In Defense of the Russian Borzoi.


In Defense of the Russian Borzoi, 1928

Nikolai Nikolaevich Tchelicheff

Excerpt from the Permanent Special Commission for promoting development of pure bred dogs. In the report the Commission proposed, in view of the insignificance, it is limited solely to maintain breeds threatened with extinction: the borzoi and the Gordon setter.

The proposal of the Sub-Commission was unanimous.

In fact, private hunters can do nothing now to maintain the fading borzoi breed. This becomes understandable if we imagine the conditions needed for raising puppies of this breed. Their upbringing should be in full freedom and in a very spacious plot of land. Usually during the summer, days can be very hot, with the flies bothering puppies. From the heat and flies they should have access to a shady and cool place. In the afternoon or in the early morning, when the heat is not so high there must be space to play and exercise. When allowed to run, catching up with and surpassing one another, they can develop their very best qualities, playfulness and resourcefulness.

Therefore, it’s not enough to have fun and run in a small relatively normal size space in the courtyard of a Town House. When the borzoi becomes 4 months they require for their development a large, free area. Otherwise, if they start playing and scampering, they risk kicks, bumps, breaking legs, or simply running into corners of the building or any other obstruction. These conditions cannot create hunting borzoi and should, for that matter, not join a hunting organization.

That’s why I sincerely welcome the proposal by the Sub-Commission.

The Russian national breed, the borzoi, should be rescued and supported. This can only be done properly when hunting organizations, breeders/keepers can provide the means to meet the demanding conditions of raising borzoi puppies. After all, this is the most beautiful and at the same time, the most noble breed of dog in the world.

This must be accepted by all hunters. Today at exhibitions for borzoi you can always see the exhibitors and visitors but not so many hunters.

It is a shame for us, the Russian hunters, that last year at one of the shows in England was shown 240 Russian Borzoi, while we at the same time at an all-Union exhibition exhibited only 6 pure bred borzoi.

I know that sometimes the life of the borzoi was not spared for the benefit of man, the dog gained many enemies seeking to destroy it, but I also know that a large number will not let the breed be destroyed.

We should finally understand that the destruction of this breed, conscious or unconscious, is the destruction of one of the great benefits of the Russian soul and economy.

Russians, save the Borzoi, please!

Nikolai Nikolaevich Tchelicheff


From this letter we can understand that Nikolai Tchelicheff, the former landowner from the Tzar’s Russia, was much in favor of the creation of hunting stations with professional people to attend to them, especially with puppy raising and training.This system had quite a few elements in common with the system he was accustomed to, even if it could not be at the same scale as in the “old days”.

Nikolai grew up on the family estate as one of five brothers, the others where, Dmitri, Viktor, Alexander and Alex. The family was well known among hunters since the early 1800 and was active until the revolution put a stop.

One of the brothers, Victor fled to the west in 1918 and ended up in the USA. He wrote books of his memories from growing up on the estate and described both social meetings and hunt parties where some well known borzoi hunters like V Bibikoff, I Sorotkin, A M Geyer, M Majorov, F P Beresniki, S V Ozerov and more came to the estate!.


Nikolai Tchelicheff bred borzoi from the best bloodlines and exported dogs to the west, one was the famous Serdetchnyi sold to G van Muylem in Belgium. 


Nikolai stayed in Russia and continued to work for breeding of pure bred dogs, especially the borzoi. He did much to help the breed to survive during the difficult years after the revolution and the first World War.



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