Windhound Breed Standard
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
hallmark of a true coursing dog. When viewing a Silken Windhound,
one has the impression of grace, balance, and strength integrated
with exceptional running ability.
SIZE, PROPORTION, SUBSTANCE: The accepted
measurements for Silken Windhounds are 18.5 -23.5 inches
(47-60 cm) at the withers. Dogs over or under the ideal
shall be penalized to the extent of the deviation. In proportion,
Silken Windhounds are approximately square or slightly rectangular.
Silkens that are excessively longer or shorter than they
are tall should be penalized according to the extent of
The build of the Silken Windhound is sleek, through a balanced
combination of fine bladed bone and smooth muscle, and never
looks frail. Heavy, round, or coarse bone is faulty.
HEAD: The Silken Windhound's expression is alert,
friendly and intelligent. Eyes are reather large and dark,
almond-shaped and set somewhat obliquely. Picment around
eyes is full and dark. Ears are small and fine in texture,
folded and lying back along the neck when in repose. When
alert, ears may prick or semi-prick. Hanging, or drooping,
houndy ears are undesirable. Moderately long in head, the
Silken Windhound has 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
The head is well chiseled, skin dry and tight, with noticeable
veining. The nose is dark, and may be slightly down-turned
at the end. Lips and flews are tight, in keeping with the
dry head. Pigment on lips is full and dark. Jaws are strong
to accomodate the teeth, which are large for a dog of this
size, with full dentition and scissors bite. Missing teeth
should be penalized.
NECK, TOPLINE, BODY: 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, which Silkens
exhibit when running at top speed. A flat back with steep
croup is not a loin arch and should be faulted. The chest
is deep with moderate spring of rib. A barrel shaped or
slab sided body is faulty. 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
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. A tightly curled
or gay tail is faulty.
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 londer middle toes; and
the cat foot, with its shorter middle toes, is acceptable.
Hare foot is preferred. Nails are strong and of moderate
HINDQUARTERS: 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, is acceptable. Hare foot is preferred.
Nails are strong and of moderate length.
COAT: The coat is soft, and silky in texture. In
no case should the coat be wooly 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.
GAIT: The Silken Windhound moves with a 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.
TEMPERAMENT: 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, should be penalized.
To read more about the Silken Windhounds and to find out
more about the Silken Windhound Society please go to http://www.silkenwindhounds.org
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