Premium Whippets for American Kennel Club Competitions | Local News


Hazel knows the drill when the curtain goes up.

The not quite 2 year old whippet is already an accomplished performer, and tends to jump up and down seconds before entering the competitive ring.

“She’s a show dog,” said Tracy Hite, owner, manager and breeder of Hazel, just minutes after Hazel won the Futurity Conformation Show honors at the 34th National Specialty Show of the American Whippet. Cub in a ballroom at the Hilton Santa Fe Buffalo Thunder Tuesday. .

The event was a prelude to the American Kennel Club Whippet Competition which will take place the rest of the week at the resort north of Santa Fe, where more than 110 whippets will compete in a number of competitive categories.

Whippets are small to medium sized dogs that look like a cross between a greyhound and a spaniel. They were bred to run, hunt, and hunt, making them perfect pets for those looking to get rid of mice, squirrels, and other little four-legged intruders.

“These are the quarter horses of the canine world,” said Russell McFadden, whippet owner, trainer and judge who was in charge of Tuesday’s event.

Hite and her husband John Hite brought six of their whippets to Santa Fe from Strasbourg, Colorado for the weeklong event. She said she loved to show dogs in competition because “it’s kind of like having kids that you love that you watch grow up and succeed.”

Hite wasn’t the only one to display Whippet pride in Buffalo Thunder. Charlotte Hull-Walton, 12 from the Seattle area, came to the show with two parents and five whippets, including Rebecca, who is almost a year old.

Hull-Walton said one of the many things she loves about whippets is watching people try to figure out what kind of dog they are.

She said Rebecca and the other whippets know they are on display and in some kind of contest when they step into the ring.

Dog shows like this, she said, may not appeal to those looking for a thrill, but “if you don’t mind sitting down and relaxing, dog shows are fun to watch.”

Tuesday’s whippet show was defined by stoic dignity on the part of the dogs and careful attention to detail on the part of the judges. These judges rated the dogs on a number of measures related to balance: how they stand, their gait at a trot, the position of their ears (if the dog suddenly sticks its ears out, as if at attention , that’s guaranteed loss, McFadden says) and their body shape and size.

While Tuesday’s contest included cash prizes, as well as expected ribbons for the winners, most whippet owners don’t enter the show business for the money, said McFadden, a native New Mexican. who said he loved, owned and showed whippets. for decades.

Trade in the exhibit can cost those owners thousands of dollars in training, handling, travel and exhibits, he said.

A 2017 NOTNew York Times article said the cost can reach the $ 100,000 mark to prepare a dog for the Westminster Kennel Club Show, the canine equivalent of the Oscars.

“I could have three Mercedes and a mansion if I hadn’t shown dogs in the past 40 years,” McFadden said.

There are other ways to make money through events, as demonstrated by the range of sales booths outside the ballroom at Buffalo Thunder. There, vendors sold dog beds, dog collars, dog jackets, dog towels, dog figures, dog toys and everything related to whippets.

Hull-Walton had just bought a regal-looking necklace for Rebecca to wear as the morning competition gave way to a lunch break. In fact, all of the dogs in her family wore similar collars, giving a sense of canine royalty – which seems fitting, since whippets were first bred by English lords and ladies in the 1800s to participate in races and rabbit hunts.

“That way they can walk around the show in style,” Hull-Walton said of his canine offspring.

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