Whippet Dog Breed
Playful and Lightning Fast!

The Whippet dog breed, categorized as a sighthound, originated in the north of England in the 1800s, though there is evidence of very similar dogs existing for hundreds of years before that time.

While ancestry of the breed is not crystal clear, most fanciers agree that Whippets likely resulted from cross breeding of English Greyhounds, some Terriers - to toughen them up, and the Italian Greyhound.  Its appearance certainly resembles a smaller version of larger hounds.

whippet dog breed with white and brown coat colorsPhoto by Mitchell Orr

The Whippet started out coursing rabbits (and helping poachers), but they were also excellent ratters which was a useful skill in the industrial mills. Subsequently, the aerodynamic structure of the breed along with its ability to run up to 35 miles per hour or more, was recognized and it was dispatched to the racecourse to compete in the then popular sport of dog racing.

Eventually, the Whippet dog breed was recognized by the UK Kennel Club after which it greatly rose in popularity. Before too long, the Whippet dog arrived in America where it was recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1888.

Over the years, the Whippet dog breed has done very well in major dog shows. Outside of competition, it is kept mainly as a lively companion dog that also enjoys a snooze on the couch.

three while Whippets on leash in a field White Saddled Whippets

Appearance And Care

Height: 18-22 inches
Weight: 29-31 lbs.
Color variations: Any Color, including gray, tan, fawn, brindle and while or mixture of colors

Fastidious owners will enjoy this clean dog that sheds very little and has virtually no odor. The coat is short and fine and is easily maintained by an occasional rub down with a hound cloth. Bathe only as needed.

This breed has a thin skin and is sensitive to the cold - be sure to keep a dog coat handy for chilly days.

brown saddles whippet dog breedBrown Saddled Whippet

Whippet Dog Breed Personality and Traits

If you want a dog to curl up with, the Whippet dog is one to consider. Sweet in nature, affectionate and willing to please, this breed adapts very well to family life. He is considered a low maintenance dog and is generally not a barker though he will come to your defense if need be.

Whippets are quick, sporty and intelligent - a good combination for training in agility, rally or flyball. Obedience training is more of a challenge due to their independent nature, but is definitely achievable. He will respond best when using positive reinforcement and variety, never a harsh approach.

Health Overview Of The Whippet

The Whippet dog generally doesn't have a lot of health issues and can live up to fifteen years with good care.

On rare occasions they have been known to inherit an eye defect, but testing is now available to determine its presence for those owners planning to breed their dogs.

Despite this dog's great athletic ability, it is not affected by the typical hip problems common to many dogs.

white whippet with brindle saddleWhite And Brindle Whippet

Activity Level

The breed is best for families that like to stay active. He is a lively dog and has a high exercise requirement - needs to be taken out a couple of times each day.

Some alternative exercise options that are well-suited to the breed include distance running (with an initial period of time allowed for conditioning), plus they are noted to be good swimmers.

Space Needs

A house with room to run outside in a securely fenced area is the ideal setup to help fulfill this dog's need to have substantial exercise.  The Whippet has a strong instinct to chase so make sure there are no escape routes if a rabbit happens to pass by!

Apartment life is also acceptable as long as there is adequate opportunity to be exercised outdoors on a regular schedule.  Close neighbors will appreciate that the Whippet in not generally considered to be a barker.

The Whippet And Children

Whippets have a sweet temperament and do well with considerate children who have been taught how to handle pets and do not play rough.

As always, it is recommended that an adult supervise any play between children and pets.

Senior or Sedentary Families

The Whippet dog breed could be an excellent choice for the more sedentary families. He is a quiet and devoted companion who enjoys being a lap dog.

However,  arrangements should be made for daily significant exercise to fulfill his needs.

Suggested Reading Resources

whippet manual for owners

dr. pitcairn's natural dog care book

whippet owner guide book

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