The Whippet GCh. Pinnacle Kentucky Bourbon, one of last year's top show dogs in the U.S., won Reserve Best in Show at the 144th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on Tuesday, February 11, in Madison Square Garden, New York. It was the breed's highest award at Westminster since 1964. Bourbon was handled by Cheslie Pickett-Smithey, who also co-owns Bourbon with her husband Justin A Smithey, Dr. Ken Latimer, Judy Descutner and Nancy Shaw.
The annual Show Dogs of the Year Awards banquet, sponsored by Purina ProPlan in partnership with Dog News Magazine, was held at Gotham Hall in New York City on the evening of February 8, 2020 — the day before the start of Westminster Kennel Club's 144th annual dog show.
In early February this year breed history was made when the red-fawn-and-white Whippet bitch Bourbon, one of the country's most successful show dogs last year, won her 73rd all-breed Best in Show in Atlanta, Georgia, and thereby set a new record for Whippets in the U.S.
Sighthound Review wants to provide more information about the Sighthound specialist judges. We know that many of them have a long and distinguished background in Sighthounds, and we want our readers to learn more about them, too. Following are some questions we asked …
I finger your vertebral nubs
admire the planes of
your lean, fast hips
covered by snug-fitting skin
and a desert coat, so short
I stroke your forehead knob
too prominent for showing, she said
but stately in my eyes
Your solemn gaze holds
mine—then slides away
Dog shows in Scandinavia are in many ways quite different from what we are used to in the U.S. They are in general much bigger, often with several thousand dogs entered even at fairly average shows, and the best ones are much more than just conformation events.
Q: How did you start in dogs? When and how did you fall in love with your breed (or breeds), and how did you go about founding your current breeding program? Briefly outline the most important breeding decisions you made and identify the most successful dogs you have bred. Do you believe in linebreeding or outcrossing?
In this the second* of three articles dealing with controversial colors and patterns in various Sighthound breeds, we cover the Afghan Hound, Scottish Deerhound, Rhodesian Ridgeback and Basenji. Although color seems like a trite characteristic of a breed it is apparently an important point, judging by people's reactions, either pro or con, when the subject of an unusual color comes up. In every breed where I have asked the question there have been accusations of crossbreeding and attempting to breed a new color for profit. I have been chastised by some for even mentioning that these colors exist, for fear it will encourage readers to want one or decide to start breeding them. I prefer to allow people to see the controversy and the colors for themselves and make up their own mind what they want to do.
Everybody knows there are just a dozen or so Sighthound breeds, right? Watching the Hound Group being judged at a regular American Kennel Club show, you will see the established Sighthound breeds, long-legged and aristocratic, lined up somewhat incongruously next to mostly very different-looking other Hound breeds. First come the Afghan Hound and the Borzoi, then the Greyhound, Ibizan Hound, Pharaoh Hound, Saluki and Scottish Deerhound, with the Whippet at the end.
When people ask me how to judge my breed — and they do — my advice is NOT to look for the prettiest dog in the ring. That gets them every time: "What, not put up the prettiest dog? Isn't that what dog shows are for?"
No, not necessarily, at least not if you agree that dog shows should be more than a superficial exercise is who's the cutest, who is the flashiest, whom does the novice spectator's eye go to firsst? If that is what you think dog shows should be — and there are lots of people who obviously do — then read no further; you will find your views amply supported by many judges coming soon to a local dog show near you.