The Silken Windhound is a relatively recent breed that originated in the United States. The breed was developed by Francie Stull, a well-known breeder of Borzois and Deerhounds, in the late 20th century. Stull began her breeding program in 1985 with the aim of creating a medium-sized sighthound breed. She used Borzois and Whippets as the foundation, and selectively bred them over several generations to attain a dog that retained the typical sighthound characteristics but in a smaller package. The coat of a Silken Windhound is long and silky, hence the name.
Silken Windhounds are known to be generally healthy dogs, but as a larger breed they are at risk for developing orthopedic problems, such as hip and elbow dysplasia. Genetic testing is recommended, including for the following specific conditions: Multidrug Sensitivity (MDR1), hyperuricosoria, degenerative myelopathy, and progressive rod-cone degeneration. As a Sighthound breed, they are known to be more sensitive to barbiturate anesthetics. Thiopental, or any other thiobarbiturate, should not be used on these dogs.
Silken Windhounds are known for their friendly, intelligent, and adaptable nature. They tend to be good with children and other pets, and while they're typically reserved with strangers, they're not usually shy or aggressive. As sighthounds, they have a strong prey drive and love to run, but they're also quite happy to relax at home. They can be quite versatile, doing well in conformation, obedience, agility, lure coursing, and as family pets.
Despite their luxurious coats and elegant appearance, Silken Windhounds are low-maintenance as they don't shed excessively and aren't prone to having a "doggy" odor.
They are the smallest of the sighthound breeds but are known for their speed and agility.
Unlike some other sighthounds, they are typically good off-leash and have a good recall if trained properly.
According to the UKC, the International Silken Windhound Society, chartered in 1999, maintains all pedigrees and DNA-verified registrations for the breed.