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bobengtson@impulse.net
Bo Bengtson | Bohem Whippets
P.O. 10, Ojai, CA 93024 • USA

HOW IT STARTED …

The involvement in purebred dogs began in Sweden in 1959 with the acquisition of an Afghan Hound bitch puppy. She became a champion and produced the first two homebred Bohem champions in the mid-1960s.

The type of Whippets then being shown in Sweden did not hold any particular appeal, but a photograph of Ch. Laguna Lucky Lad — the first Whippet ever to win the Hound Group at Westminster Kennel Club — awakened an interest in the breed. Soon afterwards, seeing the great Ch. Laguna Ligonier in England led to a visit to the Laguna Kennels, owned by Mrs. D. U. McKay, one of the world’s most influential Whippet establishments and then at the height of its fame.

Spending several months at Laguna in the early 1960s led to the purchase of two dog puppies. The first became Int. Ch. Laguna Locomite, owner-handled to Best in Show at the international show in Stockholm in 1963 — the first and only time this show has been won by a Whippet. He only had limited influence at stud. The second import was the Ligonier son Int. Ch. Laguna Leader, also a BIS winner and sire of a record 25 champions. Leader was closely related to U.S. top winners on both sides: through his sire he was half brother to the great stud dog Ch. Greenbrae Barn Dance, while his dam was a litter sister to Ch. Laguna Lucky Lad.

Several other males of similar bloodlines were imported from England, shown by Bohem and sometimes co-owned with other breeders. They included Int. Ch. Badgewood Mark Twain (by Ch. Laguna Limelight x a bitch of part U.S. Meander breeding), Int. Ch. Shalfleet Starbuck (by Eng. & Am. Ch. Laguna Leisure), and most importantly Int. & Eng. Ch. Fleeting Flamboyant, winner of 11 CCs and two Hound groups at British championship shows, and among the Top Ten dogs of all breeds in Sweden in 1970.

These stud dogs improved the quality of Whippets in Scandinavia in the 1960s and 1970s to a degree that was noted by many international judges.

The first litter bred by Bohem was born in 1966, sired by Mark Twain out of a Leader daughter and included Ch. Bohem Fiasko and the Group winning Ch. Bohem Skandal. A second litter, out of Skandal bred back to her grandsire Leader, resulted in Int. Ch. Bohem Double Up (#1 Whippet male, 1972) and the BIS winning Ch. Bohem Wild Love.

Among the many champions bred by Bohem in the 1970s were Ch. Bohem Flamous, Ch. Bohem Flambingo (owned by Magnus Hagstedt’s Signum Whippets, BOB at Skokloster), SBIS Ch. Bohem Lekain (owned by Ingela Kyrklund’s Colt’s Whippets) Ch. Bohem Mome Rath (BOB Skokloster), BIS Ch. Bohem Cheshire Cat (owned by Siv Ögren’s Bokella Whippets) and SBIS Ch. Bohem Filipin — all of whom produced champions in Scandinavia as well as some as far away as South Africa and the U.S. The #1 Whippet in Sweden every year from 1972 through 1987, frequently also #1 Whippet in the neighboring countries and #1 racing Whippet, descended from one or (usually) several Bohem dogs. In 1982 Bohem was honored to be the recipient of the Swedish Kennel Club’s Hamilton plaquet, awarded for “outstanding services to purebred dogs.”

In the 1990s and into the 2000s, several of the #1 Whippets in Scandinavia have again been bred from Bohem stock — but now via imports from the U.S.

GREYHOUNDS

An excursion into Greyhounds made international headlines. The red bitch, Int. Ch. Guld, co-bred by Bohem and Dr. Göran Bodegård in 1966 from English and Continental lines, founded the world-famous kennel of the same name. Her daughter Int. Ch. Black & White Lady was shown very successfully by Bohem in Scandinavia, and in the 1970s became the first imported Greyhound ever to win a champion title in England (shown by the late Terry Thorn). Returned to Sweden, Lady was Reserve BIS at the Stockholm international show from the Veteran class. She produced numerous champions, several carrying the Bohem prefix, which are behind some of the world’s top Greyhounds today.

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COMING TO AMERICA

Following a move to California in the early 1980s, Int. Ch. Bohem Mae West (a Flamboyant daughter whose dam was sired by Leader) was imported in whelp to Filipin. Only three puppies from the litter survived, but one of them was Ch. Bohem American Way, through whom the line continues today.

American Way took the first major win for Bohem in the U.S. by going BOS from the classes as a youngster at the 1983 American Whippet Club specialty in California under Mrs. M. P. Newcombe (Pennyworth). He finished quickly and sired champions for several kennels.

There was also an import from Great Britain: Ch. Hardknott Maestro of Bohem, brought in as a puppy after Bo had awarded CCs to both Maestro’s parents while judging at the Whippet Club and Windsor championship shows in England. A few generations back Maestro descended from the same Laguna and Fleeting lines as the earlier imports. He also initiated a long and productive cooperation with the Whippoorwill kennels of Dr. Barbara Henderson in Maryland, with whom Maestro spent almost all his adult life.

A Group winner and BOS at the AWC National Specialty, Maestro was an influential sire of approximately 40 champions, mainly in the U.S. but some as far away as South America and Sweden. A bitch from one of his first litters (x SBIS Ch. Whippoorwill Precious Gem) came west to Bohem and became Ch. Whippoorwill Bohem Aria. “Beebe” was a Multiple Specialty BIS winner and an excellent brood bitch. Like her sire, she received the American Whippet Club ROMX certificate, the highest award available for an outstanding producer.

For her first litter, Aria was bred to the old Barn Dance son Ch. Proud Fox of Whippoorwill. She produced the cream fawn Ch. Bohem Whippoorwill Jenny Lind (Award of Merit at the AWC National) and Ch. Bohem Callas of Whippoorwill, who became the first U.S. bred Whippet champion ever in Scandinavia, won back-to-back BIS at Skokloster and produced champions as the foundation bitch for Nenne Runsten’s Airescot Whippets.

Aria’s second litter was sired by American Way. Seven of the 11 puppies earned titles; the most notable were Ch. Bohem Moonshine Lullaby (an All-Breeds and AWC Specialty BIS winner who died tragically young), Ch. Bohem Whippoorwill No Strings (AWC Sweepstakes winner and dam of champions at Chelsea and Whippoorwill), and Ch. Bohem I Hear Singing, who continued the line at Bohem.

Aria also had a litter by Ch. Sporting Fields Strider, which included Ch. Bohem Magic Flute, Ch. Bohem La Traviata (both AWC specialty weekend winners) and the white Ch. Bohem La Bohème.

In order to create a separate but related line, Aria’s litter sister Ch. Whippoorwill Sonatina was leased in 1986 and bred to the great sire Ch. Delacreme de la Renta. Of the four puppies, three became champions and produced BIS or SBIS winners: Ch. Delacreme Bohem Impala for Barbara Wayne’s Charlemagne prefix; Am. Can. Ch. Bohem Delacreme Chevrotain for Terry Taft’s Baccarat kennel in Canada, and Ch. Bohem Delacreme Demoiselle for Bohem, Summerwind and Snowy Creek. Demoiselle, shown by Phoebe Booth, became the first Whippet bitch ever to win multiple Best in Shows at both all-breed and specialty shows in the U.S. In all, she won 100 BOB, 20 Groups, 5 All-Breeds and 3 AWC Specialty BIS, including the National.

Demoiselle was owned by John Richardson, who sent a puppy from her first litter (sired by her own grandsire, Ch. Saxon Shore Amber Waves) back to Bohem: Ch. Snowy Creek Best Bet of Bohem was #1 Whippet in the AWC Top 20 ratings in 1995, co-owned by Bohem and Summerwind. Demoiselle’s second litter (by Ch. Chelsea Drakkar of Oxford, F.Ch.) was co-bred with Bohem and included Int. Ch. Bohem Flight Time, who was exported to Finland where he was #1 Whippet male for several years and a stud dog of international importance, with champion offspring in the U.S., Scandinavia, Continental Europe and Israel. His beautiful sister Bohem Dream Waltz went to England and, although she did not have a show career, produced championship show winners, including Best Puppy at Crufts.

To intensify the classic English blood from Hardknott, Maestro’s previously mentioned granddaughter Ch. Bohem I Hear Singing (American Way x Aria) was bred back to her grandsire and produced Ch. Bohem Of Thee I Sing (“Betsy”) in 1991. Among other wins, she took BOB in a record supported entry of over 200 Whippets under Scottish breed specialist Mrs. J. McLeod (Peperone). Betsy also won the Hound Group and All-Breed Best in Show, shown on this occasion by Barbara Henderson.

Some of the best Bohem litters were bred in the 1990s. Betsy’s first litter was sired by Ch. Delacreme de la Renta and included Ch. Bohem Critic's Choice, exported to Frank & Lee Pieterse in Australia, where she won All-Breed and Specialty Best in Shows and produced BIS Ch. Statuesque Extortion, a top sire worldwide.

Betsy’s second litter, sired by Ch. Starline's Reign On, JC was one of the best ever bred by Bohem. All the seven puppies shown became champions in the U.S. or Europe (the eighth was of equal quality but went to a pet home). Among them were Ch. Bohem Age of Innocence, BIS at the AWC Western specialty in 1999, and Ch. Bohem All About Eve, who stayed at Bohem, won SBIS and three Select Awards of Merit at the AWC National Specialty (in 2000, 2003 and 2008). Their sister Int. Ch. Bohem Adam's Rib was a World Winner in Europe and produced many champions for Jackie Bourdin's famous Manoir de la Grenouillère kennel in France. The three sisters between them produced almost 30 champions in the U.S. and Europe.

The third and final litter out of Betsy was born in late 1998 and sired by Ch. Watch Me Ari Independence. It consisted of only four puppies, three of which became champions, including Dual Ch. Bohem Romanesque, SC, SR, who finished with two specialty weekend majors and who holds her own among the successful field winners in her owner Kim Otero’s Wheatland kennel. The first litter out of All About Eve (“Annie”) was born in 1998 and sired by SBIS Ch. Chelsea Gold Rush of Keynote. Of the 10 puppies, seven gained champion titles in the U.S. and/or abroad. The three males Ch. Bohem Circus Runaway (“Blaze,” a white & dark brindle particolor), Ch. Bohem Circus Pony (“Whispa,” red brindle & white) and Ch. Bohem Three Ring Circus (“Chili,” grey brindle & white) may have set an all-time breed record in that all three became Specialty Best in Show winners and between them qualified for the AWC Top 20 event six times! They have between them sired a large number of champions in the U.S., Canada and Japan, where Whispa lives.

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A NEW CENTURY

All About Eve’s second litter was born in late 2000: four dog puppies sired by artificial insemination from Int. Ch. Bohem Flight Time in Finland. The three shown all finished their championships: Int. Ch. Bohem Time Flies (owned by Rita Vanhaeren, Belgium) won SBIS in Europe and the FCI World Winner title in 2006, and Ch. Bohem Just In Time (owned by Nancy Doucette) has become established as a reliable stud dog in the U.S.


Annie’s litter sister Ch. Bohem Age of Innocence (owned by Curtis and Patricia Singer, Diva Whippets) produced several champions in a parallel breeding to Ch. Chelsea Gold Rush of Keynote.

Annie had her third and final litter in 2002, sired by Int. & Braz. Ch. Chelsea Long Kiss Goodnight. Of the five that finished, the best known are Ch. Bohem Belle du Jour (“Audrey”), a multiple SBIS and Hound show BIS winner) and Ch. Bohem C’est la Vie (“Vivi”), a SBIS and AKC All-Breed BIS winner). Both placed high in the AWC Top 20 rankings in 2004 and 2005, respectively. The following sums up Vivi’s brief specials career and was written in the spring of 2006:
"In May 2005 we thought it might be fun to show Vivi a little … Nine show weekends later she was an All-Breed BIS winner and among the Top 5 Whippets in America. Shown a total of 16 weekends in 2005, she won 23 Breeds, 13 Group First and placements, an All-Breed BIS and a Specialty BIS. In her last 16 shows of the year, she won 15 BOBs. Vivi ended the year as #4 Whippet in all-breed competition. In 2006, she was BOB & Group 2nd at the KC of Palm Springs and [got] an Award of Merit at both the AKC/Eukanuba Invitational and Westminster Kennel Club. Vivi was lost at JFK Airport while going home the day after Westminster and as of this writing has not yet been recovered.”

In 2004, Vivi — by many considered as the best Bohem Whippet ever — had been bred to Ch. Sportingfields Jazz Fest. This was to be her only litter and resulted in only two puppies. Both finished: Ch. Bohem Bon Vivant won a Select Award at the AWC Western specialty before he was two years old and won a large number of Breeds and Group placements; he has also sired several handsome young champions. His brother, Ch. Bohem Bonhomme, finished with two five-point majors, one of them during a specialty weekend.

As mentioned above, Vivi was lost at JFK Airport in New York after Westminster in 2006, commencing a several months long search that involved countless helpers and caused unprecedented media attention, with front page stories in both The New York Times and Los Angeles Times, full-page articles in People magazine, seemingly endless TV coverage, etc. In spite of all efforts, Vivi has never been found. Only a few additional litters were bred or co-bred by Bohem in the early 2000s. Two of them were out of the litter sisters Dual Ch. Bohem Romanesque and Ch. Bohem Resounding Renaissance, both resulting in multiple champions. In the latter litter, the brothers Ch. Bohem Resounding Highjinks, SC and Ch. Bohem Resounding Tomfoolery have sired champions.

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