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.
THE SUCCESS STORY OF A YOUNG OBEDIENCE HANDLER
Linda Blalock, at age 15 years, is probably the most successful young obedience handler in whippet circles. Linda finished a C.D.X. with Glengyle Black Mercury in 1970 at age 14 and then went on in 1971 to put a C.D.X. on Mercury's Apache Tears, Linda has numerous C.D. whippets to her credit also.
THE HISTORY OF COURSING
EARLY HISTORY OF COURSING
Coursing is the pursuit of live game by sight rather than scent and the running down of the prey by dogs which hunt in this manner. Of necessity, this activity takes place in areas of open space rather than in wooded areas. The main breeding ground for sight hounds was an area extending by way of North Africa, through Arabia to Russia and Afghanistan. These hounds are known as the Greyhound Group when being classed as to their ancestry. Unlike all other breeds, they are clearly cursorial animals, and their adaptations to this form of life are so marked as to suggest that they developed from ancestors with cursorial properties. A cursorial animal is one adapted to finding and hunting prey in open country, where it can be stalked by stealth but must be overtaken by superior speed and endurance.
Dogs of greyhound type are depicted in hunting scenes on friezes and paintings from ancient Egypt and Assyria 4000 to 3000 B.C. The earlier types were much as they are today, but their tails tended to be feathery or bushy. This suggests that the ancestral form might have had a more hairy or wolf-like tail. It is probable that wolves of the variety canis lupas arabs or other cursorial desert wolves were the ancestors of these early Greyhound types. Large parts of the Sahara and much of Arabia were comparatively well watered at one time supporting large herds of grazing animals. They would thus be a hunters paradise for a cursorial beast of prey.
The pride of ancestry in this group can possibly be claimed by the Saluki breed, said by some to be the oldest purebred dog in the world. Its origin predates history, and it has been pedigree-bred from time immemorial in the deserts of Arabia, Syria, the Sahara, Egypt, and beyond Persia. Dogs of this type were depicted on the tombs of ancient Egypt circa 14OO B.C. The Arabs bred the Saluki with the same care that produced Arab horses and camels. They were not considered dogs like the common pariah (outcast) dogs of Islam. They were valued and respected for their bearing and their hunting abilities.
The Bedouins, who also have a great love of Salukis, originated the hunting of gazelles with salukis in combination with hawks. When the hunted animal entered thick country, the hawk was sent in after it and the dogs followed the hawk until they were led to the prey. The dogs were trained not to kill the animal, but to hold it until the hunters arrived and could kill it in the manner prescribed by Mohammedan law.
Early greyhounds as depicted on Egyptian tombs are plainly very closely related to the salukis. Whereas the saluki most generally was used to course gazelle, the traditional prey of the greyhound which they have coursed since the classical days of Greece and Rome, was the hare. The mechanical substitute for this animal is the most common prey for modern greyhounds, I might add. Perhaps the first known description of coursing was given by Ovid, the grecian historian, 63 B.C.-A.D. 17-. Coursing with greyhounds is probably the oldest competitive sport in which dogs were used. Centuries before Ovid 's description, rival owners very probably matched their greyhounds in informal, contests, and the sport, now organized into formal competitions continues to this day.
Ovid's description as translated by Dryden follows:
"As when the impatient greyhound,
slipped from far Bounds o'er the glade
to course the fearful hare,
She in her speed does all her safety use,
And he with double speed pursues his prey,
O'erruns her at the sitting turns; but licks
His chops in vain;
Yet blows upon the flix,
She seeks the shelter which the neighboring covert gives,
And, gaining it, she doubts it yet she lives."
Necessity has caused some changes in the sport of coursing greyhounds, but basically the conduct remains the same. I will delve into these aspects when we bring the sport up to modern times.
Other breeds make up the greyhound group, and one of them has a surprising original location. The afghan hound was reintroduced to Europe from Afghanistan, but came originally, it was said, from the Sinai Peninsula. The afghan hound is a distinctive type of the eastern group of the greyhound family. The adults have thick fleecy coats, which are no doubt necessary in the cold mountainous regions of their adopted habitat. Their conformation and bone construction makes them quite adaptable to running in mountainous areas and in general rough terrain. They were primarily used on large game in ancient times, being coursed in pairs, one being trained to attack the hindquarters of the animal and the other the throat, the tactics of the ancestral wolves.
Another eastern greyhound is the Russian Borzoi. This breed evolved east of the Ural Mountains in Russia and was used for centuries by the Russian aristocracy for coursing hares and rabbits and for hunting wolves. Before the 18th century they were pure wolfhounds. According to historical reports, the Borzoi hunted wolves by the following methods: The perfect wolfhound must run up to the wolf, collar him by the neck, just under the ear, and when the two animals roll over, the hound must never lose his hold, or the wolf would turn round and snap him through the leg. Three of these hounds hold the best wolf powerless. The men can dismount from their horses and muzzle a wolf and take him alive.
Moving along, we find another sight hunting hound, of venerable ancestry the Irish Wolfhound. The Irish claim this hound has existed in Ireland from time immemorial and the facts seem to support their case. Irish Wolfhounds are certainly descended from the ancient celtic swifthounds, or war dogs, The celts used these hounds in association with their chariot charge, against their enemies. Little is known of their coursing activities in ancient times, but they will be discussed in the modern section along with the Scottish Deerhound. This old breed was developed from Irish Wolfhounds brought to Scotland. They were well known in the British Isles in the 16th Century, when they were called the wire-haired British greyhounds. They were highly prized as coursing dogs by the aristocracy and hunted all types of game including mainly deer.
The Whippet gives the appearance of being a typical greyhound. It is actually a "constructed" breed of slightly more than a hundred years old. Whippets most probably originated with greyhound-terrier crosses in England with later crosses to the Italian greyhound, which although being too small for coursing, gave the Whippet much of its present greyhound-like appearance. The construction of a Whippet makes it an ideal coursing dog. It has enough speed to overtake the rabbit, and its smaller size enables it to make the turns more effectively than the larger breeds. The working people of northern England were quick to see the inherent coursing abilities of the Whippet and after a short career of rabbit killing exhibitions called snap-coursing to appease the "sporting" taste of the working classes (this replaced the fine "sport" of bull-baiting in England) the Whippet settled down to a more normal life of rabbit chasing and racing.
THE BEGINNING OF ORGANIZED COURSING
Coursing moves into modern times, and we shall now and throughout the rest of this writing speak of formal, organized coursing.
Greyhounds came to Great Britain with the celts most probably, at the time of their first emigration to Scotland and Ireland. In the early days in England, pointers and spaniels were used to find, or start the hare. The grey hounds (two, three, or four) were then released in pursuit. Later coursing was conducted in enclosed "paddocks" about a mile in length and about a quarter mile in breadth. As many as four or even more greyhounds were set after one or more hares. This so called "sport" was more a slaughter of hares than a contest of dog speed.
To give the hare a better chance, to make the sport more humane, and to provide a better test of the speed of the dogs, the Duke of Norfolk in the
late 16th century, drew up a set of coursing rules which were generally adopted, and made coursing a finer sport. This period, the reign of Elizabeth I, saw coursing reach its greatest popularity in England. The Duke of Norfolk in writing up his rules for the sport undoubtedly had in mind the great thoughts on coursing written centuries earlier by one "Flavius Arrianus". These thoughts are as applicable today in coursing as they were in 200 A.D. when they were written.
"The true sportsman does not take out his dogs to destroy the hares, but for the sake of the course, and the contest between the dogs and the hares, and is glad if the hare escapes."
Arrianus also had thoughts on the movements of the coursing gallery, the length of the slip so as to give the hare a sporting chance, and other thoughts which may be quoted today with no excuse.
The first coursing meeting of which an account is given took place in Swaffham, in Norfolk, in 1776, and was promoted by the celebrated Lord Orford of the Swaffham Coursing Society. This was followed by Ashdown Park, in 1780 and Malton Coursing Club in 1781. Lord Orford, who probably originated the bull-dog cross in greyhounds producing the brindle color, had one of the finest greyhounds of the day, Czarina. She won 47 matches and was never beaten. Lord Orford fell dead from his horse upon seeing her win her last course.
These earlier courses were run, using the rules of the Duke of Norfolk which included stipulations that the hare be coursed by no more than a brace (2) of greyhounds. The rules allowed that the hare should have 12 score yards lead before the greyhounds were slipped unless it was a short distance to the covert and the hounds would immediately lose the hare. Judges rode on horseback, and their decisions were based on the definition of points given in the
rules. These points remain much the same today in England coursing and coursing meets held by the National Coursing Association in the United States. Details will follow when bringing coursing up to modern times.
Many new clubs opened in the next 50 years, and many fine dogs came along to win the various stakes given by these clubs. Lord Rivers tried another bull-dog cross with greyhounds, and these dogs were the ancestors of the incredible foundation sire, King Cob. Many opinions were given for and against the cross, but it should be mentioned that famous coursing and producing dogs such as Blue Hat, Patent and Chloe were all descended from it.
Scottish clubs got started in 1811 with the founding of the Midlothian club. Early meetings here were quite progressive. The use of colored flags by the flag steward to signify winners was begun here. The judge had to deliver his verdict in an audible voice to the steward. Present-day slips originated at these meetings, being made, and invented, by a local gunsmith. They have been altered since but never improved. Other clubs were formed in the mid 1800's, but many dropped out of existence because of a shortage of hares.
The National Coursing Club was formed in England in 1858. It became the authoritative body in the coursing world much like the Jockey Club became in the world of horse racing. They began a stud book in 1882, and soon after required that all dogs entered in a coursing meeting be registered in the stud book.
In 1877, a farmer near Brighton, England, started the first enclosed park meeting as a commercial venture. He enclosed a stretch of land with wire-netting and laid out 2 fields for running tracks, with an artificial cover at the end of each, into which the hares were driven before coursing commenced. At the other end of the field an ingenious escape fence was erected, which enabled the hare to elude her pursuers and to end the course. These fields were about 600 yards in length. Enclosed parks enjoyed some popularity in England , but were abandoned for lack of interest around 1889. The sport is still popular in Ireland and the United States where open field area is hard to come by, and the arguments go on and on about the merits of enclosed coursing compared to field coursing. Some claim that the enclosed version sees dogs being bred only for pace and the basic working abilities being forgotten. It is probably more a lack of hunting areas and rabbit shortages that bring about enclosed coursing as a popular sport in a given area.
No treatise on coursing would be complete without a rundown on the class ic "Waterloo Cup" held in England each February. The event has been held since 1836 with breaks for war being the only interference in the long history of the "Cup". In 1836, Mr. Lynn, proprietor of the Waterloo Hotel, got up an eight dog stake which he styled "The Waterloo Cup" and which was run for over Lord Sefton's estate at Altcar. The following year the stake was enlarged to sixteen runners, and in 1838 increased again to 32 dogs. In 1857 it was made a 6L dog stake and remains such to this date. To the "Cup" was added the Waterloo purse for 32 dogs eliminated in the first round of the "Cup", and the "Waterloo-plate" for the sixteen dogs eliminated in the second round of the "Cup".
The first years race was won by a fine, red bitch, Milanie, nominated to the stake by none other than Mr. Lynn, the organizer of the stake. In 1850 the first of only 3 triple winners of the "Cup", Cerito, won her first " Waterloo".
Beaten by a King Cob dog, Hughie Graham,. in 1851, Cerito came on in 1852 and 1853 to win the "Cup" handily. The years 1868-1871 were the years of the brilliant Irish dog, Master McGrath. He won the "Cup" easily in 1868, being hardly pressed in any of his six runs. 1869 brought about what many old timers referred to as the greatest single course of all time. It came in the finals of the "Cup" and matched Master McGrath and the great bitch from Scotland, Bab-at-the-Bowster. Master McGrath prevailed by sheer competitive effort. After nearly drowning when the rotten ice on the River Alt gave way in the first round in 1870, causing him defeat, Master McGrath came on to win again in 1871 in his last public course. The last of the great multiple winners was Fuller ton . He divided the stake with his littermate, Troughend, in 1889, and won the "Cup" three straight years, 1890-1892. In all, Fullerton won 31 courses and lost 2 in his lifetime. The twentieth century has seen many fine dogs go to the fields at Altcar, but none can match the records of these earlier courses.
Coursing enthusiasts of this day and age can certainly give thanks to the pioneers of organized coursing in Great Britain. They perfected an ancient sport, brought dignity to it, and initiated breeding programs and training programs that paved the way for the modern coursing sighthound.
THE MODERN AGE OF COURSING
Coursing in this day and age takes on many forms. Some forms are highly organized and very professional, whereas other forms are organized rather loosely, with hope of possibly becoming more professional if popularity in creases to the point of making it worthwhile. Still other forms of coursing exist, especially in the United States, where the object of the hunt is to rid the area of pests in addition to the sporting aspect. I will deal with the latter form and move then into the areas of organized coursing as it is handled by the National Coursing Association, Abilene, Kansas, and the Open Field Coursing Association, California.
The plains and rocky mountain states including mainly Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, North Texas, Oklahoma, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, and Kansas feature Coyote Coursing as their main sport, and in recent years the coyotes and the hunters have been on the increase. Jack rabbits also serve as coursing quarry in this region, for they as well as coyotes are a nuisance to both farmers and stockmen.
In this sport hunters load the hounds into cages on the back ends of pickup trucks and speed across the flat land. As one man drives the truck, another scans the horizon for a coyote. When one is spotted, the driver chases it at full speed until he passes it, at which point the coyote turns and runs in the opposite direction, and the hounds, looking out the rear, catch sight of it. The driver slams to a halt, drops the tail gate and the hounds leap out in pursuit. The course usually lasts up to half a mile, and a good percentage of the time the coyote escapes. The coyote is an endurance animal, and if he can escape the primary run-up by the speedy hounds, he can generally get away for good.
The coursing enthusiasts of this area of the country have tried many breed crosses to come up with a dog fast enough to overtake the coyote and tough enough to handle him when the chase is over. Greyhounds form the basic stock for these beautiful coursing dogs that result from breedings with Irish Wolfhounds, Scottish Deerhounds, Salukis, etc. Large dogs result with deep chests, strong necks, and powerful legs and jaws. Experts believe a new breed is emerging and that it will be called the American Coursing Hound©
The United States has several organizations promoting coursing in its various forms. Belonging to both the National Coursing Association, and the Open Field Coursing Association has given me some insight in the world of coursing, and I shall relate what I know.
The National Coursing Association of Abilene, Kansas, is dedicated to promoting Greyhounds, racing and coursing. Greyhound puppies are given rabbits at an early age to get them used to coursing the mechanical rabbit at the track. The NCA sponsors 2 coursing meets each year in Abilene, offering varied stakes for thousands of coursing enthusiasts. Puppies, sapplings, and veteran coursing dogs can compete with dogs of like experience for the many cash and trophy awards.
The courses are run in an enclosed park, which is a level, fenced area about 450 yards long and 150 yards wide. Natural cover is present to provide a contrast to the rabbits. These rabbits are trained to the many escape holes located at one end of the field. They are caged or penned up to the time of the course at which time one rabbit is driven onto the field where a brace of greyhounds are ready to chase it.
The greyhounds are handled by a professional "slipper" who operates the slips for all the braces. He must be sure the hounds are both sighted on the hare, and then he releases the mechanism and frees the 2 dogs. The hare is given a 30-40 yard lead before the dogs are slipped, and then the chase is on. Judges in the towers or on horseback grade the two dogs on speed, go byes, turns, wrenches, trips, and the kill if any. A set number of points is given in all categories and the dog with the highest score wins the course and advances to the next round of elimination. The kill is often anti-climatic after much fine work done by the dogs, and often the opening run-up decides the whole course. Emphasis at these courses is naturally on speed, but agility comes into play on the wrenches and turns, and speed alone is not allowed as an only factor in determining the winner unless the rabbit runs straight to the covert with no turns. If the course lasts more than one minute, relief dogs are sent in to finish the course.
A definition of terms is in order. The runup is the dash from the slip to the hare. A go bye is where a dog starts a clear length behind the opponent and passes him in a straight run and gets a clear length before him. The turn is where the hare is brought about at not less than a 90 degree angle. The wrench is where the hare is brought about at less than a 90 degree angle. A trip is an unsuccessful effort to kill, where the hare is thrown off her legs, or where the hound flecks her, but cannot hold her.
T his form of coursing has proven popular to many greyhound owners, as it provides a method of coursing the maximum game in the minimum time. No actual hunting is done, as can be seen, and everybody gets to run their dog for as long as he lasts in the elimination.
This brings us to the Open Field Coursing Association and its member breed clubs, which conducts coursing on a fairly organized basis. This Open Field Coursing as we call it, is real hunting with wild game running on their own territory. It provides a challenge somewhat different than that found in zation. We are beginning our own Stud Book as a first positive step in the right direction. We are also introducing Brace elimination coursing, which we feel will do much to determine which dog's performance in the field, on a given day, is truly deserving of the first place award. Winners of head to head courses will advance from round to round and the undefeated two will meet at the end of the day. Judging will be facilitated, with the avoidance of actual scores, and it is also much easier to judge two dogs than three. The Breed Clubs will, of course, have the option of which type of hunt will suit them best. The backbones of coursing have been and always will be the individual breed club and the individual courser.
I hope this writing has been informative for all who took the time to read it. Coursing is a grand sport with a future to match its history. I hope the novice, who had some questions about coursing has had them answered, and the next few years see unprecedented growth in the activity which most sight- hounds love the best -- Coursing!
TOP COURSING WHIPPETS OF ALL TIME
1. Ocellus Eyed Sue Owner: Gary Beeman
2. Rockabye Checkers Owner: Myrna & Charles Countz
3. Wheel 'N Deal Pepperpot Owner: Gary Boltjer
4. Sheridan's Ferrari Owners: David & Adelaide Haberman
5. Syndicated Highland Hunter Owner: Nate Gustafson
6. Ch. Humble Acres Jetaway Owner: Art LaBarr
7. Canyon Creek Gremlin Owner: Jim & Ann Sweeney
8. Falconer's Tercial Owner: Lillian Monet
9. Whirlaway's Apache P.C.C., A.R.M.Owner: Carroll Hayhurst
1. Sheridan's Venetian Way.,
OCELLUS EYED SUE P.C.C.
This bitch was the first "hunt serious" whippet to compete in organized coursing in California, Sue was also the very first whippet to ever win her P.C.C. About 9 years ago, under the scoffing eyes of Greyhound, Borzoi, Afghan and Saluki owners she was entered in her first official coursing meet.
From that time on she has proved to many "large breed" sight hound owners that a conditioned whippet is
no scoffing matter when it comes to Coursing. She, when hunting in a brace, has taken quarry from mice to coastal deer in size and a wide variety of game including weasels, fox, squirrels, feral cats and of course jack rabbits.
Crippled ducks and pheasants are caught and retrieved by her to show an unknown side of the whippet's versatile abilities.
With limited track experience she has shown good results.
ROCKABYE CHECKERS P.C.C.
Whelped 11/20/64 - Died 5/11/71
Checkers came to us from the Bill Turpin Jrs in Canada in 1966. He had never seen a rabbit until he came to make his home in California. He started coursing the beginning of the 1967-1968 season. Most of his major coursing points were won in 1968 and 1969. He won his coursing championship Oct. 27, 1968.
Checkers won many firsts in mixed competition and in the 1968-1969 coursing season Checkers was in the ribbons almost every coursing meet. Checkers is the litter brother of Can. Ch. Ember of Course A.R.M., Dam of Can. Ch. Emberson of Course A.R.M. Only mother and son to earn A.R.M. championship.
In 1969 Checkers, along with us retired from Coursing. October 25, 1969, was his last coursing meet, where at the age of five years he took first place and had a kill. We now have his son, Charmyr's Four Kings who got a kill credit his first time out October 1969 in a course with his sire.
WHEEL 'N DEAL PEPPERPOT P.C.C. (Deceased)
Sire: Pennyworth Tumbleweed
Pepper was a large blue brindle whippet 22-3/4" at the withers, 45 pounds. In his day he dominated the whippet coursing field, winning the breed hunt three years in a row and placing first in two different open mixed courses - October 1966 Greyhound Course and March 1966 Western Saluki Association Coursing meet.
Pepper was a very quiet, docile mannered whippet, but he virtually lived to course and each rabbit he coursed as if he had a vendetta against them. During the years Pepper competed in coursing meets, he never lost a preliminary or a final course with whatever breeds he ran with.
SHERIDAN 'S FERRARI P.C.C. 10/29/67
Sire: Bardon Trappings
Tiger is our first whippet, and a true gem he is. Beginner's luck was never more clearly exemplified than by our choosing him. He is number one, a great pet craving almost more attention than we can give and yet easily adapting to solitary periods in the kennel.
He is moody at times, often sulking when away from familiar surroundings, but there comes over him a subtle change when he enters the field, for it is here that he feels most at home. quite literally, Tiger was born to hunt and hunting in competition is his favorite activity. He lives for the long winter and the trips to El Nido. He will probably course until he can't make the long walk anymore, and looking at him today it seems a long, long time in the future.
October, 1968 - Made kill in first course
March 2, 1969 - Second place NCWFA Hunt - 30 points
March 8, 1970 - Fourth Place SCWA Hunt - 10 points
April 12, 1970 - First Place NCWFA Hunt - 40 points
April 19, 1970 - Made Finals of Grand Course finishing 9th
November 8, 1970 Fourth Place NCWFA Hunt 10 points November 28, 1970 Fourth Place - Borzoi Field Crsg. Assoc. mixed hunt Finished for Pacific Coursing Championship
January 3, 1971 - First place NCWC Hunt - 40 points
February 28, 1971 - Fourth place NCWFA Hunt - 10 points
April 17-18, 1971 Third place - Grand Course 20 points First whippet to place at Grand Course
Tiger finished the year tied with Gremlin and Camille for top scoring whippet - each with 90 points. Tiger has also won 16 individual courses out of 20 for the year.