The Daily Whippet

Step Aside Brothers, “Dora” Takes Center Stage as WB

by Karen Lee

Our 2015 National Specialty Winners Bitch, Cherche’ Arborlea Something’s  Afoot—aka “Dora” comes from a litter of ten.“Holy Moly’ was what Chrystal heard over the phone as soon as Chris saw the x-ray and gave her a call. One of those high up on the waiting list, Mallory Ballard, was hopeful of a nice bitch and out of ten puppies, everyone felt confident there would be a great selection of lovely girls from which to choose. In a few days, whelping commenced and many of Chris’s friends followed the progress of the litter on Facebook. First came a boy, then four more boys, and FINALLY a girl! Yay! Dora had arrived! Despite their hopes of sisters to join her, she remained the lone girl in the litter.

Chris was concerned how she would find homes for nine boys,  although she wanted one boy to keep for herself and had no lack of selection. The entire litter was fawn brindle with white trim and varying amounts of white on the head and neck. And just one girl!  However, the one girl has proven to be quite a standout.

Chris Watkins and co-breeders Crystal McNulty and Ken Latimer are no strangers to the win podium at Nationals and their small and selective programs account for numerous National and Futurity Winners. Dora’s dam Bea was herself a Best in Futurity winner, and as our readers know, brother Elliott had repeated that accomplishment just three days before.

When asked how she came up with the combination that produced these two outstanding puppies, Chris replied that she fell in love with Hopper at four months old and had always jokingly referred to him as Bea’s boyfriend, but over time as she thought about future mates for Bea, she kept coming back to him again and again. Chris had been looking for a Raybar connection to add to her highly successful lines she works with Crystal that had resulted in so many stars of ring and field.

Crystal had seen Hopper, and was already involved in helping Cindy Hatcher grade a litter at the time the decision was truly being made.  Crystal and Cindy had a five hour discussion of everything on the bitch line of Hopper’s pedigree and became very enthusiastic about this choice.

Crystal and Chris were honored and thrilled and especially for their friend Mallory. Chris has been friends with Mallory since the late 1980’s and became friends with Crystal in 1994 when she sent one of her bitches to the great stud dog, “Perry.” It was truly a family affair as both breeders and owner were present to celebrate and enjoy Dora’s win together.

Dora has already run her in CWA as a puppy and has been practicing coursing. The plan for Dora is to go back and forth from ring to performance events. Mallory plans to enjoy showing at local shows and with Chris the handler for the specialties.  Already, she looks a lock to continue the great history of these friends as breeders and exhibitors of dogs who are top competitors in the specialty rings, the coursing field, and more recently in CWA racing.

Interestingly, Mallory very nearly did not take Dora, as she was “hell on wheels at 8 weeks. She came back at five months to be socialized without her brother, and she was a totally different puppy. She’s a great house dog and keeps Mallory’s  boys in line!  She’s been a wonderful distraction for them, according to Mallory.

Small and selective breeding programs rely on the generosity of stud dog owners with both their boy’s gene pool and their insights into the pedigrees that produced them.  Barbara Parsons (also the recipient of the 2015 Honorary AWC Membership) and daughter Chris Hatcher were generous with their wonderful dog, Hopper, and their knowledge of their lines, and Chris also credits the excellent advice of Susie Hughes who was so helpful in guiding Chris and educating her about the excellent lineages of Bea’s sire, Fergal.

And all those boys? Well, they all found great homes in record time, allowing Chris to focus on training and rearing her two top picks to become the stars that they seemed always destined to “Bea”!