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The accompanying illustration of Champion Statesman (Fig. 38) —although the photograph from which it was made was taken when he was dead out of coat—together with the appended list of points, as laid down by the Borzoi Club, and the following measurements of some of the leading dogs of the present day (1902) may be useful as a guide.
Mr. Gardner, head kennelman to her Grace the Duchess of Newcastle, kindly furnishes particulars of the following dogs, the property of her Grace :—
1. Champion Velsk (dog). Height at shoulder, 31 f in. Length
of head, 12 Jin. Girth of chest, 35 iin.
2. Champion Velasquez (dog). Height at shoulder, 32jin.
Length of head, 12jin. Girth of chest, 36m.
3. Champion Tsaretsa (bitch). Height, 31 .Jin. Length of
head, 12|in. Girth of chest, 36m.
4. Champion Tatiana (bitch). Height at shoulder, 304in.
Length of head, 12in. Girth of chest, 35jin.
To Mr. P. Farrer Baynes, owner of the late Champion Caspian, I am indebted for the following measurements :—
5. Champion Caspian. Height (when standing smartly), 34jin.
Length of head, 12.^in. Girth of chest, 37Jin. Heaviest weight, 128lb.
6. Champion Statesman's (owned by Mrs. Borman) measure
ments are as follows: Height, 31 jin. Head, 12|in. Girth of chest, 35^in.
Besides the above there are at the time of writing five other Borzois living entitled to the coveted title of Champion—viz. H.M. the Queen's Alex (dog), her Grace of Newcastle's Velsk Votrio (dog), Theodora (bitch), and Vikhra (bitch), and Miss Kilvert's Knoeas (bitch).
It will be noticed that the Borzoi Club list of points give the height of dogs as from "28m. upwards." At the present day dogs of 28in. would hardly be looked at by the majority of our judges; indeed, few of our best bitches are less than 29m. to 29jin. at shoulder. Mere height is not everything, and breeders nowadays, it is feared, are sacrificing many other points to obtain height, and great height is only too often accompanied by coarseness. In the case of Champion Caspian (whose death last year was certainly a loss to the breed) this was not the case—he combined quality with quantity. What was a record price for a dog of this breed —viz. Jcjoo—was offered for Caspian.
Another fault which is unfortunately gaining ground is light eyes. These are not mentioned among the Club's list of faults, but they certainly are a fault, and a bad one. One of the Borzoi's greatest charms is his expression—and a light-eyed Borzoi cannot have this desired expression to any great degree!
The predominating colour is white, with or without fawn, lemon, grey, brindle, blue, or black markings, too much of the last colour being considered a detriment. There are also self-, or whole-coloured dogs; but these, unless especially good in other points, generally find themselves handicapped in the show-ring. There are, of course, exceptions, Champion Velasquez, for instance, being a handsome whole-coloured brindle.
To the intending purchaser, if a novice, the following hints on purchasing may be helpful. Do not be satisfied with particulars of measurements sent to you in writing; one person may, according to his own ideas, make a dog's head from one to two inches longer than it actually is, and three inches difference between the actual and reputed height at shoulder is no uncommon thing. The writer has often had particulars sent of measurements that put the dimensions of the champion dogs of the day to shame; but when the dog itself arrived, there was always a difficulty in getting the measurements to agree with those of the vendor. If you have no friend who understands the breed, place yourself in the hands of a breeder of repute, pay a fair price, and you will get fair value.
In selecting a puppy, choose the one with the longest head, biggest bone, smallest ears, and longest tail. If you can get all these qualities combined, so much the better. As regards coat, it is preferable to be guided by those of the parents, if possible; a puppy may carry a splendid coat, but after casting this, may never grow a good one. Some dogs never grow a long coat, containing, as they do, much of the blood of the wavy and less profuse coated strain.
The colour will not be found to vary much in the puppy and adult dog. Some brindle or mouse-coloured markings change to fawn when the puppy coat is cast; but in this case the hair is generally of the shade it will ultimately attain at the roots. A healthy puppy at three months should measure from 19m. to 21in. at shoulder, at six months about 25m., and at nine months from 27m. to 29m., and should continue to grow up to fifteen or eighteen months old. The above is only intended as a rough guide, and may be exceeded. On the contrary, from many causes—distemper, worms, inattention, etc.—such measurements may never be attained. Generally speaking, a Borzoi is in his prime when three years of age, as he continues to deepen in chest and otherwise fill out until then. On the other hand, some get coarse in head after their second or third year.
As regards price, a puppy, say eight weeks old, should be had for £5 to Ar. It is unwise to give more, as it is almost impossible to say with any degree of certainty how so young a pup will turn out, and to pay less is to probably buy a "weed."
One of the best methods in starting a kennel in this as in other breeds is to purchase a good bitch, a winner for preference, and mate her to the best dog whose pedigree is suitable. Do not think to breed good stock from a third-rate bitch—the dam is quite as important a factor as the sire, perhaps more so. Again, do not seek to save a sovereign or so in the stud fee. Like produces like, with certain modifications, therefore do not try to breed champions from a second-rate stud dog, however low the fee.
Having decided on the stud dog, it is always a wise precaution to dose a bitch thoroughly for worms, before having her served. If possible, accompany the bitch and see her properly mated. After her return she will require nothing but a little extra grooming, and if in whelp will probably exhibit an increased appetite, which must of course be satisfied. No jumping or violent exercise should be permitted during the last fortnight, but steady exercise only. Borzois as a rule make excellent mothers, and, if healthy, seldom have any difficulty in whelping. The bitch's food for the first few days after the birth of the pups should be sloppy but nutritious.
Unfortunately, Borzoi pups are not the easiest of dogs to rear. They require plenty of room for exercise, and are liable to suffer badly should they contract distemper. Apart from these drawbacks they require no different treatment from other large breeds. Feed little and often: use oatmeal, rice, well-boiled meat, and butchers' offal, with good hound meal as the staple food, and as much new milk as they will drink.
Few breeds require less "preparation" for the show-bench (except the legitimate bath) than the Borzoi, and the "novice" shows on equal terms with the "old hand." For washing, nothing is better than rain water, if procurable, as it tends to soften the coat. If a little liquid ammonia be added, it will greatly assist in removing any dirt or grease. A good brushing and combing after the bath is all that is necessary. A Borzoi should not be shown in too fat a condition, or the symmetry of outline, one of the chief beauties of the breed, is lost. Some exhibitors go so far as not to feed their dogs before leading them into the ring.
The general management of the adult dog may be summed up in a few words: Regular food—say dry biscuits in the morning and a good feed at night time—plenty of exercise, and grooming, for which purpose an ordinary dandy-brush is perhaps the best. To keep the coat in perfection, the dog should be brushed every day, and the feathering and tail carefully combed out. If this is done, washing will seldom be required, except before shows—a