HOW IT ALL STARTED
We bought our first Whippet puppy purely as a pet in 1970. She was K.C registered and came from a kennel that specialised in winning lots of trophies, but they were for winning races rather than challenge certificates. Her registered name was Stonefall Bonny Gina or Ginny for short. She was a pretty pale brindle parti-colour. Her pedigree was soon mislaid as it didn’t mean anything to us as we had no intention of breeding, showing or racing her, although eventually we did go along to our nearest whippet racing club at Ripon to try our luck. Ginny wasn’t interested in coming out of the traps so that was the end of her racing career. It would be interesting to look at a copy of her pedigree today and check out the bloodlines.
Soon after we got Ginny I saw a picture of a Borzoi in a dog book I had bought and couldn’t rest until I owned one of these beautiful hounds. I eventually found one in Doncaster, a self black bitch of 14 months who I loved from the moment I saw her. She had been bought ‘on breeding terms’ from Mrs Sylvia Marston and was only available if I was willing to take her on the same terms. As I would have probably robbed a bank in order to have her, breeding terms were no problem (in spite of the fact that you could have written down all I knew about breeding on the back of a stamp at the time). Chantress duly came home with me and I contacted Sylvia to find out what came next. I didn’t realise it then but it was the start of my dog showing career, which after my family, is my main passion in life, along with my ponies.
I couldn’t have stumbled on a better teacher. Her knowledge was second only to her patience. She must have despaired of me at times. I remember informing her once that my borzoi puppy that I was running on was no good to show as his tail was too long. Another gem was my first homebred Whippet puppy was ‘only pet quality’ as her tail was hairy. Well, I’m sure you’ll be pleased to know that I have learned a lot since then but I will be eternally grateful to Sylvia, Harry and Pamela for all their help, information and support over the years. My trips to Wigton were always a steep learning curve and it was on one of these visits to Cumbria that I acquired my first ‘Show Whippet’. She was Falconcrag Rose Mode and was a daughter of the lovely Ch Another Rose of Glenbervie.
As I gained in confidence I started to make decisions on my own as to which stud dogs might work out best for my bitches and I hope my handling skills improved over time too, but I always try and give advice and help if its asked for and hope it is half as good as the time and knowledge that was shared with me when I first started in dogs.
Sylvia introduced me to dog showing and taught me about care of the in-whelp bitch, what to expect during whelping, how to take off dew claws, when to start weaning the pups, all things that I know instinctively now.
FOUNDATION & BREEDING
Falconcrag Rose Mode, or Becky, gave me a good start and I soon incorporated other bloodlines, Lowglen, Newbold and Savilepark into my breeding programme.
My favourite Whippet Dog of all time has to be Ch.Pencloe Dutch Gold. I thought he was superb from the first time I saw him. I have been impressed by many lovely Bitches but Ch.Millwold Suntan was a joy to watch when moving round the ring. I was pleased when my two favourites ‘got together’ and feel that Ch.Millwold Gold Dust to Exhurst has been a positive influence on The Breed and certainly in my own breeding plans.
My own home bred ‘special’ Whippet is not easy to choose. They are all ‘Special’ in their own way but my ‘Travelling Lady’, or Swift as she was known at home, was very dear to me. She broke her neck while chasing a rabbit at only 4 years old and I was devastated by her loss. She really enjoyed showing and was a total show-off but she was also a lovely little dog to live with.
I enjoy the show scene today as much as I did when I first started. Well probably a lot more if I’m honest as I win a bit more these days than I did in the early days.
Whippets are such multi faceted characters, each with their own personalities but the phrase that sums them all up for me is ‘my little flying machines’
Images copyright bjphotography & website design Barbara Poole
Molly judges whippets both in the UK & abroad at Championship Shows & is seen here judging bitches
at The Houndshow 2010. Molly judged Leeds in 2012 and the dogs at Crufts in 2015