Announcing the formation of a new sighthound!
- the -
Wirehair, particolor brindle male, almost 3 yrs. old.
really a new breed, but rather the creation of a type of dog similar to the
Wirehaired Whippet of by-gone days.
Historic Precedent for Recreating Extinct Breeds
Throughout the history of dog breeding, which spans millennia, breeds have come into existence only to eventually become extinct. Occasionally, at some later date, certain dog breeders have elected to recreate or revive these breeds or types because the extinct breed type appealed to them. Sometimes, descendants of the extinct type were still available to incorporate into the recreation project, but sometimes the extinct type had been gone for so long that it had to be completely recreated from new breed types. If this were the case, the extinct breed would have to be recreated by crossbreeding various other breeds to attempt to attain a type similar to the extinct one.
Examples of this occurrence are manifold, but in looking at just the world of sighthounds the most obvious example is the Irish Wolfhound. By 1800, which was before the formation of the closed registries in the late 1800's, the Irish Wolfhound was nearly completely extinct. It is believed that a few "real" Irish Wolfhounds were still in existence in the early 1800's, and descendants of these few were incorporated in the recreation project.
One man, Captain George Graham, deserves much of the credit for recreating the Irish Wolfhound breed as we know it. He started in 1862 with some dogs from the "original" strains and used various other breeds as outcrosses in his project. A few of the outcrosses behind the modern Irish Wolfhound include: Scottish Deerhound, Great Dane and Tibetan Wolfdog. Captain Graham drafted the Standard for the Irish Wolfhound in 1885, and it has been the guide for this breed through the 1900's until the present.
But let us not forget that various crosses were incorporated on an as needed basis in the recreation of this breed type up until the formation of the closed registries and their closing of the stud books. Some of Captain Graham's activities, as well as much history regarding the Scottish Deerhound, is to be found in a totally fascinating book called Scotch Deerhounds & Their Masters, by George Cupples, 1894, reprinted by Hoflin. It chronicles the phenotypic and genotypic breeding methods used with great success by dog breeders of the 1800's.
Naming a New Breed
With historic precedent for recreating extinct breed types to use as a guide, if we do then go forth with no fear of the current doggy Gestapo that says that only closed registry dogs should exist and be bred, and if we do create a new breed type or revive an old breed type, then what are we to call it? Is it illegal to use a word from an existing breed's name in the name of the new breed type? Only if that particular word has been registered with the US Patent and Trademark Office. But then only the licensee would be permitted to use that word, and no one else, as happened with a particular breed of cat not too long ago.
Furthermore, there has already been precedent set for the use of one breed's name being incorporated in another breed's name. The sighthound precedent is the Italian Greyhound. Obviously everyone knows what the Greyhound is, and that they have been around since time immemorial. But a different, though somewhat similar, dog came on the scene, and guess what? People incorporated the word Greyhound into the new name - Italian Greyhound.
So, there it is. We, of course, apply this precedent to the Appalachian Greyhound! It is not wrong, legally or morally, to use the word Greyhound, in this name, just as surely as it is not wrong, legally or morally, for the Italian Greyhound to use the word Greyhound in that name. Will people confuse the two breeds? There are certain obvious characteristics that would prevent such confusion. Did the genes of the one breed contribute to the other? One would presume such had occurred, if not recently, then many years ago.
Photo of German Wirehaired Whippet from 1932.
Before the formation of the closed registries in the mid to late 1800's, Whippet-type dogs were recorded as appearing in many various coats: smooth, longhaired, wirehaired (both with and without an undercoat), silky haired, wavy haired, and even curly haired. A German sighthound book, Das Grosse Windhundeerbe, Kynos Verlag, from the 1930's, lists these many types, saying they ranged in size "from Fox Terrier up to large Airedale size but they all had the muscle packed, characteristic rear end of the English Greyhound". This book, which is the source for these three vintage photos, further states that by the '30's, when it was written, regarding the Whippet, "There are two varieties, the smooth and the wire haired, of which basically only the former variety appears at dog shows in the UK, as it appears because there exists a club for them, while in the USA and Germany the wire haired variety also appears in the limelight."
Photo of Champion German Wirehaired Whippet from the late 1920's.
It is a well known and well documented historical fact that the Wirehaired Whippet did indeed exist. Besides this German reference book, with the accompanying pictures of German Wirehaired Whippet Champions from the '20's and '30's, there are many other books and magazines with pictures of Wirehaired Whippets in the USA during the pre-Depression years.
Wirehaired Whippets were bred by the Arroyo Kennel in California and raced until the 1930’s by James F. Young and his daughter Christine Cormany. She wrote about these dogs in Kennel Review, stating that they were around 22 lbs., although one successful female was only 15 lbs. They were mostly black, silver and fawn. She states “As far as I can recall, we never had a white, brindle or parti-color,” although these colors were present in the European Wirehaired Whippets. She further states “The conformation of the rough-haired variety often compared favorably with the smooth.” All these dogs were put down when racing declined during the Depression and the Arroyo Kennels were forced to close. Photos and information regarding the Wirehaired Whippet are presented in the book The Complete Whippet by Louis Pegram.
Wirehaired Whippet, 1924.
Since the wirehaired trait is dominant, when the last dog with the wirehair trait dies, that particular type is lost forever from that particular gene pool, i.e.: breed type. It can, of course, be reintroduced using other unrelated wirehaired dogs, obviously from another gene pool, i.e.: another breed type. So the original Wirehaired Whippet is now, unfortunately, extinct in the United States because it has been discriminated against for many years.
This sad situation came about because the original writers of the Whippet standard did not want, or like, the Wirehaired Whippets. A smooth coat reveals the outline better than a more profuse coat, so that is the type of coat that the writers of the Whippet standard described as 'the only acceptable (to them) coat', and it has subsequently been selected for in the ensuing 100 years. It was a simple, though time consuming, task to weed out the wirehaired dogs. Since wirehair is a dominant trait it displays itself quite obviously and so can be quite easily discriminated against. For more information regarding coated Whippets, see the link: Longhaired Whippets in History
Wirehaired Appalachian Greyhound
Given the historic precedent that the Wirehaired Whippet used to exist,
and the fact that it was an appealing type, a number of sighthound breeders have
launched out on the project to recreate a type of dog similar to the Wirehaired
Whippet. But as a nod to the
current fashion of giving a new name to a new breed type, even if descendants of
the extinct type were used to recreate it, and even if it has the essential look
of the extinct breed, those breeders have decided to give this breed type a
different name, hence "Wirehaired Appalachian Greyhound".
Wire puppy from spring 2003, wire coat is barely visible at this age,
and continues to develop until the dog is a couple of years old.
A full description of this recreated, but "new", breed type can be found on the page Appalachian Greyhound Characteristics, and the page Standard for the Appalachian Greyhound.
Will there be other coat varieties of Appalachian Greyhound, as there were other coats for Whippet type dogs in the late 1800's, as listed in the book Das Grosse Windhundeerbe? Let us look again at the various coats listed there: smooth, longhaired, wirehaired (both with and without an undercoat), silky haired, wavy haired, and even curly haired.
These different coat types all came about due to crosses of Whippet type dogs with different breeds. Crossbreeding, as we have already discussed, was how nearly all our current breeds were developed. With that historical perspective in mind, the Appalachian Greyhound Standard sets forth the four coat types that are currently permitted: smooth, longhaired, wirehaired and rough coated. Perhaps in future years other coat types will be added. Ó
Death of Adonis, Martin de Vos, 1600's
Note the Irish marked black and white dog, which appears to have some coat. It is bigger than a Whippet, but not, perhaps, as large as a Greyhound.
For more information regarding the
Appalachian Sighthound Association ™
Claybrook Farm -- Michelle Henninger -- 5730 Olde Scotland Road, Shippensburg, PA 17257
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