Claybrook Farm

Pure Longhaired Whippets


Personal Bio

    To introduce myself, I am a state certified secondary teacher in Agriculture and Science, and taught in our public high school for 10 years.  Now I am a home schooling mother of 2 children. We chose homeschooling because as born-again Christians we felt that this was, and is, the best choice for our family.

    We live on a working farm, which is a wonderful place to raise our children.  We raise field crops, but no longer have beef cattle (down from over 250), nor do we raise swine anymore.  We had a farrow to finish operation of over 1500 head, at one time.  We still maintain a very small flock of fancy chickens, several miniature horses, and two cute donkeys.  Unfortunately, farming at this point in history, in this country, no longer provides an income for most farmers.  This unhappy circumstance forces the farmer to go off the farm to make a living.  Nevertheless, a farm is still a terrific place to live.

    I have been heavily involved with the church, dog clubs, and other clubs, over the years.  Teaching Sunday School for the kindergarten age group, and the 6th graders, has taught me things about elementary education that I never learned in college or grad school!  It has been fun working with the older elementary age children also.  Being a teacher at church is very different than teaching at public school, that is for sure! 

    Club-wise, I was a member of the Scottish Deerhound Club of America for 13 years, and a charter member of the Mid-Atlantic Deerhound Association (MADA), and also Treasurer of MADA for 4 years, obtaining their incorporation and IRS non-profit status for them.  MADA awarded me the Gaines Medal, which is presented to only one member a year, for contributing the most to the club in that given year. 

    A number of years ago I was selected by the Scottish Deerhound Club of America’s Nominating Committee as their choice for National Secretary, and was the Show Secretary for their Eastern Regional Specialty for ‘96, '97 and again for ‘99.  

    I have also been a member of the Chambersburg Area Kennel Club since 1983 and served as President (2 terms), Secretary (3 terms), Treasurer (6 terms), Vice President (1 term), B-Match Chairperson, A-Match Secretary, Point Show Assistant Chair, Constitution & By-Laws Revisionist, as well as serving on many other committees through the years.

(To see a larger version of the picture below, click on it.)

    As a founding member and the first Treasurer for a regional emu club, I supplied this new club with organizational and procedural information, assisted with setting up and running seminars, and also worked to secure their incorporation status, and their IRS non-profit status, as well.  

    My most recent stints as a club Treasurer have been for the Mason-Dixon Homeschoolers Association (MDHS), and the MDHS Co-Op School.  I have also been on various committees for both groups over the past several years.  Doing computer work, including class registrations and scheduling, for these clubs became a default job, for a time.  

    Teaching classes for the Homeschool Co-Op keeps my teaching skills refreshed, having taught a Sculpture class for 25 homeschooled high school students and a Landscape Design class for 21 high schoolers in the fall of 1998, as well as other classes since then.  As homeschooling continues to grow, so too does the demand for more services to the homeschooling community.

    On another teaching note, we give tours here at our farm and I lecture during the tours.  We have had bus loads of Extension Agents as well as high school students.  We also give tours for a nearby college that brings their pre-vet and vet-tech college students here, sometimes multiple groups per year.  They come to see a working farm and to see the dogs.

    Animal-wise, I used to ride and show horses, and have owned and raised many different small animals through the years.  It has been fascinating working with genetics in these different species.

    Dog-wise, I was a Scottish Deerhound person.  I owned, bred, showed and occasionally coursed Deerhounds since 1981, and bred 3 generations of AKC champions.  While producing numerous AKC champions, we also bred Group placers, a Top 10 Deerhound, a Top Producing Deerhound, Regional Specialty winners and the Winner’s Dog at the 1995 National Specialty.  

    I still loved Deerhounds, but after 14 years in the breed, I finally decided that they have too many genetic health problems and just do not live long enough.  I made the decision that I could no longer subject myself or anyone else to the heartbreak of such devastating problems and such a short life span (average of 7 years).

    We put our last Deerhound down from bone cancer in October of 1995.  She was only 8 years old and was a home-bred Champion and the mother of the Scottish Deerhound Club of America's 1995 National Specialty Winner’s Dog, who was another home-bred champion.  He was third generation our breeding, and my pick puppy, but he bloated and died at the tender age of two.  It was a difficult decision to get out of Deerhounds, but I felt that I made the correct choice.  

~ ~ ~

    My first hand experience with the wrenching problems in this sweet, beautiful, breed was the catapult that propelled me on the quest to learn about inbreeding depression and the effects of closed registries, and how they cause genetic health problems.  

~ ~ ~

    What I have learned has convinced me that what the Scottish Deerhound breed, a very small, tightly inbred genetic population, so desperately needs is an outcross to outside blood from another breed to promote hybrid vigor.  Greyhounds could be used or, even better, wirehaired Galgos.  But that is another story!

    However, since I still loved the sighthound shape and personality, and “needed my sighthound fix”, I wanted a smaller sighthound without the large dog health problems.  I like a dog with some hair, and the only sighthound in this country, at that time, that fit all those requirements was the Longhaired Whippet.  I had corresponded with LHW founder, Walter Wheeler, and another LHW promoter at the time, Francie Stull, since the mid-1980's, but finally got serious about the breed in 1993. 

    I made a trip up to Windsprite Kennel in 1993, and obtained my initial foundation stock from Mr. Wheeler, and then in 1997 I made a second trip, and obtained more breeding stock.  From these founding dogs, we have bred our pure LHW, and starting in 1995, we have judiciously added unrelated AKC Whippet outcrosses, to broaden the gene pool, and enhance the LHW type.  

    If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact us.  However, if you email, please be patient in waiting for a response, as with doing all the above - homeschooling, farm, dogs, other animals, plus our off-the farm activities - we have very little email time.  To get a faster response, please call.  Later in the evenings is when you are more likely to catch us inside, at home.  

    We have shipped dogs all over the country as well as into Canada and Europe. If you are planning to be in the south central Pennsylvania area, call so we can arrange a time for a visit.  Seeing the dogs in real life is always best. 

    Folks from all over the USA, Canada and Europe have visited us here and gotten a Longhaired Whippet from us.  Numerous ones have come back and gotten second and even third LHW's from us because they found their first LHW so delightful and they felt they were being treated fairly.  We thank them for their support, and we thank you for your interest.  We hope to hear from you soon.  

For more information contact:

Claybrook Farm --  Michelle Henninger -- 5730 Olde Scotland Road, Shippensburg, PA 17257



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