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Why have two organisations?

Biker John

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I am new to Whippet racing and I am confused, it is a minority interest pastime so why are their two separate organisations trying to run it. Wouldn't it be better for its long term benefit to have one? Looking forward to reading the various reasons, as I am sure that their must be some but I cant think of any.
Where to start?

And - how long have you got!
At the beginning I'd suggest and as I'm retired I've got plenty of time.
Ask the pedigree whippet racing club that you attend to race your dog John and I should think they will enlighten you :))

Each of the pedigree whippet racing clubs throughout England and Scotland are independent with their own rules. There are two organisations that put on Championship events each year for members of those clubs to race their dogs at for Championship titles but they don't "run" whippet racing as such.

However, you do need a passport for your dog which is issued by each organisation to run at one of their events.

To run at a WCRA event you need a passport which also requires an annual sticker supplied to you by an affiliated club to which you must be a member.

To run at an NPWRA event you just need a passport issued by them, they do not have affillated clubs.

Hope this information is helpful to you.
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I’m not old enough to confirm this but - In the beginning there were Whippets. The Kennel Club didn’t recognise the bred until the Whippet Club was formed around 1899 and the standard was set, before that they were all unregistered.

My Grandfathers family had them, some were registered, some were not – I don’t know why but I do know they mixed Greyhounds with all sorts of dogs as the idea was to get a runner that could help to feed the family. When his family moved from Oxfordshire to London they took their dogs with them.

During this period an owner could easily double his weekly wage winning prize money racing his Whippet. The Oldest book I know about Whippet Racing (Freeman Lloyd) comments about the 200 yard track and the racing was ‘ragged’ ie the owner stood at the end of the track and waved and shouted at his dog. There were no starting traps – the dogs were ‘slipped’ from their leads by professional handlers.

This type of racing was slowly changed in the 1920s when a mechanical hare was developed and run at the Welsh Harp, Hendon (North London) – only a couple of miles from were my family were living at the time – I can’t say if we were part of it but it is recorded that a small dog won the very first race.

Straight racing is not much of a spectator sport – it is easy on a bend track to see the dogs lap and so Greyhound stadiums were made popular. However, Straight Whippet Racing continued. The oldest club running Pedigree Whippets – those registered with the KC - ran in West London in the 1950s and towards the late 1960s a few people got together to ‘organise the sport’ – as the rules at one meeting were vastly different to those at another. The first organisation I am aware of was the British Whippet Racing Association (1967) and this was followed by the Whippet Club Racing Association (first races 1970) – the rules for this Association were drawn up by a committee taking into account the various club Racing Rules that the committee were members of.

So you could argue that right from the start there have always been two organisations for Whippet Racing along with the Greyhound Racing organisations.

I inadvertently spoke with Antony Matthews while out Coursing with whippets about race rules not knowing at that time that he had been one of the initial WCRA committee and got the idea that the rules were needed because too many owners tried to win with their whippets at all costs, including the health of their dogs and the purity of the breed. I believe this continues and as a result the rules need constantly modification.

When someone breeds a dogs which shows outstanding ability on the track there was always another who would comment that something must be wrong hence the formation of the UK Pedigree Whippet Racing Federation, the Whippet Racing Federation and the National Pedigree Whippet Racing Association and various clubs with limited memberships. Most have used their own system of recording the details of a Whippet and tried to eliminate cross-breeding with other types of running dog. All raced under their own race rules.

So as you can imagine the problems of Whippet Racing organisation has continued through my entire life while racing Whippets. Clubs have come and gone as have the Association of Clubs.

The Whippet itself has changed during the past 120 years – my Grandfather’s comment was “if you can’t hide the dog under your coat it isn’t a whippet” obviously this doesn’t take into account coat length! But the nature of these dogs has remained the perfect type of dog to own – and that why after all this time and aggravation we still owners Whippets. And my Grandson now walks his family’s Whippets so I please to say it is likely to continue for some time.

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