Tim and I lounging on the lawn

Pauline Oliver from the UK and Spyanfly Kennels

My husband Rob and I are very lucky as we are owned by several whippets and horses. We in return bow and curtsy to their every whim. They very kindly keep our seats warm, wash our faces and feet, help wash-up, rearrange bedding and help with the gardening and sometimes they produce babies for us. Not too often but enough for us to show off for them occasionally.

It all started when two years after losing my old Labrador X, who had been with me for fourteen years, during which time my dog and I travelled the country working with horses, and I courting and subsequently marrying Rob and producing two offspring, we felt a strong need for a companion dog.

We had taken a liking to our local pubs’ silver fawn whippet. When I recall how it used to spend the day sunbathing on the pavement (sidewalk) without being tethered in any way it horrifies me. I am pleased to report, it lived to a ripe old age.

Top is Timothy with three of his pups this year
Bottom Left is A typical Spyanfly litter and Right is Show training Spyanfly Who Dun It at home

Our local whippet breeder turned out to be Barbara Wilton-Clarke (Shalfleet). Whilst visiting at her kennels I put in my order of a red fawn bitch with blue mask and white chest markings. That is so embarrassing when I look back.

Believe it or not Suzy (Shalfleet Scarlet Crown) very obediently arrived four months later. There was nothing further from my mind than showing, which I had never done. But when Kathy Thomas (Faracre) who then worked for Barbara, saw Suzy at six months she gently persuaded me to give it a try.

Suzy managed to win at her first show with Rob handling, for the first and last time. He thinks it is a mugs game and prefers to co-own a racehorse which as he says wins on its own merit. The only problem is it has not won! Yet. This all occurred twenty years ago.

Left is Gemma (Pepes Princess)
Right is Rambo (Spyanfly Selestial Stormtrooper) Son of Gemma and sire of (Ch.Spyanfly He's Atrooper)

Our second whippet quickly proceeded the first, Gemma (Pepes Princess) who was bred from racing bloodlines. Believe it or not she was the granddam of our first show champion Ch.Spyanfly He’s Atrooper (Billy). It is not common for show whippets over here to be bred from racing stock, as in general they are a lot smaller. The racing whippet here is handicapped on weight, therefore it is to your advantage to breed very small.

Billys biggest achievement was winning Best Whippet Dog at Crufts in 1990. The bitch Ch.Nutshell of Nevidith went BOB and onto Reserve BIS. Which means that Billy was only beaten by two dogs out of the thousands of entries. Well that is how we like to look at it anyway.LoL!

The other great love of our lives is Timothy (Ch.Spyanfly Say No More ), who is Billys’ half brother. He is the most charming snob you could ever wish to meet. The highlight of his show career was going BIS at the prestigious Hound Show. He would also like to brag that two of his daughters, Ch. Bluestreak Beauty of Bath and Ch.Bluestreak Brief Encounter (different dams) have both gone BOB at Crufts. They were both bred by Cathie Brown.

Left is Crufts 1990 Billy and Ch. Nutshell of Nevidith and right is William, "Billy" to my friends

Top is "Wheres a puddycat"
Bottom Left is Timothy showing off in the garden and bottom right is Tim wondering "Did I see a rabbit in that bush"

We became very aware of the need for good temperament in our breed many years ago. When the most awful fight occurred between two bitches, both of which we had bought in. I never want to see anything like that again. Therefore our policy is ‘temperament comes first’. This can only be maintained if the owners of stud dogs and brood bitches are honest with themselves and do not stand dogs at stud or breed from bitches with suspect temperaments. We have eight whips in our home of mixed sex. All barring one were bred by us. None of the dogs are castrated. Puppies are the only dogs we ever kennel and we never have the need to crate, even when left on their own. Admittedly that is not that often but I do have the odd shopping day and go out some evenings.

I love participating in the showing but I do try not to be so driven that breed type and temperament are lost. We absolutely adore being owned by our whips and have had the most wonderful years with this most sporting and affectionate breed and hope that they carry on wanting to be part of our lives.

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Timothy Ch.Spyanfly Say No More at 8 weeks