Guidelines for Breeders of Borzoi

These guidelines represent some of the principles and practices which the Borzoi Club of America, Inc. expects breeders and prospective breeders of Borzoi to consider and adopt.


The creation of any new life is a serious, far-reaching responsibility. Thousands of dogs are destroyed
each year for lack of caring homes. Sadly, Borzoi are among them. The stud owner is as morally
responsible for overpopulation problems as the bitch owner. Please, before you consider breeding a
Borzoi litter, carefully evaluate the market for Borzoi puppies.

  1. Will you have homes for all of them?
  2. Do you have adequate facilities and the financial means to keep and properly care for as many puppies as necessary until such time as proper homes can be found? There is not now, nor has there ever been a large market for Borzoi, and it is not unusual for a breeder to maintain many pups for long periods of time before adequate homes are found.

(I) Selection of Breeding Stock
The selection of animals for breeding has as its aim the perpetuation of good qualities and the elimination of those that are undesirable. Even adherence to the following guidelines does not preclude the possibility of serious hereditary faults in any given litter. The growing availability of genetic tests has become an invaluable tool in the selection of breeding stock. The BCOA expects owners of sires and dams to take advantage of genetic testing to ensure that progeny will not be affected by genetic abnormalities.

  1. Planning: Litters must be planned in advance with as much knowledge as possible about the
    individual animals, and those in the pedigrees of both the sire and dam. This knowledge pertains to character, temperament, health (including genetic testing), and conformity to the Borzoi Club of America's Standard of Perfection for the breed as currently accepted by the AKC for all of the subject animals.
    1. The Sire and the Dam: The sire and the dam selected must be better than average specimens, in good health and of excellent temperament. Their conformation must not vary markedly from the ideal described in the Borzoi Club of America's standard for the breed as currently accepted by the AKC No animal selected for breeding may have any serious hereditary defects as determined visually, by genetic analysis, and by veterinary examination.
    2. Faults: The sire and the dam must not have the same faults. Faults are noted in the Borzoi Club of America's standard for the breed as currently accepted by the AKC. More than simply not having faults, the sire & dam must complement each other; take care not to double up on weaknesses.
  2. The Stud Dog
    Any dog offered at stud must be a better than average specimen, differing little from the ideal described in the standard. He must be in good health, free of genetic health problems, and of excellent temperament.
    1. A stud owner is privileged to refuse service to a bitch for any reason whatsoever, especially if the dog has not been advertised as being at stud or if the ad states, "to approved bitches only." The stud owner should refuse service to a bitch if he feels the breeding would be detrimental to the breed.
    2. A veterinarian shall be consulted concerning worming and immunizations prior to breeding. A brucellosis test prior to breeding is advisable. In addition, a veterinarian-signed health certificate listing all immunizations, worming and their dates should be available for the bitch owner's inspection.
    3. It is customary for the bitch to be taken to the dog, though it is acceptable to do otherwise, especially if artificial insemination with either fresh or frozen semen is planned. Consider consultations with your veterinarian regarding smears and blood work to determine optimum timing for a breeding. Owners of the stud and bitch should reach an agreement regarding boarding and vet fees, as well as any transportation costs for the bitch while she is with the stud owner. This agreement must be in writing with both parties
      signing to signify agreement.
    4. Stud fees are a matter of private agreement between the stud and bitch owners. Bitch owners should request the stud fee of any dog considered since fees commonly vary. Fees are paid at the time of service and a signed certificate of the breeding date should be given to the owner of the bitch. Any agreement must be in writing and signed by both parties. It is unwise for the owner of the stud to sign litter registration papers until the puppies have been whelped and full payment has been made.
    5. Puppies in lieu of cash stud fees are sometimes agreed upon. As with any agreement, such a provision must be in writing. If puppies are taken rather than cash, agree in advance the specific age for the selection of the puppy (puppies) so as not to encumber the breeder with holding the litter an unreasonable length of time. The stud owner may agree to depend on the owner of the litter to make the selection. One puppy may constitute a litter. A selected puppy must have the same health guarantee as any puppy from the litter sold. Agree upon replacement or refund conditions beforehand. A written agreement is the best
      insurance of understanding.
    6. If the breeding does not produce a litter, inform the stud owner within four (4) days of the due date. It is customary, but not obligatory, for the stud owner to offer a return service to the same bitch, to another approved bitch owned by the same person, or to return the stud fee minus board, veterinary and/or transportation costs. As with all other matters, make this part of a written breeding contract prior to the breeding.
  3. The Brood Bitch
    Any bitch considered for breeding should be a better than average specimen, differing little from the ideal described in the standard. She should be in good health and of excellent temperament.
    1. Do not breed a bitch before she is at least two (2) years of age and had two (2) complete normal seasons. Do not breed a bitch past her ninth (9th) year. No bitch should have more than two (2) litters in a two (2) year period.
    2. Consult your veterinarian concerning worming and immunizations prior to breeding, whelping, or both. Many stud owners also require a brucellosis test prior to breeding. In addition, make available for the stud owner's information a veterinarian-signed health certificate listing all immunizations, worming and the dates performed.
  4. The Puppies
    1. Close co-operation with a veterinarian or other experienced individual is recommended. In large litters (more than seven), it may be advisable to give the puppies some supplemental food after they are 48 hours old.
    2. The age for weaning is determined by the bitch and her puppies. The presentation and acceptance of a properly prepared, well-balanced, high-quality puppy food usually begins at about three (3) weeks of age.
      Weaning is usually completed by seven (7) to eight (8) weeks of age.
    3. Most puppies need worming by at six (6) weeks of age and again at nine (9) weeks of age. Consult with your veterinarian early and prior to worming. The parasite load in your area of the country as well as the parasite load of the dam, may dictate worming the puppies as early as three (3) weeks of age.
    4. Establish an immunization program for infectious diseases for puppies by a veterinarian according to the latest immunization information available.

Selling and Placement

The goal of selling puppies and dogs is to provide each animal with a suitable, caring, permanent home
where it will be a credit to its breed, breeder, and owner.

  1. Articles to Accompany Each Sale
    1. The AKC registration application, or an individual registration, or an agreement signed and agreed to by both the buyer and the seller * stating the reason(s) that no registration papers are being given or transferred. According to the AKC, registration papers belong to the individual puppies or dogs and may not be withheld unless there is an agreement regarding their withholding signed by both the buyer and the seller.
    2. A three (3) generation pedigree signed by the breeder with the AKC registration numbers of the animal's parents and any available health clearance numbers of the ancestors.
    3. Puppies should be micro-chipped and registered by the breeder and the information given to the owner with the instruction to keep the breeder on as a second contact when the owner adds himself the registration.
    4. A medical record, including:
      1. A schedule of dates and types of vaccines used in inoculations to date and the name of the person who administered them. Any adverse reactions should be noted.
      2. A schedule of the dates on which the Borzoi was wormed, the type of medication used and/or the date its stool was checked and found free of infestation. Any adverse reactions to administered wormers should be noted.
      3. A health certificate signed by the breeder's/owner's veterinarian attesting to the animal's condition and noting any serious infections, special diagnosis, surgery, and the like and certification of all inoculations administered by the veterinarian.
      4. A seven-day health warrantee. This gives the buyer time to have the Borzoi checked by his own veterinarian to assure its health. If the veterinarian finds any serious defect which would render the puppy or adult unfit for the purpose for which it was purchased the veterinarian should note this in writing.
    5. A feeding schedule and enough of the animal's food to last several days. This can be used to tide over the new owner until the same food can be obtained, or it can be mixed with a new food to ease the transition onto that food. If possible, include a container of the water that the Borzoi is used to, so that the water is slowly changed to help prevent digestive upset that occasionally accompanies a rapid change in water.
    6. Printed information concerning puppy care.
    7. Special Considerations.
      1. Any ribbons and/or trophies won by the animal.
      2. Photos or copies of photos of the animal's parents and the same of the animal's early days.
      3. A favorite toy.
  2. Prices
    It is not the intention of the BCOA to recommend any specific price structure for either puppy or adult Borzoi. Honesty and fairness in the Breeder-Purchaser (Seller-Buyer) relationship should prevail. The Borzoi is a sentient creature and should be respected and treated as such.

    In general, prices vary with geographic area and the pedigree of the animal(s) involved. If a breeder finds that he cannot obtain what he believes to be satisfactory prices he should examine his reasons for breeding, breeding program, practices and the market environment for Borzoi. Economically depressed areas or those sparsely populated usually have a limit to their demand for all pure-bred dogs. One possible recourse for a breeder in this situation is to curtail his breeding program, spacing litters farther apart than he currently does. The price of a Borzoi should be sufficient to reflect the fact that the new owner has made an investment in something important. On the other hand, no Borzoi should carry an unrealistically high price tag.
    1. General Guidelines
      1. Puppies under six months of age can seldom be termed "show quality." Instead, puppies in this age range are more appropriately referred to as "promising," or "of show potential." This recognizes the developmental changes many of these puppies must still go through. The prices of puppies will vary depending on their quality, with those described as "show potential," typically commanding higher prices.
      2. Adolescent and adult Borzoi are available from many breeders. These more mature Borzoi typically
        cost more than puppies. Their "show potential" is more fully realized than a puppy's with some having already accumulated show wins. Some Borzoi in this category are also proven sires or dams so their breeding record, exemplified by their offspring, is also more readily evaluated. Buyers interested in serious "show" or breeding stock are more likely to achieve their goals by purchasing more mature animals.
      3. Selling or buying a male and female pair of puppies as a breeding pair is not advisable and is discouraged. Until they mature it is too difficult to determine if they complement each other. See previous sections in reference to Stud and Brood Bitch qualities.
      4. Euthanasia should be considered for any animal with a crippling or debilitating physical defect, a bad temperament, or an unreliable disposition which makes the animal unsuitable for a pet. The average buyer expects a stable, well-adjusted Borzoi; that buyer is not prepared to cope with a bad-tempered, potentially
        vicious animal. Breeders must take responsible courses of action with respect to the animals they have bred.
      5. Giving an animal as a gift is discouraged unless one is certain the animal is wanted and appreciated. Offering animals as raffle prizes or promotional prizes is not only discouraged by the BCOA, but is also illegal in many states and/or communities. (See Section E)
  3. Payments and Agreements
    1. Payment should be made in cash (or by check), preferably in full, at the time of sale.
    2. If installment payments are to be made, the terms of the agreement should be in writing, signed by both parties. Usually it is unwise to schedule payments in cash or services covering a period of more than eighteen (18) months. If payment or partial payment is to be in puppies or stud services, a longer time period is reasonable.
    3. If the animal is to be shipped, payment should be made and/or all agreements should be signed prior to shipping. Registration papers should be sent with the animal or prior to shipment, provided payment has been made, checks cleared, and/or all contracts signed. NOTE: According to the AKC, registration papers belong to the individual animals and may not be withheld pending full payment or for any other reason unless there is an agreement to the withholding signed by both the buyer and the seller.
    4. Consider all of the possible ramifications that a contract between buyer and seller may entail. Although buying a male with a clause entitling the breeder free use of the dog as a stud has few readily apparent problems, contracts regarding bitches may place significant future obligations upon the buyer. Buying a bitch on a contract that requires that she be bred and puppies from her remitted to her breeder places the buyer in the position of having to pay all or a significant part of the costs commonly associated with a
      breeding, whelping, and raising a litter. These costs commonly include stud fees, cost of the bitch's transportation to and from the stud owner's location, possible boarding and veterinary costs while there, puppy food for a litter, inoculations, wordings, ad infinitum. This burden should be accepted by a buyer only with full knowledge of the potential costs and commitment involved.
    5. Before entering into a co-ownership agreement, consider carefully the potential financial and legal obligations and ramifications that you may be accepting. Breeders should not use a co-ownership as a means to unload a puppy or adult Borzoi for a lower price.
    6. The best advice is to have everything in writing. In contracts, use simple, precise language clearly defining all obligations, situations, ramifications that you can possibly envision. Make certain that both parties read, understand, and agree to the contract before signing it. No matter how well-written the contracts, they are often difficult to enforce and expensive to pursue. Contracts with many hard to enforce stipulations should rarely be made with novices or people the breeder does not know well.
  4. Returns, Replacements, Refunds
    All agreements between buyer and seller regarding returns, replacements or refunds should be in writing, agreed to and signed by both parties. Wording should be clear and precise, setting forth mutually accepted terms covering all foreseeable situations.
    1. Returns without refund: the breeder shall accept the return of any animal which he has bred, sold or placed, without giving a refund and pursuant to his clearly defined right, if and as specified in the purchase agreement or contract, to retain, re-home or euthanize the animal at his option.
    2. Refunds or Replacements: If, and as specified in the purchase agreement or contract, a refund or replacement should be furnished depending on the following circumstances:
      1. General dissatisfaction on the part of the purchaser with an animal, provided it is returned in good health no later than one month after the sale.
      2. In the case of an animal, within two weeks after the sale, that does not die but is seriously ill of an infectious disease or illness the origin of which can be determined by a qualified veterinarian to have existed at the time of the animal's sale, a suitable financial settlement shall be made. The amount of the settlement should be up to, but not exceeding the purchase price paid for the animal. A veterinarian's
        certification of the illness and its pre-existing nature shall be necessary to return an animal under this section, and shall be supplied at the purchaser's expense. This certificate shall set forth that the veterinarian has examined the animal, and that the animal has a contagious or disabling illness rendering it unfit for purchase and the precise findings of the veterinarian.
      3. If a Borzoi originally sold as show stock subsequently is found to have some serious defect or disqualification, a refund or replacement, at the breeder's option, should be offered, provided that the Borzoi is returned to the breeder. This should be determined as soon as possible recognizing that being certified 'clear' of some defects cannot occur until two years of age. A purchase agreement or contract
        between buyer and seller should address the terms and conditions under which replacements or refunds under this section are handled, Consider including a clause whereby the owner wishes to keep the Borzoi and have it neutered, the refund might reflect the difference between a "companion" and "show" price.
      4. In addition, any Borzoi that develops a serious congenital defect up to two (2) years of age (defective heart, PRA, cataracts, hip dysplasia, degenerative myelopathy, etc.) which may well seriously affect his quality of life should be returned to the breeder for replacement or refund. Confirmation of such defects would, of course, be sought from one or more qualified veterinarians.
    3. Limitation on returns, replacements or refunds: Sections 2b, 2c and 2d above shall not apply where a seller (breeder), in certifying the health of the Borzoi at the time of sale, discloses at that time the health problem for which the buyer later seeks to return the animal and adjusts the purchase price at the time of sale to reflect the animal's health condition.
  5. Wholesale Sales
    Wholesale sales are defined as any sale where the seller does not meet or have actual knowledge of the ultimate purchaser of the Borzoi. Examples are consignment sales or surrender of individual puppies or entire litters to pet shops or any third party agent or broker. Sales to or through such establishments or individuals are detrimental to the breed. This type of sale is specifically prohibited by the BCOA. Those breeders who resort to this type of sale are subject to disciplinary action by the BCOA. It is hoped that every breeder of Borzoi will take the time to investigate prospective owners and place each Borzoi in a home where it will be loved and cared for, becoming a credit to the breed, its breeder, and its owner.
  6. Advertising
    1. Advertising, whether written or oral, must be accurate, with no misleading statements, exaggerations or insinuations.
    2. Advertising must be in good taste, restrained, and without derogatory remarks made or hinted concerning the methods, animals, or reputations of other breeders.
    3. Well-mannered, attractive, even-tempered Borzoi in suitable homes, at dog shows, or at other public places are the best possible advertisements.


There are various efficient methods of keeping adequate records and special books on the subject are
obtainable from the AKC. Also consider the AKC's on-line record keeping (login required).

Legal Effect of These Guidelines

The foregoing guidelines are intended to be adhered to by all members of the Borzoi Club of America as a part of that organization's Code of Ethics. They have no legal effect unless based upon local, State or Federal laws; and the BCOA expresses no opinion thereon. Any question as to the legal effect of any of these guidelines should be referred to an attorney for a legal opinion.