Here is the latest print in my series of Dog Tag prints that celebrate the story of a breed. This time it is the Whippet, and although I do not own a Whippet I do have rather a soft spot for them! I sometimes see a Whippet tearing across the common in my village and I love to see him, literally running like the wind, with reckless abandon.
The Oxford dictionary defines ‘whimsical’ as ‘playfully quaint or fanciful, especially in an appealing or amusing way’ and I feel that it sums up the Whippet perfectly. The Whippet has a wonderful history and, although there is no specific proof, it is thought to be an ancient breed, as Whippet-like dogs were depicted in the art of several ancient civilisations including the Romans and Ancient Egyptians.
As they are the fastest dogs, for their weight, they are the consummate sprinter and as such were prized by the British working classes as racing dogs. At the end of the 19th century in Northern England and the Midlands, Whippet racing was taken extremely seriously, as a good racing Whippet could top up the family’s income quite significantly. Easier to come by and cheaper to buy and look after than a Greyhound, the Whippet was nicknamed the ‘poor man’s racehorse’.
They also made a useful poacher’s companion, being extremely adept at catching rabbits, yet small enough to hide under a coat. It is easy to see why these dogs were cherished by their families and were always given the choicest cuts of meat, even if the family had to ‘go without’.
Officially recognised as a breed in 1891, the Whippet with its affectionate, gentle nature, sleek, elegant lines and wise, soulful eyes is for me, a truly lovely dog.
Combining hand lettering and illustration and printed by hand on my press in a deep smoky blue/grey ink, each print is individually signed.