The documentary “Wolf Hunting in Russia”, produced in 1910 by Pathé Frères (France) under the original title “Chasse aux Loups en Russie”, shows the real wolf hunting taking place in Russia a century ago.
The dogs that were used by the Russian nobility for such hunting were mostly the Russian wolfhounds Borzoi and also some English dogs of the Greyhound type.
The bunting party was divided into two contingents, one of which pursued the wolves on horseback with a set of dogs, whilst the individual members of the second party remained on the outskirts of the wood with the attacking dogs held in leash. These fearless dogs would spring at a wolf and bear him to the ground almost before their masters would reach the spot with lassos in their hands.
Another second the wolf would be captured; a wedge is then forced between its teeth, and then it would be brought back, still living, together with other captives.
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After a hundred years, our perception of this film has changed. “Back in the day, wolves were hated and routinely killed...now they are protected and encouraged to live in peace” (MartinHafer, the IMDB reviewer).
Nevertheless, the film can help the future owners of Borzoi to learn the history and to understand the important characteristics of this wonderful dog breed.
Borzoi, the Russian wolfhound, is often considered as a glamour pet, accompanying celebrities, but in fact, it is a large, strong, and courageous hunting dog with a mighty bite force, that was initially bred to fight wolves.
Wolf Hunting in "War and Peace"
Leo Tolstoy, the great Russian writer, describes wolf hunting with Borzoi dogs in his masterpiece "War and Peace".
"Ulyulyu!" cried Nicholas, in a voice not his own, and of its own accord his good horse darted headlong downhill, leaping over gullies to head off the wolf, and the borzois passed it, running faster still. Nicholas did not hear his own cry nor feel that he was galloping, nor see the borzois, nor the ground over which he went: he saw only the wolf, who, increasing her speed, bounded on in the same direction along the hollow.
The first to come into view was Milka, with her black markings and powerful quarters, gaining upon the wolf. Nearer and nearer... now she was ahead of it; but the wolf turned its head to face her, and instead of putting on speed as she usually did Milka suddenly raised her tail and stiffened her forelegs.
"Ulyulyulyulyu!" shouted Nicholas.
The reddish Lyubim rushed forward from behind Milka, sprang impetuously at the wolf, and seized it by its hindquarters, but immediately jumped aside in terror. The wolf crouched, gnashed her teeth, and again rose and bounded forward, followed at the distance of a couple of feet by all the borzois, who did not get any closer to her.
"She'll get away! No, it's impossible!" thought Nicholas, still shouting with a hoarse voice.
"Karay, ulyulyu!..." he shouted, looking round for the old borzoi who was now his only hope. Karay, with all the strength age had left him, stretched himself to the utmost and, watching the wolf, galloped heavily aside to intercept it. But the quickness of the wolf's lope and the borzoi's slower pace made it plain that Karay had miscalculated. Nicholas could already see not far in front of him the wood where the wolf would certainly escape should she reach it. But, coming toward him, he saw hounds and a huntsman galloping almost straight at the wolf.
There was still hope. A long, yellowish young borzoi, one Nicholas did not know, from another leash, rushed impetuously at the wolf from in front and almost knocked her over. But the wolf jumped up more quickly than anyone could have expected and, gnashing her teeth, flew at the yellowish borzoi, which, with a piercing yelp, fell with its head on the ground, bleeding from a gash in its side.
"Karay? Old fellow!..." wailed Nicholas.
Thanks to the delay caused by this crossing of the wolf's path, the old dog with its felted hair hanging from its thigh was within five paces of it. As if aware of her danger, the wolf turned her eyes on Karay, tucked her tail yet further between her legs, and increased her speed. But here Nicholas only saw that something happened to Karay- the borzoi was suddenly on the wolf, and they rolled together down into a gully just in front of them.
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