|Other names||Silken, Russian Whippet|
|Domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris)|
Silken Windhounds are graceful, small to medium sized sighthounds with silky coats of middling length. Silkens have many coat colors that can range from spotted to solid.
Silken Windhounds are affectionate and playful and are good dogs for families with children. Due to their friendliness, they are not good guard dogs but are easily house broken and can be trained to live with smaller household pets. Silkens particularly like agility, therapy, flyball, and obedience.
Silken Windhounds are often intelligent and easily trained using reward and affection in short, positive sessions and will work eagerly and form strong relationships with their owners if so treated. Like many sighthounds, Silken Windhounds can slip out of buckle collars, so most owners favour semi-slip collars.
Silken Windhounds typically live into their middle to late teens. Bone and joint ailments like hip dysplasia and bloat are rare. Silkens are sensitive to ivermectin and related drugs; a simple test is now available to find whether a dog carries a defective MDR1, a multi-drug resistance gene. Responsible breeders are working to remove this gene from studs. Some owners report cases of cryptorchidism, umbilical hernia, lotus syndrome, and deafness, and cataracts in old dogs.
Silken Windhounds were first bred by Francie Stull, a successful breeder of show and performance American Kennel Club (AKC) Borzoi and Deerhounds, using her favoured Borzoi and Whippet bloodlines. The first Silken Windhound litter was whelped in 1987 and a breed club, the International Silken Windhound Society, was formed in 1999. In early 2011, Silken Windhounds were recognized by the United Kennel Club. Silkens are now in Canada and Europe as well.
Silken Windhounds participate in performance sports and showings worldwide, including the NAKC, IABCA, and NCA, as part of the hound group. In Slovenia, Silkens are an accepted part of the Slovenian Kennel Club, member of the FCI, also in the hound group. Silken Windhounds also participate in sighthound performance sports, competing alongside other sighthounds in Finnish lure coursing and straight racing events. The ISWS has established straight and oval track racing programs that enable Silkens to compete and win points towards performance titles. In late 2009, Silken Windhounds were accepted as a Limited Stakes breed in the ASFA. Over forty dogs competed in ASFA limited stakes in their first month of acceptance. In late 2010, Silken Windhounds were accepted as a breed in NOFCA, the National Open Field Coursing Association, and can participate in open field events. On March 18, 2011, Silken Windhounds were accepted into the United Kennel Club.