Two breeds - Chart Polski and Hortaya Borzaya

If you can not decide, which of them you want, take them both.


The Chart Polski and the Hortaya Borzaya are of same origin. Almost all ancestors of present Chart Polski they were Hortayas imported from Southern Russia and Ukraine, and Hortaya for its part is to a considerable extent a descendant of the old Polish Chart. Those breeds are still so near each other, that technically they could be called ”show line” and ”working line” of same breed.
Personally I don’t like the idea to divide already small genetic population into two separate and even smaller populations. But I find it difficult to comment more on this division.
I got my first Charts in 1994. Also I wanted to get acquainted to the Hortaya Borzaya concretely. The best way to get acquainted to a dog breed is to have such a dog yourself. So, I imported a Hortaya from Moscow in 2004.

These two breeds differing from their criterions of breeding: the idea of Chart Polski is to be homogeneous in its outward appearance and be in accordance with the breed standard, whereas the idea of Hortaya is to be an effective hunting sighthound.

As far as criterions of breeding is concerned, these breeds went their separate ways thirty years ago, but for example the stud book of the Chart Polski is still open and some Hortaya blood has been flowed to the Chart Polski breed still about 15 years ago. Therefore the difference can be not yet so huge.

From the point of view of the hobby activity the most remarkable difference is that the Chart Polski is recognized by the FCI, but the Hortaya is recognized by the RKF, Russian Kennel Federation.

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According to the breed standards, the Chart Polski is 5 cm higher in his average height at shoulders, than the Hortaya. Both the breeds are primitive, strong, sensitive, very playful, spontaneous and intelligent by nature. Their way to play together, it seems like self-training for the job of a hunting dog, with fierce gestures.

The hunting instinct is strong and the most dogs also have guardian instinct, so they willingly guarding their environments. In spite of that these dogs are not the easiest to keep nevertheless it is easy to lose your heart to them, when you live with them and when you get to know them better.

It’s very interesting to observe these breeds: how the outward appearance emphasized breeding affects on the health, character and working abilities of the Chart Polski, and, how the working emphasized breeding affects on the outward appearance of the Hortaya. Certainly at the moment I have experiences only with one Hortaya individual, but in any case it is better than nothing. At this stage there are not any huge differences: the Chart Polski and Hortaya Borzaya are very similar dogs. And in addition in the both breeds there appears similar variation of type internal of the breed.

The dog loves running

We have actively taken part in the lure coursings
and lure coursing happenings with our Charts since 1996.
During these ten years it has given us great pleasure to
see an enormous number of exciting and action-packed  running performances.
For all that reason I can say that the Chart Polski should be respected especially as a   running and working dog.
Its capacity and durability are excellent. Even if the Chart Polski is a large size dog, it is capable of very impressive and agile run.
Besides it has lots of working intelligence.


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Here in Finland the Hortaya can take part unofficially in the lure coursings since this year, so we hope to get more lure coursing experiences also with the Hortaya. During a pair last years our Hortaya has taken part to unofficial lure coursing happenings and by means of her running performances she has impressed many sighthound peoples.

In dog shows the Hortaya can take part only in Russia and
former Soviet Union countries and also in Czech Republic. In Russia they organize specialty shows for hunting dog breeds. There the dog’s outward appearance is judged on the basis of working abilities.

In the oval track racing the fastest times of the both Chart Polski and Hortaya has been in Finland about 34 seconds (480 m) or 19 seconds (280 m). It is important to consider, that these dogs don’t even try to run their fastest speed on oval track, because they are not bred for oval track racing sport, but for live game hunting. They are created for chasing an object that behaves unexpectedly, changes its course or sometimes vanishing from sight. The speed of these breeds is highest, when chasing live hare. That’s why for them the lure coursing is more suitable, than oval track racing.  

In Finland people don’t hunt live game with sighthounds, but for example in Russia they controlling and testing their dogs’ abilities by live coursing. The Russians appreciates durable and fast dogs; the dogs that handling the prey tenderly without damaging the fur; the dogs that – as far as their character and health is concerned – are easy to maintain. The main game animals of the Hortaya are hares and small predators.

Those few Hortayas that I have met, they have been all in their physique functional and unexaggerated – that is: beautiful. Their characters have been without exception good: neither purposeless aggressiveness, nor shyness, nor bad nerves. And it’s pleasant, that their outward appearance has little by little shaped up by itself with practical working.

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We take part in dog shows only rarely – usually only, if the judge is a specialist of the breed, or if we aspire to get the national championship to some dog. In addition we sometimes go to a show for making a name for the breed, because the general public is always in the dog shows and there also the rarer breeds can get attention and publicity.

Because of the history and background of these dogs we are more interested in their working abilities. The working abilities are a wholeness that consists of the dog’s physical capacity, health and appropriate character. The functionality of the dog’s physique, combined with well balanced and appropriate character, is a good recipe for a good practical dog and a good human companion.

The future of the breeds

The popularity of the Chart Polski and the Hortaya Borzaya is gradually increasing, but still we have a lot of work. I hope so much, that the Chart Polski world was well organized; that in the breeding of the Chart Polski they stressed the importance of caring the genetic population, work planning of goal-oriented breeding, character and health; and, that they appreciated the Chart Polski – not only as a tall toy dog, but also as a running and functioning dog.

I don’t yet know so well the Hortaya world, but I hope the Hortaya would remain pure type of sighthound among the other sighthound breeds.

My most devout hope is that this Ukraino-Polo-Russian type of sighthound would exist still after next hundred years. It’s worth it!

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Nina Turunen
Bassebastioni Chart Polski