Showsight Presents the Whippet

THE WHIPPET

“For me, the Whippet is an athlete first and foremost…when it comes to structure, I look for those traits that will contrib- ute to a functional, running dog. The overall body shape is the essence of the Whippet. Correctly placed curves in both topline and underline allow full body extension and flexion in the dou- ble suspension gallop. Muscle width and length through the loin is the ‘engine’ of the running dog. The arch in the topline should be placed over the loin, not in the middle of the back and not over the rump. There should be a gentle slope through the croup, not round, not flat. Too much or too little topline can result in poor extension and/or inefficient stride recovery leading to less speed and agility. Shoulder assembly and how it is attached to the body is also very important. Although we do not have the 90 degree angle desirable in some breeds, there should be moderate angulation, good layback of shoulder and length of upper arm paired with bend of pastern. I also look for moderate rear angu- lation, not too straight, and especially not excessive (overangula- tion) which is counterproductive to speed. I look for a strong rear with shorter hocks that can drive from the hip, and a front with reach that extends from the shoulder and not the elbow.” 4. Are there any particular concerns withWhippets today? “Two things: One, over-angulated hindquarters created by an excessive length of second thigh. A second thigh longer than the upper thigh is a detriment to the Whippet’s speed. Second, the Whippet’s underline is just as important as the topline. In profile, the deep brisket should extend back from the elbow, then curve upward to the tuckup.” “In comparison to many breeds, I feel our breed is in pretty good shape. I guess my biggest concern for our breed would be shape: we are getting a lot of long bodied dogs with short legs. This is not conducive to what they are made for and what the basis of our breed is.” “I think like all breeds, the fronts on Whippets are the area that needs improvement. While we may not have a breed with a 90 degree angle in shoulder, I think we are seeing many upright shoulders and shorter upper arms that restrict the reach of the dog. We don’t see as many over-angulated rears anymore, but there are still some that are sickle-hocked and shuffle in the rear and don’t have the powerful drive the breed should have. Many breeders prefer the longer-bodied Whippets, but those run the risk of being flatter in topline; but they typically have big sidegait which often blinds some judges!” “Straight pasterns and an overwhelming abundance of flat backs or incorrect toplines (the rise beginning too soon).” “Unfortunately, we have some of the same issues many breeds do: straight fronts with shorter upper arms; lack of return of upper arm; straight pasterns; and cathedral fronts. We also tend to see longer rears and over-angulation that makes for extended sidegait. While the Standard states powerful gait as a main con- sideration, this does not mean TRAD, or moving like a GSD. Some lines have tall hocks—this kills rear drive. We also contin- ue to have a color prejudice in the breed (parti-color and white), particularly under all-rounder judges.” “One thing concerning to me is the number of Whippets I’m seeing with an actual pro-sternum. Understanding the dif- ference in front fill and pro-sternum is important. Front fill comes naturally with well-placed shoulders and return of upper arm, while pro-sternum gives the appearance of heaviness and reduces speed.” “The heads especially concern me. I am also concerned about loss of body shape as well as extreme side gait. This is what I consider to be the ‘drag of the breed’ right now.”

©Katie Rudolph

Submitted by David Samuelson

Submitted by Iva Kimmelman

Submitted by David Samuelson

Submitted by Iva Kimmelman

Submitted by Donna Lynch

152 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, AUGUST 2020

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