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Silken Windhound

Sighthound & Pariah Dog Group

The goals and purposes of this breed standard include: to furnish guidelines for breeders who wish to maintain the quality of their breed and to improve it; to advance this breed to a state of similarity throughout the world; and to act as a guide for judges.

Breeders and judges have the responsibility to avoid any conditions or exaggerations that are detrimental to the health, welfare, essence and soundness of this breed, and must take the responsibility to see that these are not perpetuated.

Any departure from the following should be considered a fault, and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and on the dog’s ability to perform its traditional work.


After considering options since 1975, a Borzoi breeder, Francie Stull, determined that a smaller hound with wonderful temperament, long coat, all-around good health, with the poise and sporting abilities of the larger sighthounds, would be an ideal second breed for her kennel.

In the early 1980's, an advertisement appeared in The Sighthound magazine for a Borzoi litter. Included was the famous Borzoi bitch, American, English Champion Stillwater Virginia Reel. This beautiful bitch caught the eye of Kristull Kennel and the purchase of a pick puppy from her next litter was negotiated.
When bred to Stillwater White Lightning, Stillwater Virginia Reel produced a blue brindle puppy, Stillwater Kristull Peacock. Peacock had the structure, personality and coat that formed the basis for the Silken Windhound when she was bred to Windsprite Autumnal Xenon.

With more than two hundred champion Borzoi in the record books, Kristull's Silken Windhound foundation stock combined dogs from some of the best show and coursing Borzoi lines, a multi-generational line of small Whippet-based lurchers, and Whippets from both show and coursing lines.

The result of the breeding program was a magnificent little sighthound designed to fill a gap in the line-up of sighthound breeds - a medium-sized, elegant hound at home both in the show ring and in the field, about 18-24 inches at the shoulder, with an easy-care, long, silken coat in all sighthound colors and color combinations, and a steady, affectionate and confident personality.

Typically, Silken Windhounds live very healthy, active lives. While most live into their late teens, the oldest known Silken Windhound lived a few months past her 20th birthday.

Silken Windhounds arrived as a breed with the "D" litter whelped in 1985. In 1998 the name Silken Windhound was officially adopted and the Yahoo Windhounds list was formed. The International Silken Windhound Society, chartered in 1999, maintains all pedigrees and DNA-verified registrations for the breed.

Silken Windhounds are now found throughout the United States as well as Austria, Commonwealth of the Bahamas, Canada, Finland, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Japan, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and Union of South Africa.

The Silken Windhound was recognized by the United Kennel Club March 18, 2011.

General Appearance

The Silken Windhound is an elegant, small to medium-sized sighthound, with a moderately long, silky coat. Its classic lines and athletic build are the hallmarks of a true coursing dog. When viewing a Silken Windhound, one has the impression of grace, balance and strength integrated with exceptional running ability.

In proportion, they are approximately square or slightly rectangular. Silkens that are excessively longer or shorter than they are tall are to be penalized to the extent of the deviation.

The build of the Silken Windhound is sleek, through a balanced combination of fine bladed bone and smooth muscle, and never looks frail.

Fault: Heavy, round or coarse bone.

Character & Temperament

The Silken Windhound’s expression is alert, friendly and intelligent.

The Silken Windhound is an intelligent hound of balanced character. While this breed exhibits strong prey drive in the field, they are gentle, affectionate, devoted companion animals in the home. An unwarranted show of timidity or nervousness, or any sign of hostility towards people or dogs are to be penalized.


The head is well-chiseled, with dry and tight skin and noticeable veining.

Moderately long in head, Silken Windhounds have a fairly narrow back skull which, when viewed from above, tapers gradually through a full muzzle to the nose.

The muzzle is in good balance to the skull. When viewed from the side, the top plane of the muzzle is parallel to the plane of the flat skull, with a barely perceptible stop between.

The nose is dark, and may be slightly down-turned at the end.

Lips and flews are tight, in keeping with the dry head. Lip pigment is full and dark.


The jaws are strong to accommodate the teeth, which are large for a dog of their size. A full complement of strong, white teeth meet in a scissors bite.

Fault: Missing teeth are to be penalized.


The eyes are rather large and dark, almond-shaped, and are set on somewhat obliquely. Pigment around the eyes is full and dark.


Ears are small and fine in texture, folded and lying back along the neck when in repose. When the dog is alert, the ears may be prick or semi-prick.

Fault: Hanging, droopy, houndy ears are undesirable.


The neck is long and slender. It is slightly arched, well muscled and powerful, never ewe-necked. The neck is free from dewlap or throatiness, widening gradually and symmetrically into the shoulder.


The topline rises gradually from slightly behind the withers, with the highest point of the arch being over the last rib, flowing smoothly over the muscular loin, carrying through and falling gradually over the long croup.

The back is short, and the loin moderately long, wide, muscular and arched. It is important that the loin be flexible to sustain and drive the double suspension gallop that SiIkens exhibit when running at top speed.

Fault: A flat back with steep croup is not a loin arch, and should be faulted.

The chest is deep, with moderate spring of rib.

Fault: A barrel-shaped or slab-sided body.

The brisket reaches as nearly as possible to the elbow, with a graceful upsweep to the tuck-up; this creates the distinctive underline of the Silken Windhound.


The shoulder blades are well laid back, and are long and smooth, with flat muscle. Fine withers are preferred. Good return of upper arm is desirable, bringing the legs well under the withers. Elbows turn neither in nor out.

The forelegs are straight and strong, with pasterns straight or slightly bent, but never knuckled over. Dewclaws on front legs are acceptable.

The feet are well knuckled, with tough, thick pads. Both the hare foot, with its longer middle toes, and the cat foot, with its shorter middle toes, are acceptable. Hare foot is preferred. Nails are strong and of moderate length.


Hindquarters are well angulated, with a long second thigh and well developed thigh muscles. Viewed from the rear, the hindquarters are slightly wider than the front, well muscled, without any suggestion of cowhocks. Stifles are well bent, and hock joints broad and strong. Hocks are short. Rear dewclaws may be removed.

The feet are well knuckled with tough, thick pads. Both the hare foot, with its longer middle toes, and the cat foot, with its shorter middle toes, are acceptable. Hare foot is preferred. Nails are strong and of moderate length.


The tail is long and flexible, falling in a sweeping curve, free of kinks, and reaching past the hock. When carried, the tail should not rise above the back.

Fault: A tightly curled or gay tail.


The coat is soft, and silky in texture. In no case should the coat be woolly or profuse enough to obscure the outline of the Silken Windhound, nor so long as to interfere with the function of a coursing hound.

The coat may be straight, slightly wavy, or curly. There is longer feathering along the back of the forelegs, the brisket, hindquarters, around the neck, and tail. Coat on the face, feet, front of forelegs and hocks are naturally short. Feathering that frames the ears and face adds to the dog's expression, and should not be trimmed.

The Silken Windhound is shown in a natural coat with minimal trimming.

Color & Markings

All colors and markings are acceptable.


The Silken Windhound moves with a smooth, effortless trot, which has good reach in front and good drive from the hindquarters.

Restricted or wasted motion of the legs or body, when viewed from the side, is faulty. Paddling, hackneyed gait, toeing in, and toeing out are faults in front movement. The hocks should not roll in or out when rear movement is viewed.

While the hind legs are wider apart than the front, the feet, both front and rear, seek a center of balance closer to the centerline when the dog moves at a fast trot. Movement which is too wide, or too narrow, or which does not converge towards a centerline, is faulty.


From 18½ to 23½ inches (47-60 cm). Dogs over or under the ideal are to be penalized to the extent of the deviation.


(A dog with a Disqualification must not be considered for placement in a conformation event, and must be reported to UKC.)
Unilateral or bilateral cryptorchid.
Viciousness or extreme shyness.

UKC Breed Standards: Silken Windhound

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