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1991 American Whippet Club Whippet Annual
The Illustrated Whippet Standard 1991
Although the true origin of the Whippet is not certain, we do know that the purpose of the breed dictated what the original authors of the breed standard put into words as the ideal. The ideal was intended to be a Greyhound in miniature - a medium sized sighthound, functional and athletic, with aesthetic breed characteristics. Our standard should convey a word picture of a sturdy and remarkable breed of dog.
When considering any breed standard, three basic features deserve mention. They are balance, substance and style. They could be defined as listed below.
1. Balance expresses the harmonious development of all parts. This is important because, if any one part is deficient, then full use cannot be made of the other parts of the body. Balance may also be used in describing the functionally efficient coordination of all the characteristics that make for smooth, flexible action.
2. Substance means strength of bone, depth and breadth of body, fit muscular condition, without being coarse, common or with bulgy excessive muscling.
3. Style involves the natural expression at rest or in action. Beauty of conformation, graceful action and general attitude contribute to style.
The following excerpts are from an article entitled "The Waxing Standard" by Robert
S. Walker , reprinted by permission of the Cocker Spaniel Leader. Although directed toward the Cocker Spaniel Standard, Mr. Walker's remarks are applicable to the Whippet Standard
There has been a tendency among breeders of Cocker Spaniels, as well as most other breeds, to analyze the Standard in great detail, and thereby to arrive at conclusions which may have only partial validity, or sometimes none at all. And so, inaccurate meanings have been evolved from the Standard.
The Standard by its nature cannot be absolute and rigid because it serves human beings who are neither perfect nor infallible. It is essential to have sufficient flexibility to accommodate valid differences of opinion and to enable the application of some degree of ordinary common sense while relating the Standard to certain specific animals.
Make no mistake that I suggest that the Standard be ignored, or that it is not important. On the contrary, It is vital. It is the wall between order and chaos, and must be both observed and preserved.
However, it is an error and a disservice to the breed to attempt to read into the Standard something that is not there.
Flexibility is an important part of every Standard. The Standard must fit many diverse "types" differing in style and in detail. There is no one "correct" cocker. And I, for one, say thank God. The dog show is a matter of opinion: the breeder expresses his opinion with his entries; the judge expresses his opinion with his awards. Those who cannot accept this fact will always be unhappy with the sport of pure-bred dogs, but sensible application of the Standard will add to the enjoyment of our sport.
The following drawings and comments are my attempt to illustrate the words of the Whippet Standard. They reflect my personal taste and preference within the present Standard for the Breed. It is hoped that they will aid breeders, exhibitors and/or fanciers to better visualize correct and incorrect features of the Whippet.
WHIPPET STANDARD OF THE BREED
as approved November 9, 1955
GENERAL APPEARANCE - The Whippet should be a dog of moderate size, very alert, that can cover a maximum of distance with a minimum of lost motion, a true sporting hound. Should be put down in hard condition but with no suggestion of being muscle-bound.
HEAD - Long and lean, fairly wide between the ears, scarcely perceptible stop, good length of muzzle which should be powerful without being coarse. Nose entirely black.
EARS - Small, fine in texture, thrown back and folded. Semi-pricked when at attention. Gay ears are incorrect and should be severely penalized.
EYES - Large, intelligent, round in shape and dark hazel in color, must be at least as dark as the coat color. Expression should be keen and alert. Light yellow or oblique eyes should be strictly penalized. A sulky expression and lack of alertness to be considered most undesirable.
TEETH - White, strong and even. Teeth of upper jaw should fit closely over the lower. An undershot mouth shall disqualify.
NECK - Long and muscular, well-arched and with no suggestion of throatiness, widening gradually into the shoulders. Must not have any tendency to a "ewe" neck.
SHOULDERS - Long, well laid back with long, flat muscles. Loaded shoulders are a very serious fault.
BRISKET - Very deep and strong, reaching as nearly as possible to the point of the elbow. Ribs well spring but with no suggestion of barrel shape. Should fill in the space between the forelegs so that there is no appearance of a hollow between them.
FORELEGS - Straight and rather long, held in line with the shoulders and not set under the body so as to make a forechest. Elbows should turn neither in nor out and move freely with the point of the shoulder. Fair amount of bone, which should carry right down to the foot. Pasterns strong.
FEET - Must be well formed with strong, thick pads and well-knuckled-up paws. A thin, flat, open foot is a serious fault.
HINDQUARTERS - Long and powerful, stifles well bent, hocks well let down and close to the ground. Thighs broad and muscular, the muscles should be long and flat. A steep croup is most undesirable.
BACK - Strong and powerful, rather long with a good, natural arch over the loin creating a definite tuck- up of the underline but covering a lot of ground.
TAIL - Long and tapering, should reach to a hipbone when drawn through between the hind legs. Must not be carried higher than the top of the back when moving.
COAT - Close, smooth and firm in texture. COLOR - Immaterial.
SIZE - Ideal height for dogs, 19 to 22 inches; for bitches, 18 to 21 inches. These are not intended to definite limits, only approximate.
GAIT - Low, free moving and smooth, as long as is commensurate with the size of the dog. A short, minCing gait with high knee action should be severely penalized.
DISQUALIFICATIONS - Undershot mouth
WHAT I LOOK FOR IN THE WHIPPET
by Louis Pegram
From the Whippet News December 1968 issue, based on the Whippet Standard as approved in 1955 (see opposite).
My requirements for the ideal whippet have changed very little since introduction to the breed in 1930. These requirements consist of three "must" qualities based on (1) CORRECT TYPE, (2) FRIENDLY DISPOSITION, and (3) CORRECT MOVEMENT. Whippets who have these desired qualities should not be difficult to judge or grade under the specifications of the Whippet Standard of the Breed.
Before we go more fully into the component parts that make up the whippet as covered by the Whippet Standard of the Breed, let's quickly clarify the meaning of CORRECT TYPE, FRIENDLY DISPOSITION and CORRECT MOVEMENT.
1. Correct Type or General Appearance
2. Correct Movement
3. Friendly Disposition
Assuming that a Whippet has the three above "must" qualities, here is my rule of thumb point system in placing a value on the component parts as covered by the Whippet Standard of the Breed. This point system is based on a total of 100 points and is divided into three parts.
1. HEADto include nose, eyes, ears, jaws, muzzle, bite, skull structure - 20 points.
2. THE BODY to include neck, front shoulders, legs, feet, ribs, back or the entire body from the base of the skull to the rear hip bones - 50 points.
3. REAR END to include hind quarters, legs, feet, tail, etc. - 30 points.
Here are how various component parts are rated in importance when considering a Whippet for breeding purposes or for the show ring. Many of the faults could be of equal importance in considering the Whippet as a race or coursing hound:
1. Undershot lower jaw or overshot upper jaw that disables the Whippet from properly holding or wrenching a living small animal or holding firmly in his bite a rag or towel.
2. One or both eyes light blue, china or extremely light abnormal color that conflicts with coat color.
3. Deafness, hereditary blindness or other disabling afflictions.
4. Orchidism as covered in rules of the A.K.C.
1. Soft, flat or splayed feet, often accompanied by low pasterns.
2. Straight shoulder angulation with high mincing or hackney gait.
3. Coarse shoulder formation with poor angulation reflecting a muscle bound condition and/or restricted front gait.
4. Failure to cover "much" ground when standing.
5. Short front legs.
6. Narrow shoulder blades with no chest expansion giving hollow and cut up appearance.
7. Flat back or extremely high exaggerated arch.
8. Extreme cow hocks, straight stifle or any extreme weakness in rear end structure.
9. Poor condition, poor muscle development and light boned as related to the size of the individual Whippet.
10. Lack of showmanship reflecting in shyness, spooky, or sour disposition.
11. Dilute or washed out color reflecting in lack of color of eyes and nose.
depending on their importance to the overall balance of the Whippet.
1. Broad or round "apple" headed type of Whippet.
2. Narrow borzoi type of head.
3. Short snipey muzzle, or weak lower jaw.
4. Entire head too coarse or plain.
5. Other than a very dark colored nose.
6. Gay or tulip ears or soft wide ears that fall unfolded over the eyes or to the side of the head.
7. Light eyes or oblique eyes.
8. Badly stained, worn or uneven teeth. Teeth that just meet in the front.
9. Neck too short or coarse. Neck that gives a downward 'R" shape as it goes into the shoulder.
10. Barrel chest or lack of suffiCient brisket depth.
11. Short, ortail carried in a position above the back, often with a curl.
12. Not enough angulation in hind quarters, giving slap-ass appearance.
My evaluation of the Whippet places much emphasis on over-all soundness as compared to strong emphasis on a given fault. Based on the individual Whippet, or on a comparative basis of one Whippet versus another, it is seldom that I would rate any one fault greater than the total points assigned to the three areas of the Whippet. If a Whippet has bad ears, it is seldom that this would influence the over-all value of 100 points. This fault would not deduct more than 20 points for the entire head value. If a Whippet had bad feet ana pasterns, he would generally be penalized not more, or perhaps less, than the 50 points assigned to the area including neck up to the rear hip bone. If a Whippet is straight in his stifle, the points would generally not exceed the total of the entire rear end formation or 30 points. This point system could be used as a rule of thumb measurement for comparison in the show ring. The point system would be more accurate in most cases when used in selecting a Whippet you wish to retain in your kennel operation.
The Whippet has not changed greatly in height or size since 1930, considering the effects of betterbalanced nutritional diets, better distemper vaccines, better worm programs, and a greater knowledge of over-all nutrition management and medication. At the present time, Whippets as a group on the West Coast are slightly larger than Whippets in the East. This size condition by area was in reverse some 10 years ago. The difference in size and height by area again reflects the individual interpretation of the breed standard by major breeders.
Height or size should only be considered a fault when it is obvious to owner/breeder or judge that a Whippet is too large or too small to properly reproduce young in line with the "approximate" recommendation listed as "ideal" in the Whippet Standard of the Breed.
Again let me remind you, this article is only my own gauge of the type of Whippet that best fits my needs as a pet, race dog and show dog. These comments and the drawing on the following page is only my interpretation of the Whippet Standard of the Breed. It does not necessarily reflect the actual wording or the opinion of the Standard of the Breed as approved by the American Whippet Club.
Copyright © 2005, American Whippet Club, All Rights Reserved.