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Silken Windhound Updates

The International Silken Windhound Society first applied for entry into the AKC Foundation Stock Service in 2009. In the last 13 years, the Silken Windhound has seen major advances in both population and event participation worldwide; with an expanding fancy in the UK, Canada, Northern Europe, and Japan. There are smaller but enthusiastic populations in many other countries. They are currently recognized overseas by the Slovenian Kennel Club, since 2004, and the Kennel Club of Japan, since 2009.

Silken Windhounds are a very active and growing breed, with 1,015 litters and 4,062 registered individuals since the establishment of the ISWS registry in 1999. Breeders are now spread nationwide. A large proportion of the Silken Windhound fancy is involved in a variety of activities with their dogs. Engagement with the breed club is high and growing across several social media platforms as well as in person events.

Conformation

The UKC

Since 2011, the Silken Windhound has been fully accepted as part of the United Kennel Club. In addition to their conformation events, the breed also participates in other UKC events. This includes Obedience, Rally-Obedience, Agility, Lure Coursing, Barn Hunt, and Weight Pull. Many participating dogs carry multiple titles in those events, as well as having won numerous Best in Show and Reserve Best in show honors in conformation.

Expanding participation in the UKC has resulted in the Silken Windhound consistently being one of their top entered conformation breeds. Based just on the UKC’s published top ten numbers, the Silken Windhounds were the number 3 breed, all-breed in 2019, the number 2 breed, all-breeds in 2020, and the number 7 total breed, all breed in 2021.

A black spotted silken stacked from the front in the show ring at Boofest 2019. Photo by Ashley Cirimeli

Regional Specialties and National Specialty shows

The first regional specialty show for the breed was held in Northern California in 2003. Specialty events have since grown nationally; with many regions participating and multiple clubs holding one or more events a year.
Although recent world events disrupted normal national schedules the breed still managed to host specialty events to showcase their hounds. Examples of such events are listed below.

These numbers are excluding sweepstakes entries, and only reflect unique dogs entered in the regular shows:

  • The Silken Windhounds of California (SWC) hold a Western regional specialty every year in October known as“Boofest”. In 2021, 94 dogs were entered into this popular specialty show.
  • The Silken Windhound Texas Tapestry is also held yearly and is hosted in the region that birthed the breed. In 2021, this specialty had 82 dogs showcased from people around the country.
  • The Midwest Silken Windhound Association’s (MSWA) “Ohio Classic” hosted 67 dogs in 2021.
  • Silken Windhounds for Endurance, Performance, & Training (SWEPT) had 51 participants in their “Pacific Northwest Fest” in 2019.
  • The East Coast Silken Windhound Club (ECSW) hosted a show with 54 dogs in 2021.
  • Fanciers in Colorado hosted “The Rocky Mountain Silken Showdown” in 2019. A total of 56 participants from around the country supported this specialty.

Our Nationals rotate around the country and are currently a nearly week-long event featuring a sweepstakes show, a regular conformation show, seminars, health testing, obedience, rally-obedience, straight racing, lure coursing, and oval track days. Due to Covid 19, the 2020 National Specialty was canceled, and the numbers for 2021 fluctuated off normal due to cancellations and rescheduling, but the last “non pandemic era” Nationals in 2019 hosted 137 individual dogs in the conformation show, and 155 in 2018. There have been 50 to 60 entries in sweeps.

Performance

Performance Venues

In 2009, breed fanciers and their hounds began participating in performance events alongside established sighthound organizations such as ASFA, LGRA and NOTRA. At that time, rules, records, and titles were held under the International Silken Windhound Society “ISWS” banner. The ISWS goal was to work towards inclusion in these organizations.

As of 2022, Silken Windhounds have been accepted fully into the Large Gazehound Racing Association since 2013, the National Oval Track Racing Association since 2013 and the National Open Field Coursing Association since 2010. In the American Sighthound Field Association, the breed was accepted in limited stakes in November of 2009, provisional as of March 2012, and points earned from then on counted towards championships upon full acceptance in 2014.

The breed has achieved championship titles in all venues.

Large Gazehound Racing Association

Silken Windhounds have been in the top entered breeds in LGRA since their acceptance in the organization, and when LGRA was posting numbers publicly, in 2013, 2014, and 2015 the Silken Windhound was their #1 breed.

Silken Windhounds have earned LGRA’s K’lar Award (awarded to the top racer of the year of all breeds) and the Fahal Award (awarded to a dog for being a 2x K’lar Award winner).

National Oval Track Racing Association

The National Oval Track Racing Association (NOTRA) fully accepted the Silken Windhound in 2013, and since then the breed has become one of their top entered breeds. They were #4 in 2018, tied for #2 in 2019, and were #2 in 2021.

National Open Field Coursing Association

The National Open Field Coursing Association (NOFCA), where dogs run on wild black tailed jackrabbits in their native habitat, and are judged, accepted the Silken Windhound as a rare breed in 2010. Since then, they’ve won mixed and rare breed hunts alongside other Sighthound breeds.

American Sighthound Field Association

The number of new Silken Windhounds competing in ASFA has more than doubled in the last 5 years. They are one of only 2 breeds recognized by ASFA to see an increase in hounds competing in that time, the Silken Windhound and the Saluki; While many other breeds saw a dramatic decrease in numbers.

Silken Windhounds had the 7th most entries of 22 breeds in ASFA in 2021.
A limiting factor, starting in 2018, and continuing through Covid, was a decrease in numbers of ASFA trials. Covid restrictions were still heavily in place for much of 2021, so entries are still improving.

Silken Windhounds have also garnered top competition honors in ASFA, an International Invitational Best in Event, NLCC’s Christmas Cup, the Best of the Best 3 & 4 day continuum competitions, and the Best of the Best SoCal Cup Invitational.

Note: Number of new hounds competing combined with overall decrease in ASFA trials suggests that the number of available trials is limiting the number of Silken Windhound entries.

ASFA Silken Windhound Statistics - Last 5 Years

Hounds Competing in ASFA Events by Breed, by Year
Silken Windhounds
2021
79
Additional Silken Windhound ASFA Statistics
2017
2018
2019
2020
2021
*
Silken Windhounds Competing in ASFA Events
73
66
57
58
59
**
New Silken Windhounds Competing in ASFA Events
35
29
36
31
71
***
New Silken Windhound Titles
17
10
10
9
10
Total Silken Windhound Entries
351
289
274
235
343
****

* overall ASFA numbers only at 87% of 2017 - not fully recovered from Covid by end of 2021

** Silkens were one of only 2 breeds recognized by ASFA to see an increase in hounds competing over the last 5 years while many saw a dramatic decrease in numbers (the other seeing an increase in entries was the Saluki).

*** Number of new hounds competing more than doubled in 5 years.

**** Silken Windhounds had the 7th most entries of 22 breeds in ASFA in 2021.

A limiting factor, starting in 2018 and continuing through Covid, was a decrease in numbers of ASFA trials. Covid restrictions were still heavily in place for much of 2021, so entries are still improving.

 

Note: Number of new hounds competing combined with overall decrease in ASFA trials suggests that the number of available trials is limiting the number of Silken entries.

ISWS Fast Dash

In 2021, a program mirroring AKC’s FASTCAT, named Fast Dash, was established.

This new program’s numbers reflect April 2021 – December 2021 only, as the program started in April. The scores are self-reported. Although these entries are official in that they are certified by an event secretary, they are not inclusive, i.e., they only include scores submitted and not all paid entries at each event.

DASH Silken Windhound Program Statistics - 2021(First Year)

Silken Windhound DASH Statistics
2021
*
Silken Windhounds Competing in DASH Events
57
New Silken Windhound Titles
13
Silken Windhound Entries
218
**

* April through December only - program started in April.

** Scores are self-reported. Although these entries are official in that they are certified by an event secretary, they are not inclusive; i.e., they only include scores submitted and not all paid entries at each event.

Other Sports

Agility

Silken Windhounds compete, and are titled in agility organizations, in the USA through USDAA United States Dog Agility Association, NADAC North American Dog Agility Council, CPE (Canine Performance Events), ASCA Australian Shepherd Club of America (allows all breeds) and UKC United Kennel Club. These graceful athletes excel at agility with their nimbleness and speed.

Obedience

ISWS started an obedience program in 2010 that mirrored the AKC’s but since our acceptance in UKC, we have transitioned to holding UKC obedience trials at our national specialty. We have also competed, and attained titles, in obedience in ASCA. Most Silken Windhounds have biddability, an eagerness to learn and enjoy building the bond with their people.

Rally-Obedience

Silken Windhounds have been competing in ASCA rally-obedience trials since 2010 and some are competing at the masters level. Many have earned rally-obedience titles from UKC as well. Rally showcases the duo’s ability to maneuver through a course of stations and demonstrates their teamwork.

Flyball

Silken Windhounds can compete in flyball through the North American Flyball Association.

Tracking

Silken Windhounds compete for tracking titles through ASCA Australian Shepherd Club of America (all breeds allowed).

Nosework

Venues in which Silken Windhounds Compete: NACSW National Association of Canine Scent Work, CPE Canine Performance Events & UKC United Kennel Club. Dogs have a superior sense of smell making nosework fun for the dog and the handle. It progressively becomes more difficult as the team moves up in levels. Any dog can compete in nosework and Silken Windhounds are quite good at it. Many Silken Windhounds hold titles in this sport.

Trick Dog

Silken Windhounds have earned trick titles through AKC Trick Dog, and organizations like Do More With Your Dog. Tricks are skills that challenge the curious minds of the Silken Windhound breed. Trick training helps to break the ice in introductions to children, and in therapy dog visits. It helps build confidence in a new environment or situation, and can open the door for new opportunities.

Weightpull

Silken Windhounds are now accepted in several venues that host weight pull events, UKC weight pull, APA, the American Pulling Alliance (APA), Worldwide Weight Pull Organization (W3PO), and the International Weightpull Association (IWPA).Silken Windhounds are earning titles enjoying the sport.

Research Projects

From nearly its inception, the Silken Windhound breed culture has been forward-thinking and science-embracing. Collaborative work with UC Davis’ Veterinary Genetics Laboratory and the University of Washington’s veterinary school was done to study the breed distribution of the MDR1-1 mutation. This study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and that information appeared in newspapers and television news globally.

We’ve also been involved with the University of Missouri Veterinary Oncology department doing a long-term study cataloging and typing cancer data for the breed. Thus far, no cancers that have been gene typed in the breed have been found to have a genetic link.

Orthopedic Foundation for Animals

In the last 5 years Silken Windhounds have registered 1,540 individual OFA test results. In 2021 a Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) program was instituted, and 110 dogs entered the program in the first full year.

Therapy Dogs

Silken Windhounds around the nation are active therapy dogs, working with the elderly, children, and the disabled.

Service Dogs

There are many Silken Windhound service dog teams in the breed working as hearing alert, mobility assistance, autism assistance, psychiatric service dogs, and medical alert dogs. Their size and quiet nature allow them to be unobtrusive in public spaces.

In the Media

The breed has enjoyed some attention in the wider world outside of shows and performance events, appearing as models in clothing and pet catalogs, in calendars, in dog book write ups, and on an album cover.

The Future

The Silken Windhound is a progressive-thinking, actively-growing breed community that is working diligently towards AKC acceptance.