Galina Viktorovna Zotova on Russian borzoi after the revolution.
This is an interpretation of Madam Zotova's letter regarding borzoi in Russia, from about 1920 to about 1980. She had strong opinions, was outspoken, in some cases even controversial.
In a time when knowledge of the borzoi in Russia and the Sovjet Union was limited, was Galina Zotova allowed to travel abroad and tell borzoi enthusiasts in the west that borzoi still existed in it's motherland.
Some additions have been made, like adding names known in the west and Marina Orlova's pictures.
After the October revolution, and the following civil war, breeding of dogs, especially the borzoi, discontinued and in many cases, if not all, the well known kennels were destroyed. Many dogs were sold abroad or went with invaders. Few borzoi stayed and most often were far from the best.
In the first post-revolutionary exhibitions, very few Borzois was exhibited and the majority was of unknown origin.
In 1923, at the first exhibition. 12 borzoi was shown, but only 4 deserved attention. The grandson of one, a "little interesting males", Rogdai (Bardukova), was later widely used in the breed.
In 1926 the borzoi section of the Canine society was formed in Leningrad. At the exhibition the same year there was already 23. dogs shown, but not all high level.
In 1927, 27 dogs was shown at the exhibition. Of these was only 9 of unknown origin.
The number increased, but quality in the borzois was still not sufficient..
Of 21 dogs exhibited In 1931 was all of known origin. Exterior had improved and quality was better but performance was not tested. The owners had concentrated on improving the exterior.
In 1936, the Moscow Council of physical education and sport lovers, managed to unite borzoi breeders/owners in a partition to allow amateur-hunters going into the fields. The same year the first post-revolutionary trials on live game in the field was held under the expert for all-Union, Vsevolod Mamontov!
In the pre-war years in Moscow Komarova purchased from Kuibyshev, Kidai (Komorova). He became a major producer in the first postwar years. He had a good head, not long, but dry, shhipcom rule in the ring, bright eye. His grandson Gyaur (Mikhailova). occurs in many pedigrees.
From the end of 1939 to 1944 the number of borzoi in Moscow was very low. At the exhibition In 1941 was only 5 dogs shown.
After the great patriotic war began the restoration of the strength and quality of the borzoi. there was an increased demand for them among the hunters.
In 1946 Femina Quick Molodjesz was brought in from Germany by General Gromov. She was a well constructed bitch with Asmodei Perchino appearing several times in her pedigree.. Unfortunately, she only produced three sons, Gordyi, Derzai and Chaus. The two first can still be found in modern pedigrees. Chaus did not leave offspring.
In 1949, Hermelin von der Alck was purchased in from Germany. He was renamed in Russia to Oriel I 94/b. Even he was a descendant of Asmodei Perchino. Hermelin had a great influence on quality on the breed. He gave a lot of correct descendants. Moderate inbreeding on him gave borzoi with good qualities in the field. His influence in the breed transferred through the Nevezhin hunt and the two daughters Plutovka ( Zotova) and Purga (Amelung).
Quality in borzoi was getting better. Since 1952 yearly field trials was arranged with good influence on the breed.
In 1962 Amur von der Kaiserpfalz was imported from the GDR by V L Kolpakova. During his short career he sired a number of litters with very good result.
The Borzoi section, despite difficulties, payed much attention to field work and soundness in the breed.
In 1965 the "Elite class" was introduced. The first to be appointed was Golubka (Koblov).
in 1967 from 36 registered dogs — 25 litters, 3 of them won access to the "Elite class". This was good news, but new blood was not often available which resulted in repeated inbreeding.
In 1972 Grifo der Karolinger von Wienerwald was imported from Czechoslovakia and sired 16 litters. He was far from perfect but his progeny was of similar type and often better than himself.
Field work with borzois has its own complications: a very short test period of an average of only 2 months in autumn, after harvesting and under favorable weather conditions.
Sometime in fall, before frost and snow, it has only been possible to arrange one or two trials, and yet the number of participating dogs grew from year to year. At the 50-year anniversary exhibition in 1978, 58 borzoi was entered!
Barynia de Norois was Imported from Switzerland in 1975. She possessed uncommon speed and greed to the beast. Many of the descendants inherited her exterior and quality in the field. Of her 12 children-5 won the title of "champion".
In 1978, Burkhan de Kuskovo was imported, also from Switzerland.and from France came, Oskal de Petit.
Burkhan de Kuskovo gave beautiful, characteristic heads, but many of his descendants inherited limbs. The best of his descendants and successors was Lezgin (Gabidzashvivli), as well as Lebedka and Boyarynia (Shepeshevski).
Oskal de Petit did not possess high exterior, but had good field qualities. The offspring was not significant in number, but exterior much better than himself and with good field qualities.
Fetiysz von Smetanka was imported in 1982. His descendants possessed beautiful, dry heads, but some have "clarified?" eye color.
Valdai du Grand Venuer produced a pair of Chapion descendants, Daryal (Kovalev) and Buyan (Kovalev).
In 1985 Eick's Kretchet was imported from Germany. He was widely used and left offspring still to be found in a great number of pedigrees. Even a sister, Eick's Kenitschka was imported and produced two litters without significant impact.
The number of registered grows. In one year 293.
In recent years, many owners of borzoi, in spite of great difficulties, travel to other areas to show and to hunt.
From 1978 to 1993 the borzoi section had 20 champions. 1197/BP Tarkhan, Sarmat 1236/BP, Oskal de Petit 1378/BP, Lezgins 1411/BP, Merlin 1521/BP Blistaj, 1558, Fetish von Smetanka 1451/BP Daryal, 1620/BP, Arkan-Aero 1640/BP, Uragan de Norois 1630/BP, Nice 1198/BP, Barynia de Norois 1275/BP, Skazka 1262/BP Buyan, 1351, 1352 Bagrjana/BP/BP, Berezka 1350/BP, Kasatka 1523/BP, Marisha 1536/BP, Melissa 1455/BP, Vjushka, Plutovka.
From 1964 to 1992 in the all tribal hunting book 400 borzoi was registered.
Pictures from Marina Orlova's collection.