Merle and Richard Powley of Shenkhan Whippets are from New Zealand, and my first guest to be featured from this country down under. Merle shares her story of owning whippets with you: "I was brought up in a family that loved animals". My family bred and showed Rough Coated Collies, and Corgis. As a young girl I travelled around the North island of New Zealand with my parents, on weekend shows, and was fortunate to have handled dogs of several breeds. I fell in love with Afghan Hounds, but at that time there were none being campaigned.

My Grandfather bought me my first very own dog, a Pomeranian. I loved this breed, and went on to have my own registered kennel while still at High School. After leaving school I put the dog world aside to explore other options, career, etc.

It was not until many years later that I was able to fulfil my dream of owning an Afghan Hound. With my husband Richard and our then young family we began once again to enter the world of dog shows. After several years with Afghan Hounds we then added Salukis to our family. By this stage our youngest daughter then aged 8yrs, was showing a definite interest in being allowed to help handle the dogs. I thought that something a little smaller than the sighthounds we had would suit her better. I even suggested a Sheltie. Something with a little coat, that would be appropriate for her to handle. However she had other ideas, and unbeknown to us approached a Whippet breeder at a show, and arranged to be shown a litter of puppies. I was not impressed, not wanting to own one of those skinny dogs with no coat to ‘play’with. However her devoted father drove he to see the litter, and a whippet puppy duly arrived at our home.

Our first Whippet, or should I say our daughters first Whippet, "Snoopy" stole our hearts in just a few hours. He became an All Breeds Best in Show winner, and very easily titled. He still has an unbroken record with the Whippet club for the fastest time (hand slipped) over 230 metres. He was BIS CH Weathertop Helta Skelta Well it was not long before I too had my own little Whippet, "Celeste", the sweetest most adorable little dog I have ever had the pleasure of owning. Ch Weathertop Aurora. These two Whippets were both out of the beautiful bitch Ch Tynchewick Gueldor Rose, the first Whippet to ever win Best of Group at the prestigious All Breeds National Show in New Zealand. From these two we bred our first Whippet litter, the photo is featured on our welcome page of our web site.

Ch Shenkhan Shezamazing. Judge Mrs Meakin [Oakbark], taking SBIS

The Whippet Club in New Zealand was in its infancy, and we became involved on the committee. The breeders of our first Whippets Julie and Colin Peel, were definitely responsible for helping to shape our formative years in the breed. We would travel from Tauranga to Auckland regularly to attend race meetings and shows. Julie and Colin always opened there home up to us.

Together we would pour over the English Whippet magazines and annuals. Studying the breed, and watching the development of the breed in UK.

My husband Richard went on eventually to become President of the Whippet Club a position he held for 15 years.

When Anne Knight of "Dondelayo" fame visited New Zealand we were privileged to have her stay with us as our guest. We had a litter of puppies at the time sired by Ch Martinique Rag Trumpet(Aust) out of Ch Shenkhan Tequila. Anne was very impressed with the puppies, and on her return to England and shortly before her untimely death, Anne bequeathed a puppy to us from Ch Dondelayo Airwolf and Dondelayo Yvette. This was to become a turning point in our breeding programme. The puppy from that union became the new foundation from which all of our present stock comes. Although this is now many generations back, we have strived to breed Whippets that are truly functional hounds.

We have twice imported from Australia. The first, Statuesque The Iron Lady. "Maggie" was a granddaughter of Eng Ch & Aust Ch Dondelayo Statue, And Eng Ch & Aust Ch Dondelayo Reinette, on her sires side. On her dams side she was closely related to the well known Eng & Aust ch Allgarth Envoy, Ch Cherrydown Anonymous of Dondelayo and Ch Glenbervie Skybelle.

Shortly after her arrival in New Zealand the well known Whippet International Champion Statuesque Personalized came to New Zealand to be campaigned. "Maggie" mated to "Person". Thus continuing our breeding on English Whippet lines

"Benson" racing. Racing Ch and SBIS CH Shenkhan Hezallusive.
New Zealand's only dual titled Specialty Best in Show Whippet

More recently we again bought a Whippet Bitch from Australia, Statuesque Jenny Wren. "Scarlett" is a daughter of International Champion Statuesque Extortion. This has now given us a blend of American Whippet bloodlines as well.

For me personally Type and Temperament are paramount in my lines. They must be Elegant, yet have enough substance to do that for which they were originally bred. I like to see a Whippet that is curvey with no sharp corners, but with proportionate length and balance. I enjoy studying pedigrees, and believe in line breeding to produce consistency in type.


Left is Ch Shenkhan Steele a Peep
Right is Shenkhan Dragn Fly N Ambr

 

I have so many memories about the Whippets who have shared their lives with us, either by just visiting, staying for holidays, or living in our home, that it would be difficult to just pick out one moment.

But a Whippet who became my ideal many years ago, was the stunning bitch Dondelayo Duette, who was Reserve Best in Show at Crufts.



I guess my main concern for the future of the breed, is with those Whippet breeders, whose main concern seems to be 'winning in the show ring'. We all like to win, but not at the detriment of the breed. Is winning the standard against which success is measured?

To often Whippets are bred to the top winning Whippet of the day. In the hope of producing another top show winner. Not enough thought goes into the pedigrees behind these winners. Then as often happens these people 'drop out' of the breed, leaving nothing behind but a total mish mush of blood-lines. Hardly long enough to have established a distinct type, or bloodline, but long enough to leave behind a lot of Whippets who will continue to contribute to mediocre dogs. We have a saying here in New Zealand- "Good things take time, you know".

There really are no short cuts to becoming a successful breeder. As caretakers of our choosen breed it is imperitive we leave the next generation of breeders sound bloodlines to work with.

My newest Champion, Ch Shenkhan Drums and Rose's. "Majik"


Left is BIS CH Weathertop Helta Skelta "Snoopy" Our first Whippet
Right is "Tinker" Shenkhan Foxy Lady.

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