(As Adapted From the International Silken Windhound Society)
The Silken Windhound is an elegant, small to medium-sized sighthound with a moderately long, silky coat. Its classic lines and athletic build are the hallmark of a true coursing dog. When viewing a Silken Windhound, one has the impression of grace, balance, and strength integrated with exceptional running ability.
The accepted measurements for the Silken Windhound are 18.5 to 23.5 inches in height at the withers. They are approximately square or slightly rectangular. The build of the Silken Winhoundis sleek, through a balanced combination of fine bladed bone and smooth muscle, and never looks frail.
The Silken Windhound’s expression is alert, friendly and intelligent. The eyes are rather large and dark, almond-shaped and set somewhat obliquely. Ears are small and fine in texture, folded and lying back along the neck when in repose, and when alert, the ears may prick or semi-prick. Moderately long in head, the Silken Windhound has a fairly narrow back skull which, when viewed from above, tapers gradually through a full muzzle to the nose. The muzzle is in good balance to the skull. When viewed from the side, the top plane of the muzzle is parallel to the plane of the flat skull, with a barely perceptible stop between. The head is well chiseled, the skin dry and tight, with noticeable veining. The nose is dark and my be slightly down-turned at the end. Lips and flews are tight in keeping with the dry head. Pigment around the eyes and lips is full and dark. The jaws are strong to accommodate the teeth, which are large for a dog of this size, with full dentition and a scissors bite.
The neck is long and slender, slightly arched, well muscled and powerful. The neck widens gradually and symmetrically into the shoulder. The topline rises gradually from slightly behind the withers, with the highest point of the arch being over the last rib, flowwing smoothly over the muscular loin and carrying through and falling gradually over the long croup. The back is short and the loin moderately long, wide, muscular and arched. The chest is deep with moderate spring of rib. The brisket reaches as nearly as possible to the elbow, with a graceful up-sweep to the tuck-up, creating the distinctive underline of the Silken Windhound.
The shoulder blades are well laid back and are long and smooth with flat muscle. Good return of the upper arm is desirable, bringing the legs well under the withers. Elbows turn neither in nor out. The forelegs are straight and strong, with pasterns straight or slightly bent. The feet are well knuckled with tough, thick pads. Both the hare foot, with its longer middle toes, and the cat foot, with its shorter middle toes , are acceptable, with the hare foot preferred. The hindquarters are well angulated, with a long second thigh and well-developed thigh muscles. Stifles are well bent and hock joins are broad, short and strong. The tail is long and flexible, falling in a sweeping curve, free of kinks and reaching past the hock. When carried, the tail should not rise above the back.
The coat is soft, and silky in texture, never so profuse or long as to interfere with the function of a coursing hound. The coat may be straight, slightly wavy, or curly, but never woolly. There is longer feathering along the back of the forelegs, the brisket, hindquarters, around the neck and the tail. The coat on the face, feet, front of forelegs and hocks are naturally short. Feathering that frames the ears and face adds to the dog’s expression and should not be trimmed. All colors and markings are acceptable.
In 1975 a Borzoi breeder, Francie Stull, determined that a smaller hound with wonderful temperament, long coat, all-around good health, with the poise and sporting abilities of the larger sighthounds would be an ideal second breed for her kennel. She began her quest with the blue brindle Borzoi puppy, Stillwater Kristull Peacock, who had the structure, personality and coat that formed the basis for the Silken Windhound. In the ensuing years, Kristull’s Silken Windhound fadation stock has combined some of the best show and coursing Borzoi lines, a multi-generational line of small Whippet-based lurchers, and Whippets from both show and coursing lines.
The result of the breeding program was a magnificent little sighthound designed to fill a gap in the line-up of sighthoundbreeds ~ a medium-sized elegant hound, at home both in the show ring and in the field, about 18 to 24 inches at the shoulder, with an easy-care, long, silken coat in all sighthound colors and color combinations, and a steady, affectionate and confident personality.
Silken Windhounds arrived as a breed with the “D” litter whelped in 1985. In 1998 the name Silken Windhound was officially adopted, and the International Silken Windhound Society, chartered in 1999, maintains all pedigrees and DNA-verified registrations for the breed.
Silken Windhounds are now found throughout the United States, as well as Austria, Commonwealth of the Bahamas, Canada, Findland, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Japan, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and Union of South Aftrica.
In 2009, Silken Windhounds became eligible to compete in ASFA in the Limited Stake and in 2010 they became eligible to compete in NOFCA hunts.
The Silken Windhound is an intelligent hound of balanced character. While this breed exhibits strong prey drive in the field, they are gentle, affectionate, devoted companion animals in the home.
Silken Windhounds are in the minority of dog breeds in that they are a remarkably healthy breed. The life expectancy of a typical Silken Windhound can easily extend into their late teens while experiencing fewer health issues than are typically found in their foundation breeds. Silken Windhounds are not yet the perfect breed and do have a couple of health issues actively being researched by notable veterinary schools.
Typically, Silken Windhounds live very healthy, active lives, with most living into their late teens. The oldest known Silken Windhound lived a few months past her 20th birthday.
EXERCISE AND LIVING ACCOMMODATIONS
Like all sighthounds, the Silken is best in a home with a large yard to run and play in. However, provided with vigorous daily walks, they will do fine in an apartment situation as they tend to be calm and quiet. Care should be taken to only exercise a Silken Winhound in a safely secured area with good fencing, as their prey drive can easily be triggered into a chase that leads to danger.
The Silken Windhound’s silky coat is easily cared for with weekly brushing. They are generally seasonal shedders, but stress, heat cycles,diet and weather can all affect the growth and blowing of coat.
International Silken Windhound Society: http://www.silkenwindhounds.org/