History and Opinions of Firebird Borzoi

How I got started with Borzoi
I wanted a "show dog" for a long time. My Aunt had Boston Terriers and did a little showing. It sounded like fun. When I was at home I really wanted a Golden Retriever. Then I decided I wanted something kind of different. I searched through dog books and came down to several breeds. I finally decided on a Borzoi.
I bought a Dog World and picked the closest place advertised, which was Rancho Gabriel. I put a deposit on a puppy but it turned out the bitch wasn't pregnant after all. Then one night I was watching TV and there was a BORZOI on the screen! I called the television station and found out the man's name who had the Borzoi. I called him and bought my first dog from him in February 1982.
My first Borzoi, Starkwolf's Lady Cinnabar, CDX
That was my wonderful Dess, Starkwolf's Lady Cinnabar, CDX. I wanted to do everything with her. I got her when she was four months old. I was SO proud of her. She was beautiful.
As I got to know more about dogs, I realized she wasn't the GREAT show dog I had expected her to be. Our first few shows were pretty comical, no doubt. I did show her when I got more experience and put 8 or 9 points on her. I realized I probably could finish her with a little time but I had two really nice males I was showing in conformation and they were more rewarding in that area. But I trained her and she became a very good obedience dog. I only entered her in Utility once and she did very well, only failed half of two exercises. I did not continue on with training her to be more reliable, but I should have. Although she was not the greatest Borzoi bitch in the show sense, she was very healthy, intelligent, and a great hunter. Unfortunately, none of the dogs I have now are descended from her, though Kitty was closely related.
My second Borzoi, Starkwolf's Cavalier D'Eliv
I bought a nice male that was related to Dess named Starkwolf's Cavalier D'Eliv, Smurf, from Mary Vile. He was a tall white and silver sable dog with a very nice temperament. I trained him through Novice and in his only obedience trial only failed the long down. Unfortunately he did not live many more months after that. He was sick shortly after the trial and died a few months later to lung cancer.
Ch Arnolf's Magic Moment, CGC
After Smurf died, I was searching through Borzoi Quarterly when I saw this stunning dog named Arnolf's Magic Moment. He was so gorgeous that I wrote to his owner, Barbara Bouray. I ended up getting the dog on a co-ownership. Mo finished in 7 shows with back-to-back majors. He was a wonderful dog to show once we got on key with each other. He was drop dead beautiful. Although he was so nice, we never got any pups from him. A prostate infection rendered him sterile. It was too bad; he was a healthy dog his whole life excepting that. He died at over 11 years of age.
Barb Bouray
Barb and I became close friends after I obtained Mo, even though she lived in Montana. Barbara has had dogs since the early 70's and remembers such greats as Poras, Kazan, George, and Snowman, as she lived in Arizona during the time. She was vital to me as she taught me the difference between FUNCTION and PRETTINESS and how you can have both without sacrificing type. She's had some very lovely dogs over the years, but does not show them very much anymore. It's just not important to her. We shared several dogs over the years.
The Yah-Borick dogs
Barb's kennel name was Borick, and later she refined it into Yah-Borick. One of her best known dogs was Alexandr, a tall mostly white male, and he carried the name of Borick. After I got Mo, she kept talking to me about a male she had, Andrei. I went up the spring after Mo finished to visit and really looked Andrei over; he was superb in every way. I took him home and even though in 5 years he had never been off of her place he went to the shows and did very well. We also co-owned a lovely pale golden bitch named Petrovna, who we bred to Mo (no pups) and together bought a bitch from the Cowans.
My first litter
I don't know what possessed me to do it, and sometimes I call it an accident, but my first litter was born in March of 1988. Dess was 6 1/2 and I really had no desire to have a litter until then, but...I bred her to Andrei and regretted it almost immediately because I didn't know what I'd do with the pups. I took her in for a hormone shot, knowing that she may have to be spayed because of complications. I knew she was pregnant two weeks later even though Barb assured me it must be a false pregnancy. I loved the pups the moment they were born. Against Barb's advice and my better judgment, I kept the male out of the litter. The two bitches went to fine pet homes.
I had always admired the Zephyr's Reach dogs. They had a lovely type and seemed very functional. John Cowan ran them in the Open Field and many were titled. Many were titled through ASFA (American Sighthound Field Association), as well. I remember two dogs that I admired from magazine ads, that was Conquer and Summer Breeze. I talked to Barb and she thought it might be a nice cross. Her dogs had been tightly bred the last three litters and she needed an outcross. I wanted to see Barb's lines carried on, too, plus show and perhaps course the new addition. John finally decided to sell us a pup and gave us the choice between two bitches, his pick, and Morgana. I saw that little red and white girl and had to have HER. Barb liked Morgana best, too, so we split the cost down the middle and she came to live with me. She is a wonderful bitch, and except for larger ears than I like (at least they are high set!) is hard to fault. She didn't like me at first when she came to live with me at nearly 6 months of age. John and I decided to name her Firebird since her mother's name is Fire. Barb and I wanted the call name of Morgana. Both wouldn't fit with Zephyr's Reach on the registration certficate, so she became Zephyr's Reach Firebird M.
Life has its ups and downs, and I am not exempt from them. In the late winter of 1989, I lost Andrei to bloat. He was such a fine dog and such a sweet friend that it devastated me. When I called Barb, his breeder, to tell her, I remember both of us just sobbing on the phone for about ten minutes with no speaking. We had had so many plans for him, one being the Specialty that spring where Lena Tamboer was going to judge - we felt she might like him. Andrei was the kind of dog that when I showed him he had started to get his own little cult of people from different breeds that would stand outside the ring watching him. Losing him was a personal blow from which I have never recovered. Showing dogs meant little after he was gone. It was almost as though I had the best there was - why try and do it again when all the others would fail to be his equal.
My nomadic life
In 1990 my husband and I seperated after 9 years of marriage and in spring of 91 it ended in divorce. Then the remaining dogs and I became somewhat of nomads. I had to cut way down at that point simply because I couldn't feed them very well. At that point I had 8 dogs, 6 of which were Borzoi. I took my Yah-Borick bitch, Petrovna (an Andrei daughter) and Morgana back to Barb's. Barb planned to breed Morgana to Andrei's nephew anyway, and I planned to retrieve both bitches when I got back on my feet. I had to give the beautiful Chase back to his breeder, too. Chase was a gorgeous little tri male, a grandson of Trump that I had gotten from Virginia Graff, who has become a good friend. That left me with Dess and Mo, both 10, and Andrei's wonderful red son, Bruiser, who was 3. The little dogs were both geriatrics and I ended up losing dogs at the rate of one or two a year for the next few years of my nomadic existence.
Deciding on a second litter
Finally I got settled down and planned on getting married again, and bought a house with a large yard in the spring of 1994. Then I lost Bruiser. He and I were so close that he felt like a son. I took it hard. To ease the pain, and because I was finally in a place where I could have them, I went to meet Barb to get Morgana and Petrovna and bring them home. I ended up with just Morgana, Barb could not part with Petrovna again. Oddly enough, Morgana had only been in season once since Barb had had her and was too young to breed that cycle. It had been nearly 2 1/2 years since her last cycle. I just decided to show her and send her back to be bred when she came in season. She was at my house for about 2 weeks when she decided to come in season. Barb and I panicked. The potential sire was 6 and had never been used. We thought maybe we should breed her to a proven male then try on her next season as her seasons were so weird, and we also hoped that being pregnant might help her to become normal in that area. We talked about the possibilities but we hadn't really made an concrete plans so we had to hurry. I wanted to used a Zephyr's Reach dog to solidify the coursing potential, so we decided to call John. He had two males we could use, and I told him to make the call. He decided that Magic would be a good male to use, so we shipped her to California with everything we had crossed. She was the last breedable female we had.
The Magic and Morgana litter
Ten puppies were born on July 26, 1994, all either irish marked or selfs. Magic was a black and tan, and he did not carry a spotting gene. That was fine by both of us, and probably excited me more than it did Barb. I had always wanted a self dog, especially a black and tan , so I hoped we would get at least one black and tan. We ended up with 7 males, all red in either self colors or irish colors. We had one black and tan male. I ear marked him for my own. The bitches, two self and an irish, were all black and tan, the black and tan male I kept was JR. Barb and I split the litter and kept co-owns on the Irish marked girl. I kept two males, the other one was Yankee, and she kept two bitches and an Irish male. We lost one pup to distemper at 7 weeks and the other 4 pups were placed in pet homes. Morgana had became very sick when the pups were almost 2 weeks old, despite being on antibiotics nearly the whole postpartum time. She ended up having an emergency spay. She pulled through fine but any more breeding or show plans were gone. We were lucky she lived.
Titles I have placed on dogs
I have finished three champions all by myself (Mo, Ivan, and Hartly) (Ivan from the Bred-By class exclusively), have three other champions, two with most of the points put on by me (Sherman and Yankee) and Zephyr, from bred by, finished by me and Juls. I have pointed various others, have had four CDs, one CDX, seven ASFA Field Championships and 13 JCs and 5 SCs. I have owned an AKC top ten BiF FC (Sherman). I have trained and put CGCs on 14 dogs (12 of them Borzoi), 8 RNs and an RA. Many of my owners have put CGCs on dogs of my breeding, of which I am grateful. I tend to not finish titles on dogs when it is not easy. I am trying to change my mind set in this area! Of course, it is not easy here to put titles on ANY dogs. I also have NACA breed winners and 6 NACA ptd dogs (north American Coursing Assn).
In my future
I am not sure what the future holds. Right now I am planning on keeping the Zephyr's Reach bloodlines and combining them with other lines, or maybe doing some close breedings. All of my dogs go back to Zephyr's Reach now. I want to breed every few years for myself, combining strength of build and good running ability. Showing is fun for me and the dogs as we get out to socialize, and I am certain that coursing and obedience work will always be in there somewhere. Mostly I just enjoy being with my dogs.
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