My involvement with dogs has been life-long. My father trained and raced Greyhounds for the circle track and open hare coursing. Being an outdoor family we were forever going fishing and hunting, hence a gundog was always part of our lives. Labradors & GSP's were the preferred breeds for shooting over and our first Labrador a rich golden red male (a colour rarely seen these days) instigated my interest in the world of dog showing and then onto breeding.
My interest in Whippets began after seeing them at a local show. I decided then and there that this breed, being so similar to the Greyhound but on a much smaller scale, was to be part of my life. At that time there were very few Whippets being exhibited and a breeder of note that I will always remember was Mrs Dot Stewart of 'Rosiel Kennels' fame. 'Dotty' to her friends and fellow exhibitors was a fierce competitor, at the same time always willing to impart her years of knowledge of breeding Whippets to sit with her and listen. In the next few years my young family kept me busy with their horses and motor bikes so showing and breeding Whippets was not my first priority.
According to all the doyens of the breed it was imperative to breed good type you should have a well established line to commence your breeding program. My next decision was to source out a suitable and a well established line to breed from. In my mind the most established and influential kennel in Australia at the time was that of Mr B Doherty & T Crowley's 'Martinique Kennels'. I approached Terry Crowley and after some time a bitch was suggested of Martinique lines, but bred by Shalique Kennels in Queensland. A gorgeous rich red fawn Shalique Sly Reflection 'Tess' arrived at 5 months of age and quickly attained her Australian title and then her New Zealand title in the hands of Brian and Sandy Wilson of Noholme Whippets and the rest is history.
Over the years I have been most fortunate to be involved in establishing The Whippet Assoc. of Victoria Inc., and have the honour of being their first Life Member. From tardy beginnings the Association has become the leading breed specialty club in Australia and conduct the most prestigious Specialty Show's in our country. Our Association conducted a World Whippet Congress and the first Whippet National to be held in this country an event that the executive and committee are extremely proud. Since 2004 we have conducted 3 National Specialties and the last in March of 2017. This show was our most successful and one that all the whippet enthusiasts chat about and remember for many a long day.
My interest in this breed has taken me overseas and to most major Whippet shows in Australia. I attended the 1st World Congress in the USA then Exeter (UK) the 2nd World Congress and The Whippet Club Centenary Show in July 1999. To view an entry of 501 whippets was indeed a joy. In 2008 the World Show, Whippet Congress & Sighthound Show in Stockholm, Sweden.
On of my most memorable and exciting moments was at the Whippet Specialty at the beautiful Kragga Mansion in Sweden. The judges were Mrs M Lowe (UK) Nimrodel and Miss Claire Newcombe (USA) Pennyworth Whippets. By Chance I handled for my friend Ms Jutta Breidenbach and only because Jutta was so nervous the beautiful GERMAN CHAMPION JEE BEE’S A NEW GOLD DREAM ‘Goldie’ to BEST IN SHOW. Such a gorgeous whippet I would have given anything to tuck her under my arms and bring her back to Australia.
In 2009 I was most privileged to attend the biggest dog show in the world CRUFTS and handle again the lovely ‘Goldie’ an experience and event that one only dreams about. In the one exhibition area alone there were over 400 whippets entered on the day, truly mind blowing and to be side by side with exquisite whippets and world known whippet breeders. Mr dear friend Mr Roger Stock taking the accolades with his home bred bitch 'Esme' ENGLISH CHAMPION COURTHILL CAST A SHADOW. I have been most fortunate and consider it a privilege to meet many, many wonderful whippet folk throughout the world and their lovely dogs.
Over the past 15 years I have been very fortunate to have my friend Heather Hunter join and support me in handling my whippets. Heather hails from a dog fancy family with her parents Joy and Tom Clarkson 'Millewa' breeding and showing multiple Best In Show Dachshunds for many years throughout Australia. Heather's handling skills are well known and well regarded. Not only handling BIS Dachshunds but a multiple BIS Afghan, Irish Setters and virtually any dog taken into the ring is handled with style and shown to their best ability. Heather's love for dogs is evident in the way she bonds with the dogs. On our travels together we have had fun times driving around our country and I am forever thankful to Heather for the support she has given me on my journey for without her I doubt if I would be showing.