Some people consider a pedigree whippet to be a fragile kind of a dog. Being extremely fit and lean can sometimes give this impression to people who do not know the breed.
However, nothing could be further from the truth. A whippet is extremely versatile, apart from being a loyal devoted pet to any family they are a successful hunting and racing dog. The breed is very hardy and all they ask for is a warm bed and human companionship.
Unlike Greyhound racing, there is no betting or prize money. It is purely an amateur sport, the only prize you may win at the end of the day is a rosette or trophy. It is a great family sport and purely for the enjoyment of the owners and their dogs, who are kept as family pets. If a dog is not good enough for show it makes no difference when racing as it is not the looks that count but their ability and their love of racing, doing something that they were actually bred to do. Although there is nothing stopping the owner from doing both if they wanted to.
The dogs’ race on a straight sprint course of 150 yards during the winter months and usually during the summer they race over a 240 yard bend track shaped like a horseshoe. The dogs are weighed before racing and for every pound disadvantage they have to give either a half yard per pound over 150 yards or one yard per pound over 240 yards.
The lure is a piece of fur and plastic (no live quarry) reeled in on a spool by a battery.
Four times a year championships are held by the Whippet Club Racing Association, usually two straight championships and two bends at different venues throughout the country. This is the second year that all four will be held in the same venue, the cricket club at Batsfield Lane, Moreton in Marsh. This is the last Championship of the season and will take place on Sunday 25 September 2005. This has proved to be the most popular venue over the past few years.
The dogs will run in weight groups and will run off level or scratch, as it is known. They are run on a knockout basis with the first two dogs in each race going through to the next round until the final when there is a winner. A dog must win two of these championships to become a champion and earn that title.
A whippet can race up to the age of 10 if it remains fit and many do.
Spectators are welcomed and there is no charge for watching the championships. However, there is no betting or ragging allowed.
New members or spectators are always welcome and existing club members are always willing to give advice.
For any more information you can contact myself on 01622 728654 or by e-mail on Carolyne@valleyfarm.wanadoo.co.uk or the Secretary of the Whippet Club Racing Association, Paul Chappell on 01386 593936.