts put on Borzois in Russia. I must confess that I found some excellent dogs bred by you, which exceeded my expectations, for they were tall with growth, had magnificent coat, and the breed was pure. But I find the bitches of lesser quality than the males.
Incidentally, their dogs are very good at this size, which is also appreciated by us, but only if the building is beautiful. One should be careful in the quest for size, because our breeders have the experience that the large dogs rarely have a nice exterior; the hind legs are bad more often than the front legs, the back is ugly, the ribcage is small and the head is bulky and heavy.
The head must be lean, regular, long and not wide at the forehead.
The eye should be big, expressive and dark.
We pay special attention to the ears. The ears should be small and pretty, like Nos. 1 and 1a, and we should be very much appreciated when they "stand" in attention, as in the horse, as in # 2, as then the dog is fiery and bold in character.
Broad-seated ears, like # 3, show impure race, and low-seated, like # 4, a sluggish character of a dog.
The tail not only adorns the dog, but serves as a help during galloping and is down correctly if its length is like No. 5 and if it is sickle-shaped like # 5.
When the dog trots, the tail in the profile must not be curled, like No. 6, when walking also not hang like No. 7, as this indicates laxity and lack of energy of the dog. Seen from behind, the bone must be straight and not fall aside like No. 8.
As we use the Borzoi mainly as a hunting dog, we focus our attention on regular construction of the feet, the back and the ribcage. If we criticize the head, the eyes and ears as bad, then despite these mistakes, the dog may well be an excellent racer; but this proves that the race is then not pure, has mixed blood or is beaten out of the species.
The forefeet must be straight and without bending, as number 9; Seen face to face, they are regularly standing like # 10, abnormal like # 11 and just as bad as # 12.
The shoulders must be No. 13 and not straight, like # 13a.
More important than the front ones are the hind feet because they need to have the greatest strength and endurance during the race.
The hind feet must be like No. 14; the closer they get to the straight line, like No. 15, the worse they are; Seen from behind, they must not be like No. 16 or 16a.
The back is normal when starting at the withers as in # 17; in the male he must be like No. 17; bad and weak is like No. 18. A straight back, like No. 19, is one of the bad features in males, but is allowed in the bitch.The croup is normal in inclination the closer it approaches to No. 20; if she approaches No. 21, she is the worse off.
The thorax is estimated to be at least as deep as No. 22, but even better when it reaches the depth as in # 23; if it is similar to No. 24, it is counted as a grave error.
These are the basics according to which the physique of Borzoi is criticized and evaluated.
It goes without saying that there is no perfectly well-built dog, because everyone can complain about something, but you must avoid the mistakes that show the mixture with other blood and which could be passed on to offspring. Those mistakes that have arisen as a result of a failed crossing, you have to eliminate by means of a good choice of male to bitch and bitch to male.
The feet are improved by exercise of the dog, by movement; everything else is improved by choosing the right males and bitches. It is told that the young dog inherits the front half from the father and the rear half from the mother, but this absolutely does not always apply. In general, it may well be a whim of nature, but I've noticed that whole blood is the most inherited.
My opinion is: If you want to get proper breed and shape of the Borzoi you have to have better bitches. For your males, you have to have fewer big bitches, with a nicer head and beautiful feet and with better inclination of croup like No. 20. If you do so I can rightly say: If the borzoi should disappear in Russia, we can be able to find it here!
Kieff, February 12, 1914, General George de Meyer