All Dog Breeds >>History of Borzoi
It was long thought that Saluki type sighthounds were originally brought to Russia from Byzantium in the South about the 9th and 10th centuries and again later by the Mongol invaders from the East. However, now that the archeological archives and research results of the former USSR are open to scientists, it has become quite clear that the primal sighthound type evolved between the Kyrgyzstan, the lower Kazakhstan part of Altai and the Afghan plains, and that the earliest actual sighthound breeds were the plains Afghan hounds and the Kyrgyz Taigan. These ancient breeds then migrated South (founding the Tazi/Saluki branch) and West (founding the Stepnaya, Krimskaya and Hortaya branches) to develop into breeds adapted to those regions.
This was a slow process which happened naturally through normal spreading of trade, with the silk and spice trade via the Silk Road being the prime vector. The more modern Psovaya Borzaya was founded on Stepnaya, Hortaya and the Ukrainian-Polish version of the old Hort. There were also imports of Western sighthound breeds to add to the height and weight. It was crossed as well with the Russian Laika specifically and singularly to add resistance against Northern cold and a longer and thicker coat than the Southern sighthounds were equipped with. All of these foundation types - Tazi, Hortaya, Stepnaya, Krimskaya and Hort - already possessed the instincts and agility necessary for hunting and bringing down wolves.
The Psovoi was popular with the Tsars before the 1917 revolution. For centuries, Psovoi could not be purchased but only given as gifts from the Tsar. The most famous breeder was Grand Duke Nicholas Nicolaievich of Russia, who bred countless Psovoi at Perchino, his private estate.