2013 WWWA Specialty Critiques and Photos
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WWWA Veteran and Puppy Sweepstakes Friday, August 2, 2013 Judge: Erika Houle, Seattle, WA
Thank you to the WWWA for giving me the opportunity to judge your Veteran & Puppy Sweepstakes on August 2, 2013. It is always a pleasure being in the ring with the oldest and the youngest of our breed; the unexpected will happen and provide some smiles for all who watch.
I found the conditioning of the exhibits on both sides of the age bracket to be terrific. The four veterans were really solidly good examples of the Whippet breed. My Best Veteran Ch. Winfield I’d Rather Be Right is an outstanding dog. I love his overall balance, head, neck into shoulders and clean front and rear movement. The BOS Veteran Camelot’s Heart of Gold, at almost eleven years of age, carried herself nicely the entire time, which is a testament to her soundness of body. She even provided some comic relief, almost falling asleep on the table during her individual exam. Great temperament! Ch. Summit Lucy In The Sky followed closely after her in my mind; another strong Whippet veteran, with sound movement coming and going.
Continuing on to the Puppy Sweepstakes competition. All of these exhibits had superb temperaments. There were some issues with small eyes and to and fro movement, but in general there were plenty of good qualities present and it was a pleasure to find my winners and more to spare.
When judging I look first for balance, a flow of curves from tip of nose to end of tail and my Best in Sweepstakes, the 6-9 bitch Lemax Luck Be a Lady had that and more. She is the complete package, with front to rear balance that I just couldn’t ignore; really lovely flow to her lines. A splendid head with proper ear set, nice musculature throughout and good side movement. Following up behind her, and really giving her a run for the win, was the 9-12 bitch Taliesin Soul Music. She was longer and steeper in topline, and longer in her rear curvature, however she carried it all quite well, with firm musculature and a solid carriage while in motion. She also had a nice head and ear set. The other bitch on my radar was 15-18 month class winner Endeavor’s Tequila Sunrise at Taliesin. Pretty standing, with a good eye; could use a bit more bone in her front, however her conditioning was very nice. Summit The Puck Stops Here was my BOS in Sweepstakes, from the 12-15 dog class. He could do with a bit more cleanness to his rear movement, but he has a good topline, solid body and terrific attitude.
While I do feel some work needs to be done on breeding for proper eye shape, cleaner front and rear movement, and that care needs to be taken not to allow too many curled tails to creep into our breeding lines, I also feel just as strongly that temperaments in our breed are quite excellent and the balance of front to rear angulation (shoulder angle balanced against angle of stifle) is strong in our Whippets. This breed is always a joy for me to judge…thank you.
Best Regards, Erika Houle
(Friday Specialty critique was not submitted.)
WWWA Specialty Saturday, August 3, 2013 Judge: Linda Zaworski, Livingston, TX
Thank you so much for inviting me to judge your specialty on August 3rd. I thoroughly enjoyed the assignment. It was a lovely entry with such high quality that decisions were often difficult. A few overview thoughts: every single one of my entries was in excellent condition. That reflects the emphasis that this geographical area puts on the importance of having a functional whippet. My hat is off to all of you. Along the same vein, I did have one dog that had nails ground way too short. The standard calls for a strong, medium length nail. I hope that this is not an upcoming trend because, as running dogs, whippets need those nails for traction. I had several dogs that on the stack had croups too long and fast. Interestingly, when those same dogs free-stacked after their individual gait, the croups were just fine. Some whippets are expert at pretzeling themselves when hand stacked. This might have been the result of that or perhaps the handlers were just pulling them out too far. I don’t know the cause, but it was interesting to see. I did end up using some of those dogs and that decision was strongly influenced on how they looked free-standing. One other thing I’d like to mention is that there were far too many dogs with what I would call severe dips behind their withers. A small depression at the anticlinal (where the thoracic and lumbar vertebrae meet) is normal. But these dips were not small. Bo Bengston once noted that if you placed a drop of water on the occiput of a whippet, it should flow freely and easily over the topline to the tip of the tail without stopping at any point. The dogs I am talking about would have large puddles at their anticlinal. Movement was generally sound both on the down and back and on the side. Universally, all the exhibitors moved their dogs at the proper speed and on loose leads and I appreciated that. Thank you.
I could critique each individual class but will only suffice to say that I was very pleased with my choices and that pleasure intensified when my class winners entered the ring for Winners Dog and Winners Bitch. It is then that a judge can truly see whether they have been consistent in their choices.
Open Dog/Best of Winners (Burnt Sienna Red Mountain): I loved this boy. He was so very smooth from the tip of his nose to the tip of his tail. An easy go-er on the move and dead sound on both ends. I later learned that this win was his second of the weekend, with Christy Nelson also finding him and awarding him the day before.
American Bred Bitch/Winners Bitch (Sportingfields Precious Jewels At Tolstoy SC): Not a fancy girl and I would have preferred a darker eye, but she was to the standard in every other way and MY! When she moved I heard angels singing. Folks, if you are confused about how a whippet should move, take a look at this girl’s action. While the Winners class was wonderful and I was very pleased with my choices, her movement took her right to the top of the line. Purely delightful.
Reserve Winners Dog/Reserve Winners Bitch (Tivio's Versace Man and Summit Sparks Fly): Both of these awards came from their respective 6-9 month classes. It speaks volumes to me that in this high quality entry these two youngsters rose to these awards. I expect they will both finish their championships sooner, rather then later.
Best in Specialty (GCH Sporting Fields Man in Black): What a wonderful representation I had! The quality was very deep. My Best of Breed (and SBIS) was a lovely, smooth black dog who didn’t put a foot down wrong, held his shape on the move and was sound coming and going. His outline was exactly what I want to see and screamed whippet. Pushing him hard was my Veteran Dog but by the time Best rolled around, the old man had had enough and wasn’t interested in doing his handler’s bidding and he had to settle for an Award of Merit.
Best Opposite (CH Summit Hoop Dreams): A lovely, curvy solid brindle. She, too, didn’t put a foot down wrong and pressed my BOB dog hard. In the end, I preferred the substance of the BOB dog and that helped give him the win. Another day my judging may have found the bitch on top.
Best Veteran (CH Summit Lucy in the Sky): The logical thing, looking at my choices in Best of Breed, would have been the Veteran Dog who was awarded an AOM. However, a change to a different handler in the Best Veteran competition brought a 360 degree change to the Veteran Bitch and she was my winner. Every now and then a whippet will remind you that they are, indeed, hounds and if they aren’t 100% happy with their handler, they will let you know!
Best Puppy (Summit Sparks Fly): I would have absolutely taken this little girl home with me! She is everything that I want to see in a youngster. I’ll be following her career with particular interest.
Again, my most sincere thanks to the club and their exhibitors for giving me a memorable experience.