Silken Windhound

Canis lupus

Last updated: November 14, 2022
Verified by: AZ Animals Staff
Image Credit tzuky333/Shutterstock.com

Silken Windhound Scientific Classification

Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Mammalia
Order
Carnivora
Family
Canidae
Genus
Canis
Scientific Name
Canis lupus

Read our Complete Guide to Classification of Animals.

Silken Windhound Conservation Status

Silken Windhound Locations

Silken Windhound Locations

Silken Windhound Facts

Name Of Young
Puppies
Litter Size
4-6 puppies
Diet
Omnivore
Average Litter Size
4-6 puppies
Origin
United States

Silken Windhound Physical Characteristics

Color
  • Brown
  • Grey
  • Dark Brown
  • Cream
  • Chocolate
  • Caramel
  • Chestnut
  • Dark Grey
  • Ginger
  • White-Brown
  • Multi-colored
  • Sandy
  • Grey-Brown
  • Golden
  • Light-Brown
Skin Type
Fur
Lifespan
12-18 years
Weight
55 pounds
Height
24 inches

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The silken windhound was first bred in the mid-1980s after a Borzoi breeder named Francie Stull became determined to produce a smaller hound with a long coat, pleasant temperament, good health, and the abilities of larger sighthounds. After nearly a decade of experimentation, mixing beautiful coats with whippets and whippet-based lurcher genetics, the first litter of silken windhounds was born.

The final results produce a medium-sized, lovely hound with a silken coat that’s both beautiful and easy to care for, showing in a rainbow of color combinations. Silken windhounds are moderately active dogs, generally healthy and usually living well into their late teens. After years of successful genetic strengthening of the line, the name “silken windhound” was officially adopted in 1998, and the International Silken Windhound Society was chartered the following year.

Today, these dogs are found across the U.S. and worldwide, beloved for their mild-mannered, loving temperaments, confident personality, and beautiful show-dog appearance. Read on to learn more about these dogs and what to know before adding one to your family.

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The earliest silken windhounds trace their genetic history to Stillwater Virginia Reel, a famous Borzoi award-winning female, and Stillwater White Lightning, a show-worthy male.

The Best Dog Food For Silken Windhound

Silken windhounds should be fed mid-sized breed dog food formula suited for moderate energy and consistent exercise levels. Your veterinarian can provide individualized advice tailored to your pup’s needs. Generally, you’ll want to use a different formula for puppies, adult dogs, and seniors to provide the macro- and micronutrients needed for each stage of their lives.

Whether it’s dry food or a raw, human-food-based formulation, your silken windhound requires a high-protein diet complemented by omega 3 and 6 fatty acids and supplements to keep bones, muscles, fur, and skin in healthy shape. The A-Z Animals team recommends Hill’s Science Diet Dry Dog Food, Adult, Large Breed, thanks to its formulation explicitly designed to support joint health and mobility. Hill’s Science’s recipe includes:

  • A balanced set of minerals, vitamins, and amino acids to promote healthy energy
  • Large amounts of protein to support muscle mass and cell function
  • Glucosamine and chondroitin help supplement healthy joint function.
  • Fish oils to keep coats glossy and skin healthy.

While treats are helpful during training, too much indulgence or “people food” can result in vitamin deficiencies in your pup and lead to potential pickiness or obesity. You should also provide your dog with clean drinking water at all times, regularly washing the bows to keep them clean.

3 pros and cons of owning a Silken Windhound

***

Pros!Cons!
Loving, calm temperament
These dogs are prized for their calmness and affectionate attitudes.
Can become picky eaters
If allowed to indulge in people food, these dogs can develop a pickiness when it comes to diet.
Beautiful, low-maintenance coats
These beautiful dogs come in many colors and require little grooming.
Can slip through their collars
As slim dogs, silken windhounds may require a slip-grip collar to prevent them from running off-leash. 
Healthy with low medical maintenance
Silken windhounds have no common health issues.
Relatively high exercise needs
These dogs require about 45-60 minutes of exercise per day.

Silken Windhound Size and Weight

Female silken windhounds reach an average height of 18-24 inches, with males reaching similar sizes. At full maturity, males can weigh 33-55 pounds, while females are more compact, ranging between 22 and 44 pounds.

Height (Male)24’ Tall
Height (Female)24’ Tall
Weight (male)55lbs, fully grown
Weight (female)44lbs, fully grown

Silken Windhound Common Health Issues

Silken windhounds are generally very healthy, living well into their late teens – the oldest recorded dog celebrated her 20th birthday before passing. However, be sure to request tests from your breeder screening for the occasional genetically inherited health condition. Bone and joint issues such as hip dysplasia can occur but are rare.

Some individuals are more sensitive to certain medications, such as ivermectin, but a genetic test is available to determine whether a dog carries the gene. Owners also report instances of deafness and cataracts in older age.

Silken Windhound Temperament

Silken windhounds were explicitly bred to produce dogs with lovely, friendly, and intelligent temperaments. These well-balanced hounds exhibit strong prey drives when out hunting, but they’re affectionate, gentle companions at home. They should be kept on a leash outside but will gladly cuddle with their family on the couch and laze the day away.

How To Take Care of Silken Windhound 

These beautiful, low-maintenance dogs have the best of grooming, intelligence, exercise, and temperament worlds. With proper care, your silken windhound will prove a loving and loyal companion who will please and accompany you on any adventure.

Maintenance And Grooming

Silken windhound
Silken windhounds were explicitly bred to produce dogs with lovely, friendly, and intelligent temperaments.

Erik Lam/Shutterstock.com

Despite the luxurious long coats that come in a rainbow of patterns and colors, silken windhounds are surprisingly low-maintenance, hardly shedding, and only needing a bath occasionally. Regular brushing will help keep your pups clean, clearing loose hairs and debris picked up while outside. Fleas and ticks love longer fur, however, so be sure to check for them during warmer weather. 

Besides managing their coats, owners should regularly trim their dogs’ nails. Too-long nails can make walking uncomfortable and risks breakage or splitting. Dental hygiene is also a month, with a routine teeth-brushing schedule going a long way to prevent plaque and bad breath.

Training

These versatile hounds excel at various dog sports and hunt-related activities and love to please their owners. You’ll often see silken windhounds competing in lure coursing and races, but many others also participate in agility, therapy work, scent tracking, and obedience competitions. These dogs quickly learn new tricks and commands, thriving on rewards and affection during concise training sessions and bonding with their owners as they learn.

Exercise

Like most other sighthounds, silken windhounds adore running. They’re not the most active dogs, but they still require regular exercise in the form of daily walks; typically, about 45 minutes to an hour will suffice. Those living in a house benefit significantly from the ability to run freely off-leash.

Puppies

Positive reinforcement training is a must for silken windhound puppies. These dogs blossom with encouragement and rewards, eager to please their owners and quick to learn basic commands. Some dogs even teach themselves to go potty outside without human intervention, should they have access to outdoor spaces. While these dogs are naturally friendly, early socialization with people and other dogs will go a long way to raising a happy, confident pup. 

Silken Windhound And Children

Silken windhounds make for excellent housepets and are exceptionally loving and tender around children. Allow your dog to naturally get to know your child, and teach your kids how to treat dogs with respect. After a period of supervision, well-socialized dogs will get to know and love your kids, happily cuddling them on the couch and accompanying them on outdoor adventures.

Dogs similar to Silken Windhound

The Silken Windhound is closely related to other sighthounds, including the Borzoi, whippets, and Sheltie dogs.

Popular names for Silken Windhound dogs include:

  • Beaux
  • Reagan
  • Austin
  • Lea
  • Maggie
  • Summer

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About the Author

Shanti Ryle is a content marketer with nearly a decade's experience writing about science, real estate, business, and culture. Her work has been featured in Forbes, Wall Street Journal, Global Finance and Banking, Weedmaps News/Marijuana.com, and other publications. Her favorite animal (by far) is the Pembroke Welsh Corgi!

Silken Windhound FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What are Silken Windhounds used for?

Silken windhounds are of the sighthound class, though they can be trained in various dog sports such as obedience, agility, lure coursing, and racing. They’re quick to pick up new commands and delight their humans with intelligence and fast learning.



Are Silken Windhounds good dogs?

The silken windhound makes for an excellent, calm, and loving family dog when provided with a roomy environment and plenty of exercise. These dogs are also highly social and happy to say hello to strangers or other dogs.



How long do Silken Windhounds live?

The average lifespan of a silken windhound is 12-18 years, though they can often outlive this estimate.

 

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.

Sources
  1. Silken Windhound Club of America, Available here: https://silkenwindhoundclubamerica.com/
  2. International Silken Windhound Society, Available here: https://silkenwindhounds.org/
  3. United Kennel Club, Available here: https://www.ukcdogs.com/silken-windhound
  4. American Kennel Club, Available here: https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/miscellaneous-class/

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