When I was just a little boy my mother took me to my first dog show, and I never wanted to leave! In fact I never really left. Friends of my parents had a top-winning kennels of Yorkshireterriers in the 50s & 60s and through them I met the owner of the now world-famous Afghan Hound kennels of El Khyria. My first Sighthound was Ch El Khyrias Ala Zakene and she was born in 1965. At a show with her in 1971 I saw the imported Whippet Ch Fleeting Flamboyant make his Swedish debut and I instantly knew that the Whippet was my breed! Later that year Smokey (Ch Bohem Flamingo) entered my life, and I have never been without a Whippet since.
Signum Whippets (now owned together with Roger Wiklund) has always be a small establishment, and we have never had a lot of dogs or litters. Our dogs live with us as part of the family, and a new litter follows when we need to expand with a new generation. But I am very proud of the fact that there are CC-winners and/or champions in every litter bred by Signum. Our dogs have also taken successful part in every field of activities that are open for our multi-purpose breed: nursing-dogs (PAT), agility, obedience, racing (oval-and straight track), lure-coursing, showing etc. It is really up to your own time and interest to limit what Whippets can do! Through the years we have also owned but never bred Afghan Hounds, and now also breed a small family of Chihuahuas.
I have been involved in breed club matters through the years in different positions, and was responsible for the congress programme at the 5 th Intl Whippet Congress held in Sweden this past Summer.
I became a judge here in Sweden in 1983. My first significant Intl. assignment was for the AWC:s Eastern specialty in 1986. Since then many visits to AWC events, not least the AWC National (including the very first in 1987) has been treasured and very inspirational events for me. The AWC National is without doubt the largest and most important Whippet event in the world. To have been selected to judge the AWC National 2009 is indeed an honour and something I am very much looking forward to.
I judge breeds in 4 of the different FCI breed groups, including all Sighthounds in group 10. I have been fortunate to judge at important Whippet shows around the world, including in Great Britain and will judge Whippets at Crufts in 2011.
Surrey Hills Whippets
I would like to introduce my mother, Carolyn J. Bowers, as this year’s Futurity Judge. Mom is too humble to trumpet her own accomplishments, so that task falls to me.
Surrey Hill Whippets was begun in 1979 by Carolyn J. Bowers, whose roots in purebred dogs and purebred dog activities go back to the 1950's. She had achieved success in other breeds, most notably Pembroke Welsh Corgis, before finding her first Whippets from two exceptional litters bred by Dr. Barbara Henderson (Whippoorwill), and one bred by Meribeth Metavia (Baywood). Carolyn was also a successful owner/handler of Greyhounds during most of the time she was active in the Whippet breed, but after her husband John retired and moved the kennel to Florida, Whippets gradually were de-emphasized in favor of toy breeds such as Chinese Cresteds and Toy Manchesters. She has also had recent success with her Border Collies, and has been a longtime and active obedience instructor and exhibitor, show handling instructor, and was an active AKC-licensed judge of breeds in the Hound, Herding, and Toy Group for a number of years. Of course, I am still a very active Whippet breeder-exhibitor and retain the Surrey Hill kennel name, but the line enjoyed its greatest years of success under mother’s capable stewardship.
All of Surrey Hill's top Whippet sires lived with Carolyn, as did all of the top-winning show bitches. Surrey Hill owned or bred dogs achieved #1 rankings, National specialty wins, and #1 sire rankings during her time as a Whippet breeder. Although just about everyone in Whippets knows of Carolyn's reputation as a breeder/exhibitor, and a judge of the breed, not enough people know of her public service work. She has been honored for her public education programs on responsible dog ownership in the Volusia County Schools, and is noted as an instructor and trainer who is highly sought-after by people who are eager to learn. She has helped develop disaster plans for pet owners during hurricane evacuations. She has manned many public information booths on both the breed, and on dog ownership and training in general. She has been an active and contributing member of her local dog clubs, both all-breed and specialty, during her entire time in the sport. Her contributions to the fancy go way beyond the champions she has bred and the great ones she has owned.
Even though she gave up her AKC judging license several years ago, Mom was thrilled to be remembered by the fancy and offered such a great opportunity to judge the AWC Futurity. Thanks to the AWC members for this great honor for my mother in her retirement. I know she will judge with passion for the breed, and the integrity that has marked her entire time in the sport of dogs.
Karen Bowers Lee Surrey Hill
Veteran Sweepstakes and Non Regular Classes:
Mari-Beth was born and raised in Philadelphia. Her family had Dobermans, later joined by Manchester Terriers and Whippets. Mari-Beth competed in Junior Showmanship as well as breeding and exhibiting her Manchester Terriers under the Charmaron prefix. She was approved to judge, Doberman Pinschers, Irish Wolfhounds, Scottish Deerhounds, Whippets, and Manchester Terriers.
Mari-Beth joined the AKC staff in October of 1990 as the Associate Director of Judging Research and Development. The activities she has been involved with include the development and planning of the Judges’ Institutes, working with the parent clubs on the development of Judges’ Education programs and coordination of the Judges’ Workshop Groups. Additionally she has coordinated the Judges Guides for new breeds.
In March 1993, Mari-Beth was named Director of Judging Applications. In 1995, Mari-Beth was named Dog Woman of the Year. In October 1996, she was named Director of Judges Education. In August of 2002, Mari-Beth was promoted to the position of AVP of Corporate Training and Development.
Additional involvement has been as the Delegate for the American Manchester Terrier Club, member of the Bryn Mawr Kennel Club, Westbury Kennel Association, Moore County Kennel Club, Delaware Valley Manchester Terrier Club, and Quaker City Doberman Pinscher Club.
Before joining the AKC staff, Mari-Beth taught elementary school for 12 years and coached at the Junior High level.
She currently resides in Cary, NC, with her two English Cocker Spaniels.
I am very honored to be selected to judge the Altered competition. Thank you to all who entered their dogs! I have been involved with confirmation since 1973. My first breeds were Afghans Hounds and Labradors Retrievers. I also was involved with owning and competing with Paint Horses in the 70's.Over the last 30 plus years, I have trained, taught, and competed in conformation and obedience. I have judged AWC supported sweepstakes, CWA conformation and All Breed Matches.I am drawn to whippets because they are one of the most beautiful athletes in the dogs world.We enjoy success with breeding and owner-handling whippets carrying the Hycks Hollow name. Thank-You for giving me this opportunity to be part of the 2009 AWC National Specialty.
Chris Durance-Watkins – Cherche’ Whippets
My passion for dogs began in 1983 when I started teaming up with two Maltese in obedience as part of a 4-H project. I became obsessed about everything dogs, from the way they think to how they work, play and interact.
My first show dog was an Afghan who was an LCM, CGC and before retiring earned her first leg in obedience. My first whippet SBIS Ch. Shaman Sherry on Ice, CGC, LCM was from a breeder who did everything with her dogs. She helped me gain an appreciation for the multipurpose whippet. I was determined to achieve multiple titles with all my dogs. Sherry went on to win groups and place in the Top 10 in both show and lure coursing. I trained her to compete for her CD title but she had squeaking issue on the long downs. Being a novice teenager I did not persist.
Over the years, my passion for breeding, owning and training multipurpose dogs has been unwavering. We have been fortunate that several breeders entrusted us with their exceptional breeding stock. We have also bred our own multipurpose dogs.
Some of these dogs include:
From our foundation dogs Cherche’ produced:
I’m honored to be asked to judge this year’s Triathlon and Versatility conformation events. Thank you!!
The whole time I was growing up, my mother told me that when I had my own place I could have as many dogs as I wanted, but not in her house. Well, the first thing that I did when I graduated from college in 1968 was buy a dog, a Dalmatian. He was my constant companion, and I loved him so. It was back in the days when you could take a dog everywhere...and I did!
Obedience classes led to trial competition and eventually a Utility Dog title. A compliment on his conformation led to the breed ring and an owner-handled champion. Puppies. More titles. High in Trials. A win at Westminster. Lots of friends all over the country.
Then, I had always wanted to have a West Highland White Terrier. My first, Frasher, was a gift from my husband - and a champion-to-be. Learning about grooming. Puppies. Winning from the Bred-by Exhibitor class competition. Best of Breed wins. Best in Show. Working and performance titles in Agility, Rally and Earth dog.
Now, we have a pack of Westies – that have recently been joined by some Norwich Terriers.
In 2004, the American Kennel Club presented me with a bronze medallion honoring my 25 years of judging for them. I am licensed by the American Kennel Club as an obedience trial judge able to judge all classes. Also, the American Kennel Club has approved me to judge Westies and Dalmatians and recently granted me a provisional license for Bulldogs and Boston Terriers, all-breed Junior Showmanship, Rally and registered my kennel name, MARDOT.
Helping people and their pets is a joy. Breeding outstanding, typey, healthy companion dogs with a stable temperament is a passion.
Christina Houchard-Miller has been active in purebred dogs and AKC events for over 30 years. She first stepped in the conformation ring at the tender age of 8 with her parent’s Great Danes of Lyceum. Since that time she has competed in conformation, junior showmanship, obedience, agility, rally obedience and herding.
Christina currently competes with her Canaan Dogs of River Rock. Her breed accolades include the top breeder/owner handled Canaan Dog for the breed from 2000 to 2005, the 2005 AKC Ace award winner for Exemplary Companion Dog, 2000 Canaan Dog Club of America National Specialty High in Trial, 2003 CDCA National Specialty Best of Opposite Sex and the only two Australian Champions for the breed – just to name a few.
Her love of Junior Showmanship as a judge stems from her past experience as a Junior Showman. She competed in Junior Showmanship from the time she was eligible until she aged out. Her time in Junior Showmanship garnered her many Best Junior Handler awards, instilled a deeper love for the sport and forged relationships that have lasted decades.
I would like to thank the American Whippet Club for extending me the honor of judging Junior Showmanship at their 2009 National Specialty. I feel strongly that Juniors are the future of our sport and encourage all in attendance to support your entry.
Best Wishes to all exhibitors.