Starcastle Logo Starcastle Hounds Silken Windhounds, Sweden   Silken Windhounds since 1998

Health Research



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The Silken Windhound is a remarkably healthy breed

ISWS (International Silken Windhound Society) keep records and databases of every health aspect known about Silken Windhounds, so we have a pretty good knowledge about the health status of our breed.

Silkens have, out of sheer luck, managed to dodge some of the problems in the founding breeds (Whippet, Borzoi and to some extent Shelties).

So far we have not seen any PRA (Whippet), bloat (Borzoi) and we have only had one single "sudden death", in this case caused by dilated cardiomypathy, to my knowledge the only cardiomypathy ever diagnosed in the breed.

There is the occasional but very rare heart murmur, upon further examination they all seem to be of different kinds, usually harmless to the dog. Even so, these dogs are not bred. Just because the same kind of heart murmur has not appeared more than once, it is not safe to assume it is not something that can be inherited. Better to be safe than sorry.

One thing the breed did not escape from the founding breeds is cryptorchism (Whippet).

Another thing that was quite rampant in the breed originally, but now has been reduced to a rare phenomenon, is umbilical hernias.

They have almost always been outer, closed hernias, not bothering the dog, but nevertheless they are a nuicanse and it is good to see that breeding selections have proved  to be working to steer away from it.

In my experience, with 15 years of having several different Borzoi of different blood lines, they had a lot of problems with tonsillitis. Very often recurring tonsillitis.
So far none of my Silkens have had tonsillitis at all. Better immune system ? I really can't say, but they do seem to be more resistant to tonsillitis at least.

Fake pregnancies, when females act like they are pregnant but are not, seem to be unheard of in Silkens. Fake pregnanices can be quite a problem, in many breeds it is also very frequent.

I've never heard of over sexual males, humping everyone and everything either. You may think this is related to behaviour and not health, but I disagree because I think it has to do with the hormone system and that obviously seem to work quite well for Silkens.

While we are into hormones, Silkens are extremely willing to breed and you seldom hear of females that do not get pregnant when bred. It happens, but not very often. The resulting litters are typically 3-7 puppies.

You never hear of Silken females getting pyometra, but that may be explained by the simple fact that the vast majority of Silkens live in USA where they are big on spaying and neutering ...

So, are Silken Windhounds completely without problems?
No, unfortunately not. But for the problems we do have, we have the scientists on our side.
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Page updated February 22, 2008


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