Inna Estrina – colour in Borzoi


Russian expert and breeder Inna Estrina

Probably, not in any other breed of dogs, exist so many colors and shades of coat, as in the russian psovy borzoi. And how many mistakes were made in this regard? Sometimes this problem appears because people did not know what color is typical for the russian psovy borzoi and what is not typical.

Not so long ago, in a Czech atlas of dogs, Naimanova-Gumpal has written that white&black colors of borzois are not desirable, that black, black&tan colors of borzois are not desirable, that black, black and tan colour, is not typical for the russian psovy borzoi,

Just before the revolution two brothers B. and D. Sheremetev and A.Boldarev emigrated to France. They were the first, who published the standard on Russian psovy borzoi overseas. They indicated that the light color is the preferred color for russian psovy borzois. That was exactly the color, which they had in their own kennels. For many people, who loved this breed in other countries, the brothers Sheremetev and A.Boldarev were the largest specialists of this breed and everything these breeders of borzois wrote was accepted as the truth.

In our present days, we still have many foreign borzoi owners, breeders and judges, who believe that this first standard, written by these three borzoi breeders from Russia is right

I pertain with big respect to all borzoi owners, who have been able to keep a love in their heart for this breed, in spite of all life’s difficulties, which was with them in those times. But, event so, I want to tell something about the color of russian borzois and what was written by these old breeders many years ago in Russia.

Unless consider von Lessing, Reut and someone else who has done descriptions of borzoi dogs before the year 1880, one of the first standards was written by Dmitri Waltzov in 1882. This description was published in the journal. The article was called “On the new psovy dog”. In this article he wrote, that borzoi’s coat can have colours from black through all shades to white, soft, silky wavy in places, or in large waves.

S.Ozerov, one of the biggest borzoi breeders wrote: ”that it is impossible to breed dogs on one colour only. That borzois of all colours, which have borzois with a large number of different colours in their pedigree, with good exterior and with exclusive hunting quality – are always preferred before a breeder, who breeds for one colour only.

If we have own suggestions on the variety of the colour of Russian psovy borzoi on comments of authorities of 19 century, it will be sufficiently difficult to orientate.

This suggestions are sufficiently inconsistent, but necessary distinctly to clearly understand, that it was in the middle of 19th century, that someone of them could not otherwise come off from the type of russian borzoi, which had no blood of krimian borzois (krimka) and mountain’s borzois (gorka) too.

As well as many from them, could not get away from the type and the color of borzoi, which they had beside them in their hunts. So it is necessary was confirm that exactly this color is unique and desirable.

It was naturally therefore that they liked the color of their own borzois or, as they supposed, that this was the most characteristic for the old type of russian borzoi.

But there were such people as D.Valtzov, S. Ozerov, A.Korsh, N.Kishensky who knew and understood, that the type of russian psovy borzoi will be firm only then, when all melange of borzoi which were added to the breed, definitively will be one type in one breed of russian psovy borzoi.

At that time, the influx of the different types of “krimka” and “gorka” was sufficiently big. Very many breeders and keepers of the russian type of borzois, added the blood of these borzoi to their own dogs. Herewith they wanted to get good working qualities in their borzois. Many of them not too bothered about exterior of their own dogs.

Hereinafter, in 1888, N. Ermolov has published his article “The typical charactertistics of borzoi’s dogs”, which was officially recognized by the standard and acted on for the following 30 years.

N.Ermolov has described what he prefers as an owner of russian borzoi. So he has written, that “colors of borzois very varied now, and for the matter of that it is impossible be very strict, but the most distinctive, typical colors should be acknowledged grey and polovy (color of straw), and a mix of these colors – grey-polovy, and piebald from them”. N.Kishensky, who is author of the book “The experience of the genealogy of dogs” sufficiently in detail concerns himself with the problems of the color of russian psovy borzoi.

He wrote, that in the brilliant epoch of psovy hunts, majority of russian psovy huntsmans particularly value grey, grey-piebald and the white color in their own psovy borzois.

So, nearly all huntsmans tended to have the dogs of these color. This huntsmans conduct their own work with breed very separate, which was possible in enourmous hunting kennels of that time. All large huntsmans managed installation of the loved colors. However, all of these huntsmans were proud that they had dogs of only one color in their own hunts. They escalated hid a birth of puppies of different colors.

There was not the possibility to caught these fanatics of the one color on these facts. Sometimes, as a rule accidentally, these secrets has opened. But, as it were those nor was in that time, enormous hunting kennels has consisted of one-colors – gray and gray-piebald of borzois.

N.Kishensky wrote hereinafter, that the psovy hunt have begun to shortened with the time. Has begun the join of the producers from different hunts that has brought to legalize of different of part of borzois, so named, the undesirable colors of russian psovy borzoi.

Though, herewith, the large breeders and refer on that, that producers from other hunts were not thoroughbred. I.e. were a joining the sighthounds of different breeds . In own study of borzoi’s colors N.Kishensky describes an event, which has come with of known borzoi’s breeder from Saratov Kiselev at 60 years 19 centery.

He was breeding his borsois in purity, in his home therte always was borzois, which was white and white with grey ears. Once upon a time, he got as a gift from his uncle, squire D.Panutin, borzoi’s female “Zavidka”, who was white with gray ears. She was thoroughbred female. This could be confirmed by an uncle of Kiselev and Kiselev himself.

What is interesting in this case? But interesting in this case is that… When Kiselev has connected this “Zavidka” with his own white dogs, in each of litters were red puppies with black mask, as well as several times grey without spots.

And one more event brings this author, so one owner of borzoi hunt has mated his white female with borzoi’s male “Lubezny-1” of known breeder Kirievsky. In this litter he has got two from six puppies of dark red color with the dark mask and hind legs, but in second litter– murugi (dark red with blackness on all body). Moreover, as told borzoi’s breeder from Riazan, these dogs turned out to be very fast.

Also N.Kishensky writes, that sufficiently often has awaked commercialism of owner. And does not happen to learn the truth, what kind of borzoi color were born in what kennels. Many carefully have hidden, but many simply were deleted. One more owner of the large hunt spoke to his friend that: “When I have puppies from the twenty females, so I can select all of gray piebald svora (three borzois, which one of which another sex); from hundreds of puppies I can select gray piebald with similar markings”.

But one more very old owner of enormous hunt, very experienced huntsman said: “Disbelieve, father my, all of this stories about one colors at the dogs breeds: a wolfs and that has different colors, they can be grey, can be and nearly black and light-red”.

Hereinafter he spoke that and he had red puppies, red puppies with black mask, murugi (dark red with blackness on all body), yes and no, no was born and black. But they killed such puppies, that support the myth about “one color kennels”. L.Sabaneev, who was the most known author of disquisitions about hunting dogs wrote: “The most typical color at all psovy nearly are unanimously considered gray and polovy (color of straw) with all their tones before purely white and light red, so-called blue and grey burmatny (when grey or nearly black color inhere overhand and if look inside to skin, You see very light polovy or white coat), as well as piebald these colors.

He wrote, that prevalence of these color serves one of the deep proof of origins of the russian borzois from northern dogs, which look like wolves.

Red and brindle color is characteristic of english greyhound and somewhat of the polish hurt. Black, grey piebald, as well as the murugy color is characteristic of the east borzois, moreover a black mask are meets at “gorka” more often, a tan always indicate on admixture of “krimka”.

Thoroughbred borzois, wrote L.Sabaneev, must not have nor the black mask, nor the tan. That even the white color is not characteristic for them, since is the sign of albinism and to bring to the degeneration.

All borzoi’s breeder in all the world known that L.Sabaneev is the big connoisseur of the hunt and the hunting dogs. But he lived in the 19 centery.

In those times the breed of borzoi was in stage of development. We had not such uniformity in the breed as now. Exactly so, either as many of others, L. Sabaneev prefered a type of russian borzoi, which was considered sufficiently ancient.

He did not take into account what already in those years has occurred an essential mix of the blood of borzois, which existed in that years, with not only «krimka» and «gorka», but and with north dogs which look like wolf, with the north dogs, which look like «laika», which have, by the way black and black-piebald colors too.

When L.Sabaneev wrote his book the intensive mix of the blood of “gorka” and “krimka” with the psovy borzois was going on. The known borzoi’s breeder Piotr Mihailovich Machevarianov wrote in introduction to his book: “absurd items, placed in hunting journals and wild, fantastic manuals about the psovy hunt, published by personalities, who have no idea – forced me to consent on the request of my hunting friend and dare to publish my notes about all, which concern to psovy a hunt, with interpretations of thir rules, which had our ancestor, and that terminology, which used by them and which our grandparents and fathers was transferred for us in own tales and manuscripts.

Certainly, my notes will not like self-styled huntsmans. But neighborly, honest labor, reference to known old-time hunting authorities in Russia, the facts, which is proof in my note, assuredly, will find much supporters for me, as in old huntsmen, who their lives conservatively in some wilderness – so and in impartial young”.

Machevarianov wrote “The psovina (russian name of borzoi’s coat) common psovy dogs can be of different colors, as follows: white, black, grey, black&tan, gray&tan, light-polovy (color of light straw), polovy, red, red with black mask, murugy, burmatny, dark-burmatny, black-brindle, red-brindle, grey-brindle, grey-polovy and all defined color – piebald”. He wrote that the tan is identified bright red coat beside black dogs and at the grey – on the head, on brows, on cheeks, on bosoms and on extremities of legs.

But hereinafter it deciphers majority of tones and colors on which writes: “I do not describe with all detail of all tones of coat, as, for instance polovy ( straw-color). Color begins from the color of spring olive, which moves over to the color of koffe&cream and gradually gets to red (of course nor like rust and nor like bacon, but like the red or like red-golden). Grey color can be like ash, blye-grey and gets to dark-grey like black.

Red with mazurina – when red borzoi has black mask, Murugy- when red dogs, except the black mask, – black tips of ears, black belt on the top line and, on the whole body, on red coat is black edges of coat.

Burmatny – When, commencing from very light-polovy and revenue before bright red-polovy, coat as it were coverred by dust, which was from light grey to dark grey, nearly black, Chubary(Brindle)- when on the polovy or red or grey dog wrong heel or strip, (in type of bands or apples , as on the marble) – black or gray and which color dominates -on him and is identified color of dogs, for instance: black-chubary(brindle), grey-chubary(brindle), red-chubary(brindle). Chubary(Brindle) borzois can be: grey-polovo-chubary(brindle), red-polovo-chubary(brindle), light-grey-polovo-chubary(brindle) and many other.

Grey-polovy – when color has mix: top line more grey and the sides are polovy.

Herewith, in the description of a clean psovy dogs and a kurljandsky borzois P.Machevarianov adds, that their color such, either as of psovy.

He describes dogs of the most known breeder and owner Naumov N., which had 200-300 borzois and who was a big buddy a Earl A.Orlov.

In his hunt were a black-piebald bushy-psovy borzois “Drujok” and “Mily” with coat, which was 36,6 cm, it was so good, that which under the most slightest waft of winds flap was like an ostrich feather.

Notice, that this book not written, but only published at 1876, accordingly, was written several years earlier. I return to N.Kishensky newly, which much grieve that does not exist the total dogmas, as and the total notion about the modern psovy dog, the studies on this breed, which could be available by means of printed word only.

When he happened to speak about this with an elders of the psovy hunt, majority of them told endlessly that this nor to that “if died the present of the clean blood of the breed, if they have the mix and the regenerate in the curs, that the studies do not help to this “.

Their passion to past was too strong, they could not understand, that there would come of statement of other type, nor clean psovy and bushy psovy borzoi, which exist in their time, but united the type of russian psovy borzoi, which reached till our days, with all its colors, which so carefully hid in their time.

I think, that many of them, emphatically to defended that, what they breed all the lives, or which they had in their own hands.

But I will go back to the colors, no need to forget, what red color is even so dominant color, with all its tones. What to get the black color not so simply.

Can be, exactly so, after the revolutions, after Great war(1941), there was not a large number of borzois which had the black and black&tan colors in Russia.

Big harm, on my eyes, in understanding colors of russian borzois, inflict N.Tchelishev, which published its brochure about borzois in 20-30 years 20th century.

He wrote in it, that, the russian psovy borzoi, without doubt, must have the white, polovy, grey color and the piebald color from them.

That the black color with its variants indicate to that russian psovy borzoi is not clean breed, i.e. mestizo and has derived from melanges with “krimka”.

But this was “yesterday”. Today all know, and is not a secret for the all, that modern russian psovy borzoi, with its steadfastness by the type, has in it the blood of east borzois, brudasty borzois, polish hurt, english greyhound, “krimka”, «gorka”, but accordingly all colors of data by the breeds are characteristic of russian psovy borzoi.

All of this certain mess in the colors of russian borzois, certainly, but because we had the information blockade of the Soviet Russia such a time. Because of inaccessibility of an archive material, because of paucity of a notes about the breed, which came before our days.

Because of that, that judging about the value and the defects in the breed was founded on the subjective glances of separate breeders, rather then on the documents.

Because of that that all these documents, the notes, the item and the books were not in due course translated into foreign languages, because of the iron curtain.

But the people can be mistaken, and was aberrant, some of them can obtrude their opinion, but sometimes, told that their opinion is the dogma, but at our days finally clearly determined, what the colors the russian psovy borzoi can have:

– White, white with polovy ears,

– Polovy (like straw’s color), polovo-chubary(brindle), polovo-burmatny, polovy with silver and piebald of this color, all of this color can be with mazurina (black mask),

– Burmatny (polovy with dark raid overhand), gray-burmatny, which go to black-burmatny, red-burmatny and piebald of this color,

– Red, red-polovy, red-burmatny, from light till dark red-chubary(brindle) and piebald of this color, all of this color can be with mazurina (black mask),

– Murugy (red whith black raid overhand), light murugy till dark murugy, often such color has mazurina (black mask) and piebald of this color,

– Grey (from ash color till yellow-grey), grey-polovy, grey&tan, grey&silver, from light till dark grey-chubary(brindle), grey-polovo-chubary,

– Chubary (brindle), from light till dark red-chubary, from light till dark grey –chubary, black-chubary, from light till dark grey-polovo-chubary and piebald of this color,

– Black, dlack&tan (tan will be gray, chubary(brindle), light yellow till red), black-white, black-white&tan.

– DEFECT is spots not in tone of color,

– VICE: is bright spots not in the tone of color on the body, brown color (like chocolate).

I think that, regrettably, all of this name of variety of these color are known in Russia only. And, is necessary to say, that in the other country accepted to write very abbreviated tonality in color in the dog’s pedigree.

So, for instance, white-black color (if this color with “tan”, is not indicated what “tan”- grey or red…,), if this chubary(brindle), is not indicated what chubary – grey, red or light of these tones, to say nothing of that, what such color, how polovo-grey-chubary-piebald, will be specified as it is white-chubary(brindle).

In pedigree are not indicated colors of parents and grand parents at our days, and this is very bad for the breeding. I already wrote, that and earlier breeders of borzois understood very well that each color has its own type and scale of the scatter in this type.

Once upon a time I has found letters of P.Machevarianov, in that letter he asks his friend about puppy from female, which he had presented hes friend. She was grey-piebald. “…I shall ask You transfer me one puppy – exactly male following color: advantage on NN 1. gray (light or dark), 2. communication the type with colors.

In the life the type of black with the red tan borzois differ sufficiently clearly from black borzois with chubary (brindle) tan.

Great difficulty for the work of the breeder, if he will not be a sign regarding colors, which his borzois Black&tan, 3. If will not grey and black – red”. Why so? I think because he knew very well about have in their pedigree.

After all, in that event, are sufficiently difficult if you nor know colors of dogs, which are in pedigree of your dogs. Are sufficiently difficult to define with what type and accordingly color you must mate your female or male for good result in breeding.

Much often can be so, that the producer is a bright representative of the type in its color, but it is not dominant of own type and he is not transferred own color and own type for own children.

Herewith, even the mother of this male can have his color what, seemingly, else more must intensify an influence of the given producer. As strange, but often this is not so… But, for all the breeder, who actually knows the pedigree of this dog, knows that the mother of this male was a single puppy of this color in her litter, they understand very well why this male is not the dictator of own type. All puppies in the litter, in which was born a mother of this stud male were exactly such color and such type, which transferred this male. But this only private event.

The problem of dictator of the type in the breed inhere much deeper. So in the litter built on linebreeding, which founded on the right factory’s work, can turn out to be one puppy, at the best event – two dictators of the type. How recognize this? In this is talent of breeder!

D.Valtzov wrote in its book about Pershino, that sometimes were born such puppy in their hunt, the color which in accuracy look like the color of their grandparents, or grand grand parents. As the rule, these dogs and became the dictators in the type.

We have not so few books about genetics of the colors, I can possible advise to get acquainted with them, but, to great regret, the colors of russian psovy borzoi do not systematize. Too much them in the breed and all of these has mixed together.

But certainly, the type and a color, bound with each other. This is know all present breeder, which learn not only values and defects of their dogs, as well as their colors, but accordingly and types, which are transferred and can be transferred from the generation in the generation.

All of this is weighty part of knowledge on tribal breeding, which will lead the breeder to the success!


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