Showsight Presents the Whippet

whippet Q&A with eugene blake, kathleen davenport, espen engh, russell mcfadden, david r. miller, todd miller, christy nelson & sharon sakson

EB: They are three totally different breeds! I could go point by point for each of these dog’s AKC breed standards, but it would be very lengthy. For starters, just read the topline for each of these breed’s standards. Breed type is found in the silhouette. If you picture a Whippet in your mind, you should be picturing a Whippet, not a Greyhound or Italian Greyhound. KD: Nothing raises my blood pressure quite like reading “The Whippet, a Greyhound in miniature”! My early men- tors taught me that a Whippet in not a Greyhound and it is not an Italian Greyhound—it is half-way in between. Keeping this in mind, it is easy to see that any Whippet closely resembling a Greyhound and/or an IG, is incorrect. Therefore, flat backs, wheel backs, short loins and high-step- ping movement should be penalized. EE: No, a Whippet is not just a small Greyhound and for sure not just a large Italian Greyhound. The Italian Greyhound is a completely different dog without the same functional requirements, square and not covering even nearly as much ground as the Whippet, much more refined and delicate, very different in outline with more extreme curves, an abrupt neck set, much straighter shoulders and upper arms, more fall-away over the croup and the hind legs set much more under the dog. The head of an Italian Greyhound should me more like a Greyhound than a Whippet, but the ear set is higher, the movement is high stepping, much opposed to the Whippet. The Whippet differs quite markedly also from the Greyhound, the most obvious difference would be the outline, the Whippet being definitely curvier in topline and underline, but there are quite a few other differences, includ- ing the Whippet’s stronger skull compared to the muzzle. The Whippet also has a more low to the ground balance on the move. RF: Whippets should absolutely not look like either Grey- hounds or IGs (although they are far more similar to Grey- hounds than IGs). Size, in particular, and outline are the two most obvious major differences. DM: If a Whippet should look like a miniature Greyhound or a large Italian Greyhound, then I believe there is a uncom- promising problem. A Whippet should look like a Whippet— nothing more, nothing less. Comparisons to other breeds are meaningless, nor is it fair to make the comparison. Again, a Whippet is a Whippet. Many, many years ago, while judg- ing a Whippet specialty in Moscow, I was startled to witness that several exhibits gave me the impression that they were crosses between a Whippet and an Italian Greyhound. Alert! If the Whippet starts looking like another breed, then a red flag should be thrown since it is an exaggeration which com- promises breed type. However, with all fairness, it is essential to note that the breed has made great strides in Russia since. TM: A Whippet is definitely not a large Italian Greyhound. The shape of an Italian Greyhound, per their standard, asks for the topline to have the highest point at the end of the last rib and has a sloping rear/croup that is more exagger- ated than what the Whippet standard asks for. As well, the IG movement is VERY distinct and unique to the breed with a high stepping gait, where the Whippet standard calls for a lower reaching gait. Also a Whippet is not a miniature Greyhound. However, I do think that the shape of my ideal

an outline characterized by smooth flowing delicate curves in topline and underline and low to the ground, supple movement demonstrating the ability to turn on a dime. If you learn to recognize those elements, you will be able to judge Whippets. RF: The standard describes the ideal Whippet as: “A medi- um size sighthound giving the appearance of elegance and fitness, denoting great speed, power and balance without coarseness.” If a judge is not considering the entire picture of both elegance and fitness that this statement requires of the Whippet then, in my opinion, they are not correctly judging this breed. One will rarely find absolute balance of elegance and fitness, but to judge a Whippet with anything less in mind than the notion of finding that absolute balance is just simply wrong. DM: I believe the essential keys to the breed are located in the general characteristics—medium size, elegance and fit- ness, beautifully balanced muscular power and strength com- bined with great elegance and grace of outline. The proof of the pudding lies deliberately and quite importantly in the movement—covers a maximum of distance with a minimum of lot motion. If the specimen does not adhere to this caveat of movement, balance and structure are compromised which impairs from type and function. In my estimation, I believe the American Whippet excels in form and function. The Whippet in the United States has retained a certain refined, endearing expression with a full muzzle and under jaw in many exhibits. TM: That is simple for me. I have been participating in lure coursing since 1997 and am a licensed AKC and ASFA lure-coursing judge. This very much affects my conforma- tion judging of sight hounds as I will always prefer a fit, athletic dog that looks like they can work or run forever. As a judge, I will always notice those that have free, easy, effortless movement. CN: Whippets have evolved into a very showy breed! In my opinion, judges will notice the well-trained, flashy, showy dog that they recognize and overlook the true Whippet that is built to course. SS: The Whippet standard is one of the best. It is clear in describing the Whippet. Yet when I’m judging, I so often feel that the exhibitors have not read it! The first line says “A medium size sighthound giving the appearance of elegance and fitness…” and yet people will bring in Whippets with no muscle tone. It is so easy to keep a Whippet fit. When I lived in London, I saw people walking through the parks with their Whippets. The beings on both ends of the leash were fit. Really, with even mild exercise Whippets get good muscle tone. If they don’t, they must have been forced to lie in crates all day or they are not correct genetically. The point is, don’t bring an unfit Whippet into the ring. Get him into good mus- cular condition. You don’t have to give up elegance to get athleticism. They co-exist in correct Whippets. Our breed is basically in good shape so there are many good examples out there. 3. Do you think the Whippet should look like a minia- ture Greyhound? Or a large Italian Greyhound? If not, please explain the major differences?

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