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Courtesy of Beth Gordon

Kuiper (Farseer Out of This World) the Whippet comes from a family of athletes. There’s his grandfather, Farseer Cochiti, who held the Guinness World Record for the longest dock dive at 31 feet until recently. Who broke the record? Kuiper’s first cousin, Jammin’ Farseer Sounders. Sounders broke the record in December by jumping 33 feet and 6 inches.

Kuiper is carrying on the family tradition of record-breaking. He was the fastest Fast CAT dog of all breeds in 2018.

Finding Kuiper

Kuiper started chasing plastic bags around at just a few weeks old. Photo courtesy of Beth Gordon.

The story of how Beth Gordon wound up with Kuiper goes back far before Kuiper was born. Over a decade ago, Beth was studying abroad in Quito, Ecuador. One night, a mixed breed dog followed her home and she couldn’t resist but bring him home with her.

Foco had numerous health issues throughout his life and requires special care at age 13.

“Due to our experience with IVDD, my number one priority for my second dog was health,” Beth says. “My number two priority was to get a breed that would enjoy trying a bunch of different dog sports with me. The only sport I had the chance to experience with Foco was Scent Work. Scent Work is super fun in its own way, but I also wanted to try Obedience, Agility, and Lure Coursing.”

Kuiper (right) with his three littermates. Beth chose Kuiper because he was the most engaging and playful. Photo courtesy of Beth Gordon.

After doing research on health and activity level, Beth began to consider getting a Whippet. After a friend introduced her to a breeder, Diane Salts, she was hooked. She chose between a litter of four males and settled on Kuiper, not for his looks, but because he was the most willing to play and engage with Beth.

Fast Dog in Fast CAT

Kuiper (in blue) was the fastest dog of all Fast CAT breeds in 2018. Photo courtesy of Beth Gordon.

Kuiper has been chasing plastic bags on a string since he was just a few weeks old. They started doing Fast CAT in 2017, and just a year later, he was the fastest Fast CAT dog of all breeds.

“Chasing a plastic bag is literally Kuiper’s favorite thing on earth, and I would like the chance to try for a championship in the sport he was bred for. He screams in excitement whenever he hears a lure motor. For him, chasing a plastic bag on a string is his true purpose and destiny. It is what he and his ancestors were born for. He knows this to his very core, and he won’t let anything stand in his way.”

Although Kuiper was the fastest dog of all breeds in 2018 with a three-run average of 37.6 MPH, he is only the No. 3 lifetime fastest Whippet. “So we still have some work to do!” Beth says.

Challenging Sighthound Stereotypes

Kuiper’s owner, Beth, emphasizes that her dog is training hard to succeed in Obedience. She enjoys challenging the stereotypes of what Sighthounds can and can’t do. Photo courtesy of Beth Gordon.

Beth and Kuiper compete in more than just Fast CAT. In fact, they are training hard for Obedience, Agility, and beginner Tracking. Their main focus right now is competitive Obedience.

“We’ve been seeing a trainer since he was 10 weeks old, and try to practice a little every day,” Beth says. “My trainer’s philosophy is that obedience dogs should be ready to score high in Utility before they enter Novice, so we have not yet started competing. However, Kuiper knows nearly all of the exercises. He has a beautiful retrieve, drop on recall, directed jumping, stand for exam, signals, etc. Most importantly, he’s having a blast.”

Kuiper and Beth train a little every day and have a private obedience lesson with Cindy Leung at Trainers to the Rescue once a week.

Beth says it’s fun to challenge the stereotype of what Sighthounds are “supposed” to be able to do.

“There has only been one OTCH (obedience champion) Whippet in the entire history of the AKC, and that was back in 1982! I’m planning for Kuiper to be number two.”

In Space and on Instagram

Beth says when she first started Kuiper’s Instagram account, she had no idea all the places it would take her. She focuses on sharing history about space. Photo courtesy of Beth Gordon.

In the spring of 2017, Beth launched Kuiper’s Instagram. She wanted to learn more about social media marketing and to have a dedicated place for her dog photos. When she started, she had no idea how big it would become (Kuiper now has more than 87 thousand followers).

That summer. Beth was looking for places to take photos of Kuiper and stumbled across the Apollo 14 moon tree at the Oregon State Capitol. She had never heard of a moon tree before, so she felt it was important to share the story of it with the cute photo of him. “I decided to keep sharing science and history essays with pictures of him and it kind of snowballed from there.”

Now, she has had the opportunity to photograph Kuiper with the Apollo 11 in a Smithsonian exhibit, take him to visit the Chicago Federal Reserve, and visit Space Camp in Hunstville. Since Kuiper isn’t a service dog, she always secures explicit permission in advance for any place that isn’t normally dog-friendly.

“Today, not only have we visited 13 of the roughly 50 surviving moon trees … I’ve even photographed Kuiper with seven flown spacecraft from Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11, I’m currently doing a huge series of posts covering the period of history between America’s first satellite and the moon landing. After that, I hope to share more of our less-spacey visits, including the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, the La Brea Tar Pits, the Chicago Fed, and the Very Large Array.”

Join Kuiper

Follow Kuiper’s journey through dog sports on Instagram. To find the right dog breed for you, check out the AKC Marketplace.

Any breed can participate in Fast CAT. To find out more, visit the Fast CAT page and find an event.

Think your dog has what it takes to be Dog Star of the Month? Use the hashtag #ThisIsAKC on Instagram.

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