Silken Windhound is a small, elegant sighthound with a silky coat. Francie Stull and her husband, Chuck, had bred champion Borzoi under the kennel name Kristull for many years when they decided they wanted a second breed. After thinking about many existing breeds, they realized what they actually wanted didn’t exist. In 1984, Francie began the development of what would eventually become the Silken Windhound.
The Silken Windhound dog breed stands 18 to 23.5 inches tall and weighs between 22 and 55 pounds, with females smaller than males. The Silken Windhound is very much a sighthound, with a long narrow head, long neck, deep chest, and high tuck up. The tail is long and low. The coat varies from moderately long to long and can be straight or wavy. Most Silken Windhound dogs need twice weekly brushing and combing to keep the coat clean and free of tangles. Grooming this breed can be very easy to moderately difficult, depending upon the length of the coat and how much the coat sheds. There is still quite a bit of variety in the breed.
Silken Windhounds love to run, and although they can do fine in an apartment or small house, they need a chance to run several times a week. A daily run is even better. They should never be allowed to run free outside of a fenced-in yard, however, as they will chase a rabbit or squirrel if they get the chance. No amount of calling will bring the dog back in mid-chase. Once they have had a chance to run, these dogs are happiest curled up on the sofa. The Silken Windhound trains easily and most effectively using reward- and affection-based training. With these methods, Silken Windhounds will work eagerly and form strong relationships with their owners.
The Silken Windhound is not a dog breed that will work all day, and they will not tolerate endless repetition. However, with the correct training approach, many have enjoyed agility and therapy dog work, and a few are even serving as assistance dogs. The collar most often used for a Silken Windhound is a martingale collar (the Silken Windhound breed can slip out of most other types of collars). Anyone who has researched and understands sighthounds will enjoy this breed; however, people who have previously had herding or working dog breeds might be a little frustrated, as sighthounds are different.
Silken Windhounds are quite social and affectionate with their families, although some do appear to love all mankind. The Silken Windhound breed is not protective, and many will not even bark when someone approaches the house. This is a wonderful family-friendly dog breed for gentle, considerate children. They do not have the pain tolerance of some other breeds and will not be able to cope with rough and rowdy children.
As with many sighthound breeds, the Silken Windhound prefers to play with other sighthounds who like to chase rather than playing wrestling games with dogs of other breeds. Some Silken Windhounds can be trusted with smaller pets, especially when raised with them, but many will chase cats who run. The Silken Windhound breed is, for the most part, quite healthy, with many dogs living to their upper teens, but the breed does have some sensitivities to ivermectin (a heartworm preventative), so that drug should be avoided.