Silkens are a rare gem in the world of purebred dogs. Created in the 1980's by Francie Stull in Austin, Texas, they are a newly created breed of sighthound. They are not a designer breed, but were carefully bred from longhair lurchers, whippets, and borzoi to create them. They have a registry called International Silken Windhound Society, and are also registered with the United Kennel Club. They are in the process of becoming AKC registered. All silkens must be DNA profiled for purity to be bred. Silkens were no accident, they were created to fill a void in the the available purebred sighthounds.
A silken is a sighthound breed. A sighthound is a type of dog that is bred to hunt independently by chasing down game by sight. Examples of sighthounds are Afghans, saluki, greyhounds, and whippets. For thousands of years, people depended on these dogs to hunt for food. Now sighthounds are raced either for sport or for fun as a way to replicate their old jobs. Sighthounds chase a lure (a bag or peice of fur on a string powered by a machine) that is dragged around a track or around a field to simulate hunting. This is an instinctive trait, and the dogs truly enjoy running. Sighthounds should not be in unfenced yards or off leash becuase of their intense drive to chase.
Silkens are a medium sized sighthound, with medium length silky hair, and an airy, art deco look. They are generally between 20 and 40 lbs, and from 18 inches to 24 inches at the shoulder. They have soft ears that fold back along their long curvy necks, a back with a smooth convex flexible shape, and deep chest. Long noses, feet, and a thin narrow shape creates the picture of an aerodynamic dog. Their soft dark eyes, long tail with a fan of hair, and flowing coat in a myriad of colors complete their elegance.
The personality of most silken windhounds is kind, loving, low energy, and trainable. Sighthounds can be known for stubborness, but silkens are known for their willingness to work with and for their owners. This is not a dog who will excitedly greet every human in range, but they are friendly and generally enjoy meeting people other than their owners. Quiet and not demanding, a well socialized silken is happy where they are. They are low energy in the home, spending most of their day and night resting. They do need a good walk or romp in the yard with another dog daily, but do not have high exercise needs. They are trainable, and although they rarely pull on their leash or need more than house manners training, you can train them for obedience or other sports. Finding the right reward and providing it is all you need to train your silken, as they are not stubborn. Housetraining is easy too. Getting along with other dogs is no issue, and cats and small animals are ok if your silken puppy is taught respect for them as puppies. Kids and older people easily make friends with a silken too.
An ideal pet for the american family, Silkens are mild, even tempered, low shed, low maintenence, and trainable. They don't need haircuts, to wear sweaters in the cold, and tolerate the heat well too. A bath and nail trim every 4 to 8 weeks keeps them clean and odor free. Brushing needs done about once every two weeks behind the ears, rear legs, and tail. Silkens have a single outer coat that is soft and silky. This coat does not hold dirt or stains, and is lower shedding. Although they do shed, silkens shed significantly less than double coated breeds like labs or goldens. Our other breed is standard poodles, and we find the silkens very tolerable next to their non shedding friends.
A rare breed hound like this is in great demand, but their price reflects a normal price for any purebred puppy. There are only a few thousand Silken Windhounds in North America and across the Globe. We are proud to be the only breeder in Minnesota for these special dogs. Check out our facebook page for more info, videos, pictures, and events where you can meet some Minnesota silken windhounds.