Notes regarding Borzoi in Russia in the period 1940 to 1950!
In the 1940s, just as the second WW had ended, a Soviet soldier, Constantin Esmont made detailed records of the various types of borzoi he found in Cossack villages in the south of Russia.
His job was to visit horse farms and to select horses for the army. Because of this he traveled much in the steppe regions of Southern Russia and he saw a lot of local sighthounds.
Esmont was concerned that the distinct types of sighthounds were in danger of degenerating without a controlled system of breeding. He convinced the Soviet government that borzois were an asset to the hunters who supported the fur industry and henceforth, their breeding became officially regulated.
Then, (1940-1950) short haired borzoi were highly valued hunting dogs on the steppes, while the long-haired borzoi, was going through a hard period of restoration of its working qualities after decades of shadow, mainly show existence.
On his business trips he observed some dogs that looked like the Chortaj sighthounds with floppy ears that were once common in the mountain regions. As a child Esmont had seen a lot of Crimean and Gorski borzois in the Caucassaus, so was familiar with the type.
He also saw a lot of dogs that looked like hybrids of different sighthounds and also some specimen of questionable origin.
Using the information he received, Esmont worked out Standards for Chortajs and Stepnojs (the sighthound with floppy ears), it was formed out of old time Crimean and Gorski sighthounds).
Constantin Esmont performed a tremendous amount of work to promote Russian hunting sighthounds and he was the author of the first official Chortaj standard which was adopted in 1951.
Some of the typical dogs were photographed. The work was very difficult because these regions were completely uncivilized then, bad roads, no telephone.
In spite of all the obstacles, Constantin Esmont performed a tremendous amount of work to promote Russian hunting sighthounds.
Hunting with sighthounds was a part of local tradition, most farmers kept one or two sighthounds to help provide for the family. These dogs most probably were descendants of dogs from the large hunting kennels abandoned after the revolution. The farmers used the dogs to provide food, catching hares and killing of foxes.
There were also the hunters that hunted for fur. Their demands on the dogs was higher and also of higher value to the community and the state,
Being a sighthound judge he never approved of the local hunters' practice to breed only according to working qualities not considering the type or sometimes even breed.
He was concerned that the distinct types of borzaya were in danger of degenerating without a controlled system of breeding. He convinced the Soviet government that borzois were a valuable asset to the hunters who supported the fur industry and henceforth, the breeding of borzoi was officially regulated.
At the National Hunting Committee he lobbied to forbid to hunt using dogs with no papers. In this way the local hunters were forced to breed purebred dogs.
Constantin Esmont and his colleague A.M. Lerkhe helped organize and judged at a lot of local shows and field trials where they observed, measured and wrote critiques of almost 700 sighthounds.
The dogs Esmont and his colleague examined were awarded points for breed type and fitness.