Nina Alexandrovna Korff-Sumarokova



A quick look at one famous woman in Borzoi from a 100 years ago: Nina Alexandrovna Korff-Sumarokova.


Baroness Korff was born in 1877, graduated, and spoke four languages. Living on the family estate (Stary Yuriev, Tambov  province), she was a passionate lover of borzois and a great horsewoman; together with neighbours, G.E. Delvig, and A.P. Liharev, she took part in hunting with hounds.

Baroness Korff had a kennel of English Setters (“Hi-life”) and became at the beginning of the 20 century among the first of the kennels of Russia.

Nina Aleksandrovna met Konstantin Vladimirovich Sumarokov and married him. He was the leader of nobility in the Mensk district, living at his estate in Aljabevo. He was a passionate hunter, had a flock of Anglo-Russian harriers and many borzois. He repeatedly judged borzois at dog shows.


After settling in Aljabevo, Nina Korff-Sumarokova achieved remarkable results in the field and at shows. The borzois of Aljabevo won sevaral prizes in the years before the Revolution. On the regular exhibition by the Imperial Hunting society in December 1910 in Moscow, seven borzois owned by Korff-Sumarokova were exhibited. Pospěkh was awarded the Grand silver medal, and Pospěkh, Ahed and Yazva won a gold medal in the svora class.


Littermate  of Pospěkh and Ahid, Lubka  (Sumarokov), won in 1910 1st prize at  Coursing in Perchino and on the XIII exhibition in Moscow hunting society gained a large silver medal.

In 1911, Korff-Sumarokova exported three dogs, Pospěkh, Ahid and Yazva, and in 1913 Ataman to France. Later Lebed and Lebedka were exported to Germany. All of these dogs were widely used in Europe as stud dogs.


The fate of Nina Alexandrovna is characteristic for the “former” nobility. In 1923, she was arrested and spent three years in the Orenburg prison. She was released in 1926 but arrested again in 1928 as a participant of “monarchical organization”. She was sentenced to 2 years of banishment and sent back to Orenburg.


In 1930, she returned to Leningrad and worked as a livestock specialist at the racetrack for dogs. In the spring of 1935 she and her husband were sent to Irgiz in the Aktyubinsk region for 3 years.

In 1946, she judged the borzois at the XVI exhibition. Galina Zotova said about Nina Alexandrovna Sumarokova: “She was a gorgeous specialist and connoisseur of dogs who during her lifetime had seen and judged a considerable number of dogs. Even before the war, she judged in Leningrad and Moscow. I saw her for the first time in postwar exhibitions in Moscow. She was strict, rather silent. examined the dogs, shook her head and sat down to write. A strict and thorough examination, especially by a woman judge was not always appreciated”.

We have no records on when her husband, Konstantin Sumarokov died but when Nina Alexandrovna passed away in 1947, after the Tambov Oblast exhibition, she was alone.


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Arvid Andersen