|Welcome to the American Whippet Club|
1996 American Whippet Club Whippet Annual
Pages 101 through 126
Difficult with the present overstretched registration facilities provided by the Kennel Clubs, particularly now everything is fed into a computer by a keyboard clerk who may have no interest in the subject whatsoever.
1. Strict attention to colour inheritance. The greyhound racing registrars pay careful attention to this (necessary as a good deal of punters' money rides on parentage). There are colour charts available which show what colours are possible but more importantly what are impossible. Any errant colour alerts the registrar and the litter is investigated. This is done firstly by contacting the breeder and the official marker to ask if there had been a simple clerical error, if not they are asked to wait a little longer before registering the litter (as some colours are difficult to determine when immature). If it is not a simple clerical error or one of colour perception, then the registrar will call for a DNA test. One surprising fact has emerged, the mortality rate of dogs on which a test has been requested is 100%! If as, in many cases the grandparents are still alive, a request to test them instead results in a high puppy mortality rate! So far no case has got to the testing stage, indicating that having the facility to test is a good deterrent. However these situations could develop into games of bluff and counter bluff, so bodies must be resolved to follow through if necessary.
2. Apart from colour another marker to alert our breed ers should be a sudden increase in speed in the breed. Over the past 70 years since the electric hare has been invented the speed of the racing greyhound has not increased significantly. In the last 25 years of purebred whippet racing in Britain their speeds have also not significantly increased either. Therefore, a sudden speedy dog automatically alerts racers and in vestigations are requested. In this case one must have a knowledgeable and strong committee running the sport. Such dogs are checked against their passports to ensure that a "ringer" has not been substituted, then the dog is examined to see if it resembles other dogs to which it is closely related. So far DNA testing has yet to be invoked. This is by no means a witch hunt as several investigated dogs have been reinstated.
The fact that your times in the USA have suddenly got faster over a relatively short time scale should have alerted you to an anomalous situation. This is directly contrary to the times in Britain and in the greyhound racing industry - food for thought. Do not believe people who tell you that a dog's performance can be improved dramatically by a certain diet, exercise regime or massage, etc. If there was some magic formula do you not think the greyhound trainers would have come across it? Dogs that are well fed and as fit as possible will achieve their genetic potential and maybe, in exceptional cases, when conditions are right and with a bit of luck may overachieve, but this is the exception rather than the rule. It is very difficult to improve performance in racing dogs with drugs. Most drug abuse in the greyhound world is either to slow down "nobble" the opposition, or to slow down ones own dog to affect the handicapping for future racing, thereby altering the odds in favour of that animal.
3. Beware the expanding litter syndrome. This involves slipping a cuckoo into the nest. Thereby, a totally unrelated puppy is registered as being a member of another litter. The only way of avoiding this, if the colour is possible, is to have the litter inspected soon after birth and the colours with genders sent to the registrar, these are logged and then checked against the registrations when they are returned at a later date. This is the procedure adopted by the N.C.C. and the N.G.P.C. Tattooing is an added precaution but as two dogs of a similar colour ran be tattooed with the same combination, this would be a non starter, unless every whippet is going to be tattooed at a given site, e. g. right ear. Microchips would prevent substitution by a ringer but are a cumbersome to read. None of these precautions is foolproof and a really determined bent breeder can always manipulate the system, but the more checks and balances introduced the more difficult the process of falsification becomes.
4. There is a more sinister loophole appearing now. That is the open stud book that exists in France. Unregistered dogs can be entered in a show in an "a determiner" class, where a judge can declare the dog to be a true representative of a breed. With three such declarations the dog may be registered titre initial. This is not ILP or a non- breeding list. It is a fact that crossbred whippets have been exported to France from England registered by this means, raced against purebred whippets and subsequently used at stud. Their resulting mongrel offspring now hold French papers and can be exported to any country and registered by their Kennel Clubs. This situation in France makes a mockery of pure breeding and registrations.
From a show breeders point of view this is not a major problem as showing is a very subjective discipline. However it is for those breeders who are concerned about purity of breedlines and for those who enjoy watching their breed race or course. Particularly when one realises that in order to keep the speed in these crossbred dogs frequent out crosses to greyhounds or other crossbred lines are needed, to preserve hybrid vigour. To say nothing of an occasional 'pinch' of terrier to improve attitude. These are not just one off breedings which will be genetically absorbed after a few generations of pure breeding it is an ongoing programme; particularly when human nature and the desire to keep on winning enter the equation. The whole sorry business is compounded by the innocent and not so innocent owners/breeders who are involved by having bought or bred into such lines. It is in their interests to either ignore everything as long as they continue to win or the more insidious element who are in positions of authority and who by refusing to grasp the nettle confer their tacit approval.
5. The only way to ensure pedigree integrity is to be constantly vigilant, to appoint a wise, strong, but fair committee to police the pedigrees of the racing dogs and be prepared to test if necessary. Hopefully some good may rise from these ashes, it would be nice to see a closer cooperation between international racing bodies (as we have in the greyhounds) and a greater awareness of this problems amongst all whippet breeders irrespective of whethet or not they race. Perhaps then we can lobby the Kennel Clubs to tighten up theit registration requirements. The race people cannot do it alone without the backing of our respective Breed Clubs. This is not a problem unique to the U.S.A. There have been similar outbreaks in Britain and clearly the rest of Europe is affected too. Finally, remember that unlike the Kennel Clubs you do not have to believe everything the breeder tells you, be objective, if the facts do not fit, question. Speed is an inherited characteristic, if a fast dog suddenly appears be suspicious, if it is imported and fast be doubly suspicious. Honest breeders have nothing to fear.
HEALTH COMMITTEE REPORTS
WHIPPET HEALTH COMMITTEE REPORT
Connie Austin, DVM
This year was a quiet year for the Whippet Health Committee. We provided copies of the Whippet Health Survey to anyone requesting these copies. Connie B. compiled the CERF results for Whippets. A report was compiled by Connie A. comparing Whippets visiting Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospitals with a set of control dogs. The Veterinary Medical Database Program contains medical information on animals seen at veterinary schools in the U.S. and Canada. All information is confidential, no names are associated with the information. This study was used to supplement the Whippet Health Survey because the response rate was low for that survey. Findings which were similar between the Whippet Health Survey and the veterinary teaching hospital study are listed by body system and were:
Cardiovascular system: heart murmurs
Fractures and joint injuries
New findings from the vet school Whippets and controls were an increased risk in Whippets for:
Rodenticide toxicity Anemias
Gastrointestinal system Diarrhea
Traumatic eye injuries
Copies of the full two reports are available for interested parties to review at this national. If you are interested see MB Arthur. Please review the report and re turn it to MB Arthur so others can review it.
One major problem for Whippets identified in the Whippet Health Survey was the problem of toe injuries in Whippets. Possible plans include a booklet about toe injuries (diagnosis and treatment) for veterinarians and owners. The Dachshund club produces a very useful booklet on disk disease which is a major problem in that breed. A copy of this booklet has been provided to the Board as an example of what can be done. To produce a similar booklet on toe injuries for Whippets would require finding an expert veterinarian in the field, probably one who works with track greyhound injuries and providing funds for this vet to produce a suitable booklet. Then, the booklet could be made available to Whippet owners at a nominal fee.
Another possible project for the Whippet Health Committee is to produce a notebook with chapters on each of the health problems identified as problems in the breed. The Newfoundland Club has a wonderful example of this type of notebook. New or updated chapters can be added as needed.
There is probably also a need to make copies of reports, such as the Whippet Health Survey and the Veterinary School study for individuals requesting these reports. Then, a set fee could be established to cover printing and mailing costs.
If anyone has any problems or concerns about health problems in the Whippet, please contact Connie Brunkow or Connie Austin. Although neither of us could attend the national our addresses are in the Whippet Annual and we can also be reached using email. We are on the Whippet list managed by Judy Byron, if you send a message to the list we will contact you. All information about specific bloodlines is kept confidential unless released by the individual themselves. Comments are also welcome on possible projects or areas of concern. We welcome your suggestions.
INHERITABLE EYE DISEASE IN WHIPPETS The Annual Report
Connie Brunkow, DVM
Since last year's report was so shocking, I thought I'd have a little pity on all you assaulted Whippeteers. The good news is that this year, I can report some good news!
1994's final numbers from CERF, showed that 231 Whippets were checked for inherited eye diseases, 96 dogs and 135 bitches. 32 Whippets were found to have problems which are known or suspected to be inherited - 13.98% of the total. If you check my report in last year's Annual, you will notice that the total reported was 188. I have discovered that the reason the number goes up from one year to the next, is that some ophthalmologists keep their paperwork till they have a sufficient number to send to CERF, and they sometimes don't get sent till after CERF has run a "final" report. I think I'll start to refer to the current year's numbers as "semi-final" -maybe that will help avoid some confusion.
The 1995 "semi-final" figures are good in a couple of ways. The total number of Whippets examined was 291, which is 60 more than last year. Of these, 111 were dogs and 146 were bitches. The total number of animals with problems considered or suspected to be inherited was 35, which is 12.0% This is a reduction of almost 2%, which is the first time that we have seen a lower percentage of problems relative to the number examined. I find this encouraging, as I have been concerned with the trend seen in the past, where the percent of problems found stayed the same even though the total examined had increased. If this trend continues, it certainly suggests we are making some progress in our concern for the genetic health of the breed! I believe that the regulation requiring Futurity nominated puppies to have CERFed parents has helped increase the number of animals checked. However, I also think that this is only the tip of the iceberg, so to speak, and that we ill need to pay attention to ALL Whippets being bred. It's also a good idea to keep tabs on the non-breeding individuals, at least from time to time, as they may express a gene that is only carried by their reproducing siblings. Of course, in the opinion of the ophthalmologists with whom I've spoken, a 12% incidence is still too high, but at least the trend is in the right direction. The one piece of bad news is that a true case of PRA (progressive retinal atrophy) has been diagnosed. I have been told that the none of the breeder's other dogs has the problem, so far. However, it certainly bears watching, as PRA in other breeds is a truly devastating disease. Ask anyone with Italian Greyhounds...
I'm also happy to be able to tell everyone that we have seen a meaningful increase in the number of Whippets with CERF numbers. When I began this project in 1989, the CERF report listing CERF registered Whippets was about half of a computer generated page. The report I got this year, covering the period from February 195 thru February 196, was 11 pages long, and contained about 260 names. I applaud all the fanciers who have become proactive on this health issue!
Several interesting things have happened this year. I represented the AWC at the 1st AKC Parent Club Genetics Conference, held in October. I am happy to report that the AKC is intensely committed to helping improve the health of purebred dogs (and high time, too!) There were presentations by several geneticists, both American & from other countries, by veterinarians from CERF, OFA, and the GDC, which is an open registry (there have been a few articles on this in the Whippet News.) There was information on the new canine genetic disease database being developed at Penn, which will allow any veterinarian, and I suppose breeders too, eventually, to access information about diseases, both by breed, and by signs or names of the conditions. Added to all this was the presentation by a geneticist who is actively & successfully mapping the caninegenome, and who, in conjunction with other geneticists, are well on the way to a complete gene map of the dog. I was encouraged by the progress already made - it was reported that DNA tests have been developed for brain diseases in Cairns & Westies, for a disease called rodcone dysplasia, which causes blindness by about a year of age in Irish Setters, and for copper storage disease in Bedlington Terriers . This kind of progress is invaluable in helping to eradicate these diseases, as carriers can be removed from breeding programs (and potential pet placements) at a very early age. Think of the pain & suffering that can be prevented, both for the dogs & for their owners thru the availability of early genetic testing.
I have also been following with interest, a discussion on the Internet about inherited diseases in dogs in other countries. A copy of an article written by myself & Mary Beth Arthur, which was reprinted in the British Whippet newsletter, had an editorial note indicating that a 1991/92 study by the British Kennel Club showed that English Whippets didn't have any inherited eye diseases. However, a couple of knowledgeable British vets indicated over the Internet, that the way data is compiled in Britain doesn't report findings on breeds which the parent clubs don't consider to have a problem. It sounds like a kind of catch-22 - since the British fanciers indicated that they don't have a problem, the ophthalmologist's data isn't reported, so no knows if there is a problem. Frankly, my feeling is that Whippets haven't been in this country all that long, relatively, and the American genes can't have mutated all that much in these years... I would be very interested to have more information on all this, if anyone else knows about it.
Also received a copy of an article from the book The Whippet Club of Australia, written in 1967. It mentions whippets in Switzerland, imported from England, which had gone blind at 2-3 years of age, from a condition which I don't recognize, called "ablation of the retina". The author says it was not supposed to be the same as PRA, but I wonder whether that opinion should be different now, as our knowledge has increased so much. In any case, it does suggest that there have been eye problems in Whippets for much longer than previously thought.
Another bit of news is that the project proposed by Dr. Jim Schoster, an ophthalmologist at the University of Wisconsin, to study vitreal degeneration in Whippets, was given 3 years of funding by the AKC Health Foundation. There were 41 proposals submitted, and 11 were approved, so I think this is a feather in not only Dr. Schoster's cap, but in the AWC's as well. I hope that the Whippet club will back him fully, and also hope that many of us will put our money where our mouths are, and contribute to the project as well. Dr. Schoster hopes to extend the study to 10 years, and wants to study Whippets from puppy to mature/ older adults. This should help the ACVO (American College of Veterinary ophthalmologists - the group that maintains board certification, and studies eye diseases in different breeds) to begin to understand the disease, to determine whether it is really significant, and if so, what percentage of dogs go on to develop blindness as a result. As Dr. Schoster says, the best news would be that very few dogs actually suffer dire consequences as a result of vitreal degeneration, but until someone does hard research, no one really knows. AS I understand it at this time, the funds will help pay for the extra tests that will be required for his research, and also help pay for student help in maintaining the data.
One of the best things about our world today is the'potential for information exchange from a wide variety of sources. I foresee that as more of us get into electronic information systems, it can only enhance our understanding & appreciation of our wonderful Whippets, as well as helping us keep them healthy. Keep up the good work, all!!
THE MULTI-PURPOSE WHIPPET
MODERATOR—MARY BETH ARTHUR PARTICIPANTS
JEAN BALI NT—U .S.A.
LINDA BUCH HOLTZ— CANADA CORA MILLER— U.S.A.
SHIRLEY RAWLINGS— U.K.
CANADIAN LURE COURSING Linda Buchholz
Good afternoon everyone. It is my distinct pleasure to be asked to speak to you on Canadian Lure Coursing. I'd like to give you some information on the origins of lure coursing in Canada, some differences between Canadian & American rules, and highlight some of Canada's outstanding coursing whippets.
Canadian lure coursing was organized in the spring of 1976 in Victoria, British Columbia by Jeff & Heather Loube and a handful of enthusiastic coursers. The Canadian Sighthound Field Association was quickly formed and our first trial was held in Victoria in October of 1976. Whippet breeders, Ken & Vanelle Reynolds, came up from California to judge at the meet and gave assistance and instruction in field clerking, hunt mastering and all aspects of putting on a trial. We were very active in whippet racing at the time and how well I remember standing in the pouring rain with the wind howling watching in awe as Afghans, Salukis, Deerhounds and Greyhounds thundered by. It is a sight I will never forget. We were hooked forever!
Shortly after, the Loube's moved to Ontario and were instrumental in getting Ontario active in lure coursing. The province of Alberta soon followed as did Quebec, Manitoba and, more recently, Saskatchewan. Lure coursing was well on its way in Canada.
Although many were quite content with CSFA coursing, others wanted the title and the sport to have more official status and the Canadian Kennel Club was approached to accept coursing as an official CKC event in 1982, the CKC officially adopted the sport under their sanction, but unlike the AKC, they adopted the CSFA rules. The titles of FCH and FCHX are issued by the CKC and appear on official pedigrees.
In Canada we do not offer a Field Champion stake - only an Open Stake. Once a dog has earned a field championship it continues to run in Open and earn points towards its Field Champion Excellent title. With no Field Champion stake, we felt it was a little more difficult to attain a Field Championship and, therefore, the requirement of one first or two seconds, plus 100 points for the Field Champion title, is different from our ASFA counterpart. An additional 300 points, plus 5 firsts are required for the Field Champion Excellent title; however any first placements earned on the way to a Field Championship are included.
The other important difference between American and Canadian lure coursing is that, in Canada, we do not have a breed disqualification for height in whippets; and therefore, no measuring is carried out
It has been my great fortune, and pleasure to have been able to see a great many of Canada's top coursing whippets in action since the inception of lure coursing in 1976. It is certainly impossible to mention all the great dogs, but I would like to give special mention to several throughout the years.
Canada 's first field champion Whippet was the Brit ish Columbia dog, Windwood Zip Code (from Eyleland, Of Course and Epinard lines). "Buster" had a great career, competing from BC to California. He was Canada's No. I Whippet and No. 3 Hound for 1977.
1978 saw the emergence of Padneyhill Moonlight Sonata, (a litter-sister to the well known Am.Ch. Marial's Padneyhill Illusion ARM CD), and her half-brother, the NPR racing champion, Specialty show winning, Ch. --Swiftsure Happy Daze, ARM, both bred and owned in BC. Sonata attained No. I Hound status with Happy Daze only 13 points behind. Sonata, sired by the great producer, Ch. Marial's King Arthur, out of an English import bitch, had a sensational coursing career with wins up and down the west coast, in Alberta and Colorado. The James's English bred Ringdove Whippets made a tremendous showing that year, with 4 littermates in the top ten. Eastern Canada was represented in the Top Ten with Windwood Via Air Mail (a litter sister to Zip Code) in 8th spot and Canada"s first triple titled sighthound, Ch. Dress Circle Devonair Jane, UD, F.Ch. in 10th position.
Sonata continued to dazzle on the coursing fields throughout 1979 and again captured top spot in Whippets. The Ringdove littermates again placed in the top ten, with Ringdove Hel's Angel, taking a close 2nd. Top Eastern Canada representative was another English import Solera Soldier of Fortune, in 4th spot Vivian Frasers BC owned & bred veteran, Ch. Fraserfield Silverheels, (from Renfield & Strathoak lines) emerged on top in the 1980 season, having placed in the top ten the two previous years. "Silver" remained a very consistent performer and was still earning placements in 1983 at age 9. Ringdove Warlord, (a son of Hel's An gel) was No. 2 Whippet, competing in only 6 trials. Two Ontario owned littermates, Canzus Knight Topper Poppet and Topper Night Disco (both California bred) placed a strong 3rd and 5th.
Yet another BC dog captured top spot in Whippets in 1981, this time the American bred multiple specialty winning, Am.Can.Ch. Marial's Swiftsure Phantasy, (a daughter of the American Specialty winner Am.Ch. Sheridan Marial's Nikita). Alberta dogs were represented in the top ten for the first time, with the 4 dogs in the Top Ten whippets including Tuck Turners Best in Show winning Chummie son, Ch. Denroc Hell on Wheels, in 8th place. Forerunners Rock & Roll, was the lone Eastern representative for 1981, in 9th position. For the first time, two generations of top coursing whippets were in the same top ten, the veteran Silverheels and his young son, Harley.
The dominance of the BC dogs was finally broken in 1982, when Alberta dogs captured 6 of the top 10 positions. Ch. Semaj Patch of Blue, (from Terrace Hill & Stoney Meadows bloodlines) earned #1 status, with three littermates, Stepsu One Armed Bandit, Ch. Stepsu Las Vegas Showgirl, and Stepsu Roulette all placing in the top ten. Yet another English import, Ch. Mispickel Mustang, made a good showing in 6th spot.
1983 finally saw the Eastern dogs capture the top 2 spots with Ch. Devonair Triple Heather, and Wyldwood's Zephyr, placing 1st and 2nd. Alberta placed 5 whippets in the top ten, led by the diminuitive Kwikasaies Charley's Angel.
Ch. Koira I'm the Denroc Rib, (a daughter of Hell on Wheels) earned #1 Whippet status in 1984, along with 3 other Albertans in the Top Ten. Ch. Forerunners Blarneystone and Ch. Forerunners Blue Ribbon were the top Eastern Canada representatives.
Jane Strunin's English Boarley lines were becoming well known on the coursing field in 1985, with top honors going to Ch. Boarley Simple Simon, and #3 honors to sister, Ch. Boarley Smoke Gets in Her Eyes. Am.Can.Ch. Swiftsure Phlashback was the top BC dog with a 2nd placement. Tripletimes Stay the Night was the lone eastern representative. For the first time a US owned whippet made the top ten, Slade's Liza of Lazebrook.
1986 was the year of the bitches, with 8 of the top 10 honors, going to the girls. #1 Whippet and #1 Hound status went to Heklah Salome, (from a powerful combination of Epinard, Regalstock & Swiftsure). Ch. Boarley Smoke Gets in Her Eyes was a close 2nd, with Ontario's Devonaires Joy to The World, in 3rd. The Strunin's Boarley Whippets were in strong control in 1987, with littermates Boarley Silver Nutmeg and Boarley Song of Sixpence placing 1st and 2nd. The Strunin's American import, Ch. Bluerock Saint Vivant, from the top running bloodlines of Wyndsor, Epinard and Slade, placed a close 3rd.
Boarley whippets placed 4 dogs in the Top Ten for 1988, with Ch. Bluerock Saint Vivant taking top honors. Litter brothers Heklah Hemmi Cuda and Heklah Screech sired by the German import, Flyer of the Crackerjacks, ARM, placed 3rd and 4th. Top Eastern dog was Ring-dove Saturn, ARM, who went on to be the top NPR Whippet for 1989.
Boarley domination continued into 1989, placing 5 in the top ten. Number One spot went to Boarley Sparring Partner, a son of Ch. Swiftsure Happy Daze ARM and the top courser, Ch. Boarley Smoke Gets in Her Eyes. Heklah Hemmi Cuda was again the top BC dog, with the Specialty winning Ch. Devonair's Mitchell Frank (sired by the English import Ch. Nevedith Uptown Guy) as the top Eastern dog. Jane and Leo Strunin and dogs left Canada and returned to England, to the great disappointment of some of us, but I'm sure to the great relief of some of their competitors
Clearhound Whippets from Ontario placed 3 in the top ten in 1990, with Clearhounds Cruiser earning Number One Whippet and Number One Hound status. Of special mention is that the multi-BIS winning Am.Can.Ch. Mispickel A Touch of Class placed in the top ten.
Clearhound's Devon captured the #1 whippet spot for 1991, with Ch. Clearhounds Cezanne in 3rd spot. Three Boarley bred dogs placed in the top ten, with Boarley Strega in 2nd place. Sailaway Tomaso Pantera, sired by the English import Tom Terrific, was the lone representative from B.C. The Lorricbrook kennel name of Max Magder appeared for the first time in the top ten, with dogs in 8th and 10th.
1992 saw the westcoasters in a comeback - 5 of the top ten went to BC dogs. In top spot was Ch. Loughren Snow Trax, with his litterbrother Snow Spot in 8th. Ch. Loughren Niklby of Wyndsor and his sister, Harley Davidson of Wyndsor, (sired by the German import, Flyer of the Crackerjacks, out of the top racer Dynasty of Wyndsor ARM) also made the top ten. Devonair's Phoebe was the top Eastern dog. Phoebe had a strong performance in 1993 and finished up as #1 Whippet close behind was the BC dog, Yalapa Nipsy of Hunt Valley.
Eastern dogs led the way in 1994 with 5 of the top ten placements. Finghin's Myth Placed shattered all previous point records and compiled 500 points in one season and easily captured #1 Whippet and #1 Hound status. Devonairs Phoebe and Devonairs Rita were 2nd and 3rd.
1995 saw yet another record for whippets. Open Mind, an American dog owned by Seth & Lee Hayes, compiled nearly 600 points in earning #1 Hound status. Also at the 500 point mark were Finghin's Myth Placed and Clearhounds's Electra Blue. A young dog from Saskatchewan , Yilapa Lara, became that Province's first representative in the top ten.
The 1996 season is well underway and I am sure that the whippets will aspire to even greater coursing feats in Canada.
I'd like to offer my special congratulations to the many Canadians that take great pride in running their show champions. Indeed, you can see that over the years many of our top coursing dogs are also show champions, with Specialty and Best in Show winners making it to the top ten on the coursing field.
I hope I've provided you with a little insight into Canadian Lure Coursing. Thank you
RACE TRAINING YOUR WHIPPET
Training your whippet for racing can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience if you take the time to train your puppy correctly. There are four basic training steps: teaching your whippet to chase the lure, box training, muzzle training, and training your dog to run with other dogs.
It's best to start training your dog when they are very young. Even at six weeks, they can be teased with a sock tied to a string. Gently pull the sock across the room for the pups to chase. When the pups are old enough to go outside, try fish poling them. This is letting them chase a rag or small piece of fur tied to a string which is tied to the end of a pole or long stick. If during these important early weeks of training you notice a puppy is more interested in playing with their litter mates then chasing whatever you have on the end of the stick, then separate the puppy and work with him individually.
Once your puppies have had their shots and you feel it is safe to have them around other dogs, take them to race practice. This kind of socialization is very important and will prepare the pups for many of the different situations that will become a part of their lives. Race practice will get them used to the noise of the boxes opening, dogs barking, and people yelling. Let your puppy chase the lure a few yards and play with it when it stops. At their first practice a puppy should only chase the lure once. Each time you take them to practice, slowly increase the distance they chase the lure. By the age of six months, they should be able to chase up to I00 yards twice. I strongly recommend training your puppies slowly. You will have better results and less of a chance of them bumping other dogs.
Although puppies are eligible to race at 8 months, I personally do not recommend it. Racing four programs of 150 yards is asking a lot of a young whippet that is still growing both mentally and physically. Continue the training process by letting your puppy chase the lure and slowly increase the distance until your puppy is running 150 yards comfortably. When you feel your puppy is totally obsessed with the lure, it is then time to begin box training.
The first step to box-training is to let your puppy walk through an open box several times. This way your puppy is not intimidated by them. Next, hold your puppy in an open box and release the pup when the lure starts to move. If after doing this several times, you see that the puppy is comfortable, you can then place him in a closed box. By this time, your puppy should have no problems with the boxes.
Step three is muzzle training. Some find this step to be difficult, but I have had lots of success using the following procedure. First, put the muzzle on just as you are ready to put the puppy in the boxes, put the lure very close to the front of the box so the puppy is concentrating on the lure. The puppy should be focused on the lure, that way they do not realize they are wearing the muzzle. The only time my whippets ever wear a muzzle is right before the race. This way they connect it with something they love to do... chasing the bunny.
The final training stage is to run your muzzle and box trained puppy with another dog. I usually try the pups out with an older stable whippet. Hopefully, your puppy will pass the other dog and not try to play. If your pup does bump or play with the other dog, put the pup back to racing alone. If your puppy runs clean and passes the other dog, gradually increase the number of dogs you are running him with until you have worked up to a full race. When your puppy is running with four or dogs, he is ready for his first race meet.
Although this training method has proven to be effective, it does not work for every dog. Dogs, for better and for worse, are like children. Each dog is different and unique. Some train very easily and others take more time and patience. This same training method can be used with older dogs as well. The only difference is they are more capable of chasing the lure for a greater distance when you begin.
Whippet racing has brought me 25 years of fun, enjoyment, and pride in my dogs efforts. I sincerely hope you will have a good enthusiastic racer and that this sport gives you the same fulfillment that I have experienced.
DESIRABLE CONFORMATION IN THE MULTIPURPOSE WHIPPET
When this paper was written I hadn't, of course, had the benefit of listening to my very knowledgeable co- panelists. If we differ, its food for thought: if not, what a relief!
My personal concept of this breed addresses its athletic beauty and courage coupled with a willing and af fectionate temperament; qualities which are inseparable from and essential to the breed. This is simply another way of saying Multi Purpose Whippet; a many faceted animal with as many possibilities as a Swiss Army knife or, for that matter, a musical instrument. On a piano, for an instance, one can play Jazz, Bach or Soul or all three, but every piano has the strings and the keys and the resonant sound box that will produce all kinds of music. In the same way, a Whippet is formed to its functions of running and loving and interacting intelligently. No matter what music the owner wants to play, be it coursing, racing showing, obedience or just living like folks, its up to the owner: the Whippet comes fully equipped.
I think I can express with some confidence, even in this most prestigious international forum, that the desirable basic geometry of a Whippet should be moderate and balanced. While some very immoderately constructed dogs have been successful on the field and in the show ring, they are not the winning rule. The desirable shape is usually perceived as slightly rectangular but, upon measuring this animal from the point of shoulder to the pin bone and then from highest point of the withers to the ground, it will most often prove to be nearly square. In my experience, if a Whippet LOOKS square, it will measure shorter in length than in height. Again, in my view, this is too short. Too short for speed, too short for an open side gait and too short for pleasing aesthetics. Another most salient part of this silhouette is the reciprocal balance of the lift of loin and the depth of brisket. Many people feel that the powerful loin has a great deal to do with the speed of the animal. Anyone who has been fortunate enough to watch a running hound with that little additional strength and flexibility in the loin will attest to that breathtaking moment of extra push, at the top of their extension, resulting in a longer, very hard to conquer, stride. The brisket should balance the loin and, since the lift of the loin is moderate, the brisket need only approximate the point of elbow but should run back far enough to establish a true keel for the rib cage, as well as plenty of heart and lung room.
We have established a strong and shapely center. What of the rest of this Whippet? He not only needs forequarters and hindquarters; he must have a neck, head and tail,as well.
In many breeds the most challenging area to perfect is the fore assembly. It should be placed far enough back on the thorax so that the space between the legs is naturally filled and there is ample room for smooth muscle attachment of the shoulders and legs to the body. A fairly good sized shoulder blade, not too thick, will also facilitate a smoother shoulder by allowing the muscles to fan well out to their insertion points. The second arm will, on a moderately angulated dog, have a modest return and firm connections to the thorax. Another benefit of correct overall placement of the assembly ... no flying elbows or out turning legs and no loss of power. A running dog needs strong, slightly bent pasterns, to absorb shock, and tough, slightly hared, if I may invent a word, feet with conservatively arched and not too long toes. Many a promising field career has been cut short because of foot injuries. A winning Whippet holds noth ing back and some injuries are to be expected but sinewy, durable feet are genetically created and retained; certainly a quality to be prized in any bloodline.
The balancing rods are the neck, head and tail. The neck, enclosing and protecting the spine, will be muscular: strong and flexible, it is very much an integral part of the dog's speed and balance. The tail, a long, slim, outrigger at speed, is, combined with the hindquarters as a whole, a visual balance to the head and neck. The length of the neck and head should be in keeping with the sweep of quarters and length of tail. A short necked, overangulated dog looks ridiculous. An overangulated animal with a too long neck cannot function. He should be quite flexible but also very well sewn ... nothing slack about him. There is nothing indecisive about the form or function of a proper Whippet. As the needed power for explosive speed is generated by the rear assembly and loin, the rear angulation must not be a great deal more than that of the fore quarters. There must be some sweep if we are not to breed unattractive boxes; albeit fast unattractive boxes. Should the bones be too long and the angles too wide, the power train is weakened, the tight line of power to the track is lost. The Whippet's integrity of line is built upon utility: if the flow is altered, the stride is flawed and speed is sacrificed. In this breed, balanced beauty is the hallmark of the swift.
Our Standard is an organic instrument, periodically changing to reflect our growing understanding of this breed and to provide a verbal parameter within which all interests can work. We can be proud of the structure of this document and the Constitution and By-laws in which it is imbedded. The numbers of fanciers and the scope of their interests have radically changed the world of dogs and that of Whippets is no exception. In the last thirty years, field sports have grown from an occasional occurrence to weekly events on a national scale. Obedience, Agility and Tracking have been enlivened and encouraged by the new energy pouring into them. In such an expanding and provocative era it is a good thing to have the steadying influence of a Standard which grew out of this very time. Indeed, its principal coordinator, Dr. Billings, is on the panel with us today.
No Standard should be a slave to minutiae but instead clearly describe the indispensable elements of a breed lest that breed lose its identity amidst the crowded agendas of its energetic followers.
The most difficult breeding enterprise, in Whippets, is without doubt that of creating the Multi Purpose animal. A dog's active life is short; the breeders' available hours must compete with the needs of family, job and other interests. Will a dog be a specialist in one field of endeavor or, much tougher, will he try to do it all? If he's sound and attractive, perhaps he should be shown first? There's no avoiding the fact that each effort produces a different body. All Olympic athletes own trim and beautiful physiques but a sprinter is cast in a different mold than a marathon runner or a swimmer.
A flat racer 's regime will stamp its hallmark on its runner, a lure courser will achieve its own idiosyncratic look, while a bench dog, reflecting the diversity of interests of different owners, and only needing good general body tone, might be harder to identify. Perhaps that would be the place to start. But what about training for racing or coursing? A dog started late might well never reach his potential on the field. Those desirable flat muscles had better be genetic and not simply a function of extreme youth! Even a field specialist breeder, with no thought of a bench title for the dog, must have a care as to how far to deviate from the Standard in the possible interests of narrow gains. A Whippet, after all, should look like a Whippet. The ideal generalist would be all the Standard describes but marvelously fit; the muscles well developed but flat lying and delineated on a physique innocent of unnecessary subcutaneous fat. As difficult as this physiognomy is to produce, it is ephemeral to the core need of a running hound; that great desire to run; to run for the pure joy of it; to run against all odds; to run fast and clean, with brains and courage. That is at the heart of these hounds that we hope to produce.
THE RACING WHIPPET
Whippet racing was a popular sport in the north of England long before the breed was recognized by the Kennel Club, and before such a creature as a "pedigree" whippet was known. These early racing whippets could weigh as little as seven pounds and were raced together with small lurchers and terriers.
Racing was to the 'rag', which is to say that the dogs raced up a straight track towards their owners who would be shouting and waving a rag which the dog would grab at the end of the race. Starting traps were unheard of, and the dogs were started by a slipper, that is a man who held them by the collar and the base of the tail and threw them off their marks. It was a great art to project the dog as far forward as possible and have him land on his feet and in his stride. The starting judge would impose severe penalties for slipping dogs too early and there were also penalties for slipping them too slowly, a trick sometimes used to beat the bookmakers!
The earliest book on whippet racing was written in 1894 by Freeman Lloyd of the National Whippet Racing Club, and the sport was taken very seriously by the owners. A good dog that was capable of winning races could add considerably to the income of the family in hard times, and was given the treatment and care that would keep him in top form. Pedigree was of no importance, speed-was the only criterion and a little terrier or small greyhound blood might be bred into a line to improve speed or provide a little sharpness.
All this is a far cry from modern whippet racing, with its electrically controlled traps and mechanical lures, but the enthusiasm for the sport shown by both the dogs and their owners has not changed. Just as much thought and attention goes into the training and feeding of their charges nowadays, though it is doubtful if anyone has to go short to provide the whippet with his supper. Whippet racing today is very much a family sport, with wives, husbands and children enjoying the day out, having a picnic during the comparative peace whilst the dogs are 'weighed-in', and discussing the relative chances of the dogs in each race. Once racing has started the noise level rises considerably, with much vocal encouragement from the family of each dog as they fly up the final straight, compounded by the barking of other canine contestants eager for their turn.
NON-PEDIGREE WHIPPET RACING
1967 saw a major advance in the development of whippet racing when the British Whippet Racing Association was formed. The Association's aims being 'to promote greater friendship and understanding between the whippet racing clubs; to give strength to the advancement of the sport; to help clubs in dealings with local councils in negotiation for land, and to control and standardize whippet racing'.
The B.W.R.A. is made up of ten regions, each of which is run by its own committee according to the rules of the Association. They have periodic national committee meetings, with representatives from all ten regions which are presided over by the executive committee. A member of any club which is affiliated to the B.W.R.A. can join the Association through the club secretary and is then entitled to participate in Association events. All the dogs must be registered and registration cards are issued, which have to be produced at Association events. The B.W.R.A. does not require that a dog be a purebred whippet, though he must be of 'whippet-type', and many of their top dogs have greyhound blood three or four generations back.
For the National Championships the dogs run in two pound weight divisions from sixteen to thirty-two pounds. To run in the Championships a dog must have come first or second in a qualifying heat at his home club, and competition is very stiff. If he wins his final, the dog attains the prefix 'Racing Champion', but this title will not be recognized by the Kennel Club, and could not be used in any other context than racing.
The B.W.R.A. does not award prize money at its national race meetings, though the regions are allowed to do so. it was this lack of monetary reward which saw the formation in 1976 of the National Whippet Racing Federation. Federation meetings are held at affiliated club venues over different running distances, with good prize money and trophies.
THE WHIPPET CLUB RACING
It was the formation of the B.W.R.A. which led to the setting up of the Whippet Club Racing Association a year later. The Whippet Club, which is the oldest of the Breed Clubs, felt it was responsible for ensuring that whippets did not split into two different breeds, as had happened with greyhounds, with show dogs being registered with the Kennel Club, and racing stock with the B.W.R.A. It too wished to promote, organize and standardise whippet racing, but under the control of a responsible Breed Club and within the auspices of the Kennel Club.
The W.C.R.A. is an association of racing clubs, each of which has agreed to abide by the rules of the Association. Racing procedure is laid down by the Committee of the W.C.R.A., but any change in the rules has to be referred to the parent Club, the Whippet Club.
Dogs are issued with a Racing Passport, made out in the Kennel Club registered name of the whippet and giving the name under which he will race, his Kennel Club number, his W.C.R.A. number and all other rel evant facts. The Passport also has a photograph and gives detailed markings of the animal. Before a W.C.R.A. Passport is issued the owner has to produce the Kennel Club registration and a five-generation pedigree of the dog and to fill in an application form signed by the breeder. All the papers will be counter-signed by one of the offi cials appointed by the W.C.R.A., who will wish to see the dog and not just the pieces of paper. It has been known for a dog, with a valid Kennel Club registration, to be refused a Passport because there was reasonable doubt about the true pedigree background of the animal. This is one of the reasons why in Britain, if you might want to race your whippet with the W.C.R.A., you should buy a puppy from a reputable breeder.
The W.C.R.A. has been granted the right by the Ken nel Club to award dogs who win two finals in their weight group at Championship meetings the title of 'Whippet Club Racing Champion. This is usually shortened to W.C.R.Ch. and can be used on pedigrees made out by breeders, although the Kennel Club would not use the title on official pedigrees issued by them.
There are usually four Championship meetings each season, two of which will be run over 150 yds. on a straight track, and two over 240 yds. round a track with two bends. The W.C.R.A. also divides the dogs into 2 lb. classes from 'not exceeding 16 lbs.' to 'not exceeding 30 lbs. The races are run off scratch with each weight group divided into heats, with the first two from each heat going forward to the next round. This sometimes means, if there is a large entry, that the dogs have to run four times in an afternoon.
The various clubs affiliated to the W.C.R.A. hold 'Open' meetings where the best dogs from other clubs as well as the home club, compete for trophies and points in the 'Superstars' League. Competition is keen, with many W.C.R.Ch.s and potential champions taking part, as well as good club dogs. Those knocked out in the first round usually have their own 'Consolation' trophies, so that all the dogs get more than one chance to win something. The clubs vary both the length of the races and the system of handicapping from meeting to meeting. There will be meetings at which the dogs are graded according to past performance in order that as many dogs as possible have the chance to win a race, as well as the usual weight handicap meetings. If their grounds allow, the clubs also run different lengths of race, from the 150 yd straight to 240 yd bend meetings. Some clubs even run longer distances, so that the dogs who may lack sprint speed but have strength and stamina may have their chance.
THE COURSING WHIPPET
In the middle-ages in Europe only the local Lord of the Manor was allowed to own a greyhound. In fact any greyhound type of hound belonging to a peasant was mutilated so that it could not run very fast. This was to ensure that a mere peasant might not be tempted to poach his Lordship's game in order to feed his hungry family.
As in the past greyhounds could only be owned by those with land and position, it was not long before tales of a particular dog's prowess in the field resulted in competitions between neighboring landowners' dogs. From these, private duels grew the desire to test the dogs in public competition and the formation of Coursing Clubs. The first of these clubs was the Swaffham Coursing Club, which was established in 1776 and is still running meetings today. By 1858 there were so many Coursing Clubs that the National Coursing Club was formed to regulate and control coursing. Today there are still twenfy greyhound coursing clubs running meetings throughout the season. Greyhounds compete not only for the sport however, the prize money or 'purse' can be very generous and there is much betting on the outcome.
Whippet coursing, like whippet racing, is strictly amateur, no prize money or betting is allowed, and the owners run their dogs purely as a test of their working ability.
Coursing under National Coursing Club rules has been defined as 'a competitive test of the merits of coursing dogs two dogs only in each course - under formalized conditions regulated by a strict and detailed code of rules'- The objective is not to catch and kill the hare, but to test the speed, agility, determination and courage of the dogs. The rules of the National Whippet Coursing Club are basically the same as those of the National Coursing Club for greyhounds, with minor alterations to take into account the difference in size.
There are only four Whippet Coursing Clubs running under rules in the country. They have a central body, The National Whippet Coursing Club, and the NWCC sends a representative to the British Field Sports Coursing Committee.
All four clubs have a waiting list for membership, and it may take several years before graduating from being a nonrunning member to becoming a full running member of a club. During the time you are a non-running member, you will be expected to attend some meetings every year to help walk the fields and learn about the sport.
At the beginning of the season most whippet coursing Meetings are 'walked', which means that those taking part walk across the fields in a straight line, stopping when a hare gets up.
Later in the season some of the big trophy Meetings are "driven". This means that the hares are driven by a line of beaters towards the slipper holding the two competing dogs. The field will be instructed as to where they are to stand so as not to obstruct the course or prevent the hare from using his natural escape routes.
When the hare has been given a lead of the distance stipulated in the rules, that is not less than 35 yards, the slipper releases the dogs and they set off after the hare. The judge follows and awards the dogs points for the manner in which they run and cause the hare to twist and turn. Points are awarded for speed, making the hare turn or jink, and for going past the other dog.
Hares can and do turn much faster than any hound, and the lead that it is given ensures that most hares will escape. Only an exceptionally good whippet can catch and kill a young fit hare, and even then the hare would have to behave in an uncharacteristically foolish manner. That being said, there is no National Health Service for hares, and not all adults are young and fit, so it follows that some are killed.
All hares at all meetings are wild and have not been displaced from their familiar surroundings. The notion that hares are shipped to unfamiliar grounds and released for the dogs probably originated from the old miners' rabbit coursing meetings.
Coursing, in my opinion, is the ultimate test of a whippet, and it is a most thrilling experience on a fine Autumn morning to watch your dog galloping over the fields, jumping ditches or walls or battling his way through a hedge. It has to be said though that such idyllic days are offset by those which consist of a cold, wet struggle over heavy plough with the rain gradually soaking down inside your shirt and your boots. It says much for the determination of both owners and dogs that some very good coursing can be seen on such a day.
As long ago as eighteen hundred years, the Greek philosopher Arrian, wrote "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". This famous quotation certainly reflects the view of coursing held by those who take part in the sport, but if one is against such activities there is no obligation to take part.
From the beginning of formal whippet coursing there have been experienced breeders prepared to test their show stock under sporting conditions. Such breeders believe that only in this way can the continued freedom of the whippet from genetic malformations be guaranteed. It takes considerable courage to risk a show dog on the field, particularly a youngster just beginning to hit top form in the ring. However it is a tremendous thrill to see a beautiful specimen of this elegant breed, who only two days ago was gliding around a show ring, streaking across a field in front of his opposition. It is this ability still to fulfill his proper function that makes a whippet such a special dog.
Of course it is not necessary to work your dogs in order to produce healthy stock, though all whippets need a certain amount of free running. It has often been said that fanciers only hold their breed in trust for the future, and working your stock is one way of ensuring that those faults which might cause problems to a running dog are not encouraged. When the Committee of The Whippet Club drew up the first standard for the breed, they had the function for which the breed was intended in mind. All the exaggerations which have crept in to make the
show whippet more elegant and eye-catching have been at the expense of this functional ability. If such selective breeding continues too long, whippets, like greyhounds, will divide into two breeds.
The show greyhound is bred solely for its looks and is judged entirely by the standards of the beauty contest whereas the coursing greyhound is judged solely by performance. How good looking it may or may not be is totally irrelevant. Hence the development of two entirely separate types to the detriment of both.
Whippets in Britain however have not yet suffered this division, and there are many examples of dual-purpose animals today. From the beginning of whippet coursing under rules, top show dogs have competed in the field, and sporting kennels have used carefully selected show champions in their breeding programmes. As long as this continues, whippets will remain free from many of the distressing genetic faults of other breeds.
A LOOK AT THE BREED STANDARDS
MODERATOR: BO BENGTSON
MAGNUS HAGSTEDT— SWEDEN
JESSIE McLEOD— U.K.
PAT MILLER— CANADA
PIERO RENAI della RENA—ITALY
BETTY STITES— U.S.A.
ISABELL STOFFERS— U.S.A.
AN INTERNATIONAL LOOK AT THE WHIPPET STANDARDS
One Breed Standard or Many?
Moderator: Bo Bengtson
Active in Whippets since 1961, has judged worldwide and breeds under the Bohem prefix. Author of 'The Whippet' (UK 1985, USA 1994).
Mary Lowe, England , has owned the renowned dual purpose Nimrodel Whippets since the 1960s. She has judged in Europe, Australia, Canada and for AWC in 1984. She is the author of the standard work 'The English Whippet' (1984).
Jessie McLeod, Scotland , has bred the successful Peperone Whippets since the 1970s. She has judged Whippets in Europe, Australia and most recently also during the AWC Eastern specialty weekend in 1994.
Frank Pieterse, Australia , has imported many famous English Whippets and with his wife Lee owns the successful Statuesque kennels. He will make his U.S. judging debut during the 1997 AWC Midwest weekend.
Betty Stites, USA , has had Sighthounds since the 1950s. Her Hullabaloo prefix is known for both Afghan Hounds and Whippets. She is approved to judge all Hounds, has judged several AWC specialties (incl. the first National) as well as overseas.
lsabell Stoffers, USA , has bred many top Runner's champions. She is a judge for all Hound breeds and has judged Whippets in Scandinavia, England, Australia and South Africa , as well as several AWC specialties, incl. the 1988 National Specialty.
Piero Renai delia Rena, Italy , has been a Whippet owner and international judge for many years - including in the U.S. in 1994. With his wife Pamela he maintains a small Whippet kennel under the 'di Farneto' suffix.
Pat Miller, Canada , has had Whippets since the 1960s; her Woodsmoke kennels has produced over 200 champions in Whippets and Shih-Tzus. She is approved to judge all breeds and has done so internationally for many years.
Magnus Hagstedt , Sweden , has the Signum prefix and has owned top Whippets of Swedish, English, French and American breeding since 1971. He has judged in England, Australia, across Europe and the AWC Eastern specialty in 1986.
LOOKING AT THE BREED STANDARDS
The wording in the three Whippet breed standards used world-wide differ, but in only a few areas are the requirements directly different. The most obvious differences:
UK & FCI:
Dogs 47-51 cm (18.5 - 20 ins)
Bitches44-47 cm (17.5 - 18.5 ins)
Ideal height for dogs, 19 to 22 inches; for bitches, 18 to 21 inches, measured at the highest point of the withers. More than one-half inch above or below the stated limits will disqualify.
Ideal height for dogs 19 - 22 in. (48-56 cm); for bitches, 18 - 21 in. (46-53 cm). These are not in tended to be definite limits, only approximate.
PIGMENTATION, EYE COLOR
UK & FCI:
Nose black, in blues a bluish colour permitted, in livers a nose of the same colour, in whites or parti-colour a butterfly nose is permitted. (No mention of eye color.)
Nose entirely black. Eyes [... ] dark. Both eyes must be of the same color. Yellow or light eyes should be strictly penalized. Blue or wall eyes shall disqualify. Fully pigmented eyelids are desirable.
Nose entirely black. Eyes [... ] dark hazel in colour. must be at least as dark as the coat colour.
ENGLAND AND ALL FCI COUNTRIES (INCLUDING AUSTRALIA)
GENERAL APPEARANCE - Balanced combination
of muscular power and strength with elegance and grace of outline. Built for speed and work. All forms of exaggeration should be avoided.
CHARACTERISTICS - An ideal companion. Highly adaptable in domestic and sporting surroundings.
TEMPERAMENT - Gentle, affectionate, even disposition.
HEAD AND SKULL - Long and lean, flat on top tapering to muzzle with slight stop, rather wide between the eyes, jaws powerful and clean cut, nose black, in blues a bluish colour permitted, in livers a nose of the same colour, in whites or parti-colour a butterfly nose permissible.
EYES - Oval, bright, expression very alert
EARS - Rose shaped, small, fine in texture
MOUTH - Jaws strong with a perfect, regular and complete scissors bite, i.e. the upper teeth closely overlapping the lower teeth and set square to the jaws.
NECK - Long, muscular, elegantly arched. -
FOREQUARTERS - Shoulders oblique and muscular, blades carried up to top of spine, where they are clearly defined. Forelegs straight and upright, front not too wide, pasterns strong with slight spring, elbows set well under body.
BODY - Chest very deep with plenty of heart room, brisket deep, well defined, broad back, firm somewhat long, showing definite arch over loin but not humped. Loin giving impression of strength and power, ribs well sprung, muscled on back.
HINDQUARTERS - Strong, broad across thighs, stifles well bent hocks well let down, well developed second thighs, dog able to stand over a lot of ground and show great driving power.
FEET - Very neat, well split up between toes, knuckles well arched, pads thick and strong.
TAIL - No feathering. Long, tapering, when in ac tion carried in a delicate curve upward but not over back.
GAIT/MOVEMENT - Free, hindlegs coming well under body for propulsion. Forelegs thrown well forward low over the ground, true coming and going. General movement not to look stilted, high stepping, short or mincing.
COAT - Fine, short close in texture.
COLOUR - Any colour or mixture of colours. SIZE - Height:
Dogs 47-51 cm (18 - 20 ins)
Bitches 44-47 cm (17 - 18 1/2 ins)
FAULTS - Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree.
NOTE - Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.
AMERICAN KENNEL CLUB
OFFICIAL STANDARD FOR THE WHIPPET
GENERAL APPEARANCE- A medium size sighthound giving the appearance of elegance and fitness, denoting great speed, power and balance without coarseness. A true sporting hound that covers a maxi mum of distance with a minimum of lost motion. Should convey an impression of beautifully balanced muscular power and strength, combined with great elegance and grace of outline. Symmetry of outline, muscular development and powerful gait are the main considerations; the dog being built for speed and work, all forms of exaggeration should be avoided.
SIZE, PROPORTION, SUBSTANCE- Ideal height for dogs, 19 to 22 inches; for bitches, 18 to 21 inches, measured at the highest point of the withers. More than one-half inch above or below the stated limits will disqualify. Length from forechest to buttocks equal to or slightly greater than height at the withers. Moderate bone throughout.
HEAD - Keen Intelligent alert expression. Eyes large and dark. Both eyes must be of the same color. Yellow or light eyes should be strictly penalized. Blue or wall eyes shall disqualify. Fully pigmented eyelids are desir able. Rose ears, small, fine in texture; in repose, thrown back and folded along neck. Fold should be maintained when at attention. Erect ears should be severely penalized. Skull long and lean, fairly wide between the ears, scarcely perceptible stop. Muzzle should be long and powerful, denoting great strength of bite, without coarseness. Lack of underjaw should be strictly penalized. Nose entirely black. Teeth of upper jaw should flt closely over teeth of lower jaw creating a scissors bite. Teeth should be white and strong. Undershot shall disqualify. Overshot one-quarter inch or more shall disqualify.
NECK, TOPLINE, BODY - Neck long, clean and muscular, well arched with no suggestion of throatiness, widening gracefully into the top of the shoulder. A short thick neck, or a ewe neck, should be penalized. The back is broad, firm and well muscled, having length over the loin. The backline runs smoothly from the withers with a graceful natural arch, not too accentuated, beginning over the loin and carrying through over the croup; the arch is continuous without flatness. A dip behind shoulder blades, wheelback, flat back, or a steep or flat croup should be penalized. Brisket very deep, reaching as nearly as possible to the point of the elbow. Ribs well sprung but with no suggestion of barrel shape. The space between the forelegs is filled in so that there is no appearance of a hollow between them. There is a definite tuckup of the underline. The tail long and tapering, reaching to the hipbone when drawn through between the hind legs. When the dog is in motion, the tail is car ried low with only a gentle upward curve; tail should not be carried higher than top of back.
FOREQUARTERS - Shoulder blade long, well laid back, with flat muscles, allowing for moderate space between shoulder blades at peak of withers. Upper arm of equal length, placed so that the elbow falls directly under the withers. The points of the elbows should point neither in nor out, but straight back. A steep shoulder, short upper arm, a heavily muscled or loaded shoulder, or a very narrow shoulder, all of which restrict low free movement, should be strictly penalized. Forelegs straight, giving appearance of strength and substance of bone. Pasterns strong, slightly bent and flexible. Bowed legs, tied-in elbows, legs lacking substance, legs set far under the body so as to create an exaggerated forechest, weak or upright pasterns should be strictly penalized. Both front and rear feet must be well formed with hard, thick pads. Feet more hare than cat, but both are acceptable. Flat, splayed or soft feet without thick hard pads should be strictly penalized. Toes should be long, close and well arched. Nails strong. Dewclaws may be removed.
HINDQUARTERS - Long and powerful. The thighs are broad and muscular, stifles well bent; muscles are long and flat and carry well down toward the hock. The hocks are well let down and close to the ground. Sickle or cow hocks should be strictly penalized.
COAT - Short, close, smooth and firm in texture. Any other coat shall be a disqualification. Old scars and injuries, the result of work or accident, should not be allowed to prejudice the dogs chance in the show ring.
COLOR - Color immaterial.
GAIT - Low, free moving and smooth, with reach in the forequarters and strong drive in the hindquarters. The dog has great freedom of action when viewed from the side; the forelegs move forward close to the ground to give a long, low reach; the hind legs have strong propelling power. When moving and viewed from front or rear, legs should should turn neither in nor out, nor should feet cross or interfere with each other. Lack of front reach or rear drive, or a short, hackney gait with high wrist action, should be strictly penalized. Crossing in front or moving too close should be strictly penalized.
TEMPERAMENT - Amiable, friendly, gentle, but capable of great intensity during sporting pursuits. DISQUALIFICATIONS
CANADA - OFFICIAL BREED STANDARD FOR THE WHIPPET
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.
SIZE: Ideal height for dogs 19- 22 in. (48- 56 cm); for bitches, 18-21 in. (46-53 cm). These are not intended to be definite limits, only approximate.
COAT AND COLOUR: Coat close, smooth, and firm in texture. Colour immaterial.
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. Teeth white, strong and even. Teeth of upper jaw should fit closely over the lower. Eyes large, intelligent, round in shape and dark hazel in colour, must be at least as dark as the coat colour. Expression should be keen and alert. A sulky expression and lack of alertness to be considered most undesirable. Ears small, fine in texture, thrown back and folded. Semipricked when at attention.
NECK: Long and muscular, well arched and with no suggestion of throatiness, widening gradually into the shoulders. Must not have any tendency to an "ewe" neck.
FOREQUARTERS: Shoulders long, well laid back with long, flat muscles. 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 point of the shoulder. Fair amount of bone, which the should carry right down to the feet. Pasterns strong.
BODY: Back strong and powerful, rather long with a good natural arch over the loin creating a definite tuckup of the underline but covering a lot of ground. Brisket very deep and strong, reaching as nearly as possible to the point of the elbow. Ribs well sprung 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.
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. Feet must be well formed with strong, thick pads and well-knuckled-up paws.
TAIL: Long and tapering, should reach to a hip bone when drawn through between the hind legs. Must not be carried higher than the top of the back when moving.
GAIT: Low, free moving and smooth, as long as is commensurate with the size of the dog.
FAULTS: Light yellow or oblique eyes should be strictly penalized. Gay ears are incorrect and should be severely penalized. Loaded shoulders are a very seri ous fault. A thin, flat, open foot is a serious fault. A short, mincing gait with high knee action should be severely penalized.
Disqualification: An undershot mouth shall disqualify.
An International Look at the Whippet Standards -One Breed Standard or Many?
1) What is your opinion of the current breed standard in your own country? Which are the most important, "key" parts, and what do you feel are the weakest sections? Any specifics you object to in your own or in any of the foreign standards?
2) Are there any words or expressions which you feel are frequently misunderstood in the Breed Standard?
3) How do you think the current Breed Standards relate to function and working ability in the field?
4) Which parts of the standard do you feel that judges and breeders tend to emphasize the most - for better or worse - and which parts are frequently neglected, in your own country and any others you have experience of? 1s there a difference between how breed specialists and allrounders judge Whippets?
5) Many judges feel that Whippets vary greatly in type and conformation even within areas with the same breed standard. Do you feel that this is true, and if so what is the reason? If desirable, can anything be done to improve the situation?
6) When you judge or watch Whippets in a country where a different standard is employed, how do you reconcile the "foreign" requirements with your own ideals? Does it affect your judging - i.e. would you put up a different dog in a different country than you would at home?
7) Do you think that a common world standard for Whippets would be possible or even desirable? Or should we take the consequences of the differences between the standards and divide the breed into different regional varieties?
8) Any other questions you would like to bring up?
1) The current UK Standard is the modified-(1986) version of the 1945 Whippet Standard which was in every way more explicit and evocative than the current, condensed, altered and rather un-grammatical version. We have lost most of excellent general description (wisely retained in the USA Standard) and the slightly changed wording on shoulder construction is confusing. The anomaly concerning 'liver' noses (Whippets do not carry the gene for liver) remains and the height guidelines allowing only 1" for bitches and 1 1/2" for dogs is pointless, otherwise in general the Standard is fairly true to the ideal overall picture.
2) See 1 above in relation to the UK Standard. Both the USA & Canadian Standards list dilute pigment, incomplete pigment and light eyes as faults but permit the colours which produce them. Logically they should either ban the dilute colours or permit the pigment which goes with them. Since the Whippet is a working breed colour is 'immaterial' and therefore so should pigment be also. Both Standards also require 'round' eyes - surely incorrect on a sighthound? Perhaps the main difference in the UK Standard and those of the USA & Canada is the wording concerning the construction of the front but since most of us do agree about what is good front assembly perhaps it is the inadequacy of the wording in all three cases rather than fundamental differences of opinion.
3) The UK Standard was obviously based on the functional Whippet and has remained closer to that conception than the other two. The differing show system may be responsible for the USA & Canadian Standards putting so much greater weight on glamour.
4) It is always said that Breed Specialists nit-pick and that All-Rounders go for soundness possibly at the expense of breed type. We need both sorts of judges but what we mostly need are judges who have a genuine knowledge and love of our breed & the ability to access it honestly. I think the most prevalent flouting of the Standard is that sentence which says 'the dog being built for speed and work all forms of exaggeration should be avoided'.
Unfortunately in the show ring, and particularity in the Group ring, the exaggerated animal looks more impressive and many judges fall for this. We all want scope & quality and elegance, but it can be a fine line where these qualities turn into exaggeration.
5) I think it is true that there is a wide variation in type in most parts of the world, even those parts where the same Standard applies. In a breed which is numerically strong which is the case in most parts of the world, and where at the same time there is wide gene pool this variation in type is probably inevitable. Whilst it can make judging more unpredictable and lead to differing ideas of excellence I am not sure that it is a wholly bad thing. Whippets are considered to be free of hereditary abnormalities in the KC/ BVA study which is almost certainly a result of a wide gene pool. When breeding becomes restricted either by concentration on certain bloodlines or by minor considerations of purely cosmetic criteria (for instance colour) hereditary abnormalities resulting from such limitation would appear to follow as night the day.
6) I do not think I have ever been in a position of being obliged to put up an exhibit anywhere in the world that I would not have been prepared to put up at home. It is sometimes true that ones 'ideal' type is not represented but I have never found lack of excellence against the standard, theirs or mine. The only two major differences between the UK (& FCI) Standard & the USA & Canadian Standards is that you are able to give more leeway over size and you must remember to penalise eyes and pigment, but since exhibits with this fault do not seem to be exhibited this hardly represents a problem. I will say one thing, where size is a consideration type is manisfestly more level.
7) In an ideal world I think it would be a good idea if Breed Standards were exactly that, Standard. However I do not think this is likely to come about as the varying standards are drawn up by such differing bodies, an, imposition from above would be very deeply resented. I do not personally find a great deal of difference in the idea embodied by the three different Standards if one takes, as I believe one should, an over-all view- with one exception, the problem of the two dilute factors, and the resulting pigment. In my view it would be absolutely tragic and probably deleterious to the breed (in limiting the gene pool) to penalise the dilute, and if the Standard does not permit dilute pigment then that is the case. It should never be forgotten that one of the most famous and influential stud dogs of all time, and all over the world, was Ch Laguna Ligonier who was a blue brindle parti-colour - I suppose he would never have been used in the USA or Canada and just think what we would have all missed.
8) I am surprised by the the fact the USA standard requires 'round' eye. What do people feel about this. I am not sure I recall seeing a whippet with round eyes!
1) In my opinion the breed standard could have been written in more depth. Interpretation in some parts is very vague. Although the new illustrated standard published by the Breed Council is extremely helpful, I think the most important part of the standard must be general appearance. The animal, for a start, has to look like a whippet and should be perfectly balanced with elegance and grace of outline.
The weakest parts of the standard have to be topline, shoulders and upper arm. There are so few whippets around at the moment with the desired shoulder placement and correct upper arm. Toplines are far too varied. The long, low daisy cutting action is also ignored.
2) The standard tells us jaws strong, but there is no mention of under-jaw, the shoulders oblique and muscular, I think it should also tell you that the muscle should be flat, also the word arch can be very much misunderstood.
3) The breed standard was drawn up for the whippet to be functional. The majority of whippets could do the job they were intended for, but very few Show ken nels are interested in their working ability.
4) In Britain quite a few judges emphasize too much on size and colour and not enough on balance. Shoulders are very much neglected, and also the long, low stride. There is a lot of confusion about toplines (but I think this is worldwide). Some of our better allrounders have a better eye for balance and soundness, but we have too many who just want to judge whippets to allow them to pass to judge groups, who really don't know enough about the breed.
5) No matter what breed standard we read, every individual interprets it differently. There is also Kennel type with breeders strongly line breeding to totally different lines from each other, although they are the correct type they will have a much different look. Some people not too long in the breed don't give enough thought to line breeding and just use one of the top winning dogs. Others don't want to travel any distance and use the most available dog. I don't think we will ever change this situation.
6) When judging, it should always be to the breed standard, therefore if I judge in another country with a different standard I would study the standard carefully and judge to that standard. I don't think it affects my judging too much, as I would still look for breed type, balance and soundness. As the different standards only apply to USA and Canada, and having judged in the USA, I had no problems reconciling the foreign requirements with my own ideals.
7) I think that a common world standard would be very desirable, and that the standard should be that of the country of origin. Whether it could be possible is a different matter. It would certainly not be good for the breed to become too divided.
(b) I would like to see uniformity of size throughout the world. In Australia most judges favour smaller Whippets ie between 18 to 19 inches and top quality dogs that are "up to size" are often placed down the line to small but mediocre specimens. Too many judges are preoccupied with size. Universal agreement on this issue would enable judges to concentrate on the much more important aspect of quality type and balance.
(c) English standard - forequarters "elbow set WELL under the body". This is a relic from the old attitude that the angle between the upper arm and shoulder blade should be 90 degrees. I continuously hear judges and commentators yearning for a "good return of upper arm". I can find very few Whippets with much degree of return of upper arm. Indeed in my experience sighthounds with a more open angle between the upper arm and the shoulder blade tend to move out much better in the ring. Curtis Brown in Dog Locomotion & Gait Analysis 1986 Edition, p38 states "No one has shown by tests that a 90 degree angle at the point of shoulder is optimum for a given purpose and it is certainly wrong for swift dogs." This of course does not excuse total lack of angulation in this area. The upper arms should not look as though they were tacked on as an afterthought!
(d) "Gait and movement". I prefer the American standard and would like to see the English standard adopt the more descriptive reference to gait and movement contained in the American standard.
2) Symmetry of outline, muscular development and powerful gait To me the key part is the symmetry of outline, muscular development and powerful gait. I believe every serious Whippet enthusiast should study this aspect by looking at and comparing as many live Whippets and photos as possible to develop a "feel" for the desired balance of these three qualities both standing still and moving. Whilst other aspects of the standards are important, to describe them as "key parts" will, in my view, only encourage nit picking and fault judgment and deflect concentration from the main issue, namely, the understanding of symmetry of outline, muscular development and powerful gait.
3) Specifics objected to in foreign standards (a) Pigmentation
(i) The Canadian and USA standards require "nose black". The American standard "fully pigmented eyelids desirable". The standard says "colour immaterial". It therefore seems illogical to require the black pigmentation referred to above. Indeed the American standard permits a blue Whippet, yet it is genetically impossible for a blue Whippet to have a black nose.
(ii) I feel a black nose and pigmented eyelids are irrelevant to function and the key aspects referred to above.
(iii) Further, the American standard refers to eyes "large and dark ... yellow or light eyes should be strictly penalised". "Fully pigmented eyelids are desirable". This is cosmetic aspect only and I fail to see the relevance of these criteria to the function of the dog which, after all, is to chase a rabbit at high speeds across fields which may be rough or ploughed.
(b) The USA standard states "a dip behind the shoulder blades ... should be penalised". These can lead to judges being critical of the "nick" in the top line above the anticlinal vertebrae which is normal construction. Perhaps this aspect could be clarified in the standard as to what is a "nick" (acceptable) and "dip" (unacceptable).
(c) The Canadian standards requires forelegs to be "straight and rather long". The English and USA standards do not specify "rather long". It will be difficult to achieve universal agreement as to proportion without a common understanding as to leg length.
(d) Body - "covering a lot of ground" (Canadian standard).
Points (b) and (c) above could do with clearer definition.
I believe all standards should be more descriptive of the proportion of the length to height of the Whippet. Many people think that "covering a lot of ground" refers to the ground covered from the front feet to back feet and they tend to stretch their dog's back feet out to give the impression it covers a lot of ground. This is quite incorrect as the term refers to ground covered by the body from point of shoulder to point of buttock and is not altered by overstretching or on the move.
The distance from point of shoulder to point of buttocks should be longer than the distance from withers to ground. This is a fundamental concept of proportion that should be agreed upon and clearly defined in the standards.
Further, the English and Australian Whippets tend to have different proportions of leg length to chest depth than the American Whippets. To an Englishman, an American Whippet looks "leggy" and to an American an English Whippet looks "short legged and dumpy". Curtis Brown IBID, p12O referring to swift dogs (and he clarifies Whippets as the swiftest over a short distance) states "Leg length about 1.3 times longer than the chest depth" as one of his 9 most desirable points of structure in swift dogs.
Whilst I see difficulty in agreeing on a universal height standard, it may be that common agreement can be reached on the desired proportion of height to length overall and the proportion of withers to ground as against elbow to ground.
These proportions can be agreed on whilst -still accommodating different overall sizes and individual type differences from dog to dog. For example a Shalfleet might be quite a different type to a Dondelayo yet they can have similar proportions. The breed difference between America and England is however quite noticeable to me. Whilst this difference remains it will be impossible to achieve a universally agreed upon standard.
Are there any words or expressions which you feel are frequently misunderstood in the Breed Standard? None of the standards are clear on what is meant by the concept of covering ground. The standards should be clarified to clearly define what is meant by covering a lot of ground both standing and moving.
How do you think the current Breed Standards relate to function and working ability in the field?
As stated above, I think the reference to dark eyes and noses has nothing to do with a Whippet's working ability. Further the gait descriptions in all three standards may be relevant to assessing how a dog can trot around the ring for judging purposes but they are not helpful for assessing working ability in the field.
Which parts of the standard do you feel that judges and breeders tend to emphasise the most - for better or worse - and which parts are frequently neglected, in your own country and any others you have experienced of? 1s there a difference between how breed specialists and allrounders judge Whippets?
Unfortunately what many breeders and judges look for is caused by a "chicken and egg" situation. When a dog with certain flashy or spectacular attributes gets to win a lot, other judges tend to look for these attributes and breeders tend to breed for them. The most obvious example of this is in the area of side gait and head and expression. A spectacular exaggerated side gait together with dark melting eyes and an expression "to die for" is a sure fire recipe for success in the show ring. It is only natural that judges who are not familiar with the breed will be seduced by these flashy attributes and indeed they are. The consequential success of those exhibits in the show ring puts pressure on many exhibitors to try and emulate those attributes in their breeding program.
I Australia, allrounder judges are looking for smart, pretty and particularly little Whippets that move very fast, are cut away over the loin, have a deep chest and an exaggerated cut up.
The most eloquent answer to this question comes from Mr Espen Engh in his critique during a recent American judging trip. He states "Please never confuse pretty white and brindle markings, a long neck, a pretty head and showmanship for Whippet type. I am not saying these traits may not be attractive but true Whippet type is so much more than this."
And he is right. If we are trying to breed better Whippets as distinct from beauty contest winners we should agree on what we are looking for and educate breeders and judges accordingly. Pragmatically, I don't think it is possible to achieve a universally accepted outline and I think it is unlikely that there will be a common height standard but we can make a start by agreement as to what is an ideal proportion as discussed above.
Many judges feel that Whippets vary greatly in type and conformation even within areas with the same breed standard. Do you feel that this is true, and if so what is the reason? If desirable, can anything be done to improve the situation?
The above is true. Variation is caused by local prejudice, ie the type that wins in a particular country or area.
We have seen American judges come to Australia and, being used to the American leggier type, they do not "get their eye in" until they have finished the dogs and started on the bitches. This is quite understandable. Breed standards are not sufficiently descriptive of the proportions required in a Whippet.
When you judge or watch Whippets in a country where a different standard is employed, how do you reconcile the "foreign" requirements with your own ideals? Does it affect your judging - ie would you put up a different dog in a different country than you would at home?
I think it is most important for a judge, when judging in another country, to look at the breed in the context of the local standard and exhibits. It is inappropriate and inconsiderate of a judge to attempt to impose his parochial concepts onto his approach to judging in another country. My only qualification to this comment is encapsulated by the comments of Mr Engh referred to above. A judge is looking for a Whippet first and foremost.
Do you think that a common world standard for Whippets would be possible or even desirable? Or should we take the consequences of the differences between the standards and divide the breed into different regional varieties.
I think a common world standard for Whippets is desirable but not achievable in the foreseeable future. I do think that we can work towards agreed proportions of body length to height and ratio of chest depth to leg length. I do not think we should divide the breed into different regional varieties as this would cause more fragmentation of ideas.
I cannot see dramatic changes evolving rapidly. However, if genuine breeders and enthusiasts come with an open mind and are prepared to take on board and consider the virtues of Whippets produced in various other countries, this can only help the breed in the long run. We are wasting our time if we approach this convention with a closed mind.
For example, whilst the type exhibited in England and the USA differs considerably, both countries have some wonderful specimens that by any definition are a credit to the breed. The fact that this convention is taking place and that we are here pooling our ideas, hopefully with open minds, is an excellent start.
BETTY STITES The Standard
Standards are groups of words written by well meaning people in an attempt to paint a picture of a breed for the minds eye. In some cases it works and in some cases it doesn't. What we can't take into account is that each eye sees differently, and each mind interprets differently, so that though the words may be the same, the animal we see before us is different. This individual interpretation evolves into a different type of Whippet within areas of a country, but far more importantly be tween countries.
In reading each of the three standards generally in use, the FCI the USA and the Canadian, the words are very similar. The dogs representing these words are not.
In viewing Sighthounds in several areas of the world, I find that Greyhounds, Salukis, Scottish Deerhounds and Irish Wolfhounds could transfer from country to country without causing a ripple of comment, winning in rings all over the world. This applies to a lesser extent to the Afghan Hound. It does not apply to the Whippet. The Whippet Standard is similar throughout the world, but the dogs are very different.
The best standard is often the first standard written. It usually conveys the ideas and the enthusiasms of the original breeders in the fewest possible words. More words are not necessarily better words, and confusion arises. Changes to a standard often do very little to improve it. The American Whippet Club has seen fit to change the US standard innumerable times. It is certainly open to question whether these changes have made the standard any better or any clearer. It is my personal opinion that it has not. At present the Canadian standard is very similar to one of the past US standards, and I feel it gives a far better description of the breed than the current US standard. Sadly, I hear the Canadians are planing to change their standard. The FCI standard is the most concise - a definite point in its favor - and still paints the needed picture.
The meat of the current US standard is in the General Description section. This section states strongly that this breed was developed for a purpose, a function, NOT just to be a porcelain figure inertly gracing some show ring. The key words: "A true sporting hound that covers a maximum of distance with a minimum of lost motion," and the following passages "Symmetry of outline muscular development and powerful gait are the main considerations; the dog being built for speed and work all forms of exaggeration should be avoided," (Emphasis mine.) The FCI standard has the same statement on exaggeration. Unfortunately, in this country, we have not heeded these words, particularly the word "exaggeration." Though one will see beautifully functional dogs at specialties or under breeder judges, they are all too rarely seen, or recognized, at all-breed shows. These words stress FUNCTION, not fashion, flair and exaggeration. Several other sections of the standard emphasize the need for a functional working dog. The Neck, Topline, Body section states: "The back is broad, firm, well muscled having length over the loin." Forequarters call for "Feet more hare than cat, but both are acceptable. Flat, splayed or soft feet without thick hard pads should be strictly penalized." This is the foot of a runner. The hare foot is a fast foot, since it gives more leverage and therefore more drive, however, it is also a tiring foot, as it requires more energy to propel the longer lever forward. We ask for a happy medium. We also ask for the slightly bent and flexible pastern so necessary to a runner. In viewing dogs in the ring, it appears that there are some who do not understand the terms "slightly bent and flexible" as I continue to see Whippets with stick straight pasterns being shown - and winning. A running dog must have pastern flexibility to cushion the shock of the running gear striking the ground. A straight pastern means that the pounding force of the foot driving into the ground will be transmitted with a shattering jolt up though the entire front assembly. Hindquarters are to be "broad and muscular." These are not beautiful sculptures, these are working dogs. This would seem to require a well developed thigh, both first and second, something often sadly lacking. Repeatedly the standard indicates that we should not abide the unfunctional "hackney gait with high wrist action."
Are there passages in the US standard that might be confusing? Of course, as there are in all standards. In our Size section we state that "Length from forechest to buttocks (is) equal to or slightly greater than the height at the withers." In this country many of us feel that the Whippet should not be a square dog, but should carry a good, long, functional loin section that will give it the appearance of being somewhat longer than tall. This should never be interpreted as a desire for a short legged, dumpy Whippet, however, a racing sprinter needs this length of loin to propel him forward. Whether it is the appearance of length, or actual length, the Whippet should never appear dead square. He needs he length over the loin. Under Head there is an actual error that states "Fully pigmented eyelids are desirable." This sentence should refer to fully pigmented EYERIMS, and will be changed as soon as the AKC will allow us to do so. Some have questioned the standard's repeated requests for long low movement, and have asked whether this isn't more the hunkered down, German Shepherd or Border Collie type movement. This wording is, of course, a reaction to the high stepping hackney gait which we had for so long and which is universally hated. Breeders are aware we are not asking for low, slinky movement, but whether that is confusing to judges and others, I don't know. Powerful is an interesting word when used in connection with gait. To some it means the driving gait of a Rottweiler. While the word in our standard is meant to indicate a push from the rear, in general I feel that all Sighthounds should have a considerably lighter gait than the larger heavier working breeds. A real problem for judges - and many others - is the wording of our height disqualification. Instead of stating exactly. what the size disqualification is - e.g.: Over 22 inches or under 18 inches for males - the standard simply says "more than one half inch above or below will disqualify." The reader must then dig through the standard to find out what the exact disqualifications are. This is very confusing and time consuming to the harried judge in the ring, and has led to the wicket being set at the wrong height. Height disqualifications should be stated in exact numbers not just words. Another confusing disqualification in the US Whippet standard is the statement "Undershot, overshot one-quarter inch or more." Particularly in the case overshot teeth the question arises: Where do you measure? From the bottom of the teeth which may be out? From the top of the teeth which may be touching? How do you measure? This is an unenforceable and unwieldy disqualification which cannot be administered, and hence is ignored.
It is interesting to note the differences in the three standards presented here. Certainly the most noticeable and important is the large difference in size between the US & Canadian standards and the FCI. A full two inches larger for the US dogs is a very large difference when dealing with a dog as small as a Whippet. A two inch larger dog has a totally different balance and general appearance. The US standard specifies eye color will be dark, and has a disqualification for blue or wall eyes, while the FCI standard does not specify an eye color at all. Presently our standard calls for the eye to be large, but doesn't specify shape. Previous US standards have asked for a round eye, and many of us have felt that these beautiful round eyes were one of the most appealing things about the wonderful soft "Whippet Look." The Canadian standard, an older and wiser writing, still calls for a round eye, for which I am eternally grateful when I judge there. Drafts of the proposed new Canadian standard indicate they will continue to call for a round eye. Too many people have come into Whippets from other sighthound breeds and have attempted to put an exotic, oriental eye on a Whippet. This harsh, small eye gives an altogether different, and to me incorrect, expression and immediately we loose the appealing window to the Whippet soul. The FCI standard calls for an oval eye. There is no statement of body balance or length in the FCI standard, but it does say that the Whippet should be "able to stand over a lot of ground." This indicates to me a longer outline and balance. The US standard requests an entirely black nose. The FCI standard will permit blue, liver and even butterfly. Interestingly, the FCI standard has no disqualification, the Canadian standard has one disqualification for an undershot mouth, while the US standard has four disqualifications.
I think we might ask ourselves if we in this country haven't gone a bit overboard. Are these disqualifications really needed? If so, why? A standard can be worded so as to make truly undesirable features so penalized that they can not win. For example, a standard can state: "Blue eyes will be so strongly penalized as to prevent placement in a class."
In reviewing standards and seeing Whippets in different countries, I feel the differences are great. When I judge in another country I judge to that countries standard, as I would expect all judges to do. Do I feel there should be one standard for the world? Interesting. Certainly the immediate reaction is: Of course, and it should be OUR standard. Lets face it, that isn't going to happen. I feel the look of the Whippet around the world has become so divergent that one standard would be extremely difficult. The size differences alone could keep us arguing for years. If one standard were adopted throughout the world would Whippets look the same in all countries? I don't think so. 1s it bad that we don't have one standard for the world? I don't know. We should be able to appreciate the Whippets we see in other countries, and realize that while we may all have started with the same dogs each country has interpreted the written words differently and has come up with a totally charming dog that is still indeed a Whippet. It is, however, in meetings of this type that these issues should be decided.
1) Our American standard is much longer and explicate than other countries or FCI. Plus we have numerous disqualifications. Our "general appearance" is excellent, and most sections go into far more detail than standards elsewhere. However our topline, or in the standard "backline" still isn't a help to judges - plus "arch" where? And what is "too accentuated"? Also we state "the back is broad" - I disagree, this is misleading.
2) As stated above - topline seems to be most misunderstood by judges. Also under "gait - nothing said about flexing of pastern. In the English standard it states - strong with slight spring.
3) I don't feel it says anything to instruct or describe the whippets in action in racing or field. However our standard is well worded on "gait" and general appearance.
4) In this country, color and markings which in our standard states- immaterial?? Ears pricked, with use of bait, is very overdone by handlers and some seem to make their placements on this factor, even though our standard states " in repose, thrown back and folded along neck". Fronts - straight fronts seem to win more than the correct "laid back" shoulder in our standard. This, of course, effects the movement also. All rounders seem to look for pretty outlines and markings, plus the emphasis on baiting and pricked ears. Necks often are "ewed" or "pencil shaped and tail set is ignored- in movement short, fast steps seems to be thought better than long, reaching movement. Breed specialists usually look for the above statements far more than all rounders.
5) This is true of many breeds. We all interpret the standard in our own mental picture of the perfect breed specimen. I feel, there is a greater variance of types in this country, popular stud dogs used without proper thought to compatability. People breeding with little specific breed knowledge. However, judges tend to also vary in the types they put up — that's what makes us all come back the next time?
6) Judging my breed in other countries has been a real joy! I have judged them in 8 other countries. On the whole I feel they are usually smaller than their American cousins. Not as much emphasis has been placed on coat color and dark eyes. They seem to follow the English standard more closely than the other countries. Unless they have been imported from the states and then it is quite obvious because the offsprings look more American. Yes, I usually place, or put up a type a little different than what I do in the states. As they say" when Rome do as the Romans do."
The dogs in other countries are not as exaggerated as the American dogs. And think back to the last time you heard or saw a solid colored whippet go best in show in the states?
7) I wouldn't think it possible to have a common world standard however desirable it might be. American whippets have developed too far away from the classic "old fashioned" English dogs. We should all—as breeders - strive to stay within the bounds of our standard. There should be only on American standard - never should we compromise and alter our standard because of the variance in type.
8) I would like to see a more moderate, balanced whippet in the states. We are loosing the lovely large eyes; we have lost the wonderful depth of brisket; we see straight top lines plus bodies to long. They should be an elegant smooth curving picture of an athletic hound.
PIERO RENAI DELLA RENA
1) Italy is one of the 60 countries adhering to the International Cynological Federation. In all of these countries, including, the country of origin of the breed, England (which is not an official member of the FCI), we follow the same standard of excellence. I consider the key part of this standard to be the "General Description": an extremely synthetic image of the essence of the breed. I have the same feeling about the American standard, which is even more descriptive and accurate.
3) I think that the English/FCI, the American, and the Canadian standards are all extremely clear about the desirable double-purpose whippet; they leave no doubt about it. "Built for speed and work" and "a true sporting hound that covers a maximum distance with a minimum of "lost motion". It is perfectly evident the type of hound the authors of the standard had in mind, even though there are judges who seem to forget it.
4) In the last ten years, on the average, the quality of the breeders far as type and conformation are concerned — has improved enormously. Differences among top dogs today are scarcely perceptible. This calls for a very keen selective analysis from judges. I do not think that many "allrounders" — that is, non-specialists — have the possibility of bringing themselves up-to-date with the constantly changing, reality of the breed. A specialist's opinion is inevitably more selective.
5) No, I do not find, at least in the FCI countries, that this is true.
6) As a judge, I am not allowed to have personal preferences. I would of course place a splendid dog measuring 22 inches at the top if I were judging in America or Canada. On the other hand, in any FCI country where a top limit of 20 inches is in force I ought to penalize that dog very heavily. I must judge in accordance with the standard of the country. In fact, I am bound to do so through my responsibility to exhibitors.
7) In principle I am in favor of the unification of the standards, as this makes the exchange of blood lines from one country to another more feasible. The result of this exchange is an enrichment of the genetic pool. 1solation leads to inbreeding, with a high uniformity of type. This isolation leads to the rise of an limited number of dominant top sires: homogeneity is insured, but the genetic pool will become poorer. At the moment (mostly due to the difference in height) the American and European types are quite different, and I don't think that a unified standard is realistically possible. This is a pity, because here in America you have heads, eyes, necks and angulations that would be most desirable in Europe. It is true, of course, that a number of American dogs are winning and breeding in Europe, but our cooperation could be infinitely greater and richer under a unified standard.
8) No questions at the moment, but I'm sure I will think of many at the Congress.
PATRICIA D. MILLER
1) The breed standard for Canada manages to fit snugly between the English and American versions. I guess I would describe it as moderately informative. In my opinion it does not go into enough detail to make it a great one! It doesn't have the contradictions regarding coat color and eye color; however, it does have other contradictions ie. pigment and coat color, front assemblies etc. It does not address the very feature that makes a Whippet unique above all other breeds, that being the outline. Nor does it severely fault the lack of that outline which to me should be a cardinal sin!
I have to believe there is a lack of depth to a standard that seriously faults cosmetic things more than structural things on a running breed. The whole standard needs enlargement so that any person reading it instantly understands what makes this a Whippet without having to read a breed publication for the same sort of enlightenment. I like the English standard as a breeder I read it and instantly get the picture. But I personally want it to say more! Many all rounders do not understand many parts of our breed. This is a fact!
I don't think breed standards can ever project the depth of a breed as we the breeders know it; therefore, we the breeders want to be very sure that people outside the breed are well informed by our most obvious vehicle "the breed standard". The new American revision is much more explanatory and has been significantly strengthened. However, there are still areas of personal prejudices and contradictions that have no place in the building blueprint of a breed.
2) The following are the areas I feel are considered confusing, or at the very least not well described in our standards.
a) Outline: What is it that makes a Whippet unique above all other breeds? 1s it not the outline? Then why is it not faulted to not have this outline? Furthermore, why is it less important to not have this outline than bad ears, light eyes, missing pigment etc.?
b) Brisket: The American standard says that the brisket should be very deep, reaching nearly as possible to the elbow. If the chest is very deep I would think it should reach at least to the elbow, not nearly. This appears very confusing and contradictory to both judges and new people in the breed.
c) Coat firm in texture. It appears that this word slipped in somewhere through the years as most of the older standards used the word fine. I would assume that breeds such as Danes, Mastiffs and Rotte's have a short firm coat but not a Whippet. The coat has a fine satin feel to it. Let's reinstate the use of the correct word.
d) Muscles: The actual requirements for the type of muscles should be described in a more uniform manner. The standard calls for long, flat muscles in some areas and then wants muscular power and muscular development in other sections. The smoothness and shape of the Whippet is marred by huge bulging muscles and we certainly don't want to give anyone the impression that Whippets should look like American Staffordshire Terriers.
e) Forechest: It appears that many people think a forechest implies a huge keel or prow! I don't think we want a Basset front on a Whippet, but in order for the space between the front legs to be filled there must be a certain amount of forechest which in turn requires the front legs to be set somewhat under the dog.
f) Color: Color immaterial. This would indicate that any combination of coloring and markings are to be treated equally and yet we must all have black pigment and dark eyes. None of the current standards appear to prefer those perfectly marked brindle and white parti colored Whippets and yet that appears to be the fad out there in dog show circles. The present Canadian standard asks for the eye and coat color to match but still requires black pigment on all colors. The English standard allows for the pigment to match the coat color and the eye color is not mentioned, so one has to assume that it also should match the coat color. The American standard requires black pigment and dark eyes on all colors. Color immaterial? I think not!
g) Gait: The American standard appears to fault moving to and from too closely, but fails to address moving too widely either end of any consequence. These days, I see far more non converging Whippets than those that appear to move too closely.
3) In the past I have flat or straight raced my dogs and have had Grade A racers that were also BIS winners. They raced admirably with the best of them. My Australian import, Replica, was a joy to watch running. He was hunted on live game in his native land and he only ran to hunt. He ran very low to the ground with no wasted effort. Classic! My best running bitch was Great Expectations. She was not great breaking from the box but hated to lose so ran her heart out and always won. On two different occasions she began the day racing, went into the dog show long enough to win the Breed and Group, then back out and raced to top racer of the day, finally returning to the dog show to go BIS. So yes, I would say form and function go hand in hand!
4) I think all rounders have the biggest problem with the topline and front quarters. I don't think they understand how important the outline is. I also don't believe they understand proper Whippet movement. As with every other breed from Pekes to Bouviers, they expect them to race around the ring and may the fastest dog be the victor. Lets try to explain that it is not necessary to race around the ring to have that low, efficient casual movement. Let's explain they should not drop their hind quarters at the trot; nor should they slink around the ring like a German Shepherd. It is a Whippet and it should move like one.
There is a definite difference in the manner in which breed judges and all rounders perceive this breed. All of us have to start somewhere and most of us either pick a mentor and then copycat that mentor to a large degree or simply just follow the latest fad dog. Judges on the other hand have a blueprint called the standard to follow which we the breeders have put to print. 1s the blueprint explicit enough for the average all rounder who breeds English Setters to properly assess a Whippet? If not who is to blame, certainly not the "twit judge" that we hear so much about. What would you be more impressed with, a BIS or SBIS under a breeder/judge or someone who breeds Bull Mastiffs? No slight on the all rounder but I would have to imagine that we breeders, after spending years using skill and imagination to produce what we perceive to be the closest to perfection we are able to attain, expect a breeder/judge to have a deeper appreciation of the special qualities that set this particular breed apart from all others. Hence we highly regard the opinion of a connoisseur of the breed.
5) Those many judges are absolutely correct in their observations. I am amazed at just how non-uniform this breed has become in the last 10 to 12 years. I have to wonder if the word type has anything to do with the many variations we see in this breed these days. I don't recall this particular word carrying as much clout 15 years ago as it does today. It appears that whenever one stops to discuss dogs, be it in judging circles or just gab sessions among dog breeders, this word keeps cropping up, not as a side dish but almost as the main course. "Not my type." - What does this mean? It must be very confusing to judges and persons wanting to learn about our breed when faults all of a sudden become just another type. If the standard is explicit about what the breed should be, how is it possible for there to be so many different types?
On my many trips to Crufts, I have always admired the consistency in the very large classes at this particular show. Granted there are differences in the dogs but the overall outline is consistent to a large degree. This is commendable. On this continent we lack this uniformity. In fact, there is a decided difference in the shape and outline of the Whippets from the West Coast compared to those from the East Coast. I am inclined to wonder if this difference in outline is related to the fact that East Coast Whippet breeders appear to have a stronger interest in imported lines?
6) We judges are not supposed to go judge anywhere with preconceived ideas of our own but are expected to follow the breed standard of that country. I have judged this breed in quite a large number of countries around the world and have never found it difficult to judge Whippets anywhere, due mainly, I believe, to my international breeding program. I think breeder/ judges that are still active breeders are always looking for new breeding stock to improve shortcomings in their programs and sometimes they just might find what they are looking for in another country. The great ones stand apart no matter which country they might come from and as with everything else, there are the outstanding and the mediocre everywhere.
I am from the old school that grew up with Wayfarer, Barndance, Mintmaster, Whirlaway, Bold Bid and Royal Blu Princess. As a breeder and a judge, I have always tried to maintain what I perceive to be the breed standard using the above mentioned great dogs as the goal to breed for. I have made use of many imported dogs over the years along with selected North American lines all for the common goal which all breeders hope to attain. Perfection- is it attainable? I don't think so.
7) I cannot imagine why we don't have a universal breed standard! 1s it not a Whippet in every country? How can we as a group of breeders allow the breed to be divided? I like to think that we of the international pedigrees have the foresight to recognize the many virtues to be had from making use of a world-wide gene pool. So many great Whippets from overseas have had such a huge impact on our breed over the years that I would hate to think that we as a group of breeders would ever be so short sighted as to not recognize the benefits of these international exchanges. In our quest to create all those super show dogs of the future let's not forget the basic, real and unvariable nature of this breed or its significant individual features. Nor should we omit the special qualities of the original substance that makes it a Whippet. In the future, let's be very careful not to lose the essence of the breed!
1) Our current breed standard is a translation of the one used in Great Britain. Unfortunately the translation made by The Swedish Kennel Clubs standard committee included some serious mistakes. The Swedish Whippet Club has pointed this out to our Kennel Club, but so far it has not been changed. (Translations can only be a interpretation of the original - and is one first step towards an unwanted change of breed type in non-English speaking countries!) The section General Appearance in the British standard from 1945 gives a very clear general description of the Whippet:
"Should convey an impression of beautifully balanced muscular power and strength, combined with great elegance and grace of outline. Symmetry of outline, muscular development and powerful gait are the main considerations; the dog being built for speed and work all forms of exaggeration should be avoided. The dog should possess great freedom of action, forelegs should be thrown forward and low over the ground like a thoroughbred horse, not in a hackney-like action. Hind legs should come well under the body giving great propelling power. General movement not to look stilted, high stepping or in short or mincing manner." To me this is a great summary of what a Whippet should look like! I can never understand why this had to be changed when the standard was revised in 1988. To me the current standard is much weaker in this part!
2) The British standard from 1945 states under Weight and Size: "/../ Judges should use their own discretion and not unduly penalise an otherwise good specimen." Size is so easy to measure, but this has little to do with how "big" a dog appears to be. Size is more complex than this; height, length, reach of neck, angulation etc.
Mentality is also something that shows a great variance, from the extremely low-key and laid-back dogs to the very active and outgoing dogs. Beyond these one can also find hypersensitive nervous dogs over to overactive "aggressive" individuals. I think mentality is something that is very difficult to discuss openly with breeders (depending on their own dogs!) The standard is not very specific in describing this, and it is also the one feature that worries me most when I have judged internationally over the past years! A Whippet should never be unhappy - at shows or otherwise!
3) In my part of the world lure-coursing is a relatively new sport. Still breeders relate to form and function in a somewhat emotional way. It is my personal experience that some dogs can do wonders in the field (non-competition!) and these are not always the ones that best relate to the standard. Still I have a feeling that the dog described in the standard sounds as if it could function well. But this is a mental picture I have in my head. I think one should be very restrictive in saying that a dog must be good in the field, by just looking at it! There is so much prejudice towards what is exaggerated or not. Mediocrity as far as looks are concerned is also an exaggeration in itself.
5) Scandinavia must be one of the most international Whippet areas in the world. Over the past 10 years most internationally successful bloodlines has been incorporated to the Whippet scene in Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland. The result is a greatly varied gene-pool, but when bred together the result is also very varied. Our breeders has a big responsibility here, as well as the breeders that exported their stock. An open situation where good and not so good features in the various families can be aired is necessary to avoid unpleasant surprises not only for looks, but also for health and ability to perform on the race-track and in the field. Knowledge is the greatest key to success!
6) Naturally! As I would to any other show rules and regulations. One has to judge according to the standard that is valid, and I would put up the dog that to my opinion best relates to the standard in each country. As for size a dog that measures in at the upper limit in the US could never win at a show in Europe. And the one that measures in at the lower size given in Europe would not be shown in the US!
7) This is a very complex question. There are so many things that make up the tradition in a country. This applies to most things in life, and not least dogs and dog shows. However, one can turn the question and enter the Whippet scene in different countries and always find features that could be useful in ones own show-scene and/or breeding program. Not least if a certain family is strong in one feature where my own is lacking; this can help me improve my own stock. There is so much prejudice against what is American and what is British or even Scandinavian. But if you love this breed and travel with an open mind, you will find Whippets and Whippet-scenes that has much to offer your own. I think it would be very unlucky if our breed had to be divided into different regional varieties, but sometimes you do not have to travel very far to experience the extremes even within the smallest population of whippets.
INCORPORATING FOREIGN BLOODLINES
1) Please give a brief biography of your involvement with whippets. When did you get your first whippet? When did you start breeding? When did you decide to import the first dog?
2) What made you decide to import in the first place? Did you set out looking for certain qualities that you needed or wanted, or did you see a dog or visit a kennel whose dogs had the qualities you desired? Do you have any special memories of dogs or breeders from other countries who influenced you?
3) How did you find the dogs and/or breeders that you eventually imported from? Travel, magazines, hearsay from others?
4) Were there any complications due to language, cultural barriers, shipping problems, quarantine, costs?
5) Was it difficult to explore the background of foreign dogs? How did you do this?
6) How were the foreign dogs received by judges and other breeders when they arrived? How were they different from the local stock? How did they blend with local bloodlines? Were there any particular surprises or unknown characteristics that followed the use of these dogs?
7) What effect did the imports have on your breeding program, and upon the breed in general in your country, good and bad?
INCORPORATING FOREIGN BLOODLINES
MARGARET NEWCOMBE, Pennyworth KnI Reg.
In 1938, I purchased my first WHIPPETS, Ch. Carefree of Mardormere and Ch. Sunny Jim of Mardormere from Mrs. Marjorie Anderson of Mardormere fame. In 1940 I applied to the American Kennel Club for the kennel name of PENNYWORTH and received it from them. Shortly after that I bred Carefree to Ch. Vanguard of Mardormere and produced my first litter consisting of two very nice girls, Ch. Pennyworth Carry Carefully and Pennyworth Great Expectations. Expectations broke her front leg at 6 months of age and was never shown. However, this all put me well on my way to being a Whippet breeder.
I do not remember when I decided to import my first Whippet, but I do remember why I decided to import. The males, in our breed have never been as good or as outstanding as our lovely bitches and I wanted some new blood in the line I had created, so I imported a dog with attributes I did not already have, his name was English and American Ch. Seagift Shadrack of Pennyworth, known as Joey. Unfortunately Joey did not prove to be a top notch sire, so I had to keep looking for a male that would click with my line. It was no easy task and took me some time.
In 1950, my mother gave me a birthday and Christmas gift, a trip to England on the Queen Elizabeth. I was to bring back an Airedale bitch known as English Ch. Weycroft Wonderous for her. I hastened to make appointments with Dorothy Whitwell (Seagift), Mr. C. H. Douglas Todd (Wingedfoot), Mr. Peter George (Parcancady) and others to see their Greyhounds and Whippets.
I spent several weeks and returned on the Elizabeth with, what 1 was told the largest number of dogs, consigned to one person to ever have sailed on the Elizabeth at one time. I brought home with me the lovely Airedale bitch, Ch. Weycroft Wonderous of Clairedal who finished her Championship in 4 shows here. She was the litter sister of Ch. Weycroft Wildboy of Clairedale who was imported the year before by us, and winner of the Airedale Club of America Specialty, and the Greyhound, English Ch. Seagift Parcancady Leader, brother to English and American Ch. Parcancady Heatherbelle. She won the Greyhound Club of American Specialty twice, once from the open bitch class and the following year from the Specials class. Also making the trip to the United States were four Whippets, most note worthy was English and American Ch. Seagift Penniesworth, dam of many champions in the states, and mother of Ch. Pennyworth Blue Iris, my first best in show winning Whippet.
The breeders mentioned above had a big influence on me, teaching me the rights and the wrongs in the breed and the do's and don'ts. Through my visit I made many lasting friendships and gained a great deal of knowledge. I owe my English friends a very large THANKYOU and my gratitude for all they have done for me and the breed in the United States, past and present. To this day I still have some wonderful friends in England and Sweden, and I love to travel to both countries when I can.
Through my first visit, I was able to get assignments to judge a few of their shows such as Crufts, Midland Whippet Club, Ladies Kennel Association, etc. I have also done the lovely Skokloster Specialty in Sweden. What a marvelous show that is, one that I'll never forget. I have had no problems with language, culture barriers etc; it is however difficult to figure out the rate of exchange, unless you are a banker or an accountant!
In order to research foreign dogs background one needs to get any and all books published in the country, of the breed interested in, especially those with pictures and pedigrees, such as The Whippet Bladet (Swedish), Jubileumsbrok Swenska Whippetklubben (Swedish), and my Bible has always has been the Whippet Biennial (English). The pictures and pedigrees in these publications are wonderful, and the book covers one year of winning dogs with pictures, ads and addresses. They are a must to have them if you are interested in pedigrees and what may be available. Years ago it was more difficult to find them than it is now.
The judges, in the U.S., received some dogs I purchased, with open arms in both breeds, however some weren't well received at all. I remember a lovely black Greyhound dog named Treetops Raven of Pennyworth. He was my epitome of a Greyhound. He was sound, had a beautiful body and head and expression. This dog never finished his Championship here and I could never find out why, other than he was BLACK.
My crossing of English and American lines has always been successful until the past few years. I have had a few surprises in the past but nothing I couldn't over come. The English line always gave us what was needed at the time and helped keep bone and depth of body. To me they are essential in a breeding program to keep Whippets looking like Whippets. Out of all the English crosses I made, and their were many, the most successful Sires were: Eng. & American Ch. Courtenay Fleetfoot of Pennyworth bitches to Eng. & Amer. Ch. Tantivvey Diver of Pennyworth or Eng. & Amer. Ch. Fleeting Falcon. Fleetfoot sired 55 Champions back in the 1960's and that was a record for the breed in those days.
I am sure Pennyworth would not have had the success it had, had it not been for the imports made in the 50's and 60's and of course Fleetfoot lead the parade, not only in the show ring, but as a stud dog. His record was outstanding for a dog, much less a Whippet. He was shown 87 times and won 76 Best of Breeds. He was never beaten by a male Whippet in the USA. He won 53 Hound Group firsts and 29 Best In Shows.
In 1963 he was TOP HOUND in the U.S. In 1964 He was TOP DOG of the YEAR all breeds
• In 1965 Top Producing Hound
• In 1966 Top Producer all BREEDS
In 1972 Fleetfoot was inducted into the Kennel Review Hall Of Fame, and to this day is still in Whippet Pedigrees. Ch. Willcare's Aged In Wood is his granddaughter four generations back on the sire's side of her pedigree thru Ch. Willcare's Believe You Me, Ch. Pennyworth Would You Believe and Ch. Pennyworth Burning Dream.
I feel the effect of English Bloodlines has been of great importance to American Bloodlines and that we still need its effect in our American lines today. I do hope the American breeders will not lose sight of the importance of European blood by either importation of semen or the animals themselves. I feel Whippets in the U.S. would be in great danger it the breeders loose sight of the importance of English and Swedish bloodlines. After all, England is the origin of the Whippet. Swedish, French and Australian bloodlines all stem from English bloodlines. Why should Americans think they originated the breed? If all of these countries have had success, and certainly we have had success in the past, why not continue? This all goes to prove that without outside blood being brought into the individual breeding program, selectively from time to time, one can get into a whole bunch of trouble, especially with SIZE, shoulder lay back (front movement hinges on shoulder placement) body length, flat TOP LINES and short pasterns. If you keep breeding these faults, they soon become a permanent part of the picture and the breeder looses sight of what is correct and called for in the standard. Once it's gone, it's gone for good, unless someone had the good sense to keep it. There is nothing worse than a kennel blind breeder, who thinks they have no bad faults or one that does not know right from wrong and goes darting along willie nillie casting their petals to the wind!
We are still supposedly breeding to A STANDARD here in America, but there are few Whippets that meet the standard of the breed in our country today. We have Americanized the breed so much we have lost the following; THE LOVELY LARGE DARK EYE, THE PROPER EAR CARRIAGE AND BELL, THE PROPER TAIL CARRIAGE, THE CORRECT LAYBACK OF SHOULDER (which allows the leg to be under the body instead of out in front of the body) which causes flicking of pasterns and cut up fronts. I could go on and on but shall now try to close. In a conversation someone once said to me, ."Suppose we do not like your type?" It has nothing to do with my type. The type I breed is what the STANDARD TELLS me to breed. I do not breed open fronts because the Standard does not say to breed them. When I go back to English bloodlines, I breed out these faults and make an improvement in my stock. This is why I feel that the bloodlines from other countries are extremely important to our American bloodlines.
1) Having bred Deerhounds and Norwich terriers since 1969, I did not get involved with whippets until seventeen years later. I bought my first whippet in 1986, and my first whippet litter was born in 1989, ex. my first import (Bohem Callas of Whippoorwill). She was imported as a puppy in 1986, but had to spend six months in quarantine in England before coming to Norway, so we did in fact not get her in our kennels until Spring 1987.
2) As I had close connection for many years with Bo Bengtson and his whippets, it was very natural for me to get in touch with him when I decided to try to find a good foundation bitch. During my many years with Deerhounds and Norwich terriers I had imported several valuable dogs and bitches, so the idea of importing was certainly not new to me. When 1 started in whippets I lived in Norway, where the majority of the whippets were of Dondelayo breeding. As a newcomer in the breed I hoped to contribute to the gene pool by introducing some different blood lines, and I knew that Bo and Barbara Henderson would give me a useful bitch to start with - and they certainly did!
3) Our next import came from France and was a grandson of the French dog Ch So Proudly We Hail du Sac a Malices, who had been very successful in Sweden and sired my first litter ex. Bohem Callas of W. I got in touch with his breeder Karen Mesavage through Magnus Hagstedt, the owner of So Proudly We Hail.
At about the same time as we purchased our American bitch we had bought our other foundation bitch, she was Norwegian bred ex. Ch Doriell Dondelayo. Being a close friend of Ann Knight (Dondelayo) Per Iversen in Norway had some most interesting films which he had taken at the Dondelayo kennels. In one of these films I was absolutely taken by the dog Dondelayo Mosaic. He seemed to me to have everything I was looking for in a whippet, and so I set out to find a dog as closely related to him as possible. He had grandsons in Norway, but they were very old at that stage, and I ended up with finding my dog in the Australian book of Champions from 1988. I fell for his picture and his pedigree (mainly Dondelayo and Oakbark), wrote to his breeders/ owners in Australia Lee and Frank Pieterse and managed to lease the then two year old Ch Statuesque Personalised for a year. He was Sweden's top winning whippet in 1990 and was a very successful stud dog.
From Iva Kimmelman, Magnus Hagstedt and I imported the bitch Merci 1sle Whisper to a Purr. From her I had an outstanding litter by Ch Airescot Waistcoat (the top winning son of Bohem Callas of W. and So Proudly We Hail du S.a. M.). This litter has had and is having great influence on the breed, not only in Scandinavia but also in Australia, to which country a dog puppy, now Australian Ch Airescot Chaconne, was exported.
Having judged both her parents in England and liked them very much I was very pleased to have the pick of the litter these two dogs produced together. Mercia's grandsire is Hillsdown Fergal, the sire of Pencloe Dutch Gold, so she should be very interesting to combine both with my lines from Statuesque Personalised and with Hubbestad Going Dutch. (In spite of this she has just had her first litter by Sporting Fields Irish Mist, a total outcross but still so similar in type.)
Finally, so far, I saw my latest import, Ch Sporting Fields Irish Mist, at the Sporting Fields kennels when he was eight months old. I fell completely for him. He was so similar in type to what I am trying to breed myself, and being of mainly different bloodlines I thought he must be a terrific asset to my breeding program. He is now doing his best to prove that I was right.
4) The two bitches from America and the dog from France both had to go through quarantine, which is, of course, both frustrating for the dogs and costly. From the non-rabies countries England and Australia there were no import problems to Norway/Sweden at all, and by the time I had my latest import from America, the rabies regulations in Sweden and Norway had changed, and I was allowed to have the dog in private quarantine with friends in Finland for six months, which was both nicer for the dog and cheaper for me than putting him in a regular quarantine. We have never had any language, cultural or shipping problems.
5) I have been fortunate enough to see many of the ancestors of my imports in the flesh during my visits in England, America and Australia. And thanks to knowledgeable and generous friends and connections in the breed I have been able to get good descriptions of the whippets involved which I haven't been able to see myself.
6) Mostly our imports have been well received both by judges and by fellow breeders, who have shown great interest in using the dogs at stud. Of course, there are always some people who can't accept an import, especially if he or she does some winning. But 1 think that is more because of envy than of real dislike for the dogs in question. My first American import was somewhat extreme and rather different in type, but she has blended very well mainly with the blood lines of both mine and other imports.
A problem that we must always consider is size, especially perhaps when using stock imported from America.
I find that there are advantages and disadvantages with blending different blood lines, as we have been doing, and not line-breeding to such an extent as some breeders do. The advantage is that we have been relatively preserved from the defects that may come with close breeding, the disadvantage is that the litters we produce are less like peas in a pod, and therefore you may not be able to describe my home-breds as "typical Airescots".
7) This question I seem to have answered with what I have written above. In general I think our imports have had a very good effect on the breed in Scandinavia. A proof good enough should be that since 1988 my imports or their offspring have five times won Best in Show at the yearly Skokloster Breed Specialty, and for five of these eight years one or the other of them has been Sweden's top winning whippet.
1971 - Jessica of Whippoorwill - First Whippet 1972 - First Litter
1973 - Westminster Dog Show - Met Nev Newtonfrom England - discussed newly, imported English and American Ch. Charmoll Clansman. Discussed bitch in England sired by same sire as Clansman. Nev referred me to Sheila Fenwick and Mrs. Blair (Baydale) who owned Whitbarrow Parsley, bred by Eileen Farrer.
1973 - Visited several whippet and greyhound Kennels in England and acquired Whitbarrow Parsley from Sheila Fenwick.
1976 - Visited England, Crufts Show - acquired Solera Spendrift of Nevedith from Nev Newton.
- Whitbarrow Bright Party acquired from Eileen Farrer.
1982 - Acquired Terra Whisetta Brian Bohem from Norway.
- Acquired Hardknott Maestro of Bohem from Mrs. M.E. Bennett. (Hardknott) - England.
1994 - Kipin Kapin Goldilocks - Breeder, Anita Backlund - Finland.
- Airescot Presto - Breeder, Nenne Runsten - Sweden.
1995 - Peperone Power Ranger & Peperone Play Back - Breeder Mr. & Mrs. Johnston McLeod -Scotland.
1971 - I first became involved with sighthounds when I worked in a kennel that raised and showed Afghans. During Veterinary School, I owned a greyhound rescued from a racing kennel. When I lost her, I became seriously interested in whippets. I studied the standard and researched several of the top breeders and kennels in the United States. Peggy Hodge (Highlight) steered me to a litter sired by her Ch. Highlight Eidolon. Eidolon was a son of the English import Ch. Greenbrae Barn Dance. The dam of the litter was Moen's White Rose. (Meander and Stoney Meadows breeding) bred by Mary Moen. I took my son, then two years old, to look at the litter. A small white and fawn bitch with the most gorgeous "doe like" eyes jumped into our lap - love at first sight. My heart was won even though I could see she was not necessarily what I was looking for in conformation. The pedigree was there and how could I say no to my son who was holding onto this sweet loving whippet. This was my first whippet, Jessica of Whippoorwill, and that was in 1971".
Jessie was small, fine boned, very pretty and elegant. Quickly realizing she was not show ring material but knowing the worth of her pedigree, I bred her to her grandfather, Ch. Greenbrae Barn Dance. Jessica, therefore, became my foundation bitch and I believe that my faith in her has been well rewarded.
1972 - From her first (and only) litter in 1972, she first produced the "Fox Brothers" - Ch. Blue Fox of Whippoorwill. Ch. Proud Fox of Whippoorwill.
After my first whippet litter and an intense study of the breed, I believed that there was a definite need for more substance, ie. bone in the whippets, that I observed in my area of the east coast.
In 1973, while attending the Westminster Show, I met an English visitor, Mr. Nev Newton of Nevedith whippets. The conversation encompassed England, English and American Ch Charmoll Clansman (who was then newly imported), and my concern over substance.
Mr. Newton mentioned a lovely English bitch sired by Clansman's sire Ch. Baydale Cinnamon and owned by Mrs. Sheila Fenwick and her Mother, Mrs. Blair (Baydale). He believed after seeing the American whippets, that the bitch had a great deal to offer whippets in America. Mr. Newton gave Mrs. Fenwick my name and, shortly afterwards, she invited me to visit her kennel.
I made the trip to England with a two fold purpose, since I was still looking for the elusive top greyhound. I visited Mrs. Fenwick and several of the other top whippet and greyhound kennels. I still remember their great hospitality. I returned home with the bitch. Mr. Newton recommended Whitbarrow Parsley (bred by Mrs. Eileen Farrer) and the greyhound Ch. Shaunvalley Anton. Both imports became very important producers - the later, as foundation sire of CeBar Greyhounds, co-owned with Cecil Creech.
Parsley (Dill) completed her American Championship quickly and returned to the whelping box. Parsley was only bred twice, first to Blue Fox and then to Ch. Misty Moors Chalmondoly, and produced champions from both. The best known champions from these breedings are probably her daughter and son by Blue Fox; Ch. Lady Blair of Whippoorwill and Ch. Fenwick of Whippoorwill. Lady Blair became a multiple group winner and won four all breed BIS's and was top whippet bitch in the nation for two consecutive years. All of this achieved with limited showing and frequently owner handled. Brother Fenwick finished his title quickly and was retired to stud duties where with limited use he produced many Champions and his name appears in many of the top dogs of today.
1976 - In 1976, I purchased from Mr. Nev Newton, Solera Spindrift of Nevedith sired by Mr. Newton's great stud dog English Ch. Akeferry Jimmy. Spindrift was a very beautiful, elegant bitch with a beautiful topline and all the right curves. Finishing quickly, I bred her to Fenwick and produced three champions, one of which was Ch. Whippoorwill Bright Flare who was the dam of multiple group and BIS Winner Ch. O'Baillees Britannia.
1982 - Since I had success with the English Jimmy line and had admired photographs of his double grandson, Int. Ch. Bohem Filipin in Sweden, I contacted Bo Bengtson about obtaining a Filipin puppy. Mr. Bengtson arranged for a Filipin puppy Terra Whisetta Brian Bohem to come to Whippoorwill. Ozzie unfortunately fractured a front leg but he healed quickly and completed his championship. Bred only three times before he became sterile, Ozzie sired several champions and his son Champion Whippoorwill Red Hot and Cole will shortly figure in my breeding program.
Bo Bengtson approached me about a lovely young male he had seen in England and asked if I would co-own him. Thus, Hardknott Maestro of Bohem arrived shortly after Ozzie and through his grandsire, Ch. Charmoll McTavish ties in beautifully with my line. Max finished quickly and had a short but successful career as a special. His first litters were out of three litter mates, Chs. Whippoorwill Gem, Diamond and Topaz. All of these produced several champions. Gem's daughters Chs.Whippoorwill Bohem Aria, Whippoorwill Fanfare, Whippoorwill Sonatina have produced Best in Show winning offspring in different parts of the world. Max has sired over 40 champions mostly for Whippoorwill and mostly in the U.S. but others as far apart as Scandinavia and South America.
1994 - Airescot Presto was imported from Sweden from breeder Nenne Runsten. Presto's pedigree was a combination of British, Australian and American lines Hardknott, Peperone, Statuesque and Whippoorwill.
Kipin Kapin Goldilocks was imported from Finland from breeder Anita Backlund and is co-owned with Bo Bengtson. "Daisy" has an international background: her dam half British and half American. Daisy is, in fact, line bred on old Whippoorwill lines as well Hardknott and the U.S. Chelsea Kennel. Finishing her Championship at 18 months Daisy is at home maturing and looking forward to a specials career.
1995 - Peperone Power Ranger and Peperone Play Back were imported from Scotland from breeders Mr.& Mrs. Johnston McLeod. These two young males are very promising and will tie in very nicely with pedigrees of several of the young Whippoorwill Champion bitches.
By attending the various specialties throughout the U.S. and if possible in Foreign countries you can glean a wealth of knowledge from speaking to people at ringside. Researching the various American and Foreign breed publications is very helpful.
I have never had any problems in shipping or language. We are very fortunate in the U.S. not to have any quarantine. I hesitate to ship young puppies to countries with a long quarantine.
I have been very happy with all my imports and my dogs have been well received by the judges. All the dogs have adjusted nicely and their temperaments have been wonderful. I would recommend a good physical on any import with special emphasis on external and internal parasites.
Movement, proper anatomical structure and temperament are very important to me as a breeder. I will endeavor to continue to breed whippets that meet the qualities set forth in our breed standard as well as those above. All of my imports have certainly met my criteria and have become valuable and cherished members of my whippet family.
1) I have been involved in whippets for over 25 years. Lorricbrook is my kennel name and is permanently registered by the Canadian Kennel Club. I got my first Whippet from Luc Boileau in the late 60's and started breeding after I imported my first dog from England around 1970.
2) The bitch I decided to breed from was out of a Dondelayo bitch imported from England. Since I had seen pictures of some of the Dondelayos and it was the top winning kennel at that time in England, I decided to see if I could find a good dog there to purchase that would complement my current blood line.
Buck was a great winner in Canada with 29 Bests in Show. He was champion in both Canada and the United States and was a Best in Show winner in the U.S. as well. He and the bitch, Carousel Maxine, were the foundation at Lorricbrook. Buck sired over 100 champions and I believe still holds the record for the top winning Whippet in Canada.
When other breeders and handlers first saw Buck they thought he was very plain looking, to say the least, as he was a solid blue fawn. However, when Carol Hollands, my handler, showed him he was an instant success as he was probably the greatest moving Whippet at that time and he had wonderful make and shape with a deep brisket and had tremendous scope. He is recorded for posterity in the wonderful drawing done of him by the late Lorraine Nunn.
I later imported dogs from the Shalfleet kennels of Mrs. Barbara Wilton-Clark and, again, had great success in crossing the sound, workman-like dogs with the best American and Canadian blood lines. Most recently„ I imported Nevedith Justa Tigsaw, from Nev and Edith Newton, a daughter of Crufts Best in Show winner, Ch. Pencloe Dutch Gold out of Ch. Nutshell of Nevedith, Res. B.I.S. at Cruft's, England's top winning dog in 1992 and the top winning Whippet of all time in England with, I believe, 46 C.C.'s. She has just produced a wonderful litter, where 3 of the 6 puppies are Canadian champions, two having won Best Puppy in Show awards, and the other 3 have yet to be shown. Their sire was, again, a dog combining the very finest of American and Canadian lines, and this blending has seemed to work for me.
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