Sunday, January 20, 2013

Lewis Renwick on the Origin of Whippets

Renwick's "The Whippet Handbook" was published in 1956. However his involvement in whippets predates the publication by 50 years according to his introduction in the foreward.

Below are some of his quotes about the origin of the whippet.

"Little seems to be known today of the origin of the Whippet, the little race and coursing dog that up to the advent of Greyhound racing, held such a vast following of sportsmen, who raced the Whippet on tracks all over the British countryside."

"There are many who claim the Whippet is a Greyhound cross and that the Terrier, Greyhound, and Italian Greyhound were used to make the Whippet breed."

"Mr. Frederick Freeman Lloyd in his book The Whippet and Race Do, 1894, asks us 'What's a Whippet' and answers 'Why, he's a little race dog, a dog that is calculated to gallop 200 yards at a terrific speed. Freeman Lloyd states the Whippet 'was originally produced by a cross between the Greyhound and Terrier; in the old days of rabbit coursing in the North of England, English and the other Terriers were used in this pastime. He also states that he could remember Whippets known as Whippets for twenty-five years, which means that in the lat 1860's we have definite information that Whippets were bred for racing and for the coursing of rabbits."

"F. C. Hignett writing in 1904 says: 'The Whippet existed as a separate breed long before dog shows were thought of and at a time when pedigrees were not officially preserved; but it is very certain that the greyhound had a share in his geneological history."

"Recently, that recorder of all things pertaining to the show Whippet, Mr. Bernard S. Fitter, in his The Show and Working Whippet, 1947, and other writings subscribes to the Greyhound cross theory." But then he does on to say: "Let us admit, therefore, that the evidence produced in the only books written exclusively on the breed subscribe to the Greyhound-Terrier cross theory; and that if you question a hundred Whippet fold today on this subject you will receive from ninety-nine of them the same answer as that given by the three experts I have quoted. However, I do not think that this evidence is strong enough to establish this claim; it seems such an easy way to get the answer, for it is obvious that a Whippet is of Greyhound type (it is just as obvious that the Italian Greyhound is of Greyhound type also) but I can seen nothing in the Whippet that points to a Terrier conformation."

Renwick, L., The Whippet Handbook, Nicholson and Watson, London, 1956.

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