American Whippet Club
1970 Whippet Annual
Our great appreciation to Lynne Underwood for allowing permission to preserve this 1970 Whippet Yearbook on the AWC Website.
REMINISCING By ,Eugene Jacobs
The revival of Whippet racing got the "cleats in the clay" about 1959 or 1960. Wendy Howell who lived in San Francisco, California at that time, now a resident of Ireland, got unorganized race meetings started in a park, in San Francisco. According to Wendy, those gatherings were a mixture of dog racing and "fellowship" and by mid-afternoon, many of the human participants were happily "smashed".
About 1959, Wendy Howell pulled out the throttle on her Jaguar car and trundled into the mid-west to exhibit at a few shows and see what Whippet activity was going on in the "center states". One trip led to other trips and with her came Great Circle Millicent, Sand Flea, Meander King Fisher and others. After Wendy's first trip, her transportation changed from a Jaguar to different station wagons filled with camping equipment, dogs and assorted "stuff".
According to TEE WHIPPET NEWS, February, 1959, Wendy Howell talks about her Whippet bitch, Ch. Great Circle Holiday.... "The trip east was fairly un productive of show awards, but as always great fun to see other friends and breeders. Holiday came through at the last moment with a Best Opposite at the Garden. The accursed disposition of the Whippet bitch who glares at the judge as if about to bite, and humps herself into a croquet wicket on occasion, is especially irritating in a better than average specimen. We are all aware that this runs in families, and Agnes Griswold reports the same thing in Atomic Blonde, a really great one, and Holiday's grandmother. It is interesting to note that Holiday's litter by Pilot all have heavenly dispositions, one of the males, in fact, a clown. At Boston I was standing by the ringside watching a class being judged, with White Knight on a loose lead. He saw liver thrown in the ring, and vaulted Mr. Foley's fence, much to the horror of Mr. & Mrs. A.E. Van Court, who, up to this moment, had been chatting with me. His litter sister, Little Alice, is also quite an extrovert, also a chewer. On a recent trip to Antelope Valley, California, with Mrs. R. Henderson, Little Alice ate an entire lamp in a motel. It was unfortunately made of cork, and proved to be quite expensive."
In the same April 15th issue of "The News", Louis Pegram reported the Chicago International Whippet Race results.... "Ch. Whipoo's Whimsey, C.D., again was the star performer, blazing down the long 200 yard track, winning his two qualifying heats easily, and in the final feature beat a most impressive young dog, Ch. Wingedfoot Dominic, by some two lengths.
Whimsy is now undefeated after two years of racing at the International Show, winning easily over the fastest Whippets in America. Breeders interested in racing should give this great Whippet every consideration as a stud dog. This family should carry on, as every member from the litter is outstanding as race dogs.
Ch. Wingedfoot Dominic was easily the second best Whippet raced. This young dog, imported from England last year by Mrs. Wendell Howell of San Francisco , is on the small side, but has everything needed to make a great race Whippet."
In "The News" of June 15th, 1959, Mr. & Mrs. Philip S. P. Fell, living in Oyster Bay, Long Island, New York, advertised a litter of Whippet puppies sired by Ch. Meander Bob-White, whelped by Badgewood Copper Penny.
In that same issue, the former Mrs. Donald Frames, now Mrs. Hastings, reported.... "The racing at the Specialty was beautifully done. It was one of the highlights of the show. After watching them I think I'd like to try it also. Maybe we can get a Southern California racing group going with monthly meetings. Something to think about anyway."
Almost forgot to mention the Pasadena show. Mr. Hostetter judged the entry of eight, putting up Wendy's Holiday with Mrs. Henderson's lovely Mad Hatter Best Opposite.
Miss Julia Shearer reported in the June 15th issue of "The News"
About 1960, Norman Ellis left San Francisco and relocated in Fresno, California . He took three Whippets with him - Great Circle Tosca, Star Gazer and Antigone. According to the February, 1960 issue of THE WHIPPET NEWS, Norman Ellis reported: "I have hopes of starting a Central California Whippet racing association within the year. Mrs. Howell and Mrs. Henderson, as well as the Longs, have offered to superintend and help launch this sporting enterprise."
In those days, our racing was a mixture of trial and error, "the blind leading the blind", with reference to out-of-date printed matter about how
About 1960 or 1961, Louis Pegram joined "the group" and we got Whippet racing in the International Amphitheater. The people who worked in the Amphitheater dumped dirt on the cement floor and leveled it out to make the race track. After that was completed, Sibyl and I, Wendy, Louis and all the stray children we could engage, went over the track on our hands and knees pulling up, picking out and lifting up, all the glass, wire, wood and assorted hazards. By the afternoon of the second day, we had the dirt track picked fairly clean.
During the revival days of Whippet racing, we didn't have many dogs who weren't excellent to "creditable" racers. All the dogs were well trained but most of all, all the dogs seemed to know what to do and to race, to run competitively, was something they seemed to understand. I will never forget one top race at the International when , after two days of hard racing, the top six dogs were in the starting box for the final, race and of those competing, five were conformation bench champions!
During the revival days, the Whippets who raced well and were the better show dogs, tended to be one and the same. They were sporting type animals, fit animals, powerful runners. On top of that, many had great elegance - long necks, clean good looks, clean heads, sure temperaments or in other words, animals who weren't afraid of many things.
My brief account isn't complete and I make no bones about that fact. How ever, I believe you catch a spirit, both in the dogs and the people associated with Whippets at that time, that is notably lacking today. Most of the dogs had strong personalities, they did unexpected things, they were unafraid and most raced very well. The people were individuals, many had strong personalities, a lot of humor and they were marvelous "dog people". In my opinion, the Whippet Fancy has much to recover. In former years, most of the "Whippet people" didn't make believe the breed was a suppressed, never-do-anything wrong sort of animal. In today's lingo, "they told it like it is" and openly admitted, Whippets chew, they aren't decorative mantel pieces and if you want that, acquire something else - not a Whippet.
Mr. & Mrs. Eugene L. Jacobs Mahomet, Illinois 61853
"Whipoo" Greyhounds & Whippets
Sibyl and I bought our first Whippet in 1951 and though he was no "great shakes" as a specimen of the breed, he was the start. Other and better animals followed. We have never maintained a large kennel - probably the most Whippets we've ever had at any given time was ten or twelve. Usually, our kennel housed five or six. At present, Whipoo Kennel has one champion Whippet (six years of age), her litter of seven puppies, two Greyhounds and a Skye Terrier (a secret love of mine, shared with one of our daughters). In addition to those dogs, we have three cats, a Toucan bird and one long haired Guinea Pig (which looks like a little animated hair piece).
My wife and I are very active in the child adoption fields and are especially involved with children commonly referred to as "hard to place". We have four adopted daughters: Della (Castilian Spanish), Lita (American Indian), Mara (Puerto-Rican-Black & Caucasian) and Rena (Black & Caucasian). We are involved in early education and as a result, support the local Montessori pre school. My wife and I seem"chained" to bulletins/newsletters - for many years, Sibyl did THE WHIPPET NEWS, now she does the Montessori NEWSLETTER. I do the NEWSLETTER for The Council On Adoptable Children. Both publications are sent all over the country.
We live on a property of "five plus" acres, do almost all the maintenance/ care of our property, do some organic gardening, produce some of our own food for the table and the freezer.
Sibyl and I met in art school and for awhile, pursued the field of art. In time, we withdrew from that field into other interests that we considered much more relevant and rewarding. We have not regretted "The switch".
WHIPPET RACING IN AMERICA 1962 Louis Pegram
This series of articles is written as a capsule coverage of early Whippet racing in America, and especially around Baltimore, Maryland, the largest center of Whippet racing in America. It might be wise for Mrs. Wendy Howell, Mr. James Young and Mr. Donald Hostetter to establish similar information from California , which also figures in early Whippet racing history as did the area around Cleveland, Ohio. The now deceased Frank Tuffley for years kept this sport alive around Cleveland, though often on a rather argumentive basis.
The information in this series is on as factual a basis as I remember, supported by various programs, newspaper articles, pictures, and my own participation in actually breeding and racing Whippets, acting in official capacities as a track official, writing in publications to further interest in the breed, and appearing in support of legalized Whippet and Greyhound racing. Much of the material in these articles will start with the year 1931, when I purchased my first Whippet from Dr. John Engle of Baltimore, Maryland. This male Whippet first raced as Broadway Jack and when registered with the American Kennel Club, this name was not available so he was registered as Cabs' Yeahman.
It has always been my feeling that extreme interest in any type of hobby, work or subject is born within an individual. Certainly my background on my father's side for several generations was heavy in dogs, horses and game fowl, and much like a moth attracted to a flame, my life has also followed this pattern of desire in a highly competitive and controversial field. Much like the moth, I have been burned many times since 1931, but the attraction of the flame still burns bright in my life, but not with the intense, constant, heat of years past.
My first real contact with the Whippet came in the late 1920's while living with my mother and grandparents in Baltimore, Maryland. Whippet racing in those early days was held on the polo field at Stevenson, Maryland. These little race dogs were brought to the field in one truck and while some were owned by individuals, it was more or less on a club basis. William Kelly, Baltimore, Maryland , and Mr. Sumner, I do not remember his first name, did most of the actual work with the dogs. Felix A. Leser was also active at this time and de serves much credit for early publicity in connection with the Whippet as a race dog.
The race Whippet during these days was smaller than the present day Whip pet, but lacked to a great extent, the extreme grace and quality of the present day type of American Whippet. Actual racing weights ran 11 to 26 lbs., with an average of about 21 lbs. Whippets were run in individual lanes over 200 yard courses and the towel was used as the attraction to make the Whippet run. The very early Whippet looked often like a cross of our present day Italian Grey hound and the present day American Whippet. There were also numerous Whippets which showed quite strongly of terrier in appearance. Many of the Whippets showing terrier characteristics were particularly good at taking hold of the towel at the end of the race and about 20% of the Whippets had rough coats.
During the late 20's, Whippet races almost became extinct. Weight was the handicap factor for racing and as you had only a few Whippets available for racing, and many of these just went through the motions of racing, the public became tired of this disorganized pattern of racing as did the owners of Whippets.
It was during this period that Captain John Hatfield came to the rescue, allowing the grounds around his Valley Inn, Falls Road, Brooklandville, Maryland , to be made into a 200 yard permanent straight-away track. He also al lowed a kennel to be built for housing these race Whippets. It is my feeling that it was Captain Hatfield who is largely responsible for keeping racing alive when interest had died with Felix Leser and others. These were the depression years and most people were fortunate just to have food, much less take care of some 25 Whippets.
In 1930 there were still perhaps some two dozen Whippets left in the Brooklandville Kennel, and it was at this point that individuals from all walks of life began to purchase or be given these Whippets for breeding or racing. Most Whippets were not registered with the American Kennel Club, so this accounts for the large number of Whippets that came along between 1930 and 19 ) 4-0 without being registered with the American Kennel Club.
The early 1930's were truly the romantic period of Whippet racing in America . We were just starting out of the depression, and the Whippet in America , just as it was in England, was "the poor man's race horse". Not a great deal of money changed hands in those days as there just was not a great deal of money to be had, but the Whippet gave many people "a feeling of being", something so very important in making life really worthwhile. These were also rough days when everyone wanted to win. All types of methods were used to win a race, but Whippets belonged to individuals, rather than being housed in one kennel unit, were better trained and fed, thus resulting in more formal racing.
There was no purse money during this period, yet there were bookmakers, thus the few dollars made by owners must come from betting on their dogs. Let me again remind you that these were depression years and bookmakers were not crime syndicate operations but often men with fine backgrounds, trying to exist. Many of these same men are today successful businessmen, as well as civic and political leaders in their communities. Bookmaking was on the same basis as it operated in England and in New York State before pari-mutual's were legalized in that state. The bookmaker had his own portable odds boards, and odds were changed from time to time as bets were made on the dogs in the races.
Among our outstanding owners and trainers of this very early period were William Kelly, Mr. Sumner, Homer Ambrose, Howard Brawner, Carl Eiffert, N. Nelson Bond, Jim Flynn, Edward and Elizabeth Reimer and Charles and Jack Schley. Many of our readers may wonder why Felix Leser is not mentioned in this group. While Mr. Leser deserves full credit for helping in the introduction of Whippet racing in Maryland and America, once the sport became competitive from 1930 on, he did not compete to any great extent, and then with extremely limited success.
1930 started off with the use of lanes and the towel or rag held in the hand of the owner as the actual lure to the Whippets. The owners would run down the track calling to their Whippets and shaking the rag or towel. Starting boxes also replaced the slipping or pitching of the Whippet by hand. The weight system of handicapping gave way to handicapping the Whippet on ability by track handicappers, as weight and height at the shoulder never were the determining factors in actually estimating the speed of a Whippet or Greyhound. Each Whippet was given a certain yardage advantage in each race. The dog starting from "scratch" was placed at the 200 yard mark. A separate starting box was used in each lane, and this was moved to the point depending on the yardage handicap given a dog. On this basis, one dog might start from the 200 yard mark, a second dog 190 yards, and a third 185 yards, etc., depending on the yard handicap given a specific Whippet. This type of handicapping remained intact until the single type of starting box, similar to Greyhound racing, came into use along with the circular track and the present day straight track drag type of lure.
Around 1933, Whippet owners began to realize that as Whippets increased in size, as a group, they made better racers, as the type resembling the Greyhound was superior in stamina and racing ability to those resembling the toy type of Italian Greyhound. The rough coated Whippet was fast becoming a thing of the past, and it was at this period that the Meander type of Whippet, as bred by Julia and Judith Shearer, became the most sought after type for both show and race purposes. Whippets were also brought down from Canada and a number of these dogs were particularly outstanding, especially from the stand point of just sheer "guts". Perhaps the best of this group were Merry Legs and Rogue, both black in color.
As Whippets were given more attention by their owners, and more attention was given to racing type and temperament, a larger type of Whippet developed, with some few race Whippets going as high in weight as 30 lbs. Some breeders, feeling that size was the entire answer, used from one-quarter to one-half Greyhound, often showing dogs as large as 38 lbs. These dogs showed to no great advantage, so it can be said that Whippets have not increased in size, as a breed, since 1933.
Between 1935 and 1942, there were some 350 Whippets in and around Baltimore , Maryland, which probably represented 75% of the total Whippet population in the United States. Whippet racing flourished on a nightly basis during the summer months, and at the time, three tracks were in operation at the same period. Greyhound racing on the circular tracks was also moving up in popularity and soon after Greyhound racing was ruled illegal in the state of New Jersey , a circular track was built for Whippets between Baltimore and Annapolis, Maryland, known as the Revere Beach Track. Earlier it was mentioned that few Whippets were registered with the American Kennel Club. This lack of registration led to the organization of the Maryland Whippet Breeders Association, who worked out a registry system and organized Whippet owners into a group to better advance uniform racing conditions in Maryland. People such as Clinton A. Cole, William Ward, William Berigtold, Mr. & Mrs. Calvin Weiss, Mr. & Mrs. Robert Quante, Dr. and Mrs. John Moss, Dr. John Engle, Dale Cole, deserve much credit for establishing better racing conditions for Whippets in America. Captain John Hatfield, Dolly Goldberg, Jim Blizzard and John Larkin also played a major part in seeing that Whippet racing was made possible on a sporting basis.
As Whippet racing grew during the 30's, so did the need for having Whip pets registered with the American Kennel Club. Julia Shearer, representing the American Whippet Club, and the writer of this article, representing the Mary land Whippet Breeders Association, asked the American Kennel Club to open their registry to Whippets who we felt were eligible for registry with this organization. This opening of registrations by the American Kennel Club on Whippets, did much to create a better relationship and understanding between the racing group and those people who were interested only in Whippets for show and pet purposes. It also improved the breed, as many of those dogs allowed registration have contributed much to our present day show and race Whippet.
Most people connected with Whippet racing during the 30's began to make some profit from the sport, except the actual Whippet owner. We ran just for the sport, but when we asked for purses to help cover expenses, this request was refused by track operators. It took an actual strike and refusal to run their dogs by members of the Maryland Whippet Breeders Association to be guaranteed purses on a nightly basis. Our first purses were S3 first, S2 second and S1 third in regular races with a purse of $5 first, S3 second and S2 third in the feature. This purse schedule improved as time went on, but Whippet racing remained largely on an amateur or sporting basis in Maryland.
Once purses were established, racing became a much cleaner sport. Up to this time there were many fixed races, ringers and other methods used to win or lose races, as betting was the only source of income to the actual dog owner. Relationship between track operators and Whippet owners improved greatly after purses were paid. Many of us who raced dogs were hired in official capacities, thus Whippet racing was cleaned up and was a progressing sport going into World War II.
Circular track racing greatly increased interest in Whippet racing. The Whippet took to circular track racing and the mechanical rabbit just as quickly as did the Greyhound. There were enough Whippets in Maryland to operate two tracks during the sunnier months and races were run at the following distances: 1/8 mile, 280 yards, 385 yards, and 550 yards. Strange as it may seem, the Whippet is much slower than the Greyhound at any of these distances, but shows to a considerably better advantage over a longer distance of ground.
During the period 1935-40, there was also straightaway racing with a mechanical drag lure and all Whippets started out of a one unit starting box. This type of racing is still carried on today by those people who desire to use the Whippet as a race dog.
It was during this period that Rosslyn Terrhune of the Baltimore News Post arranged match races between Baltimore, Maryland, and Cleveland, Ohio, at the Morris and Essex Kennel Club Show where Mrs. Geraldine Dodge offered 51,000 in purses. Baltimore had so many outstanding Whippets at that time that many of the best were not allowed to compete as each owner from Maryland was allowed to bring only two dogs, as we tried to make this a sporting event, rather than selecting the very best from this area. When we arrived at the show, many of us were greatly surprised to find that the Cleveland group still had the old type English and Irish Whippets, many still showing rough coats. The results were very one-sided, with the Baltimore group winning S900 of the 1,000 offered. Cleveland did not win a race, but did have a few seconds and thirds. Edward Cooper's great straightaway race Whippet, Heel Fly, by Ch. Red Wagon-Helen Lee, easily won the championship and again took these honors the following year at this same event. Cleveland showed to a better advantage in their second year, as they secured some of the racers from the Baltimore group.
Whippet racing managed to hold on reasonably well during the early years of World War II, but gas rationing and other restrictions did much to limit racing, and the breeding of Whippets was kept to a minimum. William Berigtold, President of the Maryland Whippet Breeders Association, did a magnificent job in trying to hold this organization together on a basis of amateur sport, after the war, but the heart and money had been taken from Whippet racing in Maryland .
Decline of interest in Whippet racing could be traced directly to 1) failure to legalize pari-mutual betting on the Whippets on at least two occasions by a very narrow margin in the state legislature, 2) the decline of purses due to legalized night harness racing and decline of local option bet ting in counties around Baltimore, Maryland, 3) gradual loss of interest by those key people who fought to establish Whippet racing as a major sport in America.
Before closing this rather brief history of Whippet racing, it is most important to mention some of the people who did take actual part in making Whippet racing possible during this period. Dr. Jay Knoblock, Jack Wilson, Raleigh Burrows, Mrs. Theodore Pedersen, Teddy Cox, Ed Cooper, Al and Joe Sesky, Buddy Rosenheim, Herman Duker, Charles Saunders and Marvin Goldberg.
These were exciting, challenging, competitive, desperate years for many of us who lived through them. So called experts on the Whippet as a race dog were generally challenged by the rather harsh sounding "put your money where your mouth is", but after all, is this truly not the best way to put true racing ability on a realistic basis?
Joan and "Gridley"
WHAT IS SPORTSMANSHIP?
The dictionary defines sportsmanship as "honorable, generous, conforming to the rules of sportsmanship". Don't let Webster's unabridged edition fool you - there is a lot more to sportsmanship than that!
Sportsmanship in the dog show world is finding something to say that is sincerely kind to a winner - whether he has beaten you with a better dog or a poorer dog. Sportsmanship is grinning outside when you are hurting inside. Sportsmanship is staying for group even when you didn't win the breed and applauding for the Whippet because it is your breed.
This and many more things constitute sportsmanship. The remark was once made in Canada that Joan Frailey was a good winner, to which the quick reply was "she is a good loser too". Let us examine this statement dogwise and compare winning and losing. There is a lot of room at the bottom. The truth of the matter is that as a loser you are a threat to no one so therefore one's popularity is less likely to decline. Ever see a top winning dog and owner show up? Everyone reads the catalog and says with a groan "well so and so is entered today".
The truth of the matter is that no one likes to lose, but somebody has to. By the same token it may be even harder to be a good winner. It is extremely difficult to be the owner of a top winning dog and not give the other exhibitors the impression that they are being "lorded over" or be a bit pompous in the bargain. Nevertheless it is possible. More than once Joan Frailey has campaigned a dog that has been beaten at the breed level, and never once has she failed to congratulate the winner with a smile. If she hurt over it, it was within the confines of her own household. It would help the breed a lot if more people could find it in their hearts to be more gracious. When people were queried as to "who is a good sport" the almost unanimous answer was "Joan Frailey is". So take your bow, Joan Frailey, you earned it.
The Pennyworth Story
"PENNYWORTH FROM THE BEGINNING" By Margaret P. Newcombe
The moment I took my first breath, not really, but I like to think of it that way, I was surrounded by animals - dogs in particular.
My mother, the late Claire K. Dixon or better known as Claire Knapp, was a breeder of Chow Chows, and her prefix affix was "CLAIREDALE". This came about be cause of her first name and the fact that her first breed was the Airedale Terrier. The prefix Clairedale can still be found behind many of the top winning Chows of the last ten years. Clairedale is now kept alive by my sister, Mrs. Ann Vojvoda, who breeds Pointers and Airedales in St. Michaels, Maryland. Her most recent winner was the lovely Airedale dog Ch. River Rogue, winner of the ATC of A Specialty five times. He is now retired.
The preceding paragraph should tell you why I said, from the moment I took my first breath it was DOGS! My mother in later years used to tease me by saying, "You were weaned by a Chow, I (meaning her) had nothing to do with it."
I grew up surrounded by this lovely breed in a home in Charleston, South Carolina, or should I say just outside of Charleston on Johns Island. Mother at that time had a kennel of from 50-60 chows, all colors, and it was such fun to help feed, clean, and do all the kennel chores. I particularly loved the puppies as they reminded me of Teddy Bears.
Clairedale was struck by heart worm, that dreaded disease, that is slowly creeping all over the country today and was almost wiped out. My mother, being terribly discouraged, decided to move and so the family (as by now my sister had arrived) moved to Red Cedar Point in Hampton Bays on Long Island, where we set up housekeeping and kennels again on 13 acres surrounded by water.
Here I learned there were other things beside dogs and because of the water I became an avid boat and fishing enthusiast and am now enjoying this more than dogs. I also had my own horse and really enjoyed this new sport. However, one does grow up and grow up I did.
When I finished school mother offered me the job of manager at Clairedale, which I took willingly and spent many wonderful hours doing this job for several years. While I was manager of Clairedale I decided I would start my own kennel and with my mother's help purchased some American Cockers. I bred my first Champion in the lovely black dog Clairedale Sea Biscuit, who was quite a dog in his day.
After I had accomplished this I felt I owed myself the right to a kennel name and after much searching and thought, I finally looked in a very large, very old, Webster's Dictionary, under "FENNY", my maiden name was Peggy (Margaret) Penny and I found at the very bottom of the page in small print PENNYWORTH - "You get your moneys worth." THAT WAS IT! From that day to this I have never regretted the kennel name.
I registered the name "PENNYWORTH" in 1940 with the American Kennel Club and am today one of the few that can use my kennel name as an affix or a prefix. But now that I had my kennel name I became unhappy with the breed I had, as they were changing so, and decided I would not raise the American Cocker Spaniel.
After two years of doglessness, I was still managing mother's kennel but had no dogs of my own, I went to a show and while wandering around I saw my first WHIPPET.
There were so few of them at that time the entry was one or two and then only at the better shows did you see that many. I inquired who the lady was that had them on the lead and found out it was Mrs. George A. Anderson of the famed Mardormere Kennels in Glen Head, Long Island. I proceeded to walk over and introduced myself, and much to my surprise I found that not only Mrs. Anderson was delightful but that the Whippets were friendly and both had lovely temperaments. I was so taken with the breed I made an appointment to see her kennels, and two weeks later I purchased my first Whippet, a Champion female known as Carefree of Mardormere. Several months after I purchased another from Mrs. Anderson, Ch. Sunny Jim of Mardormere and from then till now I have never regretted my choice of kennel name nor the breed I have lived with all these years.
They are the loveliest, most devoted companions and yet most independent breed I have ever known and I have learned to appreciate the saying "Once a Whippet Owner, always a Whippet Owner". Try one in the house. I guarantee you will be hooked just as I was.
Before closing, I would like to say this. It is my feeling that the SPORT OF SHOWING dogs has changed considerably. When I started it was truly a SPORT. I feel that the majority have forgotten what the word Sport and Sportsmanship mean and suggest that you look both words up and try to apply the meaning of these two words, once again, when you step foot on your next dog show grounds. The Judges might take heed to my words as well, as I see a very dark future ahead for dog shows if the policy that has been applied to this Sport of "Dog eat dog and man eat man" persists.
Ed. Note: Mrs. Newcombe was originally asked to write this article for Whippet Paws - it appeared in November 1970, and is reprinted as a special feature.
A SHORT HISTORY OF THE ENGLISH RACING WHIPPET
Although there are several theories on the evolution of the Whippet, I think it can be safely said that the "racing whippet" came from crossing small greyhounds, terriers and possibly the Italian greyhound. The addition of the terrier blood gave these smaller versions of a greyhound added dash and fire. These dogs were at first primarily used for coursing, therefore stamina was one of the main requirements of the breed and a dog with a thick back, strong shoulders and a deep chest evolved. This strain of dog was known as the "Snap dog" and weighed somewhere in the region of 20 - 25 lbs. and was sometimes broken-coated.
Towards the end of the eighteenth century these snap dogs were raced in pairs at dropped rabbits. This took place in an enclosure and the rabbit was dropped at some 50 to 60 yards from the dogs which were then hand slipped simultaneously, the first dog to mouth and hold the rabbit being considered the winner of the course.
The snap dogs were generally matched to kill the greatest number of rabbits out of 21 courses and sometimes as many as 30. Handicapping was usually on the "yard per lb." basis, or made by giving a certain amount of dead rabbits to the non-favourite. These matches were advertised in local newspapers and advertisements such as the two shown below are typical examples.
"James's "Duchess" matched against Legg's "Nell" for 50 pounds. Duchess to give Nell 4 dead rabbits out of 31 courses - Duchess to catch 15 and Nell 12.
Match to be held at Newport, Monmouthshire"
Another one reads:- "Corbett's "Look" from Hednesford against Homes's "Darkie" of Stafford for 30 pounds. To be run at Stafford with a referee and a pistol firer"
The photograph No. 1 shows Mr. Ernest of Stoke-on-Trent with a black bitch which was raced at rabbits about 1906. Photograph No. 2 is again of Mr. Ernest, this time with a red fawn dog weighing 272 lbs. named Martin's Skin'Em which is reputed never to have lost a match of 'best of 21 rabbits'.
Stakes were high in these matches; as much as 50 pounds per side being wagered, and also side bets were placed. With this amount of money being at stake the dogs were required to be in peak condition and often owners placed their dogs in the hands of an experienced trainer. Often the dogs were raced as seldom as once a month in order for them to be at their fittest.
Snap dog running was in favour with the miners of Wales, Staffordshire, Lancashire and some of the other Northern counties up until the mid 20's when it was eventually made illegal due to the cruelty factor involved.
Whippet racing was also taking place during this period. The Whippet at this time was commonly referred to as a "race dog". These were a slimmer and more streamlined version of the snap dogs. Their weight varied from as little as 8 lbs. to 28 lbs. and in certain cases up to as much as 40 lbs. The distance run over was usually 200 yards which took place on a straight cinder track. Some bend racing did take place, although very infrequently. The dogs raced up taped lanes with 6 dogs being the usual number in a race, although in certain cases it could be as many as eight. They were hand slipped and ran up the track to their owners who were calling and waving a rag beyond the finishing line. Handicapping was based on the "yard per lb" method with dogs receiving a sex allowance (please see chart). The handicap finalists then had their marks adjusted before racing again the following week. Dogs weighing over 28 lbs. were run separately from the main handicap and were normally all off scratch.
A typical handicapping chart is shown as follows:
STARTS REQUIRED BY DOGS OF DIFFERENT WEIGHTS IN A 200 YARDS HANDICAP SO THAT EACH DOG WILL BE ON EQUAL TERMS.
Handicaps of well over 100 dogs were run and bookmakers were in attendance at these meetings. Prize money was good and often a good Whippet was a big asset to a family's income. Open handicaps were sponsored by national and local newspapers and other business organizations.
Bodies like the Eastern Counties Whippet Racing Association held annual champion ship meetings and the West Cumberland Whippet Federation is said to have had 700 dogs registered with them. Although travelling was difficult, people went many miles to race their dogs against local champions.
In the mid twenties, in Lancashire, the Kensal Rise 250 pounds handicap was won by "Tom 0' the Heights" who came from nearby Milnrow, from "Cowboy" who travelled from Durham some 200 miles away. "Tom 0' the Heights" was the sire of one of the greatest Whippets in the 20's, namely "Moley Rat".
The economic depression of the mid 30's brought about the decline of whippet racing. The sport had relied on the support of a betting public, therefore due to lack of money, supporters gradually drifted away. Finally came the 39-45 war, and with this the racing strains and interest in whippet racing waned. After the war only a few counties retained their interest in whippet racing; Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire, Leamington, Warwickshire and Ashington in Northumberland being the main centers that remained. Stoke-on-Trent became the 'fountain head' of the revival and even today most of the best racing whippets can trace their ancestry back to dogs which were originally bred in Stoke.
Mr. Harry Smith of Emscote, Leamington, owned a whippet called 'Blue Smoke'. This 24 lbs. dog was an "All England Champion" in the late 1940's and when mated to a bitch from Stoke named 'Queenie', produced Mr. Jack Burgess's 'Jackie' which was one of the leading sires of the fifties.
By the mid fifties, interest was again growing in racing and many dogs from Stoke were sold to enthusiasts all over England. Another main center of the revival was Barrow-in-Firness in the North West. Here racing was run up tapes to the rag (as in pre-war days) but with electric traps and at some tracks electric timing and photo-finish with Bookmakers being in attendance. One of the dogs imported from the Stoke area was 'Lone Eagle' (Sammy x Saucy Sal). This dog became one of the leading sires in the country and was the mainstay of the breeding in the Barrow area for several years.
Also a center for the revival was the North East area of Northumberland and Durham . In this region racing was to the lure and nearly all racing was on the time handicapping method, and many clubs banished the weight limit and imposed a 21 inches height limit in its place. This meant that a heavier, stronger dog appeared in the breeding. Practically all racing was on the time factor and with usually the fastest dog being the largest, a breed of bigger whippets came about with no consideration of the size for speed ratio required for yard per lb. handicapping.
There were other places in Britain which were showing interest in the racing whippet, although to a much lesser degree and some clubs in the South of England raced mainly pedigree whippets.
Mr. Ernest, Stoke-on-Trent Black Bitch, year 1906
By the early sixties clubs were starting to spring up all over the country; mainly in the mining and industrial areas. Most of the new clubs were now racing to the lure and many started with a 'K.C. Registered' only policy. However, this was soon abandoned as it was seen that a great deal of these dogs lacked the fire and pace required for racing. The Stoke-on-Trent area was still greatly influencing racing strains and two of the leading racing dogs of this period came from here. "Bilko" (Swift Hawk x K.C. Whippet) a light fawn dog weighing 28 lbs. and owned by Mr. G. Bowers from Longton, Stoke-on-Trent, raced mainly in and around the Stoke area as this dog was a bad car traveller. He won many handicaps and scratch races and when retired from racing he was put to stud and is still siring winners today. Mr. Joe Mathers's "Blue Peter" (Joker x 'Jean) a blue, 28 lbs. dog, was bred at Cheadle, near Stoke but was raced mostly in Lancashire and this too was the winner of many handicaps and scratch races. He is also still standing at stud and has to date sired nearly 1,000 puppies. These two sires provided the back-bone of present day 'racing whippets'.
Mr. Ernest, Stoke-on-Trent "Martins Skin'em"
With interest still growing in whippet racing by 1965/66, the yard per lb. method of handicapping was being increasingly used in 'Open Handicap' racing. This meant that breeders had to try and produce a fast but small dog. Many of the handicaps were run over shorter distances, i.e. 140/150 yards and this of course gave the smaller dogs a distinct advantage.
Mr. Dolan, Stockport, Chesnire
Around this period, in Liverpool, a pedigree whippet dog "Big Ben" (Laguna Pied Wagtail x Cavell Curlew) was being mated with greyhound bitches which were retired from track racing. The resulting dogs were virtually miniature greyhounds but were normally within the weight limit of most clubs at 30 or 32 lbs. and being light-boned due to the pedigree sire, were on the right lines for yard/lb. racing. Although mating a whippet dog with a greyhound bitch was nothing new, previously there had always been a large proportion of pups over the weight limit.
With the formation of the B.W.R.A. (British Whippet Racing Association) in 1968, an attempt was made to standardise the whippet. Whilst most clubs now have the 32 lbs. weight limit and no height limit, set down local variations do exist. In the North East many clubs still have a 21" height limit and in other parts of the country there are no limits at all as long as the dog is of whippet type. There are still a few clubs remaining in the South of England which race only K.C. registered whippets and have their own Whippet Racing Club Association.
Mr. Fitton, Rochdale, Lancashire R.Ch. "Good as Gold"
Today the majority of whippets are bred for yards/lbs racing and a well muscled, straight backed dog resembling a miniature greyhound is what most racing breeders aim for. Some are long legged and some are short, but as the old saying goes 'hand some is, as handsome does'.
Mr. Simpson, Ripon, Yorkshire
Mr. Gardiner, Bolton, Lancashire
Finalists of Dewsbury Open Handicap 1969
KEITH ROBINSON, Shipley, Yorkshire 30 years old and married.
I enjoy to read old articles about coursing and racing dogs and look forward to reading the monthly "Whippet News" which is a marvellous magazine for keeping one up to date with clubs.' activities throughout the country.
I myself travel nearly RU over England racing and watching the best dogs in 'the country race and, thoroughly enjoy every minute of it, especially when I can find a real 'old timer' to discuss our mutual hobby "WHIPPET RACING".
James F. Young
IN MEMORY OF JAMES F. YOUNG
As related to Yearbook, reporter by Mrs. Christine Cormany
In 1904 my Dad saw his first Whippet, I believe he was in Winnipeg or Toronto at the time. He got his first one in 1906 and up to the day he died he was never without one. The ones most familiar to me and even if pedigrees are traced back far enough they can be found in a few of the present day dogs. One of the most lovely bitches he had was called "Rhoda", she eventually made her Can. Championship but when running on the prairie one afternoon fell in a chuck hole and broke her leg. The pedigree of Rhoda traced back to the dog called Ch. Watford Dream and her picture graced the cover on the first book ever written on the breed "The Whippet or Race Dog" by Freeman Lloyd. Anyone with Sunnysand O'Lazeland or better still, Ch. Clytie of. Meander, can trace back to Rhoda ie: Ch. Laze Meander by Ch. Sept of Althea, he out of Bettes (later registered with AKC as Bettes of Arroyo) she out of Strathcona Liz, she by Roderick, by Ch. Erin Torpeado out of Ch. Watford Dream and as Erin's sire was Ch. Strathcona King one must assume that "Dream" was exported from England to Canada. The bitch Strathcona Liza was out of Ch. Rhoda who was by Sunloch out of Falside Fascination and lovely black and white trim. Rhoda was also the dam of Ch. Strathcona Girl, a Ch. of Canada and later an American Ch. under the name of Ch. Arroyo Strathcon a Girl, she weighed 18 lbs. and stood 17-3/4 inches, was born June 1920 and if my memory serves me correctly, was a BIS winner with her son, Probably Not taking BOS to her. The judge, Freeman Lloyd. Several months later, or it might have been a year or two as Dad was living in Calgary, Alberta at the time, and thought nothing of traveling the length of the continent to attend a show in Winnipeg or Toronto, he had a letter from a Mr. Freeman Ford of Pasadena, California, inquiring as to the price of his two whippets (I think at the time though there were around 15-20 on the place!) as they had been very highly recommended by Mr. Lloyd.
After much correspondence, Strathcona Girl and her son Probably Not were shipped to Pasadena, (no air travel in those days). Mr. Ford was not new to the dog world, having been a breeder of several winning BIS Boston Terriers, which were his specialty, he had lovely kennels built for them, and even then kennels were not allowed and they were listed at the City Hall as "Pigeon lofts", there were pigeon lofts in the building to make it legal! Being one of the multi-millionaires of the day, even as of today, "money talks". I believe Mr. Ford acquired a few more dogs from Dad and then wrote him to see if he would come dawn and look after them as they were being neglected by the man in charge. I believe this was late 1923. After several such letters, all of which Dad turned down as he really didn't want to give up Pal years on the Canadian Pacific Railway, and having gone through a severe winter in early '24, Dad finally accepted the invitation, arriving in Pasadena March 1924. Three weeks later Mother and I were to join him. Mr. Ford relied heavily on Dad's judgment of a good show dog and would not buy anything without first Dad seeing it in person or after much correspondence with the seller. Dad was the right and left hand for Mr. Ford and he imported heavily from England, especially for racing stock which at that time was just beginning to take hold on the West Coast. Many of his rough-haired dogs were imported from England directly or bought from a Mr. Eddington, a wool merchant just outside of Boston, Mass. I believe there was a Mr. Gilligan involved and it could be he was a partner of Mr. Eddington. The movie queens of the early 20's were great favorites of Mr. Ford's and anytime he brought one to the "ranch" and if they should see a puppy or two and fell in love with it, he' just give it to them! Not many of them liked the roughs though, but one or two would fall in love with the "dahling little pieces of wool". Dad had had his fill of it at one point, and it just didn't seem right that he'd pick a likely prospect for race or showing, train it and give it a good start and then have it end up as a pet on velvet cushions. One day there appeared in a litter of roughs an ugly duckling (course she wasn't until she got older) and Dad just kept her on the side. This was around the early 30's and Mr. Ford had by this time suffered along with the rest during the "crash" but he still kept an interest in the dogs, although they had all been turned over to Dad. Mr. Ford appeared at the races one day in the Arroyo Seco adjacent to the Rose Bowl and this little ugly duckling, names "kerryline" walloped the tar out of her much larger competition, she was to end up the racing champion bitch of the west coast and even under the rules of the racing today, I doubt if there is a bitch that could match her, 58 races won out of 60 starts, over a period of 2 years. It might be noted of course, that in the early days of racing, before the American Whippet Club took an interest, that all races were done by handicap, yards per pound, and as Kerryline only weighed 15 lbs, she had a pretty good head start, but she had the speed and determination to hold that lead. Her only two losses came when she ripped a toenail on the starting box and got off to a bad start, and the other time was Dad put her in a race as a filler and she had only just been out of season for a couple of weeks, and was not yet back in shape, oddly enough the same dog beat her on both occasions. Some of the famous racers and show dogs of the Arroyo Kennels as called by Mr. Ford, were Arroyo Benjarry (rough, slate gray) Arroyo Applesauce (rough, black) Sidlaw Slow Eyes of Arroyo (smooth, black a BIS winner in 1924 at the Hollywood Kennel Club, Hollywood, California) Bettes (later known as Bettes of Arroyo). The late Donald Hostetter started with several whippets from Mr. Ford. The Meander Kennels also tried to get started with the rough-haired variety, but had an unfortunate experience in losing the only male puppy before he reached maturity. The rough variety faded out of the picture completely in the mid- 30's when Dad and his family were forced to move from the rustic environment of the old Freeman Ford property and all of the roughs at that time were laid to rest, along with several smooths. he felt at the time that anyone who did get them would not give them the proper care, people were not willing even to spend $25 for one of those silly, skinny race dogs who were so high-strung and nervous, they couldn't possibly make decent pets, so rather than have many of our faithful four legged friends roam the streets and get mangled by cars they were not used to, they were all put down with the exception of three stand-bys, Ch. Heather Sand, Ch. Corsian Silhouette and Ch. Corsian Sunbrilliant, who was later sold to the Meander Kennels with her son, Strathoak Heir Apparent. The dam of Silhouette, Ch. Demi Tasse, had long since passed away anyway, she was a daughter of Sidlaw Slow Eyes, and had the record of making her championship in 3-5 pts. shows, however, she took one 5 pt. show a year. Bred to Ch. Zanza Zoco of Valleyfields, she produced for us Ch. Corsian Silhouette, and that is another story.
Dad was the type of man that gave unselfishly of his time and efforts, he'd bend over backwards to help others, if they were short a dog or two for a race meet, I've known of him, with already 4 dogs to race, go back home and pick up the needed number to make a complete program. He worked long, hard hours working with the dogs, conditioning, training, grooming, feeding etc. When the Arroyo whippets were in training for a race program there was nothing left undone. Whippet racing was the "thing" at the California county and state fairs, the old Keyser Stadium in San Francisco saw many of the Arroyo whippets race there, Dad taking up a string of 12. Prize money was split with other competitors, even the local people would get a share of the purse, Dad was not selfish. The hours and schedule the Arroyo Whippets were on would put us all to shame today, even those of us who think our dogs are conditioned. Every morning (unless there was a race on the weekend) 4 a.m. Let the dogs out that were going on the "tour". No water, Leashed up. A 5 mile walk, down the hill, to the main (dirt) street, a trip around the Rose Bowl, back home, all up hill. Crate the dogs. Take one at a time, an alcohol rub, a drop of water to rinse dawn the dust. Each dog gets a piece of round steak, weighed in proportion to the dog receiving it. Back out in the kennel runs to rest and then they are allowed to do as they please the rest of the day. Before feeding in the evening, a sprint on our own 175 yard dirt track, two sprints apiece, a rub-down, a bit of water, another piece of steak. Mother always said the dogs were fed better than the family! What time was left during the day was spent in working with little puppies, socializing they call it, training to chase the rag (no bunnies in those days) learning to race between tapes, run with a muzzle, come out of a starting box, this was done every day, not just once or twice a week. This was a serious business at the Arroyo Kennels but it was fun too. There were the rewards of a silver trophy for a job well done by a winner, paid trips perhaps, but it was also sweat, blood and tears. Racing in the 20's and 30's was work on top of work. The track had to be laid with stakes and tapes. The starting boxes had to be taken off the trailer, dogs were weighed in before each race, the crowds had to be controlled, dogs had to be walked to the starting boxes, placed in the boxes, and then each individual owner ran back the 200 yards to yell and scream urging his dog to come and all the time waving the little white rag (about the size of a 10-20 lb. flour sack). If one had 4 dogs racing that was 8 trips up and down the track! Yet, each dog was given a good brisk rub-down by his owner, and then one by one the others departed, leaving Dad and a few other diehards to take up the tape, take up the stakes, load up the starting boxes, and he'd haul them home along with his four foot-sore, tired and weary racers, but he never complained, more than once I've heard him tell people, "go ahead - I'll manage". Dad was not thrifty (as a Scotsman is supposed to be) when it came to time, energy, money and expense for his dogs. If he won in the show ring, the judge didn't know what he was doing and so and so should have had it! Even when his own daughter's dog made a nice win, he thought someone else should have had it! Deep down though he was pleased. Dad was especially fond of Silhouette, "Clinker" as she was called, and his letter to me in New York carried the markings of tear stains when he wrote me of her passing. He was tender and kind and hated death, but if a bitch had too many puppies to look after, if a foster mother couldn't be found, he'd take the least likely of the brood and put them down, he did not believe a bitch should raise a litter that was a drain on her and if 5 puppies was all she could handle, she was left with 5 puppies. More often than not solid whites were put down, mainly from personal experience they would eventually show up with a white eye now and then, but mostly deaf. We had very few solid whites on the premises.
Editor's Note: Mr. Young was admired and respected by many people, made no enemies and contributed much to the breed because of his love for the Whippet. Perhaps some took advantage of his generosity and good faith, nevertheless, there are Whippet breeders today who did listen to him and some who also wish they had!
Mr. James Young, photo taken in 1910. The bull terrier was the first dog and then he acquired whippets sent to him. "My folks were coming out to Winnipeg, Canada and I told them to bring me a Whippet and he was a racer and I still have the cup he won in 1913."
Left to right: Benjarry, Mary (white foot - 16 pound champion), Pussy
James Young with "Kerryline" 1930's
The front of the Arroyo Kennels, Arroyo Benjarry on the outside.
Arroyo Benjarry, gentle as a lamb, sire of Kerryline
Mr. Young with some of the Arroyo Kennel racers and show dogs, white and brindle parti, who was a champion.
Sidlaw Slow Eyes of Arroyo, January 1, 1936 at 14 years of age; died at age 16 years.
English and American champion Zampa Zoro of Valleyfields
Arroyo Demi-Tasse...Original Photo by M.G.M. Studios
Ch. Corsian Eilhouette with breeder-owner, Christine (Young) Cormany
Champion Corsian Silhouette