Celebrate the Whippet Breed

Hightlight Kennels and Mrs. Margaret "Peggy" Hodge


Mrs Hodge

Mrs. Margaret "Peggy" Hodge seldom allowed herself to be photographed with her dogs, though she was a very handsome woman. She is shown here in a rare informal shot with Lady (to her right) and a bitch that I BELIEVE to be Poltesco Polka. If true, this would be her posing with her two best imported brood bitches from the 1960's--a tribute to her breeder's eye.

Introduction:

Hello everyone,

These photoscans are from the personal photo albums and records of Mrs. Margaret "Peggy" Hodge. From the late 1950's until the mid-1980's, Highlight Kennel bred, imported, and owned many of the most influential, top-winning, and roundly admired Whippets of their era

Among these great Whippets, the two most important today are the pair that follows this paragraph, Ch. Selbrook Highlight ROM and Ch. Greenbrae Barn Dance ROMX". It would be nearly impossible to find a Whippet in the show ring today who does have multiple lines back to Barn Dance, and if your Whippet carries lines back through Whippoorwill or Briarwyck, you can be fairly certain you have a heavy dose of Selbrook Highlight down through her lovely son, Ch. Highlight's Eidolon.

Styles of stacking and presentation have changed greatly in the past forty years, and you will note that as we get into the photos from the late 1970's and mid 1980's, the dogs are stretched out and their heads are baited forward to show more neck as we like to see our dogs posed today. Be kind to the old-time dogs. They were often stacked in what to us appears a distorted fashion, with rears scrunched under them and toplines poked high, and noses pushed skyward, which gives a more ewe-necked appearance. Use your imagination. They are worthy of our study, for these dogs and their look made a huge genetic contribution to the foundation of the modern show breed in North America.

Mrs. Hodge passed away in 2000 after many years of declining health. The last homebred Highlight Whippet, her beloved "Miss Piggy", predeceased her by only a few months. The photo albums came to me, Karen Lee. In many cases, the dogs were only identified by call names written on the backs of the photos, and I had to scramble to match them up with a registered name. Any errors of identification are mine, as are all opinions.

If you enjoy pouring over old photos as I do, and studying past winners, you might wish to bid on an item I will be donating to the raffle at the AWC National. I am assembling an album of rare photos, many never advertised, from Mrs. Hodge's personal collection. This will not just include dogs that she personally bred, but famous dogs sired by her stud dogs, such as Ch. Morshor's Whirlaway. This will be a marvelous addition to the collection of any breed historian.

If you have questions or comments about the Highlight photos shown here, please E-mail Karen Lee at surreyhill@zoominternet.net.

BIS Ch. Selbrook Highlight ROM and BIS Ch. Greenbrae Barn Dance ROMX
Lady was the #1 show Whippet in 1962
Barney was ranked #1 for two years after Courtenay Fleetfoot's reign at the top was over
Barney and Lady produced 8 Champions in their two litters together.
Photo was taken in 1965

Not all of Mrs. Hodge's English Imports went on to be important in the breeding program. The family had a brief flirtation with blue and white and solid blue Whippets in the late 50's and early 1960's. Here is teenage son Butch Hodge with blue and white Selbrook Arclight, who he showed as a Junior.

Eng.Am.Ch. Butterfly of Test
She was imported from England and was all set to become a great brood bitch for the Highlight Kennel. Sadly, she was an escape artist and she vanished. After a long search, she was found dead by the roadside. I don't think the family ever really got over that. The photo is from 1962. The judge is Wild Bill Kendrick, who is quite well known to the old-time show crowd.

BIS Ch. Greenbrae Barn Dance ROMX 1965

Ch. Selbrook Highlight ROM from 1962
Although she is panting, this is the only photo I can find of "Lady" where she is stretched out and stacked in the modern style instead of being posed to look more roached in topline. I think this photo illustrates the smoothness and quality of this lovely and influential English import. She was a multiple Best in Show winner and top-producer for the kennel. She was handled by several people, but her best photos, like this one, are with Frank Hill, who is still very much alive today.

Ch. Highlight's Glamour Girl (Barney x Lady), dam of the following photo:

Ch. Highlight's Heidi's Mr. Lady
The only dog who was carried on in any pedigrees who goes back to the lone litter out of the ill-fated Ch. Butterfly of Test
Glamour Girl was from the first breeding between Barney and Lady. Two other champions from that litter are the following two photos:

Ch. Highlight's Flashy One

This is Ch. Highlight's Lucky Boy with his owner, the very famous judge Winifred Heckerman.

From the second mating between these two came an even better and more influential litter:

Ch. Highlight's Cameo
A very important brood bitch for the kennel

SBIS Ch. Highlight's Cleopatra ROM was a very important brood bitch as well. She is shown going BOS to her brother, Ch. Highlight's Caesar, a multi-group winner and useful sire for the kennel. "Cleopatra" had several outstanding inbred litters for the kennel. One of these was to her litterbrother, Caesar, which resulted in the four-puppy, all-champion "J" litter (farther down on this page).

The last breeding between Barney and Lady produced Ch. Highlight's Eidolon and Ch. Highlight's En Re Nous, the following two photos:

Ch. Highlight's Eidolon (Barney x Lady)
(photo from 1971)
This dog is the grandsire of the famous Whippoorwill Fox Brothers who appear in so many pedigrees today. His great-grandson, Ch. Fenwick of Whippoorwill ROM, is a more substantial version of this style of dog. "Adam", as he was called, was one of Mrs. Hodge's personal favorites among all she bred, and stamped his underline and lean head on nearly all of his descendants for generations.

Ch. Highlight's En Tre Nous
A littersister to Adam, was an important brood bitch for the kennel.

The All-Champion "J" Litter--actually quite typical of the results that Mrs. Hodge obtained through intense inbreeding onto her foundation pair, a scheme she used repeatedly. Jetliner was a multi-group winner for the kennel and the other three finished very easily. Color photos exist for this whole litter--the silver brindle coloration is typical of the average Highlight of the mid-1970's and comes from Barn Dance, who was that color as well. Like many of today's British fanciers, Mrs. Hodge did not hesitate to breed blue dilutes together. Obviously, it was not considered an issue by the judges during this time period in our breed's history in America.

Ch. Highlight's Jetliner

Ch. Highlight's Jumbo Jet

Ch. Highlight's Jubaleigh

Ch. Highlight's Joint Account
Isn't she BEAUTIFUL? This is one of my all-time favorite Highlight Whippets.

English import Ch. Boughton Batchelor was quite unappealing to my eye in his puppy photos, but this photo taken of him as a six-year old dog does show why he was utilized in the breeding program after all. He sired multiple champions for the kennel. Here is one of his puppies:

Ch. Highlight's Jerry's Girl (Batchelor x Glamour Girl)

Ch. Highlight's Flaming Beau (Batchelor x Ch. Highlight's Glamour Girl)

Ch. Highlight's Beauregard (Ch. Highlight's Flaming Beau x Tomesueamy Roses) (from 1977)

BIS Ch. Dondelayo Shaun
One of the last Highlight English imports
This dog still figures in the Fermanaugh-line pedigrees.

Ch. Highlight's Dragnetta (Barney x Cameo)