Silken Windhounds

If you've ever dreamed of a small, curvy dog something like a tiny Borzoi, with a long, flowing coat and soulful eyes, then you've dreamed of a Silken Windhound. These gentle dogs are descended from the larger Borzoi, the shorter-coated Whippet, and a bit of Sheltie, but are today very much a breed all their own.

Traits, Personality and Behavior

Many Silkens are the favored pets of Borzoi owners who wanted something very similar but smaller. They are, indeed, very like the Borzoi, although they tend to weigh between only 20 and 45 pounds. Their silky coats come in all colors and patterns, and require weekly brushing to prevent tangles. They shed, but not excessively.

Like all his sighthound cousins, the Silken Windhound loves to run, and his desire to chase things is extremely powerful. However, he's a bit more trainable than the other members of the greyhound family, and much more likely to do well in dog parks, and to be fairly easy to train to come when called even when a young dog.

Silken Windhounds are typically clean, and well-mannered. Silken Windhounds tend to be very good with children, cats, and other dogs.

Health Issues Common to Silken Windhounds

Silken Windhounds are typically very healthy, and the International Silken Windhound Society is particularly proactive in keeping them that way. Every registered Silken has his or her DNA banked with a genetic tracking project at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, and genetic testing is aggressively promoted for those conditions that do affect the breed.

One such genetic defect in the breed, Lotus syndrome, is believed to be the canine equivalent of the human disease known as "fetal akinesia deformation sequence," or FADS. Although there is no genetic test for Lotus syndrome at this time, this is primarily a matter of heartbreak for breeders rather than something the average pet owner will have to deal with, because the affected puppies do not survive long past birth.

A good breeder will be able to discuss how prevalent these and other conditions are in her dogs' lines, and help puppy buyers make an informed decision about health risks to their dog.

4 Tips to Bring Home a Healthy Silken Windhound Puppy

If you decide a Silken Windhound may be right for you, make sure to select a breeder who is a member in good standing of the International Silken Windhound Society.

Puppy or adult, take your Silken Windhound to your veterinarian soon after he becomes part of your family. Your veterinarian will be able to spot visible problems, and will work with you to set up a preventive regimen that will help you avoid many health issues.

Although Silken Windhounds are virtually never found in pet stores, the advice to never, ever, ever buy a puppy from that source still stands. You're more likely to get an unhealthy, unsocialized and difficult to house-train puppy and will be supporting the cruelty of high-volume puppy mills.

Make sure you have a good contract with the seller, shelter or rescue group that spells out responsibilities on both sides. In states with "puppy lemon laws," be sure you and the person you get the dog from both understand your rights and recourses.

Pet Insurance for Silken Windhounds

Pet insurance for Silken Windhounds costs more than for mixed breed dogs. This is because Silken Windhounds are more likely than mixed breed dogs to make claims for hereditary conditions that are expensive to treat.

Embrace dog insurance offers full coverage for all breed-specific conditions (excluding those that are pre-existing) to which Silken Windhounds are susceptible. The best time to get pet insurance for your Silken Windhound is when he's a healthy puppy. You can't predict what will happen in the future, and pet insurance is the one thing you can't get when you need it the most.