THE HISTORY AND OPERATION OF THE AMERICAN WHIPPET CLUB
by: Louis Pegram, Secretary
Published with permission of Lynne Underwood from the 1970 Whippet Yearbook
The American Whippet Club is a member of the American Kennel Club, The American Kennel Club membership consists of approved breed clubs, show-giving clubs, and dog training clubs. The American Whippet Club is the “parent” club for all Whippets registered with the American Kennel Club. The Constitution and By-Laws of the American Whippet Club, as well as the Whippet Standard of the Breed, are approved by the American Kennel Club. Any changes made in the Constitution and By-Laws or the Whippet Standard of the Breed must be first approved by the necessary majority of the Board of Directors of the American Whippet Club, then forwarded to the American Kennel Club for approval before being sent to the membership of the American Whippet Club who must also give a 2/3’s majority vote of those responding to the recommended changes. This same policy applies to all “parent” clubs who are members of the American Kennel Club.
The first available records on American Whippet Club activities start with 1930. Records during the period 1930 through 1934 are extremely vague with very high turn-over of officers and membership. Total membership at that time was less than 20 members.
1935 through 1945 saw the American Whippet Club operating effectively as a small group under the leadership of Miss Julia Shearer, Miss Judith Shearer, Mr. Harry Peters, Jr., and Mr. Edward T. Nash. Numerous members and officers during this period were prominent in pure-bred dog activities but their actual interest in Whippets was extremely limited. Major emphasis by the American Whippet Club during this ten-year period was the operation of one major specialty show held in a location most convenient to the majority of Whippet owners living in the East.
1946 through 1953 marked a period of close association between the American Whippet Club and the Greyhound Club of America. Mr. William Brainard and Mr. James A. Farrell, both extremely active in Greyhounds, acted as officers of the American Whippet Club at times during this period. These two parent clubs often held joint specialties. Membership grew only slightly during this period with major emphasis on one major eastern specialty each year and donations to certain worthy causes. Better known member Whippet owners who were active with the breed during this period were Mrs Theodore Pedersen, Mr. Frank Tuffley, Mrs, George Anderson, Mr. Donald Hostetter, Mr. Louis Pegram, Mrs. Margaret Raynor Newcombe, and Mr. and Mrs. Potter Wear.
1954 through 1960 was the period when the American Whippet Club began actively moving from an eastern organization towards recognizing the needs of the Whippet on a national, basis. During this period, the Board of Directors was increased from seven to nine members, and Board members included individuals living other than in the eastern portion of the U.S.A. The annual eastern specialty concept was expanded so there was an American Whippet Club specialty held in the East, Midwest, and on the West Coast. The Constitution and By-Laws were also slightly altered to better cover the constant increase of Whippet population and ownership in all parts of America.
1956 saw the start of the Whippet News under the editorship of Louis Pegram who after one year turned the responsibility over to Mrs. Eugene Jacobs. Whippet racing again became a major factor with many members of the American Whippet Club. The first successful race meeting since the 1940’s was held at the International. Kennel Club Show, Chicago, Illinois, with Mrs. Wendell T. Howell representing the California group and Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Jacobs heading a small group from central Illinois. The American Whippet Club Board of Directors was divided for several years in recognizing Whippet racing, as the American Kennel Club does not support racing of any type. Most of the people racing Whippets at this time were members of the American Whippet Club. After three years, the Board of Directors approved Louis Pegram to draw up Rules and Regulations for National Whippet Racing, leaving the supervision of these rules to the various groups who wished to race Whippets.
Additional Whippet owners taking extremely active parts in American Whippet Club activities during this period were Mrs. Philip (Betty) Fell, Mrs. Wendell Howell, Mr. Calvin Perry, Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Jacobs, Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Eyles, and Mrs. Pearl Baumgartner.
1960-70 was the true expansion period of the American Whippet Club. The membership at the end of 1970 exceeded 200 members. New Constitution and By-Laws were drawn up and approved by the American Kennel Club. The program of approved shows were expanded to three sectional specialties of equal importance and nine American Whippet Club supported entry shows. The Whippet News moved to California under the editorship of Mrs. Christine Cormany, a long time member of the American Whippet Club and the daughter of Mr. James Young, one of the true pioneers of Whippets used for show and race purposes in the United States and Canada. Whippet owners new to the membership of the American Whippet Club and extremely active in the operation of this organization are Mr. Victor Renner, Mrs. Clare Hodge, Mr. William Schmick, Mrs. Dorothea Hastings, Mrs. Joan Frailey, Mrs. Mary Beth Arthur, Mrs. Day Backman, Jr., and Mr. Joseph Pinkosz.
Membership in the American Whippet Club is open to all Whippet owners endorsed by two members of the American Whippet Club in good standing and approved by the Board of Directors. The American Whippet Club welcomes all sincere conscientious Whippet owners as members, but recommends that they first thoroughly read and digest the following objectives of the American Whippet Club before requesting membership:
a. to unite those people interested in the breeding, showing, racing, coursing and generally improving the breed of Whippet for the purpose of exerting effectually a combined influence upon all matters affecting the breed.
b. to urge members and breeders to accept the standard of the breed as approved by the American Kennel Club as the only standard of excellence by which Whippets shall be judged.
c. to promote and maintain a high standard of conduct in the transaction of all business connected with the breeding of the Whippet.
d. to conduct sanctioned matches, obedience trials and specialty shows under the rules of The American Kennel Club.
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