Breeder Diane Salts of Olympia was shocked to see her 36-pound whippet bolt into a California hotel swimming pool.
Body long and legs tucked, the dog bred for racing took a leap and almost landed on a swimming child.
A year later, 6-year-old Chochiti is a world record holder after jumping 32 feet off a platform into a 19,000-gallon pool during the Purina Pro Plan Incredible
Dog Challenge Western Regional in Del Mar, Calif., last month. The previous record was 31 feet, 4 inches.
Typically, whippets are more about racing after a rabbit, not jumping into a pool of water, she said.
Whippets, bred to hunt game by sight, can reach high speeds in open areas and are often raced.
“They aren’t water dogs,” Salts said. “They have to paddle hard because they don’t have webbing in their toes.
“It’s an unusual thing, and I am always in awe of this dog.”
She joined Puget Sound DockDogs last July. The Tacoma-based group is for dogs who love to play fetch and be in the water. The group began in 2005 and has more than 100 human members.
The dog’s first jumps ranked him in the teens on distance. A year later, he was jumping more than 30 feet.
“He’s definitely a very cool dog – a very unusual breed to this sport,” said Kristi Baird, club president.
Everyone noticed something different about Chochiti, named for Salts’ love of peppers, off the bat.
“So many people have worked a long time to get what they want out of their dogs, and I just kind of cheated because he already does everything on his own,” Salts said.
Chochiti has participated in eight national competitions and five local club competitions. Salts was shocked to be invited to the Incredible Dog Challenge, let alone have her dog break a record.
The competition started in 1998 and showcases everyday dogs competing in Olympics-style challenges. Dogs are scouted out through clubs on the local and national level. Dogs can qualify for the flying disc and diving dog competitions, and compete alongside dogs invited to the event.
At the end of the day, it’s all about Chochiti doing what he does best.
“I love being up on the dock with him,” Salts said. “He always seems so calm until we get up there and start playing around with the ball, then he is all revved up and ready to jump.”
Salts said Chochiti has two competitions lined up in July, including one at the Bite of Seattle the weekend of July 20-22.
Chochiti will compete in the Purina Pro Plan Incredible Dog Challenge National Championship in October in St. Louis.firstname.lastname@example.org 360-754-5476 theolympian.com/thisjustin @chelseakrotzer