Breed Type:  Sighthound
Country of Origin: United States
Size:  Medium to Large
Also known as:  Silkens, Windhounds
Males and Females: Height: 24-60 cm Weight: 10-25 kg
Exercise Requirements:  High
Care Requirements: Medium
Lifespan: 15-19 Years
Best Suited as:  Family Pets / Sporting Dogs

The Silken Windhound is a rare, American born breed. They are graceful sitehounds with athletic bodies and silky coats. They are known for competing in all kinds of dog sports – lure coursing, racing, flyball, and agility courses.

The elegant Silken Windhound is a medium-sized dog with classic lines.With a combination of both beauty and athleticism, they have become a favorite among dog enthusiasts. The Silken’s head is chiseled with a pronounced muzzle, large dark almond shaped eyes, small dark nose and alert ears. Their expression is kind and friendly, never aggressive or mean.

The Silken body is square to rectangular in shape with a long slender neck, straight legs and a long flexible tail. They have a short back and a deep chest and the Silken moves effortlessly in a smooth trot.

Their beautiful coat is long and silky and can come in a combination of colors and markings.
Most often, these combinations are black and tan, saddled, brindle and sable, pure white and reds to black and blues, or may be spotted or solid.

The Silken Windhound loves to be included in family activities and is affectionate and friendly. A well-balanced Silken can go from being very active to quickly settling down into his quiet and relaxed disposition. Much like other sighthounds, this breed is both independent and intelligent and is easily trained. They love to play, and make excellent pets for families with young children if they are socialized early and properly.

While relaxed and gentle, your Silken needs to burn off all that access energy.  She is built for running and loves exercising alongside you. Silkens love to show off in the sporting fields and racing courses. If you are looking for a guard dog, you had better adopt another dog – the Silken is likely to welcome anyone who comes to their home. Your Silken is most happy when you are happy and will work hard to please you. So hard, in fact, some Silkens have been known to housebreak themselves.

The Silken Windhound owes its existence to Borzoi breeder, Francie Stull, owner of Kristull Kennel who created the small, longhaired sitehound.  Stulls used Borzoi lines from some of the top kennels, small-coated sighthounds developed by U.S. breeder Walter Wheeler, and a single Whippet, brought in from Kridoni Kennel in Peru, whose blood brought into the breed some of the most influential Whippet lines in the Americas today.The first litter of what was to become Silken Windhounds arrived in 1985. Francie Stull was delighted to have developed a breed to fill a gap in the line-up of sighthounds with an elegant look and wonderful personality to match.

In 1998, they were given the name, Silken Windhounds. The International Silken Windhound Society was founded in 1999 and a breed standard was adopted in 2001. In early 2011, The Silken Windhound was recognized by the United Kennel Club.  Silken Windhounds are found throughout the United States as well as in Europe, the Bahamas, Canada, Mexico, Japan, Slovenia, New Zealand, and South Africa.

Care and Grooming
A Silken Windhound may look more difficult to groom than they actually are. Their fur needs to be brushed several times a week to stay shiny and tangle free. A Silken only needs an occasional bath, no more than every couple of months. Most do shed some, although an individual Silken can vary from hardly shedding at all, to shedding quite a lot. Like any dog, your Silken’s teeth need to be brushed and toe nails clipped.

Due to their athletic prowess and energy level, your Silken should be taken on a daily walk or run.  Silken puppies need to be at least one years old before strenuous exercise is introduced.

Great care has been taken to breed the Silken Windhound and therefore there are few known common health problems.  Because they are a newer breed and interest in their lineage has come about, the Silken Windhound will be the first dog breed to have their genome mapped. Not only are Silkens said to have good health, but they are likely to live long lives. Some have lived to be as old as twenty.

Of the few minor health concerns seen in Silkens, some have been found to be sensitive to Lverectin and related drugs. To determine if this will be a problem in your Silken, a simple test can now determine if your dog carries the defective MDR1 gene.  As your Silken ages, she may have problems with cryptorchidism, lotus syndrome as well as hearing loss and cataracts.

Suitability as a Pet
The Silken Windhound makes a gentle and loving pet. They are clean, easy to train, well-mannered and appreciate being treated like a special member of any family.  They are best trained with positive methods and are eager to please. Treats and affection work best to help your pet become the obedient dog that many Silkens are.

Silkens do well with many different family members, including well-behaved children and other pets. Because the Silken is such a loyal companion dog who hates to be left alone for too long, they often do very well with other non-aggressive doggy siblings. Silkens can also do well with smaller family pets as long as they are trained not to chase them.  Silkens appreciate a warm, comfortable place to sleep and if you let them, they love to sleep near you.

It is extremely important that your Silken gets the daily exercise it needs. They make excellent running companions and are always eager to join you for an athletic adventure. It is best, since Silken Windhounds are known for slipping out of a standard buckle collar, to purchase a semi-slip collar for your pet.

A Silken can be happy living in an apartment as long as they get the exercise they need. If you have a house with a yard, this is even better. They tend to do well in any weather, including the snow and rain.