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Whippet Conformation

“For each breed the AKC registers, there is a breed standard which is a word description of the perfect dog of that breed. Standards describe the mental and physical characteristics that allow each breed to perform the function for which they were originated. The standard describes the dog's looks, movement and temperament. Breeders involved with each breed are attempting to produce a dog that most closely conforms to the breed standard. In this respect, dog shows are not unlike cat shows, bird shows, cattle shows, horse shows, etc. In fact, for almost every species bred by man there are competitions among breeders. AKC approved judges examine the dogs and place them in accordance to how close each dog compares with their mental image of the "perfect" dog as described in the breed's official standard” (quoted from AKC website).

AKC Whippet Breed Standard
As you prepare to participate in conformation events, you should become thoroughly familiar with the breed standard for whippets. Information about the breed standard can be obtained from the American Whippet Club website: (http://www.americanwhippetclub.net/awcpages/whipstnd.html).

Observing at Dog Shows
Attend local all-breed and specialty shows to observe not only the quality and condition of whippets being shown, but also to observe expert ring etiquette and handling of whippets in conformation competition. Notice whether a whippet holds its topline while in motion and how closely each whippet approximates the whippet standard. Observe how expert handlers stack their whippets on the ground, on a ramp, or on a table to draw attention to the strengths of their whippet while standing. Notice how handlers move the whippet on a loose lead, how they move the whippet down and back, how the whippet is moved around the ring to show correct reach and drive, and how they bait and position the whippet and themselves for best effect.  Note the professional attire of the handler and the kind of leads that are used in the show ring. Many handlers use braided kangaroo leather slip leads or Resco leads that adjust with a slide.  Talk with handlers, breeders, and owners after they have finished competition in the ring. Most are eager to talk about their animals. 

Learning to Handle Your Whippet in Conformation Competition
Handling your own whippet in the show ring can be fun and exciting. Once you have a show-quality whippet, you should condition, train, and practice with your whippet before ever entering the competition ring. Some dog clubs offer conformation classes for beginning owner-handlers and participation in such classes can help you become proficient as a handler and to train your whippet to show well in the ring despite the noise and distractions.  Your whippet should be trained to stand still in a stacked pose while being touched or examined by the judge, allowing the judge to see the teeth for proper bite. Your whippet should also be trained to move on a loose lead at a slow trot and extended trot in any pattern directed by the judge.

Grooming Your Whippet for Conformation Competition
At a minimum, your whippet should be bathed and brushed before entering the show ring. Ears and teeth should be clean as well.  Toenails should be trimmed, but not too short. Most groomers also trim face whiskers and hair in the ears. Cowlicks on the sides of the neck and legs are often hand trimmed with thinning shears or clippers so that the coat lies smooth. Hair on the tummy , flank edge, and under the tail may also be trimmed. Some groomers also trim the hair on the undersides of the feet. White areas of the coat are often chalked.

AKC Dog Shows
Utah clubs currently hold conformation shows at 3 different sites during the year. You can find out more about AKC conformation events online:

AKC Events Website

Dog Show Superintendent Websites

Dog show premiums are published by AKC licensed dog show superintendents and detail the location, dates, judges, and competition classes at each show.  Judging programs are published after entries are closed and provide details about how many animals of each breed are entered and the time and ring each breed will be shown.

AKC Conformation Championships
AKC registered whippets, without disqualifying faults or limited registrations, can begin being shown at 6 months of age. However, animals that have been spayed or neutered cannot compete for AKC conformation championships. AKC conformation championships require 15 points to be earned, including at least 2 majors under 2 different judges. Point schedules, which are published each year in May, can be found on the AKC website


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