Die Neapolitaner Annalisa Rovani und Arnaldo Cotugno sind in der europäischen Whippetszene bekannt wie bunte Hunde. Das liegt nicht nur an ihrem immer frischen und fröhlichen Auftreten, sondern auch an dem Glamour, mit dem den Hunde regelmäßig den Ausstellungsring baden. Sie sind in jeder Hinsicht flashy. Ob nun der Weltjugendsieger 2011 Sobresalto Kest’e oder Givenchy at Sobresalto oder sogar die zarte Sobresalto Funny Face – sie fallen auf.
Schon seit den 90er Jahren züchten sie Whippets, die teils auf prominente Amerikaner wie Paris Panther, Starline Reign On oder Sportingsfields Jazz Fest zurückgehen. Aktuell liegen in Neapel Welpen von dem US-amerikanischen Importrüden Ch.Festiva’s Been There Done That und Ch.Sobresalto Funny Face, sowie von Ch. Sobresalto Kest’e und BIS SBIS Ch. Givenchy at Sobresalto.
Der außergewöhnliche und auf den ersten Blick gewöhnungsbedürftige Look von Sobresalto Kest’e hat – ganz wie in der Modewelt- eine Art Trend losgetreten. Wurden noch im letzten Jahr zumeist die Whippets mit einer symetrischen und gleichförmigen Zeichnung des Kopfes allgemein bevorzugt, so darf es heute gerne ein Halbgesicht oder gar ein ganz weißer Kopf mit einem gestromten Ohr sein. Die Farbe allein macht es aber nicht. Sie sorgt lediglich für den Wiedererkennungswert vierler Sobresaltos, die Doctor-Speed ausnahmslos als hoch elegante Whippets mit viel Ausstrahlung und einem tollen Gangwerk aufgefallen sind.
1.First of all let’s talk about Sobresalto Kest’è? Is Bo the kind of dog you were aming for since you started breeding whippets?
Well … Bo is surely the kind of dog that is really eye catching. He has the attitude to catch all the eyes of the people who are around the ring, for his presence and also for his unusual color, plus he has a great power in the side gate … his best qualities. He is not far from our ideal whippet, who is just a little bit more bodied, so we are waiting he will mature and develop in an adult male … wait and see. We were very lucky to have him, he is the one and only in his litter …
2. It is obvious that you are concentrating strictly on American bloodlines. Why?
When we started to look at the breed, in our country most of the dogs came from UK. We liked them a lot but at the same time, looking around we found something that look a bit “different”. We were struck by the incredible elegance of some dogs, which came from the far west. It was quite hard to introduce American blood lines, because at that time, our dogs were highly concentrated on a type bred from years in UK.
It took time, at the beginning puppies of the same litter looked different to each other, each one presented a characteristic. Someone high on legs, with long neck and straight shoulder like many US dogs of that time … Some other with heavy bones, short neck, large head and short movement, like many UK dogs of that time …
We surely started with classic whippets, trying to introduce in our genetic pool what we liked from both sides, we try to have a whippet that could be “complete” for our eyes. A dog who could run, with a fit body, nicely built (muscles and bones) and at the same time could be nice to see, like a work of art, with elegant neck, nicely curved top line (not flat like a Greyhound and not curved like an IG), super expression, and with an easy and fluid movement.
So in part is true we are concentrated on US blood lines, but at the same time, our eyes are caught by very moderate dogs, who could match with ours. Dogs who has some characteristic we believe are basic, and at the same time who could help us to create what is for us … a good whippet.
3. Beside Starline Reign On, Sportingfield Jazz Fest and Paris Panther are the dogs to be found frequently in the pedigrees of your dogs. What were their special qualities?
Well is not very easy to answer, also because we choose each dog, in different periods of our breeding. At first we met Paris Panther, and we look for something who could come from him … and we imported our first important dog, SBIS WW Ch.Showstar Just Me, who is the father of our SBIS VWW EW CH. Sobresalto Jamiro Quai (who has 3 times Panther in his pedigree). Paris Panther is still one of the best dog I have ever seen alive, and I had the pleasure to judge: I’m still not an official judge, but it was during an open show organized in Germany where I was invited to judge from the WCD and Susanne Ochinski. Panther was a dog very difficult to use, he was very balanced, and gave nice products if not too close in his blood line.
SBIS Ch. Sportingfield Jazz Fest… we had the opportunity to see his progeny around the world, so we decided to imported from Sweden, bred by Nenne Runsten our best reproducing bitch ever Ch. Airescot Justina Casagli. We decided to have him in our bloodline because he demonstrate to give head, expression and particularly a great side gate to his progeny. A nice reproducing sire, with a great second generation progeny. And the last but not the least is SBIS Ch. Starline Rein On. I still remember the litter we had from him … at first it was a long story to import his semen from US … and when the puppies born they were all the same, I never saw this homogeneity even in the in-breeding litters, and we did a complete outcross. We decided to introduce him, because we were losing bones and substance, and wonder to have a big reproducer in our dogs. At the same time, looking other breeders, we saw that he matched very nice with the lines we had at that time, infact it had a nice success.
4. What are in your eyes the differences between the European and the American whippet regarding the exterior and the temperament?
Well … principally I believe that everyone do a great work for the breed, here in Europe and in America. Each one breed with his breed standard and naturally do a great job, and difference between standard create differences in dogs …
American sometimes looks big, because has in proportions a bit more long legs and less chest, big round eyes, it could happen they are too flat on top line or they could have what I call “long terrier movement”: I saw many pictures of American dogs, and I asked to myself how they could move so long in front having so straight front … it is the answer. European dogs are usually more proportionate between legs-chest-neck, here we have great shoulders, for design and for angles, and more chest, I mean good underline and nice round ribs. Still are, most of the time, nicely curved and softly long but … for sure … not so nicely showed.
I noticed they are incredible different in temperament, and a good show dog is a dog who is interested about what happens around, difficult to grow up but always alert and easy to show. I used to have calm whippets who came from very classic blood line … well the American temperament is the opposite, alert and active, difficult puppies with a lot of energy … funny and crazy at the same time.
5. The American whippet seem to gain more and more influence in Europe. Do you think that this kind of trend will change the future look of the European whippet.
I don’t think so. Like I told you, the American dogs are usually really eye catching and naturally who do the fist steps near the breed, is really attracted from them … it is quite normal. At the same time, whippet persons knows that it is absolutely a “no-border breed”, and will never lose the correct direction. We need to remember to respect the standard, and we can interpret it but we can’t change it. Like all the things, also our dogs will change, the future look of the whippet will change like will change the look of all the other breeds … it is the evolution, and will not depend just from the American dogs
6. Do you think that the American whippet is the better whippet? Or is it just a question of taste?
I believe the European whippet, if we want to distinguish it from the others, is the best example of breed we have in the world. And many American breeders think the same … so probably it means that we are not far from the truth.
7. In Germany lots of people are complaining about the fact that whippets are getting bigger. Especially in the ring at Donaueschingen 2011 it was obvious. Regarding the European standard, do you see any current high-problems?
Like I told you before … breeding dogs we have some steps required. Using different blood lines is normal that we will have problem of size in dogs, like problem of inhomogeneity. I’m quite sure that doing a nice work in the future, size like homogeneity will come back. People need to learn to use breeding selected, and pay attention at what they give … more than use a dog because is full of titles, or because he lives not far away. People need to learn to be breeders … and is not easy and not cheap.
8. Could you imagine a new standard that combines both, the European and the American, althought they differ strongly in some aspects.
I don’t think it could be possible on the papers. In the fact we work in this way, I mean with just one standard. We all use dogs that came from everywhere with no problems and no restrictions, from US to Europe passing from UK. We live in just 1 world, especially with whippets, and for that I say we breed a “NoBorderBreed” It is one of the point that make this breed fantastic. I’m fall in love of whippets, of people around them for the passion they put in the breed. It happens just with this breed I suppose, and with few others.
9. Is there or was there any whippet you would call perfect?
We all know that the perfect whippet doesn’t exist, but I have some I really liked in my life, and I suppose I can count them on two hands … very near to my perfection, and who touched my heart
- Paris Panther
- Nutshell of Nevedith
- Spyanfly Say It’s Bardo
- Twyborn Swanly Gem
- Softouch Piquana
- Adagio Love Supreme
- Day Dream Di Mahana
- Sobresalto Jamiro Quai
Like you can see just 1 American dogs … and the others are all European, but all of them have … something special for me.
Mille grazie, Arnaldo!