'At the beach'

Rosemary Smith from South Africa. Rosemary has owned whippets since 1981: The kennelname "Smithvale" was registered some 37 years ago when we started showing Schipperkes. We had great success with our Schips and were proud to export from our small kennel, the first Schipperke from South Africa to England. We stopped showing for a while and eventually our old Schips passed on. A friend of mine had two pet Whippets whom I loved and one evening I said to my husband and, then, teenage son - "I'm going to buy a Whippet" The reply was "Why do you want one of those 'skinny' dogs?!" Let me assure you that today my husband is completely 'owned' by our Whippets and my son and his wife have six Whippets - all thoroughly spoilt! They also show and their kennel name is "Corandy".
So it was that in 1981 that our lives changed and we owned our first Whippet who was a darling blue and white bitch "Penny". She was mainly from English bloodlines, but her sire's dam was Dress Circle Pure at Heart going back to Eng. & USA Ch. Courtenay Fleetfoot of Pennyworth. Penny was a very special companion and showed us the uniqueness of Whippets and how easily one can become completely "owned" by them. She was also the foundation to our Smithvale Whippets.


"Tug" 'Tug Best in Show' Ch. Sergeant Pepper of Smithvale'

 

My mentor with regard to showing dogs and dedication to improving the breed was the late Basil Moore of Moorehaven Schipperkes. Through him it was instilled in me that your breed is what matters, the improvement thereof, and strict adherence to the breed standard.He was a wonderful, principled person and would not have enjoyed the 'win' if it was with an inferior specimen.
When Penny arrived in our home, I bought Bo Bengston's book "The Whippet" (the first edition) and also C.H. Douglas-Todd's book "The Whippet". The pages of these books were turned many times (and still are) and I gleaned a lot of knowledge from them. I eventually decided that my ideal Whippet was Ch. Deepridge Mintmaster. I have been fortunate in that I have a little of his bloodline in my breeding and also that of his sire, Ch. Laguna Ligonier, (albeit far back now). Discussing Whippets and the standard with friends who also own this wonderful breed is always beneficial and one never stops learning.

"Snow" Taken the same weekend as the Beach Shot at top of page, what a contrast

'Run in the Garden'

The dogs with me after having a run in the garden

They are all so very special each in their own way and I have many memories that are dear to me. Puppy breath! Memories of the ones who have now passed on and gave so much to us with their delightful personalities, the ones that 'talked' and would wake my husband up at 3am on the pretext of needing to go outside and then run to the cupboard that had the special biscuits in and 'talk'. He would then give "Dusty" a biscuit and everyone went 'back to bed'. This became a regular habit and eventually he complained about 'lack of sleep'. I said "why don't you stop giving her a biscuit and she will stop waking you up"!!

Dusty, Smithvale Stardom, was the dam of my most precious and devoted friend and companion - Ch. Smithvale Galaxy. Galaxy is now 12 years old and has given us so many wonderful memories and I think has also given much to the breed in this country. At 14 days old, when his eyes were starting to open, I held him to my face and this little fellow licked my nose and the little tail gave an indication of a wag. From that moment he was my dog - beautiful or not! However, besides being my constant companion he was also beautiful and has given us many exciting memories in the show ring. From 1991 to 1995 Galaxy was top Whippet dog in the country. He is a multi- BIS winner and won Reserve and Best Opposite Sex Dogmor Dog of the Year, one of South Africa's top competitions. He has sired numerous champions and BIS winner grandchildren. A thorough gentleman, who knows only too well that he can 'get away' with just about anything!

We don't breed unless we can keep a pup to carry on our line. However, we have 16 Whippets, many of them are very special 'golden oldies', some rescues, and also because we don't just keep one pup! Our dogs are very much part of the family and our TV room in the evening is taken over by the Whippets and one Greyhound. My husband and I land up sitting on the edge of the chairs if we are lucky enough to find that much space! I think a lot of Whippet owners know that feeling! Our evenings in the TV room, chairs covered with Whippets will always be a warm memory for me.

It is always a joy to watch the Whippets race each other around our 1 acre garden. They have made their own route which they always take. In South Africa racing and coursing dogs is not allowed, not even as a Club. However, ours are fortunate that they have the space to "do their own racing" around the property, when allowed to.

A very exciting memory was when "Ch. Sergeant Pepper of Smithvale" who has Galaxy three times in his pedigree took BIS at one of our largest and prestigous all breed dog shows. In 1998 he was also 12th top show dog, all breeds, in South Africa. This memory is also very special because "Tug" was one of six pups who we took over at 5 weeks of age as the breeder was not in a position to care for them. I felt a responsibility to this litter because they were virtually all Smithvale breeding. We placed three pups in lovely homes and kept 2 dogs and my son took one of the bitches. All three of our 'rescue' babies are now champions.

And, just this year when we imported our first Whippet puppy from Nenne Runsten (Airescot) in Sweden. The excitement of going to the airport to fetch the little fellow and seeing him for the first time. He is so beautiful and now six months old.


Left is "Galaxy and me"
And right is Galaxy at 18 months

In South Africa, we do not have the same volume of breeders as many other countries. However, over the last few years, we have had some quality imports and are fortunate to have a larger gene pool now than we did some years back. There are some lovely Whippets in the country. Provided our few breeders in this country plan carefully and are articulate with their breeding programmes we should carry on producing good Whippets. I think it is very important that good fronts be maintained as in photos of overseas dogs as well I see a short straight upper arm creeping in as well as exaggerated angulation in the hindquarters which should be avoided.

The "General Appearance" quoted in the English standard before it was condensed, for me, provides a very good description of our breed.

"Should convey an impression of beautifully balanced muscular power and strength, combined with great elegance and grace of outline. Symmetry of outline, muscular development and powerful gait are the main considerations; the dog, being built for speed and work, all forms of exaggeration should be avoided. The dog should possess great freedom of action, the forelegs should be thrown forward and low over the ground like a thoroughbred horse, not in a hackney-like action. Hind legs should come well under the body giving great propelling power, general movement not to look stilted, high stepping or in a short mincing manner"

Savanna Flowers
Ch. Cottoncove Savanna Breeze of Smithvale

 

We are priviledged to own and live with this incredible breed, only breed to keep and carry on your lines and if you have loving caring homes waiting for the pups to be 'part of a family'. - Enjoy every moment you have with them and look after their future. Thought: It's not a dog - it's a Whippet!

Mail Comments to Rosemary



Ch. Smithvale Classic Moment "Smudge" (the Whippet) and Ch. Windspiel Northern Salino "Kate" (the Greyhound). They just love each other and this photo was taken of them relaxing on our bed!