Tell me about WINDHOUNDS

Discussion in 'The Dog Breeds' started by Sekah, Aug 6, 2013.

  1. Sekah

    Sekah The Monster.

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    I have a burning desire to know more about silken windhounds. Also, long haired whippets, to a lesser extent.

    General back story:
    So, as many of you know, I'm fairly involved in dog sports. I dream of one day having one of those flashy, fast as light border collies. My husband has other ideas. He has many, many good points. But unfortunately, being a dog lover is not among them. He finds Cohen too energetic, too focused and too demanding. Mega is more his speed, but even she is too much for him sometimes. He would be happy without a dog. Unfortunately for him, he married me. I would very much like to always have at least one dog. While I still hope to one day have a scary fast collie, I'm looking into other breeds that I feel might be more of a compromise between his desires and mine.

    I've always had a soft spot for sighthounds. In particular I'm drawn to the longer fur and moderate size of windhounds and LH whippets. I have passing familiarity with whippets, as there are quite a few in flyball. I know someone with a LH whippet service dog, and another person who titles her whippets in obedience. I've only met one windhound in person however.

    I know I can't expect one to be as biddable as a collie, but I'm trying to get a feel for what I might be able to find in the breed(s). I'd like to continue to be involved in flyball, agility, disc, etc, though I could cope with being less competitive than I am now. I'd consider getting involved in coursing and maybe dock diving if I could convince the dog to enjoy it. How drivey and confident are these dogs? Can I find a drivey, confident dog who will settle well at home (and not drive my husband crazy) and who will be okay in the presence of a child?

    Can anyone suggest breeders that I can look at? I doubt I want to bug a breeder personally, as all of this is very early on in the planning phase and nothing is written in stone. To those of you who know me from my posts here, do you think I could be happy with one?

    I know that LH whippets aren't looked at with particularly high regard by sighthound people. From what I understand, windhounds are closer with their working roots. I'd like to support a breeder who is doing well by the breed, but I'm wondering if the sheltie blood in LH whippets would create a dog that's more in line with what I'm looking for.
     
  2. Romy

    Romy Taxiderpy

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    Whether or not there is sheltie blood is under debate. The LHW creator, Walter Wheeler, swears he did never under any circumstances introduce sheltie. Silken windhounds were based on his stock, and there is a very high incidence of the MDR1 gene mutation in the breed which the silken windhound people blame on sheltie that they claim was introduced to Wheeler's dogs to give them long coats.

    Wheeler did breed shelties at one point. I have no idea if it's true or not. But there is the political undercurrent and that's why a lot of whippet breeders are not excited about LHW. Either way, they're both good little dogs and it doesn't really matter what's in them.

    Windhounds are LHW and borzoi, some people cite sheltie in the breed heritage depending on what side of the controversy they fall on, but really it's not known for sure. Dekka knows more about the LHW side. According to her, the LHW from the Wheeler's original strain DON'T have the MDR1 gene... which means that the silken windhounds got it somewhere else.

    The windhounds I have met were basically mini borzois. They're cute, people oriented, lovey, and like to be super lazy and hang out with you allll day. More biddable than the majority of borzois too. So hanging out without annoying your husband, they'd be perfect at. Not every one would make an amazing agility dog, but if you are patient and careful you can find one. They are very athletic. You'd probably have to find the perfect individual to get a dock diving dog, as most sight hounds don't particularly like being wet
     
  3. JennSLK

    JennSLK F150 and a .30-06

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    Google navy rose borzoi. Lexy is a friend of mine. She is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to sight hounds. She has also bred silkens. She is in Canada but would be a good resource. I'm on my phone so I don't have her email on me. Her website needs updating but her email should be on there. If you can't find it pm me and I will look when I get home.
     
  4. ruffiangirl

    ruffiangirl New Member

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    There is someone that does agility with them that I met, they are fast, but also have that 'look shiny' attitude of sighthounds, you know that well I will listen, but also might just mosey along, or I'll go super fast...but not listen at all lol. Over all her dogs have fun doing it, but I think it's more for her fun then theirs lmao. But much calmer then the border collies.
     
  5. Lixi

    Lixi New Member

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    Windy dogs

    Hello!

    I'm new to this forum but always look for a chance to discuss my lovely windy dogs. I'm a little biased towards silken Windhounds as they are pretty much the ideal breed for me.

    My Caramel is 6 yrs old and is pretty much the ideal companion for me. As for training, if you are interested ask the breeder for the pig of the litter. The extra food motivation will give you an edge. However (!) it's not necessary if you are working with your windhound I find most of them develop the needed foodiness because they love to do stuff (especially cuddle) with their peeps. But also make it very clear to the breeder that you are looking to do dog sports and that you want drive, there are some Windhounds that are definitely more work minded than others.

    Watch out for pickiness too, I had friends who took in a retired lady windhound and catered to her pickiness allowing her to become worse and worse. She always ate relatively well when staying with me and would get progressively better over the time of any stay so you really have to not cater to that behaviour. I also catered to Caramel as a puppy and it was a disaster. When she hit about 2 yrs We had a month long argument over feeding (as per Sue Ailsby's teach em to eat program) and life has been WAAAAAAAAAY easier for me ever since. She is now a bone fide food obsessed dog, training is now infinitely easier.

    Work ethic in the breed is your greatest challenge but by no means impossible, they have a natural inclination to laziness. Short training periods, high motivation and good relationship along with attention to proper conditioning will net you a dog with speed, capabilities, attention span and control. In a lot of ways you need to be a better trainer to have a successful windhound because they are not naturally inclined to keep working ad nauseum just because they love to work so it becomes good practice for you. I do find I am most successful if I am very clear as to what it is I am looking for in a given training session and exactly what the micro step criteria it is that I need for her to advance the behavior (obviously this is just better training as a rule but with a dog that likes to work you can get away with a bit of wishy washy stuff in a training session, with a windy dog you get a quickly frustrated and distracted dog).

    As for your hubby, as long as he enjoys cuddling with a dog from time to time (1-15 times per day for varying lengths of time seems to be sufficient lol) then that is probably all the windy dog will need from him, especially if you are working el hound on a regular basis.

    So there is my novel on silken Windhounds. I'm happy to blab more but be warned that you are likely to get more novels...

    Simone (and Caramel)
     
  6. Lixi

    Lixi New Member

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    [​IMG]

    Hopefully this picture will work, it illustrates the moment when I realized all our training was working, she was willing to "chill" aka lie down and relax while oodles of people and dogs were milling 20 ft away at some community event. Including the occasional escapee dog. More importantly, on command she was willing to do this outside (ewwww, nature) on (GASP) concrete. This is the same dog that when we started working on this behaviour needed to have a bed or blanket provided to lie down on because the concrete training room floor was not acceptable. She would actually run to the end of her leash on the chill command to go lie down on a corner of carpet!
     
  7. Laurelin

    Laurelin I'm All Ears

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    From what I've seen I'd go LHW for an agility dog of the two.
     
  8. Tashapaws

    Tashapaws Spanish Pup

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    Wow, with those looks, they really seem to be the incarnation of the wind itself o.o
    I also like the personality, I don't think I'll ever get one, but they sure look like a good match. I would like to know the weigth and size, please. If somebody posted it and I didn't see it, sorry.
     
  9. Kirsten&Gypsy

    Kirsten&Gypsy New Member

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    I don't often post, but I saw this thread and had to comment. After tons of research, talking to owners, visiting a breeder's house, and going to a breed specialty, I am absolutely sure that my next dog will be a silken windhound. They're just delightful little dogs, gorgeous and possessing of lovely temperaments. I have loved every one that I've met. Plus, the community is very friendly, cohesive, and supportive of one another, and most breeders seem to stress health testing.

    There are definitely silkens capable of excelling at sports, from what I've seen. You'd want to make it clear to the breeder that you want a drivey pup for agility. Still, a drivey silken isn't going to equal a drivey border collie. While quite biddable for sighthounds, they're still sighthounds. Short, positive training sessions. Put them on a coursing field, though, and they'll blow the BCs away. They are totally different dogs on a lure coursing field. AMAZING.

    I don't know how useful my input will be to you, OP, since I don't (yet) own a silken. But I'll leave you with some of my silken pictures from the specialty and the UKC Premier:

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    UKC 3x Group Winning & CCH / ISWS CH & BISSw ‘PR’ Firebird F-117 Nighthawk Oxota ~ "Hawk" by grinningd0g, on Flickr

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    ukcswhmarkings2 by grinningd0g, on Flickr

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    ukcswhcreamperch by grinningd0g, on Flickr

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    SpringLane SilverStreak O'RR by grinningd0g, on Flickr

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    ukcswhblkwht by grinningd0g, on Flickr

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    ukcswhcreamspotty by grinningd0g, on Flickr

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    ukcsilk14 by grinningd0g, on Flickr

    [​IMG]
    aukc15 by grinningd0g, on Flickr
     
  10. Zoo

    Zoo New Member

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    Hello, you can probably expect a few Silken owners to contribute here, this thread is making the rounds on facebook.

    I am the very proud owner of a Silken Windhound (as well as an Italian Greyhound, Spinone Italiano, and an Aussie mix...) and obviously am here to sing the praises of this breed.

    In my experience, most breeders actively do both performance as well as conformation events, but some put their priorities one way or the other. I will speak only from my experience with my own dog, which is my first dog that I have done performance events with and am learning as I go.

    My dog is very human motivated. If I go for a run in a crowded dog park, my dog will be glued to my side the entire time. If my dog doesn't see me walk to the finish line of a straight race, she will go to find me at the last place she saw me... once I took a golf cart up to the finish line while someone else boxed my dog, and when the race was over my dog was patiently waiting for me where I had left my chair! However when my dog races, she is highly competitive with others of the breed. She also does chase thrown toys and will retrieve them. In a dog park, she is faster than multiple whippets, gsd, ridgebacks, and Dobermans that come to play, but in no way would I expect any Silken to hold their own against a race bred whippet for all out speed. This may change in time, now that Silkens are increasingly being accepted into various performance venues.

    The good thing about sighthounds in general, and it's certainly true for Silkens, is that great "40mph couch potato" line you always hear... also, you will note that Borzoi and most sighthounds are VERY low down in traditional measures of dog intelligence. The reason for this is that intelligence is usually gauged by how quickly a dog learns a task and how readily it performs that task. Sighthounds often have a degree of stubbornness (or creativeness... if you prefer a more flattering term).

    Oh and they are good with other animals :)
    Sorry for the big pictures...
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    As for LHW... the stories that tend to be spread about Walter Wheeler's Windsprite kennels are not encouraging, but I will simply say that there is little doubt that the MDR1 gene in LHW came from the shelties that were bred by Wheeler- 65% of LHW carry MDR1 and 30% of Silken Windhounds carry MDR1 according to http://www.vetmed.wsu.edu/depts-vcpl/breeds.aspx and in their current incarnation, I get the impression that at least 2 registries exist for them and 1 of them will register any dog that is at least 50% LHW, which means there are LHW crosses with just about anything out there (and as such "miniatures" and dogs with any number of traits)...

    I have personally seen a LHW perform agility at an exhibition style show (at a farm show) and it was quite good at it. They can be lovely dogs, but the way they are often marketed is worrying to me. Silken Windhound breeders make no bones about the origins of our breed, there is a level of transparency to that and also in respect to an extremely proactive expectation of health testing, dna tests, etc.

    Hope some of this is helpful...
     
  11. Sekah

    Sekah The Monster.

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    I could get a silken like this and just claim it's a pointy sport bred border collie. :p

    THANK YOU everyone very much for all of your input. I'm surprised that this thread has been making the rounds so much, but I'm very pleased to see it do so. Hopefully you guys will stick around the Chaz community. All of your dogs are just lovely.

    One thing I've not yet gotten a feel for is the breeds' ability to be off leash. I love hiking in the woods, I spend a lot of time in parks and don't have many fenced in dog areas where I live. To date, it's not been a problem. How well do you feel your dogs fare off leash?

    Also, what's their propensity to wander? My yard is fenced, but it is low in some areas. Is putting up a 5-6' fence considered a requirement? My dogs aren't out in the yard unsupervised for more than 2-3 minutes at a time, usually.

    Everything I'm being told about silkens both via forums and email is very encouraging. I admit I'm still a bit nervous to change to a new breed/group now that I'm starting to feel relatively well versed in herders, but I think I'll be up to the challenge. My biggest flaw as a trainer is I like to drill exercises over and over. My Aussie is happy to oblige, and the chihuahua will at least try if there's food involved.

    What about dog aggression? How common is it in the breed? Is it something I should be mindful of when looking for a sport companion? I don't imagine I'd see it at the same rate I see it in herders, but I could be surprised.

    And what are they like as puppies? I can tell my husband "40 mph couch potato" but he may call me a liar once the puppy crazies come about. What about adolescence? How do you find they mature? And at what rate?

    Thanks again everyone. I look forward to your responses!
     
  12. Lixi

    Lixi New Member

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    @LGCentaur - Derby is one of my favorite performance Windhounds! Sekah, go check out his youtube videos!

    My versions of the answers -

    Off-Leash - My Caramel is pretty fantastic now (although I don't have her off leash near traffic more for my own mental health than anything else) but she was not safe as a youngster, she really had the ol' "ooh look a butterfly, I'll run off over here until oh! a flower! Wait, what's that smell..." mentality and would wander quite aimlessly without any attention to where she was or I was etc. The fenced off leash park was my friend for the first 2 years, in spite of all its other downsides. I think if I had gone through the food battle earlier and been more successful with training earlier that period would have been shorter than two years though.

    Wandering -> This might be very dog specific and bear in mind that I have a particularly sloth-like windhound, but she has very little interest in wandering off deliberately. If I left the front door open and wasn't around there is a possibility she would meander outside and start following her nose but she is not going to make an effort to get over a gate or fence to do so.

    As for training, I second LG here -> No drilling with a windhound. You will both be SUPER frustrated!

    Dog aggression is pretty unlikely although my Caramel has some minor reactivity to on leash dogs when she is on leash with her "bad" siblings.

    Puppyhood - Caramel was a dream puppy. Although she did one of my favorite pairs of black heels, after that my shoes found a new puppy-proof home. That was her one big "bad puppy" moment.

    Just to clarify - as a puppy she also lived a fairly busy daily lifestyle as I was the owner/operator of a pet supply store where she was able to be at work with me every day in a very stimulating environment with lots of people and interesting things to see and do interspersed with her all important napping.

    Your puppy mileage may vary!
     
  13. LostAndConfused

    LostAndConfused Active Member

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    Silkens such beautiful dogs. My husband isn't a big fan of how sighthounds are built, so a no-go for me, at least right now. I have nothing helpful to add
     
  14. Zoo

    Zoo New Member

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    Like I said previously, my Silken is a Velcro dog and although I would never actively take her off leash with nearby vehicle traffic, I otherwise consider her bulletproof for off leash activities... with the strong caveat that any sighthound that does take off after something can be FAR away before you could react.

    I know of plenty of people with performance silkens that do off leash hiking trails as their primary method of conditioning... I've personally gone for runs through several acres of woodlands with my girl off leash clinging to my side.

    I have been spoiled by my girl, since a very young age I have been able to let her out to go to the bathroom and she will return and sit at the door to wait for me to let her in without wandering... we have comfortably done this at several relatives homes that were unfamiliar to her and unfenced without issue. She also has only once not respected a baby gate, otherwise any barrier has been sufficient to contain her.

    My Silken has been used as a chew toy at dog parks far too many times before I showed the common sense to stop going to parks, but has never had any dog aggression...

    As for energy... I found even as a puppy, the zoomies stage was mostly limited to outside, but she is what I like to call forcefully affectionate - she has been known to jump onto the couch as you go to sit down, in an effort to force you to cuddle...
     
  15. Linds

    Linds Twin 2

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    Just fixing your embedding, love the conversation! Carry on!
     
  16. Zoo

    Zoo New Member

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    9 weeks old...
    [​IMG]
    About 10 weeks old... you can see just how difficult these dogs are as puppies!
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    About 3 months old...
    [​IMG]
     
  17. Tashapaws

    Tashapaws Spanish Pup

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    Aww, Zoo
    She's just soo cute! I love that first photo.
    Sighthounds are my weak point. And she's just stunning.
     
  18. sillysally

    sillysally Obey the Toad.

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    Late to this thread, but had some questions (DH really wants a sighthound)...

    We will likely always have at least one Labrador, would windhounds be an ok housemate to a lab? Also, we currently have four small to medium size parrots (and will likely always have at least one or two in the future)-how much of an issue do these dogs have going after household animals?
     
  19. Zoo

    Zoo New Member

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    Our Silken Windhound shares the house with an 10 pound Italian Greyhound, a 40 pound Aussie Mix, and a 70 pound Spinone Italiano... we also keep chickens, cats, a pig, and many small animals... she's been socialized with them all and is great with them. Proper socialization is key with any dog... Silkens definitely don't have crazy prey drive, a novice owner would be fine adding a Silken to the mix...
     
  20. sillysally

    sillysally Obey the Toad.

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    How does one fine a good breeder?
     

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