The Whippet is a dog breed quite similar to the Greyhound, though smaller in size. Typically, it can run as fast as 35 miles per hour, making it the fastest dog breed of its size. This sighthound is also known for its alert, friendly, and playful demeanor.
Caring for Your Whippet
The Whippet has a very short, smooth coat that needs very little grooming. The breed sheds at a low to moderate rate, but shedding tends to increase seasonally.
Most Whippets only need periodical brushing with a grooming mitt and occasional bathing. Their nails should be kept short to prevent slipping on slick floors.
Whippets are full of energy and sometimes a bit goofy, but they can also have a lazy side. In short, don't expect your Whippet to stay off the furniture. The breed does love to run, so be sure to provide plenty of space and daily exercise. As a sighthound, the Whippet is likely to run after anything in motion, and will not easily find its way back. The breed should never be permitted to run off-leash, and the "invisible fence" is not an option.
Proper training and socialization are both important for the Whippet, as with all dogs. While the Whippet may not seem like the sharpest tool in the shed, the breed is able to learn well with persistence and encouragement.
History of the Whippet Dog Breed
The Whippet was the result of selective crossbreeding between Greyhounds and terriers in England, explaining its appearance as a "miniature Greyhound." Once used by the English working class to hunt small game (particularly rabbits), the breed eventually became quite valued in the sport of coursing.
Much like the Greyhound, the Whippet is an extremely swift runner and is considered the fastest dog of its size.
The Whippet was first brought to the US in the late 1800s and registered with the AKC in 1888. Surprisingly, the breed was not officially recognized by the English Kennel Club until 1891.
- Group: Hound
- Size: 25-40 pounds
- Colors: Whippets are seen in a variety of colors including black, blue, fawn, red, white and various shades of brindle, or a combination of any of these colors.
Whippet Health Problems
Responsible breeders strive to maintain the highest breed standards as established by kennel clubs like the AKC. Dogs bred by these standards are less likely to inherit health conditions. However, some hereditary health problems can occur in the breed. The following are some conditions to be aware of:
- Von Willebrand's Disease
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
Living With a Whippet
Whippets are very affectionate with their families prefer not to be left alone. They are rarely aggressive and act quite welcoming to strangers. For this reason, they do not make ideal guard dogs.
It is important to know that cats and other small animals may provoke the Whippet's predatory instinct. Proper socialization is essential, but the breed might never truly be trusted around small creatures. On the other hand, Whippets tend to get along extremely well with children.
The joyful Whippet is a lovely and loyal companion that makes a delightful addition to almost any household.
As with any breed, if you think the Whippet is the right dog for you, be sure to do plenty of research before adopting one. Talk to other Whippet owners, reputable Whippet breeders, and Whippet rescue groups to learn more.