The Borzoi originated in Russia as a favorite pet of the now-obsolete Russian royal family....
Borzoi is a play on the Russian words for fast dog Borzya sobka. Borzois were used to hunt wolves on royal hunting expeditions. Hundreds of Borzoi dogs would be unleashed on an expedition, with the Borzois hunting in male and female pairs. Due to their size, they could pin a wolf to the ground as the hunting party approached from afar.
Before the 1917 Bolshevik revolution, which ended the Russian monarchy, you could only get a Borzoi dog if you were gifted one from the Russian Tsar. Even for years after the fall of the Romanov royal family, Borzoi were considered to be a treasured part of Russian culture. During the days of the Soviet Union, the exportation of Borzoi was frowned upon by the Russian authorities. During the 19th century, some Borzoi managed to be exported internationally, which helped the breed gain independence from their native country.