Photos on this page -
Historical racing picture
Top: Alcaeus, meet winner of the 2004 NOTRA nat'l
Bottom: Betty, a local racer, mother of Mati (see "My Whippets")
Photo Galleries Click Here: http://www.ragracers.smugmug.com/
different theories exist regarding the origin of the whippet breed.
One favorite is that whippets originated in Northern England as a
working man's dog, skilled in acquisition of small game. These
workers, as the story goes, took pride in their dogs and their speed and
held racing on off days. Rag racing became the "poor man's race
Whippets have a very mixed heritage. Whippets used for hunting and racing have been classically heavy in terrier blood, but with many crosses to greyhound type hounds. The breed was first recognized by the Kennel Club in England in 1890. Although the AKC registered its first whippet in 1888, interest in the whippet did not grow until after World War I.
Throughout American Whippet History, there seems to have been a divide between the show and the race whippet. This divide seems somewhat natural -- although all fanciers of the breed would like to have a "well rounded dog," in humans, rarely is the top athlete a beauty queen and vice versa, although certainly some athletes are beautiful (and vice versa). The same split in dogs seems natural to me. In my experience, both "race bred" and "show bred" have similar endearing personalities.WHIPPET RACING TODAY:
Today, in the US there are 4 main racing organizations: NOTRA (oval racing), NAWRA (straight track), WRA (straight track) and CWA (straight track). NOTRA runs coast to coast and sponsors the "other breeds' (other racing sight hounds). For the most part, and for historical reasons, NAWRA and WRA have a geographical split, with NAWRA being a West Coast racing organization and WRA being East Coast with the Midwest having a progressive mix of the two clubs (although the Midwest has been running more WRA than NAWRA).
Racing in the US is available to any whippet hound with AKC papers. The CWA has constraints regarding a whippets pedigree and WRA and NAWRA both have a height requirement (please see the rules of the individual organizations). Although my hounds have not been race champions or meet winners, they enjoy the sport (they don't know that they are meet winners and I am not going to tell them!). If interested, go to the organizational web site and find a club near you. Not mentioned here is lure coursing, another opportunity to let your hound do her stuff -- but that's a whole 'nuther story.