Fri, 10/09/2020 - 10:15am

Spotlight on the Whippet

Reflections from Bo Bengtson, Phoebe Booth, Mary Dukes and Carol Harris

In this informed discussion of the Whippet, Dog News has asked four well-respected Whippet breeders to share their favorite dogs, and tell you exactly why they earned that adjective.

So put up your feet, and settle in for more than a century's worth of combined Whippet wisdom.


Bo Bengtson


Ojai, California


I got my first Whippet in 1961 from England, when I had seen Ch. Laguna Ligonier as a young dog, not yet even a champion. He was a revelation to me at the time, so beautiful, not hump-backed and slap-assed like so many others. He became the most influential sire the breed has had, both in the U.K. and in the U.S.

I lived in Sweden then; when I moved to California in 1980 my Swedish dogs were related to a lot of Whippets in the U.S. through English relatives.

Over the years I have bred a few litters, not as many as I should have (I agree with Bill Shelton and Doug Johnson about the importance of producing enough purebred puppies for the pet public), less than one per year on the average. There have been about 140 champions, bred and/or owned, by myself alone or co-bred with others, and 30-plus BIS/SBIS winners. But the achievement I'm most proud of is that many dogs I've bred have finished shown by their novice/first-time owners.

I don't judge very often, currently not at all in the U.S., but I've been lucky to go over a lot of beautiful Whippets – by my count, more than 7,000. While I was an AKC judge I was fortunate to judge the AWC National, a dream come true, and Westminster, which was also surreal. I judged the FCI World Show a few times and Crufts a long time ago.

Being a publisher, editor and writer resulted in writing a Whippet book in the 1980s; seeing it on the shelf in a bookstore when I got to London was one of my proudest moments.

I'm no longer as involved in the American Whippet Club as I once was; I'm still their archivist, which suits me fine, since I have a collection of several thousand Whippet photos from the early 1900s up to the digital age. I use them to remind Whippet people that we do have a history that's worth remembering!


Please tell us about one dog from the past that you bred, owned, handled or were otherwise associated with that you consider to be exemplary.

I have been associated with many good Whippets but only a few that I feel merit the epithet "exemplary." The best one was Ch. Bohem C'est la Vie. She was born in 2002, and in May 2005 we thought it might be fun to show her a little. My partner Paul Lepiane, who hadn't shown dogs regularly for a long time, agreed to handle her. Exhibited a total of 16 weekends that year, she won 23 Breeds, 13 Group First and placements, an all-breed BIS and a specialty BIS. In her last 16 shows of the year, she won 15 BOBs.


Ch. Bohem C’est La Vie.


"Vivi" is still remembered by a lot of people, but usually for the wrong reason: In January the following year she was Group 2nd at Palm Springs and got an Award of Merit at Westminster, but was lost at JFK Airport the day after the show, generating a huge amount of media coverage. In spite of an intensive search effort she was never found; years afterward when I was walking my dogs people would ask if they were related to "the Whippet that was lost."

The reason I consider Vivi "exemplary" is her general balance, perfect ears and alert expression, long neck and smooth topline, beautiful angulation front and rear, and her sound, easy but not exaggerated movement. She could have had darker eyes, but I loved her temperament: she was a tough cookie, not afraid of anything and very self-sufficient.


Please name three dogs not of your breeding from the past that you consider equally as noteworthy.

We are supposed to limit our comments to Whippets from the past, but I hope I'm allowed to say that the top Whippets of the past few years have been exceptional – easily among the best ever. That they are brother and sister from the same litter is incredibly impressive.

But how do you choose the others you liked best, and how do you limit them to three? I hope five will be acceptable – it's been nearly 60 years of Whippet watching worldwide, after all. Would it be Ch. Courtenay Fleetfoot of Pennyworth, the only Whippet to go BIS at Westminster? Or Ch. Beseeka Knight Errant of Silkstone, who won the Group at Crufts before becoming the only Whippet to win BIS at the FCI World Show? (I gave him the Group at that show.) One of several other Whippets that have won at Crufts – perhaps Ch. Nutshell of Nevedith, who was Res. BIS there in 1990 and still has the British breed record? Or the great Ch. Dondelayo Statue, who travelled from his birthplace in England to Australia and set new records for the breed there?

I liked them all, but if I have to pick one old English dog it would be the Ligonier son Ch. Deepridge Mintmaster (b. 1966). (My most important stud dog, Int. Ch. Laguna Leader, was also sired by Ligonier out of a litter sister to Ch. Laguna Lucky Lad, the first Whippet to win the Group at Westminster in 1957.) Anatomically Mintmaster was almost perfect, and his photograph is a study in perfection. Never mind that he did not have much of a show temperament – probably for that reason alone he couldn't win in America today. He proved himself an influential stud dog nevertheless, not just of show dogs but, surprisingly, in the racing fraternity as well.


Ch. Deepridge Mintmaster.


Ch. Pencloe Dutch Gold.


A later English dog I was hugely impressed by was Ch. Pencloe Dutch Gold, BIS at Crufts in 1992. I was not present when he won and was not overwhelmed by the photos I saw. However, his owner brought him for me to see "not for competition" when I judged in Scotland that spring, and even allowed me to stack him "American style." Although Dutch Gold descended a couple of times from Mintmaster, he was a very different kettle of fish: I was blown away by his charisma and strong personality as much as by his conformation and movement, which were of course also excellent. Dutch Gold was a very successful sire, although much less used than Mintmaster or Ligonier.

Ch. Sporting Fields Clansman (b. 1975), one of the first great winners from this kennel, was wonderful! I gave him SBIS in Canada, shown by a very young Debbie Butt. 


Ch. Sporting Fields Clansman as a veteran in 1984 with Debbie Butt (above left) and Intl. Ch. Statuesque Extortion (above right).


From Australia, but all American-bred, came the beautiful Int. Ch. Statuesque Extortion (b. 1996). I only saw him when visiting his owners and breeders Frank and Lee Pieterse, to whom I had exported "Jason's" dam in whelp to Ch. Starline's Reign On – my choice as a sire. Lee took Jason to a park to show off his movement, and I can still remember the chills I got watching. Apparently Jason did not normally have as much show temperament as he did when I saw him, but I can only judge what I saw.

Finally, and perhaps best of all, a bitch from the relatively recent past: Ch. Brushwood's Moxi of Endeavor. She was born in 2002 and died at more than 14 years, only a little more than three years ago. She often competed with Vivi and was shown by Amanda Clevenger; neither handler minded much when the other won, as long as the competition was between those two.


Ch. Brushwood’s Moxi of Endeavor, pictured at seven years old.


Moxi won several all-breed BIS, but not nearly as many as she deserved: her real forte was winning SBIS. She won the AWC National Specialty under me – I still remember turning around and getting goosebumps, not even recognizing her for a split second. Moxi is the only Whippet to have won the AWC National Specialty three times – as a youngster under Espen Engh, under me in 2006 and as a nearly 9-year-old veteran under Harriet Nash Lee.

Trying to imagine those five in the ring together, who would I pick as number one? They were all different in some ways, but all had the hallmarks of Whippet greatness: correct proportions with sufficient length of loin, great angulation in front as well as in rear, long necks, cute little ears, dark eyes and beautiful expressions, that difficult-to-define slight rise over the loin, capacious chests and smooth, light and economical movement without a shadow of German Shepherd-type TRAD …

In my experimental mini-show, in the end most likely Moxi would win – but it would have been interesting to compare her with the two top Whippets of the past few years.



Phoebe Jordan Booth


Blandford, Massachusetts


I attended my first dog show in 1965 with my aunt and uncle, Mary and Norm Bowker (Norm was past president of the Atlanta Kennel Club), and was hooked. I competed in Juniors and conformation as a teenager, and won the breed at Westminster in 1969 with my Dalmatian while still in high school.

In 1971, I went to work for handler Stanley Flowers. He showed a Whippet for a client during that time, and I have been devoted to Whippets ever since. I have been a handler's assistant, a kennel manager, a professional handler, a show photographer, a show chairman, and now am privileged to have a judge's license. As a handler I have shown six different Whippets to multiple Best in Shows.

In the 1980s I got involved with Whippet racing and coursing as time permitted, and became completely committed to the multi-purpose Whippet. I have bred around 100 champions under the Shamasan prefix, and finished many more handling dogs for others. I am most proud of breeding Whippets with multiple titles at both ends, proving that we can breed beautiful dogs and still preserve their instincts and abilities in the field.


Please tell us about one dog from the past that you bred, owned, handled or were otherwise associated with that you consider to be exemplary.

The most notable one for me is Ch. Shamasan Flame 'N Queen ARX DPCX RN TRP CR JC WVetW ROMX. A solid-blue bitch born in 1998, "Nellie" was bred by me, Cora Miller and Cheri Boutelle, and owned by me, Joan Fisher and Cora Miller. I was her handler. Both her sire and dam were group-placing show champions who also had racing championships.


Ch. Shamasan Flame 'N Queen ARX DPCX RN TRP CR JC WVetW ROMX.


Nellie followed in their footsteps: As a show dog, she is still the only year-end Top Ten Whippet in breed and all-breed stats to have an ARX racing championship title. She won nine Hound Groups and more placements than I can remember. She was an American Whippet Club MidWest Region Specialty winner. She was Select at the AWC National six times, from the BOB class, the Racing class AND the Veterans class. And as a producer, she was second to none. She was the dam of 13 champions AND 6 ARX racing champions, among them are the only solid-black male Best in Show winner and an AWC National Best in Futurity winner.

There are bitches who have produced more conformation champions, and bitches who have produced more racing champions, but no other bitch has produced so many of both. As a veteran she traveled to Stockholm to the World Show and won Best Whippet Veteran there. She remains the top-winning blue Whippet of all time worldwide. 

Please name three dogs not of your breeding from the past that you consider equally as noteworthy.

I think I have to list four dogs, yet my real list is so much longer than that. I am reaching way back to these dogs. They all had a positive impact on the breed.

No list would be complete without Eng. & Am. Ch. Courtenay Fleetfoot of Pennyworth ROMX. "Ricky" was a very important sire in the '60s, and he really put the breed on the map, as a #1 show dog (1964 All-Breed Dog of the Year), and still today the only Whippet ever to win BIS at Westminster. He brought elegance and beautiful breed type to Whippets and consistently produced well, no matter what he was bred to. 


Eng. & Am. Ch. Courtenay Fleetfoot of Pennyworth ROMX, pictured with handler Bob Forsyth and judge Donald Hostetter.


Ch. Stoney Meadows Magnet, ROM.


Ch. Stoney Meadows Magnet ROM, bred, owned and handled by Mrs. W. P. Wear, is an example of the influential sires from the Stoney Meadows kennel. There were so many dogs from that kennel who made a grand and positive contribution for breeders throughout the country. "Solomon" and his littermates Ch. Stoney Meadows North Star ROM, and Stoney Meadows Polaris sired numerous champions between them, and imparted their wonderful breed type, excellent make and shape, and stunning fox-red color to Whippets all over the U.S. North Star and Polaris were curvier, but Magnet was definitely the best mover of the three, and had a lovely, free-moving side gait at a time when not many Whippets did. The brothers were sired by Cora Miller's Ch. Hound Hill Constant CD, who was not used widely (by Cora's choice), but he gave the breed these three important brothers.

Another dog that I had the privilege to see who had a huge impact (not here, but in Australia) was Eng. & Aust. Ch. Dondelayo Statue. I didn't see him until he was eight-plus years old and this picture was from that time. He was bred by Mrs. Anne Knight of Dondelayo fame, and brought by Frank Pieterse to Australia, where his influence was felt almost immediately. He was a game changer in Australia, and his pedigree still resonates there, and throughout the world. His pedigree reads like a Who's Who of top English kennels of the '70s, and he has several lines back to the sire of Courtenay Fleetfoot.


Eng. & Aust. Ch. Dondelayo Statue.


Eng. & Ir. Ch. Pencloe Dutch Gold.


I can't leave out the dog who literally gave me chills the moment I set eyes on him: Eng. & Ir. Ch. Pencloe Dutch Gold, bred, owned and always handled by Morag Bolton-Lockhart. This dog's reach as a sire was truly worldwide. Of all the great Whippets I've seen in the last five decades, this dog was the best. He won BIS at Crufts in 1992. I had the privilege of going over him in 1999, when he was 10 years old. Even then, he combined elegance, masculinity, balance, outline and correct Whippet movement. His value to the breed is still felt everywhere Whippets are bred.





Mary Dukes


Marshville, North Carolina


I have been involved in purebred dogs for more than 40 years, initially as an owner/exhibitor, then as a breeder/owner/handler, then a professional handler and finally as an AKC executive field representative.

As a breeder, I bred Whippets under the Delacreme prefix and bred more than 50 champions, including multiple all-breed Best in Show and National Specialty winners. I was the breeder/owner/handler of Ch. Delacreme de la Renta, ROMXX, who in addition to being a multiple specialty and group winner, is also one of the top sires in breed history, with more than 115 champions sired to date.


Please tell us about one dog from the past that you bred, owned, handled or were otherwise associated with that you consider to be exemplary.

That would have to be “Oscar” (Ch. Delacreme de la Renta ROMXX), who I bred, raised, owned and handled. “Oscar” finished as a yearling, having won the Sweepstakes at the AWC Western Specialty as well as breeds and group placements along the way. As a show dog, he won multiple Specialty Bests (including SBIS at the AWC Eastern Specialty under Magnus Hagstedt) and multiple groups.


Ch. Delacreme de la Renta ROMXX.


It was as a sire, however, that “Oscar” made the biggest impact. He sired upwards of 115 conformation champions. This total included multiple Specialty and all-breed Best in Show winners. He was an extremely influential sire and is still found multiple times in the pedigrees of today’s top Whippets.

He was a big dog with a neck that went on for days. Excellent proportion. Very stallion-y. He was straighter in the front than I would have liked and was best put to bitches who were sound and well-made but needed elegance and glamour. That, he could do.

Please name three dogs not of your breeding from the past that you consider equally as noteworthy.

Ch. Misty Moor’s Chalmondoley.


Ch. Misty Moor’s Chalmondoley – “Chum” – was the reigning top sire in the history of the breed until his maternal grandson “Oscar” surpassed his record. A multiple BIS and Specialty winner in his own right, Chalmondoley fundamentally changed the look of the breed, giving them more elegance and stretch throughout.

Ch. Brushwood Moxi of Endeavor (“Moxi”), a three-time National Specialty winner, is what I believe to be the best Whippet overall that I have ever laid eyes on. Beautiful type, lovely proportion and great legs.

Ch. Brushwood Moxie of Endeavor (above left) and GCh. Pinnacle Tennessee Whiskey (above right).


I’ve given it a lot of thought, and I believe Ch. Pinnacle Tennessee Whiskey (“Whiskey”) is the best male Whippet that I have ever seen. I honestly don’t know where I would have changed him. Great type and proportion, exquisite headpiece and flawless running gear.




Carol Harris


Reddick, Florida


I loved dogs from the day I was born in 1923. As a small child I even pretended I owned a kennel of Collies that looked exactly like the ones I read about in all the popular Albert Payson Terhune books. When I turned 11 my mom and dad bought me a Collie pup, and in a few years I introduced myself to Mrs. Florence B. Ilch, owner of the famous Bellhaven Collie Kennels in Red Bank, New Jersey. I acquired several of her dogs and loved them, but never seemed to be able to get mine to look as beautifully coated as hers. 

Next I met a Terrier handler named Johnnie Murphy at the dog shows, who introduced me to Scottish Terriers. The Scottie people were very nice to me, and I remember wanting to impress them. Within several years Johnnie explained to me the importance of always being honest and ethical. He also taught me how to groom, show and win at top shows like Westminster and Morris & Essex, and I loved the long hours of hard work with their coats. He introduced me to his brother Harry Murphy (Desi’s dad), who managed Mrs. Anderson’s well-known Mardormere Whippet kennels. 

This is when the Whippet bug bit me hard, and eventually made me a forever Whippet breeder and fan. I believe I tried to listen to everybody’s advice and still to this day respect those who seemed to understand the difference between right and wrong. I have never really attempted to establish a “type” as a breeder; I only tried to do what other breeders were doing, which included loving the dogs and developing intelligent, healthy animals that followed an interpretation of the Whippet standard.



Please tell us about one dog from the past that you bred, owned, handled or were otherwise associated with that you consider to be exemplary.

I feel certain one of the best bitches I ever owned was a gift 40-some years ago from handler/breeder Jerry Edwards, who shipped her to me sight unseen with a note saying, “Carol, I think you have a good eye for this breed and deserve this little bitch but if you don’t like her, send her back.” Her name was Misty Moor’s Divine Pleasure and we called her Deviny. 


Ch. Misty Moor’s Divine Pleasure winning under breeder-judge Peggy Newcombe in 1982.


Thank God I loved her immediately and kept her. To this day I feel she was the greatest gift I ever received from anyone. I finished her quickly and then made a wise choice when I realized she would be more important to me for breeding than showing. She had six litters and 50 puppies. Most of those 50 puppies didn’t even show because they went to horse people who hardly knew what a dog show was. Of her puppies that showed, she produced 24 champions. Fifteen of her champions were by Ch. Bo-Bett’s Luke Skywalker (my coursing dog), four were by Ch. Bo-Bett’s Wild Tobiano, one was by Ch Bo-Bett’s Wild Waylon, and four were by Ch Somerset Stop the Clock. I also loved and kept Deviny’s daughter, Ch. Bo-Bett’s Devine Dessert (“Creme Puff”), who went on to produce the extremely outstanding Multi-BIS Ch. Bo-Bett’s Snow Bunny. 


Multi-BIS Ch. Bo-Bett’s Snow Bunny.


At that point I hardly even knew what I was doing, but I seemed to be winning and having fun at both the horse and dog shows. Now today in 2020 I’m proud that my dogs and their breeding are still showing the world that Bo-Bett is not quite finished.


Please name three dogs not of your breeding from the past that you consider equally as noteworthy.

One of the most completely lovely bitches I ever saw was Ch. Sporting Fields Bahama Sands (“Tawny”). And of course how could I ever forget the beautiful Ch Starline’s Chanel. They both had it all, and in my eyes were always presented flawlessly. 


Ch. Starline’s Chanel (above left) and Ch. Sporting Fields Bahama Sands (above right).




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