(c) David Giraut

My life with dogs, or not just dogs but WHIPPETS, started in 2008. In my childhood family we never had a dog but I was very keen on all animals and aquired all information I could get on wild and domestic animals. I was making my own dog books, writing down race standards with illustrations of each race (I was very keen on drawing, too) and I had several favourite breeds over the years (it was never a whippet, that I can remember). But when I grew up I didn't actively maintain the idea of having a dog and it was only in 2007 when I finally realized that now I had a chance to have that dog. So the choice of breed was actual. First I had thought of Lancashire heeler, since my son's friend's mother was breeding them, but after I heard that there were some serious health issues because of small population and inbreeding, I deserted the idea. Then I had to go back to the same books I consumed as a child and started to read about different races. I knew that my personality wouldn't allow me to take any dog that would require lots of obedience training or trimming and small dogs were too overbred to my taste and not interesting enough so I was intrigued by the sighthounds. My childhood favourite was Irish wolfhoud but I found that too big for us. So a bit more elegant deerhoud was my first choice but since there were not many litters available my impatience threw me to think of greyhounds. However I became uncertain about the size issue, again, since my then 10-year-old son, whom, I imagined, could take the dog for walks after a year or two, so downgrading greyhoud to whippet was quite natural.

Ryppy as a puppy. He is named after the wrinkles on his forehead.
Today I have three whippet dogs, Ryppy (Pipsqueak Onnenlantti) born 2008, his son Rasta (Sagramour Moonshine Endeavor) born 2012 and English import Chance (Moonlake Migrant) born 2015. My beloved Topi (Sopisco Bengal Tiger) born 2008 had to be put down due to behavior problems in January 2015.

Something strange happened after my first dog Ryppy moved in in June 2008 because it took only 2 months and we had another whippet puppy, Topi. What happened was that I was following Ryppy's breeder's web page and noticed that there was a puppy that had been returned to his breeder. The picture of the puppy was just breathtaking and it was captured so strongly in my mind that after two weeks I just had to make a phone call to his breeder Jaana and to my surprise the puppy was still available and Jaana was ready to let him come to our family.

This was the photo of Topi that startled me (c) Jaana Porkka
Life with two active puppies is not something I would recommend to everybody but after all I managed to teach them some manners. In their puppyhood they had lots of fun, wrestling and playing all the time. Life before their adulthood was smooth and managable for a long time until Topi's noise phobia started to show and accumulate and his uncertain temperament that led him into resource aggression worsened and situation became unbearable and unfair to everybody. That led me to make the most difficult decision to put Topi down before he turned 7 years old, after trying all I could,  looking for outside help from the leading dog behavior consult and learning rehabilitating training methods and even trying to re-home him.

I didn't have any ideas of participating any activity when I was iquiring a puppy. However I was open to try everything and so I found myself first in an unnofficial show where Topi won his group, then in puppy shows and then after first official show it turned bad and I started to schedule shows in my calendar. There was a lot to learn for both me and my dogs and I have to admit that I did not always give  the best chances to my boys but both of them became Finnish Champions.

Kartano Weekend 2010

Apart from showing I have tried agility with my dogs. That was fun! I am not a person of intensive and diciplined training that aims for competition so I have not carried on with agility. Lure coursing on the other hand is something that I have enjoyed. However, Ryppy's career was short since he seemed to have more interest in his running partner than the lure but with Topi I was able to race him until veteran classes. He was over the top eager dog with strong hunting instinct, he loved lure coursing but later in his career he inclined to fight over the lure at the end of the race.

Ryppy has three litters which has allowed me to get me some insight to breeding as well. I am utterly happy that I am was able to aquire Ryppy's offspring Rasta (Sagramour Moonshine Endeavor) in 2012.

I have seemingly given my little finger to cynology since I have acted as a board member of the Finnish Whippet Club since 2012 and from 2015 on I am serving as the President of the breed club. Even though I have no intentions to breed, I feel I do not yet have enough knowledge  and my insight of the breed is still in process, I have completed the Finnish Kennel Club's breeder's courses part 1 and 2, just to satisfy my thirst for information, and I am excited knowing that there is so much to learn and absorb and I can spend the rest of my life building my knowledge. This is a process of constant learning.

The biggest influence so far has been my vistit to Gay Robertson, Moonlake whippets, in England. I was able to see what the whippets were actually bred for and that made me to look for the opportunity to aquire a whippet that was bred based on it's function as a coursing dog with conformation that meet the breed standard.

I have met many new friends and been surprised so many times about the helpfulness and good spirit that is among us "whippet people". I enjoy my whippets enormously and I never ever couldn't have imagined how big influence in my life it made to have a whippet.

anna . eriikka @ gmail . com (please remove the spaces)