Silken Windhound

The Silken Windhound is an affectionate, playful, and eager-to-please dog breed that is easily trained and loves families, including those with small children and pets. In fact, their affectionate nature makes them poor watchdogs. That’s because they are likely to react to strangers with warm greetings instead of barks or growls. As a relatively new breed, the Silken Windhound is not recognized by the American Kennel Club, though it was recognized by the United Kennel Club in 2011 and appears in shows and competitions around the world.

Silken Windhounds can be trained for obedience, agility, and dog sports. Furthermore, they tend to pick up such training quickly and easily with their intelligence and desire to please the humans that they are close to. However their high prey drive must be redirected into positive behavior or they may bolt after small animals and wander.

Although these dogs are easygoing most of the time and are happy to curl up on the couch with their families, they also have bursts of high energy and require exercise in the form of at least one long walk or run per day. If their exercise needs are met, they are happy to adapt to almost any living situation, including apartment life.

Their long, beautiful coats come in a variety of patterns and colors, and despite their luxurious looks, they are surprisingly easy to maintain and do not shed excessively. Silken Windhounds make great, active family companions for novice and experienced owners, alike, and their long life span will keep them around for many years of love and affection.

See below for complete list of Silken Windhound breed characteristics!

Silken Windhound Dog Breed Pictures

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Breed Characteristics:

Adapts Well to Apartment Living4More info +

Contrary to popular belief, small size doesn't necessarily an apartment dog make — plenty of small dogs are too high-energy and yappy for life in a high-rise. Being quiet, low energy, fairly calm indoors, and polite with the other residents, are all good qualities in an apartment dog.

See Dogs Not Well Suited to Apartment Living

Good For Novice Owners4More info +

Some dogs are simply easier than others: they take to training better and are fairly easygoing. They're also resilient enough to bounce back from your mistakes or inconsistencies. Dogs who are highly sensitive, independent thinking, or assertive may be harder for a first-time owner to manage. You'll get your best match if you take your dog-owning experience into account as you choose your new pooch.

See Dogs That Are Good For Experienced Owners

Sensitivity Level4More info +

Some dogs will let a stern reprimand roll off their backs, while others take even a dirty look to heart. Low-sensitivity dogs, also called "easygoing," "tolerant," "resilient," and even "thick-skinned," can better handle a noisy, chaotic household, a louder or more assertive owner, and an inconsistent or variable routine. Do you have young kids, throw lots of dinner parties, play in a garage band, or lead a hectic life? Go with a low-sensitivity dog.

See Dogs That Have Low Sensitivity Levels

Tolerates Being Alone2More info +

Some breeds bond very closely with their family and are more prone to worry or even panic when left alone by their owner. An anxious dog can be very destructive, barking, whining, chewing, and otherwise causing mayhem. These breeds do best when a family member is home during the day or if you can take the dog to work.

See Dogs Poorly Suited To Be Alone

Tolerates Cold Weather4More info +

Breeds with very short coats and little or no undercoat or body fat, such as Greyhounds, are vulnerable to the cold. Dogs with a low cold tolerance need to live inside in cool climates and should have a jacket or sweater for chilly walks.

See Dogs Poorly Suited For Cold Weather

Tolerates Hot Weather4More info +

Dogs with thick, double coats are more vulnerable to overheating. So are breeds with short noses, like Bulldogs or Pugs, since they can't pant as well to cool themselves off. If you want a heat-sensitive breed, the dog will need to stay indoors with you on warm or humid days, and you'll need to be extra cautious about exercising your dog in the heat.

See Dogs Poorly Suited For Hot Weather

All Around Friendliness
Affectionate with Family5More info +

Some breeds are independent and aloof, even if they've been raised by the same person since puppyhood; others bond closely to one person and are indifferent to everyone else; and some shower the whole family with affection. Breed isn't the only factor that goes into affection levels; dogs who were raised inside a home with people around feel more comfortable with humans and bond more easily.

See Dogs Less Affectionate with Family

Incredibly Kid Friendly Dogs4More info +

Being gentle with children, sturdy enough to handle the heavy-handed pets and hugs they can dish out, and having a blasé attitude toward running, screaming children are all traits that make a kid-friendly dog. You may be surprised by who's on that list: Fierce-looking Boxers are considered good with children, as are American Staffordshire Terriers (aka pit bulls). Small, delicate, and potentially snappy dogs such as Chihuahuas aren't so family-friendly.

**All dogs are individuals. Our ratings are generalizations, and they're not a guarantee of how any breed or individual dog will behave. Dogs from any breed can be good with children based on their past experiences, training on how to get along with kids, and personality. No matter what the breed or breed type, all dogs have strong jaws, sharp pointy teeth, and may bite in stressful circumstances. Young children and dogs of any breed should always be supervised by an adult and never left alone together, period.

See Dogs Not Kid Friendly

Dog Friendly3More info +

Friendliness toward dogs and friendliness toward humans are two completely different things. Some dogs may attack or try to dominate other dogs even if they're love-bugs with people; others would rather play than fight; and some will turn tail and run. Breed isn't the only factor; dogs who lived with their littermates and mother until at least 6 to 8 weeks of age, and who spent lots of time playing with other dogs during puppyhood, are more likely to have good canine social skills.

See Dogs That Are Not Dog Friendly

Friendly Toward Strangers4More info +

Stranger-friendly dogs will greet guests with a wagging tail and a nuzzle; others are shy, indifferent, or even aggressive. However, no matter what the breed, a dog who was exposed to lots of different types, ages, sizes, and shapes of people as a puppy will respond better to strangers as an adult.

See Dogs That Are More Shy

Health Grooming
Amount Of Shedding2More info +

If you're going to share your home with a dog, you'll need to deal with some level of dog hair on your clothes and in your house. However, shedding does vary greatly among the breeds: Some dogs shed year-round, some "blow" seasonally -- produce a snowstorm of loose hair -- some do both, and some shed hardly at all. If you're a neatnik you'll need to either pick a low-shedding breed, or relax your standards.

See Dogs That Shed Very Little

Drooling Potential2More info +

Drool-prone dogs may drape ropes of slobber on your arm and leave big, wet spots on your clothes when they come over to say hello. If you've got a laid-back attitude toward slobber, fine; but if you're a neatnik, you may want to choose a dog who rates low in the drool department.

See Dogs That Are Not Big Droolers

Easy To Groom4More info +

Some breeds are brush-and-go dogs; others require regular bathing, clipping, and other grooming just to stay clean and healthy. Consider whether you have the time and patience for a dog that needs a lot of grooming, or the money to pay someone else to do it.

See Dogs That Require More Grooming

General Health4More info +

Due to poor breeding practices, some breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, such as hip dysplasia. This doesn't mean that every dog of that breed will develop those diseases; it just means that they're at an increased risk. If you're buying a puppy, it's a good idea to find out which genetic illnesses are common to the breed you're interested in, so you can ask the breeder about the physical health of your potential pup's parents and other relatives.

See Dogs More Prone To Health Problems

Potential For Weight Gain2More info +

Some breeds have hearty appetites and tend to put on weight easily. As in humans, being overweight can cause health problems in dogs. If you pick a breed that's prone to packing on pounds, you'll need to limit treats, make sure he gets enough exercise, and measure out his daily kibble in regular meals rather than leaving food out all the time.

Size3More info +

Dogs come in all sizes, from the world's smallest pooch, the Chihuahua, to the towering Great Dane, how much space a dog takes up is a key factor in deciding if he is compatible with you and your living space. Large dog breeds might seem overpowering and intimidating but some of them are incredibly sweet! Take a look and find the right large dog for you!

See Medium Dogs

See Small Dogs

Easy To Train5More info +

Easy to train dogs are more adept at forming an association between a prompt (such as the word "sit"), an action (sitting), and a consequence (getting a treat) very quickly. Other dogs need more time, patience, and repetition during training. Many breeds are intelligent but approach training with a "What's in it for me?" attitude, in which case you'll need to use rewards and games to teach them to want to comply with your requests.

See Dogs That Are Challenging To Train

Intelligence4More info +

Dogs who were bred for jobs that require decision making, intelligence, and concentration, such as herding livestock, need to exercise their brains, just as dogs who were bred to run all day need to exercise their bodies. If they don't get the mental stimulation they need, they'll make their own work -- usually with projects you won't like, such as digging and chewing. Obedience training and interactive dog toys are good ways to give a dog a brain workout, as are dog sports and careers, such as agility and search and rescue.

See Dogs That Have Low Intelligence

Potential For Mouthiness3More info +

Common in most breeds during puppyhood and in retriever breeds at all ages, mouthiness means a tendency to nip, chew, and play-bite (a soft, fairly painless bite that doesn't puncture the skin). Mouthy dogs are more likely to use their mouths to hold or "herd" their human family members, and they need training to learn that it's fine to gnaw on chew toys, but not on people. Mouthy breeds tend to really enjoy a game of fetch, as well as a good chew on a chew toy that's been stuffed with kibble and treats.

Prey Drive5More info +[caption id="attachment_55015" align="alignnone" width="680"](Picture Credit: Haydn West - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images) (Picture Credit: Haydn West - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)[/caption] Dogs that were bred to hunt, such as terriers, have an inborn desire to chase and sometimes kill other animals. Anything whizzing by — cats, squirrels, perhaps even cars — can trigger that instinct. Dogs that like to chase need to be leashed or kept in a fenced area when outdoors, and you'll need a high, secure fence in your yard. These breeds generally aren't a good fit for homes with smaller pets that can look like prey, such as cats, hamsters, or small dogs. Breeds that were originally used for bird hunting, on the other hand, generally won't chase, but you'll probably have a hard time getting their attention when there are birds flying by.See Dogs That Have Low Prey Drive
Tendency To Bark Or Howl1More info +

Some breeds sound off more often than others. When choosing a breed, think about how the dog vocalizes — with barks or howls — and how often. If you're considering a hound, would you find their trademark howls musical or maddening? If you're considering a watchdog, will a city full of suspicious "strangers" put him on permanent alert? Will the local wildlife literally drive your dog wild? Do you live in housing with noise restrictions? Do you have neighbors nearby?

See Dogs That Are Mostly Quiet

Wanderlust Potential4More info +

Some breeds are more free-spirited than others. Nordic dogs such as Siberian Huskies were bred to range long distances, and given the chance, they'll take off after anything that catches their interest. And many hounds simply must follow their noses, or that bunny that just ran across the path, even if it means leaving you behind.

See Dogs Less Prone To Wander

Exercise Needs
Energy Level4More info +

High-energy dogs are always ready and waiting for action. Originally bred to perform a canine job of some sort, such as retrieving game for hunters or herding livestock, they have the stamina to put in a full workday. They need a significant amount of exercise and mental stimulation, and they're more likely to spend time jumping, playing, and investigating any new sights and smells. Low-energy dogs are the canine equivalent of a couch potato, content to doze the day away. When picking a breed, consider your own activity level and lifestyle, and think about whether you'll find a frisky, energetic dog invigorating or annoying.

See Dogs That Have Low Energy

Intensity2More info +

A vigorous dog may or may not be high-energy, but everything he does, he does with vigor: he strains on the leash (until you train him not to), tries to plow through obstacles, and even eats and drinks with great big gulps. These dynamos need lots of training to learn good manners, and may not be the best fit for a home with young kids or someone who's elderly or frail. A low-vigor dog, on the other hand, has a more subdued approach to life.

See Dogs With Low Intensity

Exercise Needs4More info +

Some breeds do fine with a slow evening stroll around the block. Others need daily, vigorous exercise -- especially those that were originally bred for physically demanding jobs, such as herding or hunting. Without enough exercise, these breeds may put on weight and vent their pent-up energy in ways you don't like, such as barking, chewing, and digging. Breeds that need a lot of exercise are good for outdoorsy, active people, or those interested in training their dog to compete in a high-energy dog sport, such as agility.

See Dogs That Don't Need Tons of Exercise

Potential For Playfulness5More info +

Some dogs are perpetual puppies -- always begging for a game -- while others are more serious and sedate. Although a playful pup sounds endearing, consider how many games of fetch or tag you want to play each day, and whether you have kids or other dogs who can stand in as playmates for the dog.

See Dogs That Are Less Playfull

Vital Stats:

Dog Breed Group: Hound Dogs
Height: 18 to 23.5 inches
Weight: 20 to 55 pounds
Life Span: 14 to 20 years
  • The Silken Windhound was bred to have a winning personality, a long, beautiful, easy-to-groom coat, and an intelligent, trainable nature, and this breed has all of those things and more. Silken Windhounds are great with children, other pets, all members of the family, and even strangers. They can be trained for a variety of tasks, though they may fail when it comes to watchdog duty, as they're just too darn nice most of the time to show any aggression. Silken Windhounds belong in homes that will give them a nice place to lie down next to their humans, surrounded by love and affection. They aren't meant to be left outside or alone for long periods of time. These dogs are highly expressive, and their responsive ears, soulful eyes, and easily-readable body language show off their emotions in ways that even those with little dog ownership experience can understand. With generally good health, a coat that needs little grooming, and exercise needs that are quite manageable, the Silken Windhound is a dog that novices and experts will both find to be an excellent family companion.
  • Highlights

    • Silken Windhounds are known for their affectionate nature, even with children and other pets.
    • This breed has a high prey drive and may chase small animals, so they need a fenced-in yard and a martingale collar that won't slip off, as regular collars tend to do with dogs that have slim head shapes.
    • The first Silken Windhound litter was born in 1985, though the breed was not named until 1998.
    • The Silken Windhound is not officially recognized as a breed by the American Kennel Club, though they were recognized by the United Kennel Club in 2011 and appear in shows and competitions around the world.
    • The Silken Windhound's coat is not only beautiful and easy to groom, but it is suited for all kinds of weather. Silken Windhounds are happy to play in the winter snow or visit the beach on a warm summer day.
    • Some Silken Windhounds carry a gene that causes them to be sensitive to medication. It is important to test for this gene before medicating your dog, as it can be fatal.
    • Silken Windhounds have a long life span, often living well into their late teens.
  • History

    The history of the Silken Windhound is not a long one, as it is a relatively new dog breed. Most attribute the breeding of the first Silken Windhound litter to Francie Stull of Kristull Kennel, a Borzoi breeder who wanted to created a mid-sized sighthound with a long, silky coat that would be easy to groom and maintain. Stull crossed Borzois with Whippets until the first litter of Silken Windhounds were born in 1985 in the United States, though the new breed wouldn't be officially named "Silken Windhound" until 1998. The next year, the International Silken Windhound Society was founded, and in 2001 they adopted a breed standard. The United Kennel Club recognized the breed in 2011, though the American Kennel Club still does not. Today, Silken Windhounds can be found in show and performance competitions throughout the world as they grow in popularity.
  • Size

    Silken Windhounds can vary quite a bit in size. They tend to range from 18 to 23.5 inches in height at the shoulder. Male Silken Windhounds are larger on average than females. Males tend to weigh from 33 to 55 pounds, while females usually weigh between 20 and 45 pounds. Individuals of the breed may be smaller or larger.
  • Personality

    The Silken Windhound makes a poor watchdog, but that's because dogs of this breed are so friendly that they are more likely to greet strangers warmly than to react with suspicion or aggression. They are known for their affectionate nature, especially when it comes to their human families, and even though all dogs should receive socialization training at a young age, Silken Windhounds are likely to take to such training more quickly and easily than many other breeds. Silken Windhounds are highly adaptable to most lifestyles and can even live in apartments, so long as they get a chance to go for at least one long walk and preferably a good run at the dog park each day. They tend to have bursts of high energy, but are happy to spend much of the day curled up on the couch with the humans they love. They have a sensitive side and don't do well when left alone without companionship for long periods of time. Most Silken Windhounds are eager to please and intelligent, which makes them easy to train, even for novice owners. Some breed enthusiasts claim that Silken Windhounds have even been known to housebreak themselves if they have enough access to the outdoors. Speaking of letting Silken Windhounds outside, it is important to give them an outdoor space that is secure and fenced in, as their high prey drive can cause them to chase small animals and wander. Owners should also rely on martingale collars, rather than traditional buckle collars, as Silken Windhounds can slip out of regular collars fairly easily. Silken Windhounds can be trained for obedience, agility, and dog sports and are very likely to appreciate the physical and mental challenge such training will provide. If they aren't properly challenged, as with dogs of any breed, they may seek out their own fun with unwanted behaviors. Overall, the Silken Windhound is a good choice for those who want a family dog that is active, affectionate, and easy to train. Even novice owners should find the Silken Windhound to be an easy-maintenance companion.
  • Health

    Silken Windhounds are typically quite healthy, and genetic predispositions for medical issues are relatively uncommon in the breed. Still, there are a few things that Silken Windhound owners should be on the lookout for. Lotus syndrome has been known to affect Silken Windhounds, though it appears in very young dogs and affected puppies do not survive long after birth. Some Silken Windhounds carry the MDR1 gene, which makes them sensitive to certain drugs. All Silken Windhounds should be tested for this before receiving medication, as a bad reaction can be fatal. Other issues that may affect Silken Windhounds include umbilical hernia and cryptorchidism, and older Silken Windhounds may suffer from deafness or cataracts. It is important to keep up with regular vet visits to catch any medical issues early and maintain good health.
  • Care

    Silken Windhounds' teeth should be brushed regularly as recommended by a veterinarian. Their ears and paw pads should be checked for signs of infection, parasites, or debris and kept clean. Nails should be trimmed as needed to prevent snags and breakage. Usually a trimming once a month will keep the nails in good shape. Keep up with regular vet visits to maintain good health for your Silken Windhound.
  • Feeding

    A Silken Windhound dog diet should be formulated for a mid-sized breed with average-to-high energy and exercise needs. You should consult your veterinarian or professional nutritionist for advice on what to feed your individual Silken Windhound and the correct portion sizes. Their dietary needs will change as they grow from puppyhood to adulthood and senior age. Stay on top of these nutritional requirements.
  • Coat Color And Grooming

    The luxurious, silky coats of Silken Windhounds can come in almost any color or pattern. They can be black, tan, brown, gray, red, silver, or white, or they can be a combination of colors. Silken Windhound coats may also be solid, spotted, brindle, or streaked with unique markings. Despite their appearance, Silken Windhound coats require little maintenance. They shed relatively little, and a few good brushings a week should be enough to keep the coat healthy. Some owners say they can get by with one or fewer brushings a week. They should be bathed once a month or as needed.
  • Children And Other Pets

    Silken Windhounds are typically very friendly to all members of the family, including children and other pets. They may, however, be apprehensive around children who are overly excited or make sudden, loud noises. It is important with dogs of any breed to supervise playtime with children and to teach kids how to appropriately handle animals to avoid incidents. Socialization training should begin early in life to ensure dogs are raised to interact well with humans and other pets. Silken Windhounds have a prey drive that may cause them to chase small creatures, but they generally know to be gentle with other pets in the household.
  • Rescue Groups

    As a new breed, it is still relatively rare for Silken Windhounds to be found in rescue or adoption facilities. If you are looking for a Silken Windhound to adopt, you may try Gentle Giants, a non-profit rescue group based in California. You may also keep an eye out at your local shelter or rescue group and ask them to contact you if a Silken Windhound becomes available. Our adoption page also has available dogs for adoption listed by breed and location so you can look for a dog to adopt near you.