Page 84 - ShowSight Express, June 8, 2020
P. 84

abilities are successfully tested. There does not appear to be a diver- gence in field or show types, as they frequently are the same dogs competing in both venues.
Greyhound-like dogs have been known as far back as 4000 BC from drawings found on ancient Egyptian tombs. Through the years, the sighthound of ancient times evolved on the European continent, primarily in England, to become what we know today as the Greyhound. Until the live coursing of hare was banned in the UK and other areas, the Greyhound was utilized extensively for this purpose. Paintings from the 18th, 19th and early 20th centu- ries depict the breed we know today as the Greyhound. From this coursing hound the racing Greyhound was developed. The racing Greyhound is registered with the National Greyhound Association (NGA) while the show Greyhound is registered with the AKC, and recognized by the FCI and other canine bodies. Show Greyhounds may not be registered with the NGA; however, NGA Greyhounds may be registered with the AKC.
There is a significant difference in body shape, neck length, size, and especially rear angulation between the show Greyhound and the racing/track/NGA Greyhound, with the NGA Greyhound having less of each. Over the years, the NGA Greyhound has been crossed sparingly into show bloodlines and some of these examples have won at the highest levels in the specialty show rings. The dis- tinct differences in some of these morphological characteristics between the two type-styles may never be bridged; however, the arbiter of the breed in the show ring should keep in mind the pur- pose of the breed, that is the coursing of live hare in large open fields. To that end, one finds Greyhounds very successfully compet- ing in NOFCA hunts as well ASFA and AKC lure coursing field trials. Another avenue open to Greyhounds in the US (and many of the other sighthounds) is the Large Gazehound Racing Asso- ciation (LGRA) where the hounds race 200 yards on a straight, flat track. This is solely a test of sprinting speed (not agility, follow, or endurance) which would be needed in coursing live hare. Grey- hounds and other sighthounds can also race in National Oval Track Racing Association (NOTRA) meets which are not affiliated with the NGA.
With the banning of Greyhound racing in Florida and the clo- sure of its 11 Greyhound racetracks, there remains only six race- tracks in five states (AL, AZ, AR, IA, WV) where racing still occurs. With the actions of animal rights activists and the signifi- cant decline in on-track betting, the future of the NGA Greyhound seems apparent.
As chronicled in the French book, Livre de Chasse, reference has been made since the 14th century to three sizes of Greyhound-like dogs (small, medium, and large) used to sight hunt different types of game. As the Victorian era progressed, English writers described the emergence of a breed, much like our modern Whippet, used for coursing competitions, straight (rag) racing, and catching (hunting) rabbits.
By the mid-19th century, the sport of Whippet racing in the UK (particularly in Northern England and Wales) had evolved from hare coursing with Whippets bred for racing purposes. Miners in
northern England enjoyed betting on the outcomes of Whippet racing. In their country of origin, purebred Whippet racing is con- ducted by affiliate clubs of the Whippet Club Racing Association. These races are either straight or on the bend (part of an oval track), 110 to 220 yards in length, and run on turf.
In the US, Whippets race in their own straight track meets through the Whippet Racing Association (WRA) whose runs are generally 175—200 yards in length. WRA meets are frequently held in conjunction with LGRA and/or NOTRA meets. In addi- tion, there is the North American WRA (NAWRA) with straight race meets held predominantly on the US West Coast and Canada.
There is another Whippet racing entity, the Continental Whip- pet Alliance (CWA), that conducts race meets in the US. The dogs entered in these race meets must be measured by an inspection committee on a flat surface, as well as being found free of disquali- fications according to the AKC standard (with the exception of dif- ferent colored eyes), and general AKC breed disqualifications (mon- orchid, lack of uniformity of testicle size, blind, lame).
By 1891, Whippets were officially recognized by The Kennel Club (UK) and in 1888 by the AKC. The evolution of the breed into racing and show types has not been as marked as that of the Grey- hound. However, there are style differences between those Whip- pets that are dedicated to strictly one or the other. In the US, the racing type tends to have a flatter back line and less rear angulation while retaining many of the same qualities and facial expression as its show relatives. In the UK, the racing style tends to retain a similar backline to its show brethren, while having less rear angula- tion. It should be noted that there are a number of Whippets hold- ing bench championships along with various racing titles, includ- ing AKC and ASFA lure coursing field trial titles—a few even have NOFCA titles as well. Whippets that compete in show and field/ racing events during the same season(s) display conditioning that is quite evident in the beautiful condition line along each side of the ribcage and general muscular hardness that is definitive.
There is a definite size (per breed standard) difference between show Whippets in the UK and the US. The UK standard calls for a Whippet dog that is 47-51 cm (181⁄2-20 in.) and bitches 44-47 cm (171⁄2-181⁄2 in.), without size or other disqualifications. The AKC standard describes a Whippet dog that is 19-22 in. and bitch that is 18-21 in. with a disqualification for height more than one-half inch above or below the stated limit for each sex. The style difference is much narrower and tends to involve leg length as compared to body depth.
How conscious are we of these real and perceived differences when we make our judging decisions, be they in the show ring, field trial, hunt test, or in breeding? If there is a divergence in type or morphology, what are we doing, as breeders and judges, to close the gap?
I’ll look forward to your commentary and questions on this article, as well as the ones that follow in this series. Feel free to send your comments to or to me at jollytime-

   82   83   84   85   86