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Silken Windhound | Dog Breed Info: Pictures, Traits & Facts

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By Nicole Cosgrove

silken windhound in grass

Height: 18.5 – 23.5 inches
Weight: 20 – 45 pounds
Lifespan: 14 – 20 years
Colors: All colors and markings
Suitable for: Families looking for a medium-sized energetic sighthound with a gentle personality
Temperament: Intelligent and kind, friendly and affectionate, easygoing but does have a high prey drive

If you’re researching breeds to find your perfect pup, we’d like to introduce you to the stunning Silken Windhound. This beautiful and graceful breed has a poetic name that sums up two of their main traits: a silky soft coat and the ability to run like the wind.

Maybe you haven’t heard of the Silken Windhound before. That’s probably because they’re a fairly new breed. They were only accepted into the United Kennel Club in 2011 and have yet to be registered with the American Kennel Club.

These sweet dogs also have an exceptional lifespan, with many living into their late teens. While as sighthounds, they do love to run, but they’re also chilled out and love to have plenty of naps in between walks.

Their gentle personalities and eagerness to please their owners make them a low-maintenance breed too. Just be aware that if they want to chase after something, they will literally be gone like the wind!

If you’re ready to find out more about this breed that combines a stunning personality with eye-catching good looks, then keep reading and we’ll tell you everything you need to know about the charismatic Silken Windhound.

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Silken Windhound Puppies — Before You Get One…


It’s hard to visit any litter of puppies without imagining which one you’d love to take home, but we must admit that Silken Windhound puppies are particularly gorgeous. Those silky soft ears and soulful eyes are hard to resist! But before you take the plunge and reserve that pup, it’s important to consider if you can meet the needs of this breed.

As a fairly laidback breed, the Silken Windhound is definitely lower maintenance than some other dogs, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need or deserve plenty of your time, attention, and love. While they don’t need much exercise, the Silken Windhound does have a high prey drive. This means that without correct training, they won’t think twice about slipping their collar and chasing after the local wildlife.

The sensitive side of the Silken Windhound means they bond strongly with their humans. They don’t do well being left alone in the house while everyone is out at work for the whole day. To help you make up your mind if you can provide what these pups need, we’ve outlined the main considerations below.

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3 Little-Known Facts About Silken Windhound

1. They are a relatively new breed

If you haven’t heard of these charismatic dogs before, they were only accepted into the United Kennel Club in 2011. The first litter of Silken Windhounds was born in 1985 to Francie Stull of Kristall Kennel. To create this breed, she crossed the larger Borzoi sighthounds with smaller sighthound breeds and one Whippet. The intention was to produce a sighthound of a smaller size than any other breed, one that also had a long and silky coat.

The International Silken Windhound Society was created in 1999, and the studbook was closed by the year 2000. It’s expected that these charismatic pups will be formally recognized and accepted into the American Kennel Club registry in due course.

2. Silken Windhounds need to be tested for the MDR1 gene

MDR1 stands for the multi-drug resistance gene mutation that can occur in several different breeds, including the Silken Windhound. This causes sensitivity to certain drugs used regularly in canine care, such as ivermectin, loperamide, acepromazine, butorphanol, and more.

If both parent dogs carry the MDR1 gene, then this can be passed onto their puppies. Puppies that inherit two copies of this gene are homozygous for MDR1 and will react if given any of the drugs that their bodies cannot process. Puppies who inherit one copy of the MDR1 gene are heterozygous and may also show a sensitivity to these drugs but only at higher doses.

Breeders of Silken Windhounds should have tested the parent dogs for the MDR1 gene and be able to provide copies of the results. If both parents are tested clear, then none of the puppies will have the MDR1 gene either. If one of the parents has the MDR1 gene, then some of the puppies will be heterozygous (and thus be sensitive to specific drugs at higher doses). If both parent dogs have two copies of the MDR1 gene, then the puppies will also be MDR1 affected. It’s preferable to find a litter where both parents are tested clear, and as a result, their puppies will not inherit this gene.

3. Silken Windhounds love to run

As sighthounds, the Silken Windhound has an innate need to get out there and run! They also have a high prey drive, which means they won’t hesitate to chase after small furry objects that run away from them. This means it’s safest to always walk your Silken Windhound on a leash in order to avoid endangering the local wildlife and domestic cats in your neighborhood!

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Temperament & Intelligence of the Silken Windhound 🧠

Silken Windhounds are affectionate and loving yet not overbearing. They’re not nervous of strangers and will make friends easily. These pups are adaptable, so whether you live in an apartment with limited outdoor space or on a huge ranch, the Silken Windhound will find a way to make themselves at home, as long as they get plenty of exercise. As with many sighthound breeds, the Silken Windhound is sensitive and kind-natured.

They are a clever breed with a desire to please their owners. They will want to spend as much time with you as possible, whether that’s on a short but fast walk or curled up in front of a movie on a rainy afternoon. It’s also said that the Silken Windhound is one of the easiest breeds when it comes to housetraining. In fact, some owners say that their clever pups trained themselves!

Just bear in mind that as a sighthound, they have a high prey drive and will be triggered by the movement of any small and fast creature that dashes past them. At this point, they will want to run, and no matter how well trained they are, your recall commands will most likely go completely unnoticed!

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 🏡

Silken Windhounds can make excellent family dogs and will be happy to share their affections to everyone in equal measure. They do have a sensitive side, though, and this can mean that they find noisy households, loud children, and multiple comings and goings every day to be a little too stimulating.

They enjoy the chance to have a quiet nap in a corner of the house, so make sure they have somewhere that’s “theirs” where they can retreat to if your house is noisier than normal, so as during the holiday season or a party.

Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets? 🐶 😽

As a general rule, Silken Windhounds can get along just fine in a multi-pet household. Bear in mind that they do have a higher prey drive for chasing than many other breeds. Luckily, most dogs can make the distinction between another family pet that’s not to be chased and the neighborhood wildlife, which might not be so lucky!

Good socialization from a young age will make it easier to help this breed adapt to life in a house with other pets. Short introductions in a secure space are key when it comes to allowing your new puppy to meet existing pets.

If you choose to keep two Silken Windhounds together, then they will have no end of fun playing and chasing each other in the backyard. Just remember that they should never be let off leash together in the open, as they may run off!

Silken Windhound laying in grass
Image Credit: GaiBru Photo, Shutterstock

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Things to Know When Owning a Silken Windhound

Choosing to add a Silken Windhound to your family is a wonderful decision but also one that requires plenty of time, dedication, and money. So, before you make your final choice as to whether this is the perfect breed for you, here’s more information.

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

Silken Windhounds will thrive on a high-quality dog food with a good percentage of protein. This will help them build lean muscle to power them through those classic explosive sighthound sprinting sessions.

Whether you choose to feed dry kibble, wet canned food, a raw diet, or a mixture will depend on your personal preferences and those of your Silken Windhound!

Bloat is rarely reported in this breed, but to be on the safe side, make sure you don’t allow them to run at full speed for an hour before or after they eat. If your Silken seems to gobble their food down extremely quickly, then consider investing in a slow feeder bowl so it takes them a bit longer to finish their rations.

Silken Windhounds do love their food, so be careful not to overfeed them. Rather than leaving food out for them to free-feed, it’s better to give them their daily ration split into two or three meals per day. Thanks to their intelligence, they’re not above scavenging for food left out on the counter or even investigating your trash to see if there’s something tasty in there!

Exercise 🐕

Silken Windhounds, as their name suggests, love to run with the wind! They will have bursts of energy where they want to sprint, so you’ll need to make sure that’s possible at least once a day. Having securely fenced land or a large backyard is the perfect opportunity to let your pup have a good run. They shouldn’t be allowed off leash out in the open due to the risk of them spotting something and giving chase.

Remember to let your pup fully mature growth-wise before you let them run too fast for too long.

While they’re certainly incredibly fast, Silken Windhounds don’t need a great deal of sustained exercise every day. An hour once or twice per day should be enough, as long as they have the opportunity to run, sniff, and explore their surroundings. After their walk, they’ll usually be happy to curl up and nap until the next one!

Silken Windhounds can easily slip a standard collar, so it’s best to use a martingale-style collar that can’t slip over their delicate and slim heads.

Training 🦮

Silken Windhounds love to please their owners and are generally a pleasure to train. They can pick up new commands with ease. This makes them a good choice for first-time or inexperienced owners, as these pups will try their best for you.

Signing up for puppy classes is an excellent way to help socialize your new puppy, as well as set up a great foundation for future training.

This breed loves the challenge of different activities and excel at agility, fly ball, obedience, and of course, sprinting, track racing, and coursing! As of 2010, the Silken Windhound was accepted into the National Open Field Coursing Association and can be registered to compete in field events.

Grooming ✂️

While the coat of the Silken Windhound looks as though it might be high maintenance, it actually requires remarkably little time to keep in great condition. They shed very little, and their coat only needs brushing every week to two weeks to stay tangle free and beautifully flowing.

As an active breed, you’ll want to keep an eye on your pup’s claws to make sure they haven’t caught or snagged on something while your dog was running. It’s also a good idea to keep an eye on your pup’s teeth, gums, and ears when you groom them. If you see redness, sore patches, or any sign of an infection, schedule a checkup with your dog’s veterinarian.

Health Conditions ❤️

The Silken Windhound is a healthy breed that doesn’t suffer from too many health conditions. We’ve listed the main serious and minor ones below.

Any reputable breeder will be happy to talk to you about these conditions, as well as provide the results of any health checks or genetic tests that they’ve carried out on the parent dogs and their pups. The main genetic tests to ask about are for the MDR1 gene and the collie eye anomaly.

Minor Conditions
  • Umbilical hernia
  • Bloat
Serious Conditions
  • Collie eye anomaly
  • MDR1 gene mutation
  • Cryptorchidism

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Male vs Female

Maybe you’ve decided that the Silken Windhound is the perfect breed for you, and you’re now wondering whether you should choose a male or female pup.

First of all, Silken Windhounds are a sought-after breed, and there are not that many breeders who specialize in producing them. They also have reasonably small litters. That means you may have to wait for a litter of puppies to become available. When they’re born, there may be more males than females, vice versa, or even a small litter of just one sex. So, if you definitely want a pup, you may not actually get to choose whether they’re a boy or a girl. Of course, you can specify a preference with the breeder, but the final decision may be out of everyone’s hands.

On the plus side, the character of these gorgeous pups isn’t going to be dependent on if they’re male or female. If possible, it’s always best to wait and meet the pups before making up your mind. You may be drawn to an outgoing female pup when you thought you’d definitely choose a male.

Any hormonal behaviors will also be reduced when you get your pup spayed or neutered at a suitable age, so don’t worry too much if that’s a deciding factor.

As with many other breeds, male Silken Windhounds tend to be slighter taller and heavier than their female counterparts once they’re fully grown. That said, we always recommend that you choose your pup based on their personality and the connection you feel with them, rather than worry about what sex they are.

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Final Thoughts

If you choose to bring home one of these pups, then you’ll be joining a small group of dedicated owners who have fallen head over heels with this special breed.

Silken Windhounds are adaptable, loving, and loyal. They can easily live in an apartment or small house, as long as they get plenty of opportunities to feel the wind through their ears on a long daily walk. They love to run, so it’s best to walk these pups on a leash at all times due to the risk that they will spot something that they want to chase, and take off! You’ll also want to find a securely fenced area where they can burn off steam not on the leash.

These sensitive dogs form strong bonds with their families but can be overwhelmed by noisy households. But they dislike being left home alone all day too! They might be a fairly new breed, but in terms of star quality, these pups have it in spades.

Featured Image Credit: tzuky333, Shutterstock

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