The elegant Silken Windhound boasts all the characteristics of a dog that can move very fast with gorgeous classic lines that give the breed its wonderful appeal. They are graceful, well balanced and although just a small to medium sized canine that on first sight might look a little delicate, they are in truth very strong with incredible stamina to boot. Originally bred for hunting, these sight dogs have become very popular as family pets with their lovely personalities and gorgeous long flowing coats.
The majority of sighthound breeds are large dogs with the exception being the Whippet. However, a Borzoi breeder set about developing a dog that was small to medium in size which boasted the same type of luxurious coat as the Borzoi. The breeder's goal was to create a dog that was elegant, graceful and with a long soft and silky coat and which by nature had a gentle and affectionate character. She crossed Borzois with small Whippets and Whippet type lurchers and in 1985 the Silken Windhound appeared on the scene. However, their breed name was not chosen until 1998.
In 1999, the International Silken Windhound Society began maintaining all pedigrees by establishing DNA-verified registrations and a breeder standard was set in place in 2001. Today, Silken Windhounds can be found all over the world although they still remain unrecognised by the American Kennel Club as well as the United Kennel Club.
The Silken Windhound is a stylish looking dog with a graceful look. Their top line gradually rises from a little behind their withers so the highest point is at the last rib on their bodies. They boast wonderful builds and are well muscled which gives them a real athletic look. They are truly built for speed and are exceptionally good sprinters albeit they boast stamina too.
Their coats are silky and soft in texture as their name suggests and hair can be straight or it can either be wavy or curly with stylish feathering around their ears and faces which adds to their gorgeous appeal. Coats can be brindle, red, black, sable, white or black and tan in colour. Both males and females tend to stand 46 – 60 cm at the shoulder however, weight wise, females are lighter only weighing in at 10 – 20 kg whereas their male counterparts can weigh anything from 15 – 25 kg.
Silken Windhounds are very playful by nature and become valued members of a family being both trusting and affectionate. They love being in the company of people because they like to be involved in everything that might be going on. They are intelligent dogs and therefore pretty easy to train with the one thing they love most being to please their owners. Built to run, the Silken Windhound can move at tremendous speed, they need a lot of daily exercise but are quite happy to kick back and relax afterwards.
They are gentle and don't tend to be nervous or timid, however, they can be pretty independent by nature and sometimes a little aloof which is why Silken Windhounds have to be well socialised and trained from a early age for them to grow into happy well balanced dogs. Their training should continue throughout their lives because they enjoy interacting with people. Their hunting instinct is strong but as long as they are brought up with other family pets, they get on well with them. However, any animal they don't know might well be seen as prey! They make wonderful family pets and are very good around children.
The majority of dogs may at some point in their lives develop a health issue. However, not all dogs will get ill and with the Silken Windhound this is much the same. Getting your pet from a reputable breeder would certainly reduce the risks of a dog having inherited any health issues. With this said, Silken Windhounds are known to be quite healthy but are prone to the following disease:
One of the biggest health issues seen in many dogs as well as Silken Windhounds is obesity which means it is very important to keep an eye on your pet's diet at all times making sure they are fed a well balanced diet to suit their ages.
Silken Windhounds boast gorgeous silky coats which do need quite a bit of care and grooming in order to keep them tangle-free. The rule of thumb is to groom them a few times a week and to give them a bath every 8 to 12 weeks using a mild shampoo specifically formulated for use on dogs. Because they are very active dogs that love to run, Silken Windhounds need a lot of physical exercise and because they are so intelligent, they need a lot of mental stimulation too.
Eyes, ears and claws need to be checked a regular basis to make sure no infection has taken hold. If you have got a puppy, make sure you teach them to let you brush their teeth as this will reduce the risk of them developing any dental problems. It is important to teach young dogs to be handled, groomed and basically gently prodded and poked so that when they are older, they accept everything without putting up a struggle. This can make your life much easier and for the vet should they ever need to treat your pet for an illness or injury.
Regular check-ups with a vet are essential especially as your dog grows older so that if any health issues are present, they can be treated quickly. Vaccinations too have to be kept up to date which is the ideal time for a vet to give your Silken Windhound a quick once over to make sure they are in good health.