This particular page started November 22 1998
Last update November 22 1998

The Circassian Orloff Wolfhound

 Text from British Dogs - The Various Breeds 1903 by Drury and Others

Although we have not had many specimens in this country, the variety is one that is worthy of encouragement, it has good appearance, activity, and strength to recommend it. Some seventeen years ago there was exhibited at Crystal Palace Show a remarkably handsome specimen of this variety in M Zambaco's Domovoy. This was a fine upstanding dog, straight and strong in limbs, and in contour resembling a Scotch Deerhound, though shorter in comparison to height. In color he was a cloudy red, with useful if not very thick coat. He was a winner at many Continental shows and a descendant from winners. His weight and measurements are thus recorded:

  • Weight 83 pounds
  • Height of shoulder 32,5 inches
  • Length from nose to set-on of tail 51 inches
  • Length of tail 26 inches
  • Girth of chest 35 inches
  • Girth of loin 21,5 inches
  • Girth of head 17 inches
  • Girth of forearm 8 inches
  • Length of head from occiput to tip of nose 11,5 inches
  • Girth of muzzle midway between eyes and tip of nose 9 inches
  • Length of neck from joint to shoulders 11,5 inches
  • Girth around neck 17 inches
  • Girth of thigh 19 inches
  • Length of ear (important as showing purity of breed) 5 inches

Color fawn mixed with black (wolf color)

M Zambaco, the owner of Domovoy, thus describes the variety; "The Circassian Orloff Wolfhound is the cousin of the Siberian Borzoi, but it has a few special characteristics that show it to be a distinct variety. The coat, instead of being wavy, as in the Northern animal, lies flat on the body, though it is about 2 inches long. The hind part of the front legs, the thighs, and the lower part of the tail are heavily feathered, the coat is longest about the breast and neck, forming a sort of frill. The legs of the Circassian dog are proportionally longer than those of the Siberian , the head is shorter and the forehead not so sloping back between the ears, the eyes are more open, the color is dark fawn or black. This hound is faster than the Siberian, and perhaps more intelligent, though both are suitable as companions, their aristocratic demeanor and most graceful attitude make them the richest ornamental hound of the hall and the drawing room."

As supplementing the information given by M Zambaco, in respect of the color it may be stated that the Circassian Wolfhound is always dark. The color preferred is dark tawny or black, and fawn on back and other upper parts, shading off into a creamy-fawn, almost white, on belly, lower thighs and limbs.
By some of its admirers the Circassian Wolfhound is believed to be the Siberian Wolfhound transporter to the southern mountaineous regions , and altered in color and minor characteristics by centuries of climatic influence. This theory however, is purely conjectural, while the structural affinity of both Circassian and Siberian hounds with our Deerhounds and Greyhounds, suggest all of them as variations merely, and alike descendants of the same parent stock; and the little light history throws on the subject points to the Greyhound of the old Celtic tribes as origin of all.


If you want to know some of the very little that is known about the Celtic Greyhound, the Vertragi, the book Hounds and Hunting in Ancient Greece by Denison Bingham Hull (printed in 1964) is a good place to start. Try searching for it at
Susann Stjernborg


Circassian Hare Hound
seems to be another hound altogether, at least size wise.