Showsight Presents the Whippet

HT: For a time, I would say that the over angulated or sweeping rear was prevalent. While we do still see some and they are often rewarded by judges who are not Whip- pet or Sighthound specialists, most understand that this type of rear is not functional for a sprint running breed. The long second thigh is not balanced with the upper thigh and will not give the Whippet any of the superior speed the breed was created for. It may be make for some impressive big side gait but TRAD is not correct for a Whippet. RT: Over angulated rears that do not have the balancing angles in the front end. 4. Do you think the dogs you see in this breed are better now than they were when you first started judging? Why or why not? MA: The breed has greatly improved over the years. Although side gait has become too TRAD-like, one almost never sees hackney movement in the Whippet ring anymore. Stick straight fronts were common in the past, but not so much today. Head, eyes and ears are far better than in the past. Fronts are greatly improved, as are pas- terns. Outlines are much more consistent from one part of the country to another. BH: The most important thing I have seen in the breed is awareness to health issues. When I started in Whippet’s the only health issue were eyes. Now there is the Whip- pet Health Foundation which is recognized by the American Whippet Club that is not only checking eyes but is now checking hearts, hearing, thyroid and other issues that might involve the health of the Whippet. I commend the breeders that are annually doing health checks before breeding. IK: The breed is definitely better in overall appearance, temperament, talent at coursing/racing and health than it was just two decades ago. There is still a sad lack of men- tors and mentorees who think they even need a mentor, but I would like to believe that situation is in the minor- ity. After more than 50 years loving this breed, I still learn new things about them, especially in the whelping box, on a regular basis. That kind of attitude will help anyone who is willing to keep an open mind. JL: I see much less of the excessive rear angulation now than a few years ago. Straight fronts aren’t as much of an issue. DS: As a whole the breed has greatly improved since the early 80s. Many exhibits in the 80s could mostly be judged on type because our movement needed so much help. Today we see a much improved balance of breed type and powerful movement. HT: Well since I have only judged for 13 years I really can’t say that is long enough to see any great changes. I can say in the 29 years I have been involved with Whippets I think that improvements have been made in overall bal- ance. While fronts continue to be the bane of almost all breeds, they have gotten better in regards to the proper bend of pastern a Whippet needs to run effectively. Short upper arms and straight shoulders are still on the needs improvement list. RT: In my opinion, Whippets today are generally sounder movers than when I started. I would say that the day in day out depth of quality in type is not always present.

That being said, I am excited to see the depth of quality at specialties.

5. What do you think new judges misunderstand about the breed? MA: The top neckline should be gracefully arched, begin- ning behind the skull and continuing down the neckline. The neck should merge gradually into the withers, with no suggestion of abruptness. The withers slope slightly downward to a very slight dip and from this point the topline begins to rise and form an arch. The highest point of the arch should not be any higher than the high- est point of the withers. The arch should flow gracefully over the loin and into the croup. The croup leads into the tail, which should be long with a gentle sweeping curve. The angle of the pelvis helps to determine the ability to extend the hindquarters behind the body. If the pelvis is steep, the hindquarters are restricted in their backward extension. Topline should be flexible with powerful back musculature to bow and straighten the topline to aid the double suspension gallop. Topline should be evaluated on a relaxed dog standing on the ground on its own. BH: Topline and balanced movement. IK: I believe judges who really like Whippets try hard to find the best ones presented to them. I think most judges who come from the breed or other Sight hounds do a fine job. It is often very hard for newcomers to understand why some dogs win that shouldn’t, if shown by a famous breeder or a professional handler. Be honest about your dog’s quality as a potential breeding animal and your abil- ity to show that good dog to best advantage. That mat- ters, yet newcomers don’t always get that. In my dream dog show ring, there would be one judge and one han- dler showing all the dogs. Every dog would be presented as needed, the judge would do a verbal critique, wouldn’t know who the owner was and the evaluation would be enjoyed by everyone. JL: I think that new judges, especially those coming from non-Sighthound breeds don’t get the length equation. The standard clearly states that the length should be over the loin, not in the back or in the over angulated rears. Also the slight rise over the loin. The word here is slight, not an exaggerated rise which leads to a dropoff croup. There are very few truly flat backed Whippets. There are some that look flat in comparison, but remember slight rise. If you think it’s too flat, put your hands on it. Feel the rise starting just behind the last rib. DS: I serve as the Judges Education Coordinator for the American Whippet Club and the most asked questions by judges is about our toplines. I encourage all judges to look at our Illustrated Standard which can be viewed at http://americanWhippetclub.net/sites/default/files/ WhippetIllustratedStandard_0.pdf . HT: The topline and underline. The most asked question of us as mentors is, “Which topline is more correct?” It can be difficult to explain to individuals and most are not tak- ing into account the underline that is required in order for the outline to be of correct type. The deep chest and tuck-up flowing into a smooth bend of pastern to low hocks should complement the curve of a long neck flow- ing smoothly into the withers with a strong back and rise S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , J UNE 2018 • 295

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