Breed Type: Sitehound
Country of Origin: England
Also known as:
Males: Height: 47-57 cm Weight: 10–20kg
Females: Height: 44-55 cm Weight: 10–20 kg
Lifespan: 12-15 Years
Best Suited as: Family Pet, Racing Dog
Often mistaken for a Greyhound, the Whippet is a dog of his own. With similar style and speed, the Whippet is an excellent racing dog but is an equally good pet.
Long and lean, the Whippet is a well-balanced dog built for speed. Some can reach speeds up to 56 km/h. While he looks much like the Greyhound, if you compare the two side by side, you can see that the elegant Whippet has a different outline. Like their bodies, their heads are lean, their muzzles are long and they end in a pointed black nose. They have small ears and dark coloured eyes that exhibit an intelligent expression. The Whippet has a long, tapered tail, which tends to be curled up at the end.
Whippets come in all colours and shades and have a number of different kinds of markings on their short, sleek coats. They can be brindle, solid, or spotted. Their coat colours are most commonly solid white, cream or brindle with red, fawn, or blue.
Despite their high powered racing ability, the Whippet tends to be an easy-going, quiet, and sweet dog with their family. They are friendly affectionate and loyal pets. Most find the Whippet to be an easy breed to house train and because they are sensitive to criticism, harsh corrections should not be used during training sessions.
Whippets make decent watchdogs, barking frequently at strangers but will rarely become aggressive, even when provoked. Most will quickly accept a newcomer and will readily ask for attention. The Whippet is happiest at home, curled up with a family member but can easily become excited about a game of fetch or any athletic adventure.
There is a good reason that Whippet looks much like their cousin, the Greyhound. That is because the Whippet is a descendant of this lightning-fast breed. In the late 1800s, the English crossed the Greyhound with terriers to develop a breed that would excel in rabbit hunting and that would be fun to race. They were primarily owned by the working class and therefore got the name “the poor man’s greyhound”. Their name comes from an expression, which means to move fast. Racing the Whippet became a favourite English pastime and the breed grew in popularity. People came from around the world to see these races and many people ended up taking home a Whippet puppy for themselves.
The first Whippet was registered by The American Kennel Club in 1888 and the Kennel Club of England followed suit in 1891. The Whippet remains a popular breed today and has done well in the show ring.
Care and Grooming
Due to his short, sleek coat, the Whippet is extremely easy to groom and requires no brushing. Their nails need to be clipped regularly, and their teeth need to be brushed. Other than an occasional bath or a quick wipe down, their grooming routine is quick and easy. Those who are sensitive to “doggy odour” will find the Whippet, a non-smelly dog, a good match for them.
Although they are famous for their athletic prowess, the Whippet can get by with a daily walk or short run to fulfil her exercise needs. Most enjoy a good run, however, and if given the opportunity to chase around the backyard or go for a run with you, they will happily accept the invitation. You may need to search for a special type of collar as they easily slip out of the traditional type. Your local pet store will surely have some recommendations. Whippets very much enjoy playing with toys and this is a good way to keep your dog amused while you are away. They are also thankful for a warm bed of their own (unless they sleep with you).
If you live in a cold climate, be aware that your Whippet easily becomes cold. You may want to purchase a sweater or a coat that they can wear while they are outdoors.
Whippets tend to be a healthy breed and they rarely suffer from many of the more common health concerns like hip dysplasia, allergies and digestive issues. One of the biggest health concerns for the Whippet is their cardiac health and it tends to be one of the leading causes of early death. It is true that the Whippet has an unusually slow heartbeat, which can sometimes be arrhythmic, but it is unknown if this is a contributor to early mortality.
Like other site hounds, Whippets do not react well to anaesthesia and a careful plan should be crafted with your veterinarian if your Whippet needs surgery for any reason.
Suitability as a Pet
Whippets are a versatile breed and do well in a number of living situations. They are good pets for those with children and can even do well in an apartment. Many people end up with two or more of this gregarious pet as they enjoy playing together and keep each other entertained in their owner’s absence. They can also do well in households with cats but they have a tendency to chase small creatures. Some Whippets make good therapy dogs and have been known to be regulars at retirement homes and hospitals.
Your Whippet should never be treated as an outdoor pet, especially in colder climates where they can freeze to death. Whippets love snuggling and will accept any invitation to be near you and keep warm. This is not to say that your Whippet will not enjoy spending time with you in the backyard. They are extremely good jumpers and are thin enough to squeeze through wide fencing, however, and you must watch them carefully or buy a much taller and thinner fence than a standard one to keep them in.
Whippets love to run and happily take to lure coursing, agility training and fly ball. They are easy to train and those who are looking for something fun to do with their pet, will enjoy seeing their Whippet at work. Because of their speed and instinct to chase anything that comes across their path, make sure to keep your dog on a leash, particularly on busy roads.
Whippet Organisations in Australia
The Whippet Club of NSW
Whippet Organisations in the US
The Whippet Club
Welcome to the Whippet Association of Victoria, Inc.
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