The Wonderful Whippets of Windborn & Starline

Whippets of Windborn and Starline

Smooth, sleek and gorgeous, Whippets resting statuesquely in comfy spots of the ultrachic home in Rancho Santa Fe, California, look like furniture art. Cherished companions first, fancy show dogs second, these sighthounds are the culmination of two famous Whippet breeding programs — Windborn and Starline.

Windborn’s Lori Wilson-Paust and Starline’s Lori Lawrence believe that breeding is an art. Results aplenty attest to the success of their partnership now in its 20th year, a sophisticated blend of Starline’s elegant, exotic lines and the structurally solid Whippets of Windborn. Each has bred 11 generations over nearly 40 years.

“Whippets are made to live on your couch and sleep on your bed,” says Lori W-P of the cuddly, easygoing breed.

There is no kennel at the Rancho Santa Fe home of Lori L nor at the Modesto, California, home of Lori W-P.

“We prefer pet homes and will gladly let a lovely Whippet puppy, the pick of the litter, go to the right pet home,” Lori W-P says. “We love to invite someone never involved in showing dogs to try a dog show. Often, they get hooked on showing.” 

Their friendship was cemented in the parking lot at the 2002 American Whippet Club (AWC) National Specialty when Lori W-P helped to settle the nerves of Lori L as she was preparing to show “Jeep” (CH Starline’s Sweet Sensation) for Best in Sweepstakes. “Jeep had just won her class, and I was a bit nervous,” recalls Lori L, the breeder-owner-handler. “Lori advised me to focus on her side gait. After that, we won. Jeep was known for her extreme neck, beautiful curves and huge side gait.”

Having a soft spot for Whippets, Lori W-P had fallen for the breed as a junior handler. A successful all-breed professional handler, she also was well-known for her Whippets. Her foundation bitch (MBIS CH Chelsea Satin Doll) came from the early English and American bloodlines developed by Deann Christensen under the Chelsea prefix.

In 2001 Lori L and co-owner Eric Scott were seeking a stud dog to breed to Jeep’s dam, “Kismet” (CH Starline’s Singular Sensation). One of two males Scott suggested to Lori L was a Chelsea male, “Redford” (BIS/BISS DC CH Chelsea Made You Look Of Sage FCH ROMX), whom Lori W-P was handling.

“I was showing our male, ‘Remy’ (MBIS/BISS CH Starline’s Masterpiece), at the AWC National for Best of Breed,” recalls Lori L. “Lori and Redford were behind us. I noticed what a nice dog he was. His long, arched neck flowed into a beautiful front, and he had a moderate topline and moderately angled rear that balanced to his front. He had tremendous, big side gait, which is where Jeep got it. She got her curves from her Starline dam.”

After the AWC National, Lori W-P sent a heartfelt letter to Lori L expressing her appreciation for Jeep's beauty and her desire to handle her. She wrote of her love for the dogs and how she cares for them as pets. It was a catalyst that sparked the Windborn-Starline partnership.

“Lori began showing my class dogs,” Lori L says. “She and I finished Jeep after three specialties, and they went on to win Bests in Show and Bests in Specialty Show.”

Meanwhile, Lori L again crossed Redford, the breed’s top sire from 2003 to 2005, with Kismet. This breeding in 2002 produced a female, “Heather” (CH Starline’s Dream Date ROM). When Heather was bred in 2007, her litter gave Starline six champions and designated Heather a Register of Merit (ROM) dam.

Lori W-P made Whippet history with a pup from the litter.

“Chanel” (MBIS/MBISS GCHP Starline’s Chanel) was the No. 1 Hound in 2010 and 2011 and the No. 1 Whippet all systems from 2009 to 2011. She became one of only two Whippets, the first female, to win the Westminster Hound Group in 2010. Chanel also became the most-winning Whippet in breed history.

Chanel’s record as the winningest Whippet held until recently when GCHP Pinnacle Kentucky Bourbon surpassed it. The paternal great-grandsire of “Bourbon” is a Starline male, “Reign” (BISS GCH Starline’s Reign On JC ROMXX), the top-producing sire in breed history with 130 champions.

During Chanel’s campaign, weekly tactical planning meetings were held with Lori L, her husband, Carey, and Lori W-P pouring over a spreadsheet to determine the best shows for her, as she was often double entered. “We clinched the No. 1 Hound in 2010 after winning Best in Show in December at the Lehigh Valley Kennel Club show,” Lori W-P says. 

“Chanel was everything we strive to achieve,” says Lori L, who showed the beautiful, sweet Whippet to her 72nd Best in Show as breeder-owner-handler, a dream of a lifetime.

Chanel solidified their program, which includes a team of puppy raisers, owners and supporters. Altogether Starline has tallied 170-plus show champions, featuring many Best in Show and Best in Specialty Show winners, No. 1 Whippets, and multiple AWC National Specialty winners. Lori W-P has finished 500 show dogs, which includes 200 Whippets, half of which were homebred. Top-producing sires and dams weave throughout their lines.

Achievements aside, Lori L and Lori W-P share a friendship that has evolved over time out of respect and a shared philosophy about Whippets. “Our differences are a matter of semantics,” says Lori L. “We believe in doing the right things for the dogs. We are each other’s moral compass in every decision we make from breeding to showing to picking the best homes for puppies.”

The Windborn Whippets of Lori Wilson-Paust

Growing up in Hanford, California, in the San Joaquin Valley, Lori Wilson-Paust learned all about dogs from her grandmother, Mary Sue Bynum, a breeder of Schipperkes and Dachshunds under the Cindy Ke prefix. “A condition of my going to shows was caring for the dogs,” she says.

When teenage rebellion set in, she favored a client’s Whippet over her grandmother’s dogs. “Our client gave me ‘Sunny’ (CH DeReggio’s Earl of Snowden), a brindle white male,” Lori says. “I showed him at Westminster in 1981, the only time I went as a junior, and we made Junior Finals.”

Lori gained experience working for professional handlers Carolyn and Tom Tobin. When her grandmother started going to shows with her again, they often traveled with professionals. “Clients told their friends about me, and it morphed into handling other people’s dogs,” she says. “I was passively good at it. The older I got, the better I got at it.”

Going pro at age 20, Lori was showing dogs on the Oklahoma circuit when she met her future husband. They were married the next year, and Lori moved to Neosho, Missouri. Her grandmother followed her to Missouri a few years later.

About the time Lori got her Chelsea Whippet foundation bitch, she handled her first Best in Show winner, a male Dalmatian. She was 24 when she won with BIS CH Spoon River Apache Tears, who was sired by BIS/BISS CH Freckled Friend, the all-time top sire and 1985 Westminster Non-Sporting Group winner.

Lori’s Dalmatian clients introduced her to Gloria Ketcher, an Akita breeder of more than 100 champions. When Ketcher started in Shiba Inu, she hired Lori to show at the National Shiba Club of America National Specialty, where she won Best of Breed with a male named “Bo.” Later, Lori won 10 Bests in Show with an Akita bitch bred by Ketcher, MBIS/BISS CH OPR Codakan Cast In Bronze.

She handled the top-winning female Dachshund of all time, a Mini Wirehair, MBIS CH EZ Goins Dream Team. The dog’s dam, Cindy Ke Jewel of the Nile, was from her grandmother’s kennel and was the foundation bitch of breeder Robert Rice. A few years later, Lori showed the top-winning Mini Smooth Dachshund, MBIS/BISS CH Dynadux Little Miss Honky Tonk, a granddaughter of a Cindy Ke dog her grandmother bred. They won three Bests in Show.

Simultaneously, Lori was breeding and showing her Windborn Whippets. In the early 1990s, before she and Lori L began working together, she crossed her bitch, BIS CH Windborn Blu Passion JC with Reign, Starline’s top-producing sire. The breeding produced CH Windborn Take a Bow (“Beau”), a Hound Group winner.

Success in the show ring reflected the hard work Lori devoted to her show dogs. When she and her husband divorced in 2001, she stayed in Missouri. Then, in 2005, her grandmother passed away. She kept busy showing Whippets and clients’ dogs.

In 2011, Lori married Robert “Bobby” Paust, an AKC show judge of hounds and terriers, and moved to Modesto, California. Bobby, who was from Long Island, New York, had lived in Sweden for 20 years. Because her husband was a judge, Lori stopped handling professionally, though she continued to show the Windborn-Starline dogs as breeder-owner-handler.

“I began breeding more litters with Bobby’s help,” she says.

Among the Whippets Lori campaigned from litters they bred was “Hartley” (MBIS GCHG Starline’s Oxford Victim of Love JC ROMXX), who won four Bests in Show on the way to being the No. 7 Hound and No. 1 Whippet all systems in 2013. An outcross breeding, Hartley was sired by “Ashton” (CH Starline’s Sovereign ROMXXX) out of CH Oxford’s Dynasty from the Whippet line started by Diane Bowen.

After Hartley, Lori showed “Anna” (GCP Windborn Starline Heiress BN RN SC BCAT TKX) to 22 Bests in Show. Anna, too, was sired by Ashton out of an Oxford dam, CH Oxford Windborn Bold N Beautiful JC FCH. Anna’s pedigree includes the Chelsea Whippets that Lori started with in both her sire’s and dam’s lines.

Bobby retired from judging after suffering a stroke in January 2020. Gradually, Lori returned to handling professionally while continuing to campaign the Windborn-Starline dogs. Her current special is “Desiree” (GCHG Starline Windborn Classique), the No. 7 Hound and No. 1 Whippet all-systems, a beautiful blend of both lines. Co-owners are John Zollezi of San Diego and Julia Truitt, of Huntington Beach, California. Truitt was looking for a pet Whippet and ended up with a nice show dog.

Actively showing dogs across the country gives Lori an edge when it comes to deciding the best stud dogs to breed to the Windborn-Starline bitches. “Lori has great instincts when we are trying to decide where to go to breed,” says Lori L.  

The Starline Whippets of Lori Lawrence

Even before Lori Lawrence had Whippet show dogs, she had Arabian show horses. Her Starline horses have garnered 50 U.S. National Championships, more than 30 were won with Lori riding the horses. One of those winners is 16X National Champion Adams Fire. Starline recently started a breeding program and has already produced four homebred National Champions, with many more in the wings. Lori’s background in horses has gifted her with insights about how structure impacts movement and proved invaluable in her Whippet breeding and show program.  

In 1983, Lori was looking for a pet Whippet that would be an active, versatile dog for the family’s busy lifestyle. That pet Whippet, “Quiche” (MBISS CH Ringmaster’s Gold Fever ROM), became Starline’s foundation bitch. Bred by Paul and Sue Abraham, Quiche was sired by "Oscar" (MBISS CH Delacreme de la Renta ROMXXX), the No. 2 top producer at the time, from Mary Dukes’ Delacreme line, out of the Abrahams’ female, “Gidgitt” (CH Gold Dust’s Limited Edition ROMX). 

“When Quiche was 16 weeks old, she struck a pose in the backyard while watching everything going on. She had this lovely, telescopic neck,” Lori says. “I called Mary and said, ‘This pup gives me goosebumps.’”

A beautiful show dog, Quiche was handled by Dukes to Best of Breed at multiple AWC regional specialties under highly respected judges. When it was time to breed Quiche, Lori says, “I went out of the box and decided to breed Quiche to ‘George’ (CH Hamyra’s Lucky Charm SC FCH ROM). He was not the type I was accustomed to on the West Coast, but I loved what he produced. His pups were moderate, smooth and sound. It was one of our best breedings ever.”

The George x Quiche mating produced five pups, four of which finished their championships: top sire Reign; a male, CH Starline’s How Sweet It Is, who took Best of Winners at the 1991 AWC National; a female, CH Starline’s Make The Magic; and a female, MBIS/BISS CH Starline’s Claim to Fame (“Brie”).

“Reign is behind all the dogs we have,” Lori says. Reign crossed with Jeep in 2006 produced Ashton, the No. 1 Whippet sire from 2011 to 2015. Among the 84 champions Ashton sired out of 20 bitches are six Best in Show winners and 10 Best in Specialty Show winners.

Meanwhile, Brie was a two-time AWC National Specialty Best of Breed winner. She won in 1994 handled by Lori as breeder-owner-handler and in 2000 from the 10 years and older Veterans class handled by Dukes.

“Brie was a dream,” says Lori, “She was the No. 1 Whippet bitch from 1991 to 1993 and took Group Two at Westminster in 1992. She produced 10 champions that carried on her legacy and style, one of which was Kismet (CH Starline’s Singular Sensation), a gamechanger for Starline.”

The unintended breeding of Brie to “Regal” (BISS AM/CAN CH Nasusa Cacique) — a Reign sister to a Reign son — happened on the 22nd day of Brie’s estrus cycle when the Lawrence family was gone for the evening. The result was the singleton puppy Kismet.

After this litter, Lori bred Quiche to “Jason” (CH Saxon Shore Amber Waves ROMX), the sire of Oscar. Altogether Quiche produced seven champions. A lovely female from the second litter, “Lucy” (CH Starline’s Tapestry), earned a 5-point Major at the AWC Western Specialty Show.

Lori finished Lucy as well as many Starline class dogs from 1990 until 2011. “I finished so many of my own dogs and Reign’s kids as well,” she says.

Starline was doing well at producing beautiful, classic Whippets with curvy, smooth outlines. “I began to focus on keeping the Starline type and improving on fronts and breed soundness. That has been my mantra,” Lori says.

The Windborn-Starline partnership was just beginning. The program starting with Kismet’s outcross to Redford that produced Jeep, who gave them six champions in two litters, and repeat breeding that produced Heather, who gave them Chanel, has contributed significantly to the Whippet breed. Chanel’s litter was another example of one of the best crosses ever, Lori says.

Remember, these sighthounds are pets first, show dogs second.

The Wonderful Things About Whippets

As the statuesque Whippets lying comfortably around Lori L’s home come to life, the beauty of their smooth, flat muscles and curvy figures is striking. “Whippets have a flowing curve,” Lori L explains. “A drop of water on the top of their heads should flow all the way down their back.”

Built for coursing by speed and sight, Whippets were developed in Victorian England to race and hunt rabbits. The fastest breed of its size, Whippets have been tracked at 35 mph. Lure coursing is a natural sport for Whippets, and many of the Windborn-Starline dogs have earned titles in coursing as well as Fast CAT.

“Whippets have something for everyone,” Lori W-P says. “You can check all the boxes. They have no odor and are easy to live with. They get along with people and other dogs. They love children. They are extremely loyal. They are fun dogs that love to run and play, and then they turn into couch potatoes.”

Or, furniture art like at Lori L’s beautiful home in Rancho Santa Fe.

Keeping up with puppy requests is impossible, says Lori W-P. “A lot of demand has been driven by COVID-19. I get two to three inquiries daily,” she says.

Repeat puppy buyers are common. “People get one Whippet and then want another to keep the first one company,” Lori W-P says. “Some people tell us they wished they had learned about this breed years earlier.”

New owners of a Windborn-Starline puppy are given a Purina Pro Plan Puppy Starter Kit with puppy care information and a sample of the food the puppy is fed. “We feed all our Whippets from puppy to adult to senior dog Purina Pro Plan SPORT Performance Salmon & Rice Formula,” says Lori W-P. “We soak this all-life stages dog food to wean puppies, but by the time they go to new homes, they are eating dry food. We want our puppy owners to be successful, so we make time and stay in touch with them.” 

After her husband’s stroke, Lori W-P realized more than ever the joy and love their Whippets bring to their lives. “Anna has been by his side nonstop,” she says. “A litter was born right after Bobby’s stroke. I cannot describe the look of pure joy it gave him when I showed him the first pup. This happiness is what we want for our Whippet owners.”

“Our goal is for people to tell us, ‘This is the best dog I’ve ever owned,’” Lori L says. 

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