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Whippet Dog Breed: What You Should Know

Whippet Dog Breed: What You Should Know

The Whippet is seen as a smaller version of a Greyhound. They are friendly dogs that enjoy chasing, so a secure garden is essential. They’re swift and nimble, and they enjoy being in the company of their owners.

Whippets, like Greyhounds, require a good run around but will happily curl up on the sofa for the rest of the day. Whippets are popular among first-time dog owners due to their medium size, yet training a Whippet can take some time!

The distinctive nature of this breed, as well as its pleasant disposition and attractive appearance, make it a popular as a family pet and in the show ring. They make good apartment pets, but they need a lot of activity to burn off their excess energy, and they don’t like being left home alone for long periods of time. A Whippet may not make an excellent watchdog because they rarely bark, even at strangers. However, you will receive a loving companion for the entire family.

History of the Whippet dog breed

The beautiful yet powerful Whippet, dubbed the “poor man’s racehorse,” was most likely developed in the late 18th century for use by poachers in search of rabbits and other small game, as well as in “snap” contests, in which the dog’s purpose was to snap up rabbits in a circle. When it was discovered that they would chase a waving rag, they truly came into their own, and Whippet racing became popular among working-class men.

According to one explanation, miners in Victorian Northern England couldn’t afford to retain greyhounds for coursing, so they bred down from small greyhounds and named it the whippet, which was used to denote “a little cur” in the 18th century. Other hypotheses say that little greyhounds were bred via terrier outcrosses, particularly with the Manchester terrier.

The Northern Miners’ original purpose was to course rabbits, and they liked gambling as part of their pastime. When this became illegal, the dogs were trained to chase lures or rags that were pulled down straight rails or alleyways, earning the breed the nickname “lightning rag dog.”

Whippet racing is still done on a small scale, but the breed is now highly popular in the show ring, where its exquisite lines and fluid daisycutting movement have earned many fans. The Whippet is a calm and friendly family companion who likes the conveniences of home living. When it comes to the United States, they are also recognized by the American Kennel Club AKC.

Appearance of the Whippet

Whippets are tall canines with a thin build. According to the breed standard, males stand 19–22 inches tall, while females stand 18–21 inches tall. Don’t be frightened if you see a skinny-looking whippet; at a healthy weight, adult whippets should have two to four visible vertebrae.

The color of a whippet is “immaterial,” according to the breed standard. In other words, whippets come in a variety of colors and marking patterns. They are ranging from fawn to cream, black to blue. Their National Breed Club, called “The American Whippet Club”, on the other hand, states that you won’t find a merle, tricolor, or harlequin whippet. If you do, you’re looking at a mixed breed.

Eye color varies, but pure-bred whippets have a lot of huge, black eyes. Even while vigilant, the whippet’s enormous ears are rose-shaped and folded. This, along with their wide, black eyes, lends them an elfin allure.

One thing to keep in mind: “The whippet breed standards are supposed to have modest tail carriage,” explains Karen Lee, the American Whippet Club’s public education chairperson and AKC delegate. She claims that whippets don’t hide their tails between their legs because they’re afraid or worried, so don’t be alarmed if you encounter one.

Personality of the Whipped dog breed

At home, the Whippet is kind, peaceful, and gentle, but when it comes to chasing, the Whippet is fierce. To keep him from chasing after any moving being he needs to be on a leash or in a gated yard. He doesn’t bark a lot, but he’s always attentive and makes a great watchdog. Does he make a good guard dog? Not at all. He’ll gladly show the thief the silver.

Whippets, like all dogs, benefit from early socialization, which includes exposure to a variety of people, sights, noises, and activities. Socialization is important in ensuring that your Whippet puppy develops into a well-rounded dog. Enrolling him in puppy kindergarten is a terrific place to start. Regularly inviting visitors over and taking him to crowded parks, dog-friendly stores, and leisurely strolls to meet neighbors can all help him improve his social skills.

Children and Whippets

Whippets are a popular family dog since they are quiet and kind with youngsters. We prefer a home with slightly older children who understand when to give your dog space because they are sensitive.

Remember to learn to read your dog’s body language so you can intervene in potentially stressful situations before they get out of hand. When it comes to youngsters and vulnerable adults, always keep an eye on your dog.

Whippets and other pets

As long as your Whippet is socialized with other dogs from an early age, he or she should be OK meeting them in public. Whippets do have thin skin, so make sure playtime with other dog buddies isn’t too rough, as this could result in bruises or wounds.

Whippets have a high prey drive, therefore keeping them alongside smaller pets is not a good idea. Your Whippet may get along with a cat they’ve known for a long time, but you should always keep an eye on them when they’re together.

How to Look After Your Whippet

Whippets are energetic canines who like being with their owners. Your Whippet will be glad to curl up on the sofa with you at the end of the day as long as they get enough of exercise.

They appreciate being a part of everything that goes on at home, therefore they will thrive in homes where they can be involved in everything. They have a lot of personality, yet they can be shy when meeting new people, so early socialization is essential.

Socialization and training

Whippets have a reputation for being a bit slow at learning new things. That doesn’t mean that they aren’t intelligent dogs. To assist your Whippet understand even basic commands, begin positive, reward-based training as soon as possible. When it comes to training your Whippet, you’ll need to be patient! However, if you are patient and consistent with their training, they are a good choice for first-time owners. If you require more training assistance, we propose enrolling them in authorized training classes.

To assist your Whippet grow confidence with a variety of events, people, and canines, you’ll need to socialize them from a young age. They may become apprehensive if they do not receive this socialization, which is why it is so crucial.

Whippets, like most dogs, dread being left alone and can develop separation anxiety. When left alone for any amount of time, they build deep relationships with their owners and might become very stressed. We only recommend getting a Whippet if you plan on spending the entire day with them. Otherwise, they may begin to destroy items about the house.


These dogs need plenty of exercise. Whippets, while calm and kind dogs who love quiet time, require plenty of activity to keep happy and healthy. They also enjoy the company of other dogs, especially during popular sport activities.

Every day, your Whippet will need at least an hour of exercise. This should be broken up into two walks, with the shorter one taking place first thing in the morning and the longer one taking place later in the day with the opportunity to sniff and explore. Your Whippet should also get plenty of opportunities to run and play off-lead in a safe environment. It’s in their nature for them to be able to have a great run. When you’re not in a secure place, remember to retain a firm grasp on their leash because they have a strong prey drive and like chasing!

Your Whippet will want plenty of opportunities to play with you, training sessions, and space to explore on their own in a safe garden in addition to frequent walks.

Grooming a Whippet

Whippets have short fur, so a weekly brushing should suffice to keep it in good shape. They do, however, have very delicate skin, therefore it’s best to get a soft brush for them. While your Whippet will shed, it will be minor in comparison to other breeds. In the spring and autumn, they may shed more.

The skin of a Whippet is not as well protected as that of other breeds due to his thin coat. Whippets are prone to nicks, scratches, and tears, which require sutures on sometimes. Check him for such injuries on a regular basis to make sure there are no infections in any of the nicks and scrapes.

Other than that, he simply requires dental hygiene and nail maintenance. Brush your Whippet’s teeth at least twice or three times a week to get rid of tartar and the bacteria that live inside it. Brushing your teeth on a daily basis is even preferable if you want to avoid gum disease and foul breath.

If your dog’s nails don’t wear down naturally, trim them once or twice a month. They’re too lengthy if you can hear them clicking on the floor. Short, well trimmed nails maintain the feet in good shape and keep your legs from being scratched when your Whippet leaps up to meet you excitedly.


The nutrition of your Whippet will differ based on their age. To keep them thin and healthy, you’ll need to feed them a comprehensive, balanced dog food.

Your veterinarian will be able to advise you on how much food your Whippet should consume. You should feed them a full dog meal of good quality that is commercially available. We normally advise them to divide their daily calorie limit into two meals. If you give your dog a reward every now and then or use treats for training, keep this in mind and limit their daily allowance accordingly. Treats should not account for more than 10% of their daily calorie intake, as this will throw off their diet’s balance.

Feed your dog at the same time every day if possible, as they enjoy routine. Remember to take a break between eating and working out.

Living Needs

Whippets require a properly fenced yard, which must be at least 6 feet high due to their agility. They may live in apartments if their owners are committed to taking them for daily walks and exercise. Whippets enjoy lounging on couches and cuddling on laps once their long legs have been exercised. Lee recommends adopting a senior whippet if you’re unable to provide an exercise outlet for your dog.

Whippets are fantastic with youngsters and the elderly. Small animals may arouse their predation drive, but they get along with other dogs in general. He could be unable to resist chasing a cat through the yard or a pet rabbit across the living room floor, for example.

The whippet is more tolerant of hot weather than cold weather because of its little body fat. “In the summer, whippets are fantastic,” Phifer explains. “However, if you reside in a cold region, you’ll have to make special provisions for them throughout the winter months.”

Lee is of the same opinion. “They value the presence of a coat or sweater… If [your] residence becomes cold at night, you might want to bring some pajamas “says she.

Whippet health issues

Whippets are friendly, affectionate canines who enjoy being around people. They’re lovely, but they’re also pretty delicate. Whippets are prone to injuring their skin when they come into contact with thorns, twigs, or other sharp items. They can also hurt their bones if they sprint on uneven ground, so make sure your Whippet’s walks and off-leash areas are free of such risks. Unfortunately, they, like many other purebred dogs, are susceptible to a variety of additional ailments.

If you’re thinking about getting a Whippet puppy, check sure the parents have had the appropriate health tests to lessen the risk of your puppy contracting certain diseases. Looking for a Kennel Club Assured Breeder is a good idea because they satisfy additional requirements that will enhance your puppy’s health.

The following are some of the conditions that Whippets may develop:

  1. Eye problems
  2. Retinal Atrophy (Progressive Retinal Atrophy)
  3. Mitral valve regurgitation
  4. Issues involving the immune system

Here are some other health problems that often affect the Whippet.

Dental Disease

By the age of two, dental disease is the most frequent chronic condition in dogs, impacting 80 percent of all dogs. Your Whippet, regrettably, is more likely than other dogs to suffer dental issues. It begins with tartar build-up on the teeth and proceeds to gum infection and tooth root infection. If we don’t take steps to prevent or cure dental disease, your friend will lose her teeth and put her kidneys, liver, heart, and joints at risk. Your Whippet’s lifespan could be reduced by one to three years! We’ll brush your dog’s teeth on a regular basis and advise you on how to maintain those sparkling whites clean at home.


Whippets are susceptible to bacterial and viral illnesses, such as parvo, rabies, and distemper, that affect all dogs. Many of these infections can be avoided with vaccine, which we will advise depending on the diseases we find in our area, hereditary factors, and other considerations.


Obesity can be a serious health issue for Whippets. It’s a dangerous condition that can lead to or exacerbate joint pain, metabolic and digestive difficulties, back discomfort, and heart disease. When she looks at you with those soulful eyes, it’s tempting to offer her food, but you can “love her to death” with leftover people food and doggie goodies. Instead, hug her, clean her hair or teeth, play a game with her, or go on a stroll with her. She’ll feel better, and you’ll feel better, too!


Worms and pests of all kinds can infest your Whippet’s body, both inside and out. Fleas and ticks, as well as ear mites, can infest herskin and ears. Drinking polluted water, treading on contaminated soil, or being bitten by an infected mosquito are all ways hookworms, roundworms, heartworms, and whipworms might enter her system. Some of these parasites can be passed from one person to another, posing a major threat to everyone. These parasites can cause pain, discomfort, and even death in your dog, so it’s critical that we test for them on a regular basis. In order to keep her healthy, we’ll also recommend preventive medicine.

Overview of the Whippet

This medium-sized hound has a sleek body and a short, dense coat with a range of colors and markings. The Whippet was created by crossing Greyhounds with smaller terriers and, later, Italian Greyhounds, and is not a miniature Greyhound. The end product is a sleek, gorgeous, kind, and affectionate dog.

The Whippet is commonly referred to as the “ideal all-around dog,” and it excels in agility, flyball, and lure coursing. Despite their independent personalities, which can make obedience training difficult, many Whippets compete effectively in obedience trials.

Although early socialization — exposure to diverse people, sights, noises, and situations — is vital to keep your Whippet from becoming scared of unfamiliar surroundings, the Whippet normally gets along with other dogs and people. The Whippet, on the other hand, might not be the ideal pick if you like cats. Prey drive is strong in this breed.

Whippets are unsuited for off-leash walks because of their predation drive, which makes them unsuitable for households with cats. If they perceive something worth chasing, they will pursue it, and even a well-trained Whippet will ignore requests to come. Some hunters have chased their prey for miles.

They’re kind and undemanding at home, asking merely to be entertained. They’re mischievous and fun with children. Their thin coats and friendly personalities make them unsuitable for outdoor living. At the end of a long day, Whippets will snuggle with you on the sofa and warm your feet in bed.

Interesting Facts about the Whippet

  • Pier diving is one of the newest dog sports to arise in the last 20 years, in which a dog leaps from a dock into a pool of water, with the dog who leaps the farthest winning. Whippets, it turns out, are very good at dock diving. Whippets have held the Guinness World Record for the longest dock-diving jump three times: Sounders (2019), Slingshot (2018), and Cochiti (2017). (2012).
  • Other well-known whippets include British comedian Jennifer Saunders’ dog Olive and acclaimed painter Lucien Freud’s dog Pluto, which appears frequently in his works. “I prefer people to look as natural and as physically at ease as animals, as Pluto my whippet,” Sigmund Freud reportedly said.
  • Whiskey, a whippet, won the National Dog Show in 2018.
  • At the 2020 AKC National Championship Presented by Royal Canin, a whippet named Bourbon won Best in Show.

Getting a Whippet

Before getting a Whippet, do a lot of research. Before laying in bed for the remainder of the day, these quiet and sensitive canines require lots of exercise. In the correct environment, they can make excellent family pets. When teaching your Whippet, you’ll need a lot of patience, but once they’ve mastered the basics, they may be wonderful dogs.

Just like with any other dog breed, you have to options. Either adopting your puppy, or buying from a breeder. Each option has some pros and cons. If you want to save a dog in need of a home, definitely adopt. But if you want a very young puppy that you can fully train — getting from a breeder may be the option for you.


A Whippet can be found in a variety of rescue centers across the country. There are other Whippet-specific rescue organizations. To ensure that the dog will be at ease in your home, inquire about the dog’s past at any rescue center. Any health or behavioral issues should be reported to you by a good rescue center.


If you get a puppy from a breeder, make sure it is well socialized and has had all of the appropriate screening tests, health exams, and vaccines. It’s critical that Whippet puppies from a breeder have proper early socialization, so always inquire about how the breeder handles this. We suggest looking for a Kennel Club Assured breeder because they adhere to stricter guidelines. Always do your research before buying from a breeder.

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My name is Katy and I am 27. I love to travel and you would be surprised how good I am at karaoke. 🙂 Passionate dog lover and a "mother" to a beautiful toy puddle named Zara. I work as a volunteer in a local shelter and I am a veterinary assistant helping our four-legged friends every day.