From paintings by Louis Agassiz Fuertes
A small and very swift breed of greyhound called the whippet has been developed in England,
and whippet racing is an old and favorite sport among English workingmen,
particularly in the northern and northwestern counties.
The dogs are raced over a 200-yard straightaway course,
and are usually handicapped according to weight and previous performance.
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How the Whippets are used
There are two men to each dog”the handler,who holds the
animal’s fore paws on the mark, and the “runner-up,”
usually the owner or some other person of whom the
dog is fond and toward whom he runs. The starter, pistol in hand, stands behind the “scratch.”
The owners now run away from the dogs, each waving a
rag and shouting, “Hi! Hi!” to attract his favorite’s attention,
and, still urging the dogs, take their position behind the
“overmark,” which is to yards beyond the winning post.
Each handler holds his dog’s neck with the left hand, and
with the right grasps the root of the tail. At a word from
the starter, the handler gets ready by lifting his whippet’s
hind feet well off the ground, while its fore feet remain on the mark.
At the crack of the pistol the dog is literally thrown into its
stride, and with the other competitors flashes down the track,
crosses the winning mark at top speed, slowing up only as it
approaches its owner, who is still frantically calling and waving the rag.
Each dog wears a colored ribbon about his neck
“red, white, blue, yellow, green, or black” and at the finish of each heat a
flag the color of the winner’s ribbon is hoisted by the judges to announce the result.
The distance has been covered in nj4 seconds, or an average of 52 feet 2 inches per second for the 200 yards.
A Whippets makeup
Color is not a point in whippets, their sole purpose being to go as fast as possible.
They come in all colors, like greyhounds; indeed, they are judged
along exactly parallel lines, (f anything, they are even more
extreme in their peculiarities of form, being very reached
up in the back and clear of limb. The ideal weight is about
15 pounds for males and 13 for females. The head shows
usually some Manchester terrier tendencies, and the tail
has generally longer hair along its under side than covers the rest of the dog.
In spite of the fact that these slight little dogs are rather
delicate and trembly, they are staunchly declared by those
who own them to be very bright, affectionate, and loyal.
As is generally the case, when “the fancy” takes hold of a
utility breed an artificial standard, based almost entirely on looks,
supersedes the more erratic standard, based upon performance.
The English foundryman would pay more for a snipy,
knobly little dog that could run like a scared spirit than for
the most graceful and cleanly silhouetted beauty at the bench show,
should it lack in speed and racing courage.