Showsight Presents the Whippet

THE WHIPPET

The truth is that Whippets—not Grey- hounds—were the original racing dogs, and the weekend race meetings were a means by which the often impoverished citizens of Nor- thumberland and Durham could add a few shillings to the family coffers. In addition, the dogs served a useful purpose in poaching rab- bits for the stewpot, and ridding the pantry of vermin. A versatile and accomplished Whippet was an important part of the collier’s family and enjoyed his prized role serving as house- hold companion and excellent foot warmer in addition to his other duties. These duties required an efficient dog of great speed, quickness, and sprinting abil- ity. There is no doubt that some terrier blood is part of the Whippet’s development, which added gameness and courage. He hunted more closely to his master than any other sight- hound. To hunt far afield would have been a likely death sentence for both the poacher and his dog. Thus, we have a dog that was bred for at least two centuries to be an efficient small game and sometimes vermin killer, an incom- parable sprinter, and one that is affectionate and utterly devoted to his human family. This dichotomy of character is one of the most appealing aspects of the breed, and all good breeders of Whippets share a great admi- ration for his versatility, and they breed to pre- serve all of these desirable traits. As breeders, we consider it vital to respect the origin and purpose of this elegant, sound, and especially athletic hound. The Whippet Standard does an excellent job of describing the essentials of the breed. The American Whippet Club also has an Illus- trated Standard, available on the AWC website, which can help aspiring judges to grasp and understand these priorities. Around the world the Whippet Standard may have some varia- tion, but the “non-negotiable” aspects of the breed, that of a medium-sized, very fit, elegant athlete, with smooth yet muscular curves, and low but not exaggerated side gait, are universal. To further expand upon the Standard and to provide some insight to aspiring judges, I have compiled some commentary from a num- ber of Whippet breeder-judges. Their respons- es are both illuminating and consistent, and I suggest that anyone who judges the breed, or wishes to judge the breed, take these comments to heart. All of the judges I have requested com- mentary from have enjoyed great success not only in conformation, but also in many of the performance events that Whippets compete in: racing, coursing, agility, obedience, rally, barn hunt, dock diving, and others. Their experi- ence in the breed cumulatively totals more than 250 years, and they are all AWC approved mentors. The list includes: Mary Beth Arthur (Marial), Gail Boyd (Ableaim), Lisa Costel- lo, Tracy Hite (Tivio), Iva Kimmelman

Submitted by Iva Kimmelman

©Craig Jefferds

©Kent Standerford

Submitted by Lisa Costello

©Laurie Erickson

Submitted by Lisa Costello

148 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, AUGUST 2020

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