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Genetic Diversity

Recognizing that the health of the breed is dependent, in part, upon a diverse gene pool, and that the registration process, by its nature, reduces that necessary diversity, the Genetic Diversity Program was developed by the ISWS to add genetic variability (essential for vitality) to the original Silken Windhound gene pool. The International Silken Windhound Society (ISWS) is proud to support Silken Windhound breeders in producing, to the best of their ability, the highest quality Silken Windhound, while maintaining overall breed health and genetic diversity.

Since ISWS breeders have far−reaching responsibility to the ISWS and its registry, the dedicated breeders of Silken Windhounds and the ISWS proudly present the Genetic Diversity Program, a unique, long−term strategy to preserve the genetic integrity of the SWH breed, & to avoid inbreeding depression—loss of viability or function resulting from inbreeding.

GENETIC DIVERSITY PROGRAM OBJECTIVE

The primary goal of the Genetic Diversity Program is to provide the framework for a successful, long−term plan for breed survival. The mission of the Genetic Diversity Program is to add healthy genetic material from non−Silken Windhound dogs to expand genetic diversity, thereby maintaining and improving the overall health of the Silken Windhound breed. It is understood that undesirable traits are usually recessive and may not reveal themselves until breeding carriers of the same trait, usually as a result of some percentage of inbreeding.

Silken Windhound Project Dogs are selected for the same appearance, structure and temperament as ISWS Registered Silken Windhounds. In evaluating progeny for the Genetic Diversity Program, some leeway should be allowed in certain areas of conformation. These do not include temperament or health. In order to fulfill this mandate, the Genetic Diversity Program shall define the official guidelines and parameters for the development of Silken Windhound Project Lines and how their progeny can attain ISWS Registration Status.

GENETIC DIVERSITY BREEDER OBJECTIVES

  1. To protect the future of the SWH breed by using breeding strategies that rely on the evidence of the scientific principles of genetics.
  2. To develop a Silken Windhound Project Line that will meet all requirements to qualify for ISWS registration as a Silken Windhound upon reaching at least generation two (F2).
  3. To select a healthy, structurally sound Foundation Dog that is representative of its breed.
  4. To select healthy, structurally sound Silken Windhound Project Dogs in the following generations, with the typical temperament described in the ISWS’ Standard of the Silken Windhound, to continue breeding within a Silken Windhound Project Line.
  5. To the extent possible, select descendants free of genetically inherited, detrimental traits to continue breeding within its Silken Windhound Genetic Diversity Line.
  6. To select all breeding stock using the ISWS’s Standard of the Silken Windhound as the ultimate goal for its Silken Windhound Project Line.
  7. To select all breeding stock based on its ability and willingness to perform physically as a Sighthound.

DEFINITIONS

  • Genetic Diversity Project Line (Project Line) — A group of Silken Windhounds created by breeding a non−Silken Windhound (Foundation Dog) with a registered Silken Windhound. Progeny from that breeding are then mated with a Registered Silken Windhound, continuing for the required generations until the progeny are considered eligible for Registered Silken Windhound status, as defined herein.
  • Foundation Dog — A non−Silken Windhound, either a Borzoi or a Whippet, that is bred with an ISWS Registered Silken Windhound to establish the 1st generation (F1) of a Genetic Diversity Project Line.
  • Silken Windhound Project Dog — A dog created from breeding a non−Silken Windhound (Foundation Dog) with an ISWS Registered Silken Windhound, and the unregistered generations of dogs down from that Foundation Dog.
  • Silken Windhound — Any dog registered as a Silken Windhound by the ISWS. The requirement for any Project Dog to attain ISWS Registration Status is that each successive generation of dogs/bitches contributing to the development of a Project Line must be bred to an ISWS Registered Silken Windhound dog/ bitch to ultimately qualify for acceptance into the ISWS Registry.
  • Sighthound — Any of a number of breeds of dogs developed to hunt and pursue game by sight.
  • Genetic Diversity Committee — A committee to oversee the implementation of this document, aid the breeders who are working on Genetic Diversity Lines, be a liaison between the Breeders and the ISWS BoD, as well as to establish the recommended health tests for inclusion in the Genetic Diversity Program and Silken Windhound recognition.

GENETIC DIVERSITY COMMITTEE AND ITS MEMBERS

The ISWS Genetic Diversity Committee is appointed by the ISWS Board of Directors and is comprised of the Silken Windhound Founder and four ISWS members who are current members for at least five years and have bred a minimum of three ISWS Registered Silken Windhound litters. At whatever time the Founder cannot, or chooses not to continue with this committee, a fifth member shall be appointed by the Founder or ISWS Board of Directors to take her place. The Committee shall oversee the ISWS Genetic Diversity Program by:

  1. Ensuring all breeders applying to start a Project Line are current ISWS members for at least five consecutive years & bred a minimum of five ISWS Registered Silken Windhound litters.
  2. Ensuring all breeders applying to start a Project Line are current ISWS members for at least five consecutive years & bred a minimum of five ISWS Registered Silken Windhound litters.
  3. Seeking the guidance of genetics experts, ISWS member−breeders, the ISWS Board, the ISWS Health Committee, or other experts to assist with the oversight & administration of the Genetic Diversity Program.
  4. Reporting all activities to the ISWS Board of Directors
  5. Communicating major events to the ISWS Board of Directors.

GENETIC DIVERSITY PROGRAM GUIDELINES & RULES

The requirements set forth below are intended to be read within the context of the goals of the program. If there are individual sections that might have differing interpretations if read alone, rather than in the overall context of the general requirements and goals of the program, the ISWS Genetic Diversity Committee shall interpret the section consistently with the objectives of the program.

PROGRAM OVERVIEW

The ISWS established the Silken Windhound Genetic Diversity Program as a structure for determining and evaluating future sources of new genetic material for infusion into the Silken Windhound breed. It is the goal of the ISWS to ensure that individual dogs in the breed are able to reliably reproduce themselves while maintaining as diverse a genetic pool as possible.

A new Project Line is started by breeding a non−Silken Windhound (Foundation Dog) with an ISWS Registered Silken Windhound, producing an F1 generation. Subsequently, F1 Progeny, when bred to a different ISWS Registered Silken Windhound, will produce F2 dogs that are 3/4 Silken and 1/4 Project Dog.

Breeding an F2 dog to a different ISWS Silken Windhound will produce F3 dogs that are 7/8 Silken and 1/8 Project Dog. If an F2, F3, or later generation dog is accepted into the breed registry, its offspring in future generations would automatically be approved for ISWS
Registration Status just like any other ISWS Registered Silken Windhound. If an F2 dog is not sufficiently Silken−like, then the breeding must continue to the F3, or later generations, until the resulting dog is deemed good enough to be brought into the ISWS Registry.

One of the characteristics pursued in our Genetic Diversity Program is the well-being of the Silken Windhound breed. All ISWS Registered Silken Windhounds crossed into the Genetic Project Lines, should have clear results of the health tests that are recommended by the ISWS Genetic Diversity Committee. The Foundation Dog should also have clear results of the health tests required by the ISWS Genetic Diversity Committee. If the Foundation Dog carries a detrimental health trait that is identifiable by DNA, and that is not evident in the Silken Windhound breed, then the descendants applying for registration must be clear of that trait via either DNA or parentage. Health test recommendations may change from time to time based upon the health issues that might be found in the Silken Windhound breed, and the tests available to the dog world.

When one or more individual dogs from a Genetic Diversity Program is granted ISWS
Registration as a Silken Windhound, the ancestors of that dog, back to the Foundation Dog will also be listed in the ISWS Registry for historic purposes, but they will not carry individual ISWS registration status that confers automatic rights to register the offspring.

The ISWS shall maintain a side registry for tracking Silken Windhound Project Dogs, parallel to, but outside the official ISWS Registry. Any Silken Windhound Project Dog descended from a Genetic Diversity Line will be clearly identified on the dog’s ISWS Genetic Diversity Breeding Certificate, by stating it is a Project Dog Certificate. The Project Dog Certificate will list all of the same information as our usual ISWS Certificate of Registration information, including the non-silken sire or dam, with a created ISWS registration number for that sire or dam to identify them.

APPLICATION PROCESS TO ESTABLISH NEW GENETIC DIVERSITY PROJECT LINES

Any Silken Windhound Breeder desiring to present a Genetic Diversity Program which might lead to a F2 or later generation Project Dog attaining ISWS Registered Status, shall notify the ISWS Genetic Diversity Committee at whatever point in the process that they decide to move forward.

The Notification Must Include:

  1. Three generation Pedigrees for the Silken Windhound and the potential Foundation Dog.
  2. Clear, color photographs of the Registered Silken Windhound and the Foundation Dog, including:
  3. Photographs taken of the entire dog at eye level, in a standing position on a LEVEL surface.
    • Full front view showing facial characteristics.
    • Side view showing the dog’s full profile.
    • Full view of the dog’s hindquarters.
  4. Documentation of the dog having passed all of the ISWS Genetic Diversity Committee recommended health tests.
  5. Silken Windhound crosses deserve the same consideration in treatment and placement as ISWS Registered Silken Windhounds. A statement by the breeder certifying that all Silken Windhound crosses produced by the Project Line will be placed into suitable homes is important in order to preserve the reputation of the breed and the ISWS.

Any Foundation Dog used in the Genetic Diversity Program must:

  1. Have been tested for hereditary health faults common to their breed. If it is a proven carrier of a detrimental trait, as identified by DNA testing, then the descendants applying for registration must not carry that trait.
  2. Have a registration number from a recognized purebred dog registry; purebred is stressed because it helps to ensure that the desirable characteristics seen in the Foundation Dog are truly genetic and heritable in subsequent generations.
  3. Be a Foundation Dog that is an acceptable example of its breed, with no major structural or temperament faults.

APPLICATION PROCESS FOR ISWS REGISTRATION

To be considered for ISWS Registration, the Silken Windhound Project Dog must meet the following requirements:

  1. Must be bred by a Silken Windhound Breeder who is a current ISWS member with a minimum involvement of five consecutive years and they must have bred at least 5 Silken Windhound litters. The person presenting the dog for ISWS Registration is not required have to have the same qualification requirement as the breeder of record.
  2. Be at least a 2nd generation SWH Project Dog from an ISWS Project Line.
  3. Be one year of age or older.
  4. Certified as passing all health tests which are recommended by the ISWS Genetic Diversity Committee at the time of application.
  5. Color photographs showing front, side, and rear standing positions should be included:
    • Photographs taken of the entire dog at eye level, in a standing position on a LEVEL surface.
    • Full front view showing facial characteristics.
    • Side view showing the dog’s full profile.
    • Full view of the dog’s hindquarters.
  6. Photographs should include a measuring stick or wicket for size comparison. Photographs must be in focus, in at least at least (640×480 pixels), for each position.
  7. Measurement of height from the withers.
  8. Documentation of the recommended health test results and DNA parentage identification verification results must be included in the application for the Foundation Dog and Applicant dog. Pets and dogs outside the direct line do not require health tests.
  9. Assessment — Hands−on assessment process shall be completed in the United States, and be conducted in person by a minimum of three long−term ISWS Silken Windhound breeders. The list of potential breeder−assessors shall be current ISWS members with a minimum involvement of five consecutive years, and they must:
    • Have bred at least 5 Silken Windhound litters;
    • If the person submitting the dog qualifies as one of the breeder-assessors, then only two additional breeder−assessors are required.
    • The three breeder−assessors must complete a Silken Windhound Genetic Diversity Project Dog Assessment Form, indicating that the dog should be approved for ISWS Registered Silken Windhound Status.

The Registrar Shall:

  1. Confirm with the ISWS Genetic Diversity Committee that all documents are in order.
  2. Confirm with the ISWS Genetic Diversity Committee that the dog is approved for ISWS Registration Status.
  3. Registrar & the Genetic Diversity Committee shall maintain the paperwork on the project dogs, until the project dogs are approved or denied to receive the ISWS Certificate of Registration on the project dog.
  4. Issue ISWS Individual Dog Registration Papers to replace the Project Dog ISWS individual dog registration paper at no additional charge.

GENETIC DIVERSITY PROGRAM SUMMARY

We are sincerely grateful for our loyal, affectionate, courageous, Silkens — SPECIAL in so many tangible and intangible ways — that grace our lives now and beyond. The ISWS is steadfast in its purpose to make whatever changes are necessary to preserve genetic excellence within the breed. Thus, it is important to remember that the future hope of the SWH breed that aficionados enjoy and cherish today lies with the ISWS breeders as stewards.

The ISWS and its members are unwavering in their commitment to our Founder’s vision to integrate the various aspects of our breed: dogs that can perform in the field, and excel in the conformation ring, while still being well−rounded, versatile, genetically healthy, mentally stable animals that will ultimately be a joyful experience for everyone who is fortunate enough to “own” a Silken.

Click here to download our Official Genetic Diversity Protocol