Whippets have one purpose in life: to go as fast as possible. These speedy dogs are almost unmatched in terms of top speed, being able to reach as high as 35 miles per hour or 56 kilometers per hour.
The Whippet is often confused for the Greyhound, and for good reason – they’re actually closely related. In many ways, the Whippet is a miniature Greyhound, and has a similar relaxed and gentle demeanor.
Whippets aren’t just runners, they also love cuddling and being with humans, being almost like lap dogs in their ability to comfort people. They’re so good at it that some Whippets are even trained as therapy dogs.
TemperamentThe Whippet looks, sounds, and behaves much like a Greyhound – elegant and calm, with a delicate balance of agility and strength. In contrast to their stately appearance, Whippets absolutely love being around people and have no qualms about walking straight up to strangers and making friends. Whippets have little to no tendency to be aggressive towards people or other dogs, as they let out all their intensity and focus when they’re running. At rest, the Whippet is a friendly and sociable dog, and is able to play gently with children. Most Whippets are also very quiet dogs, never barking save for rare occasions. Some Whippets may become more vocal if they develop separation anxiety, which the breed may be prone to since they bond so closely with humans. Around the home, the Whippet is more focused on napping and relaxing, as the breed loves warmth and comfort. Despite their laid-back nature, they do occasionally need to go run full-gas outdoors, so that is something a Whippet owner will need to consider.
The Ultimate Guide to Whippet
The Whippet was only officially called by that name in the mid 19th century, but it’s theorized that the breed has been around for hundreds, if not thousands of years before that. There is evidence from the Middle Ages and Renaissance that shows the existence of medium-sized dogs resembling the Greyhound. The Whippet was developed in England for the purpose of hunting small, fast game such as rabbits. While this was the original intent behind the breed, Whippets became popular among the working class, who would hold races to see whose dog was the fastest. The dogs would be lured by a rag, which would stand in for a rabbit. This became the sport of lure coursing, and these races became incredibly popular throughout England. Immigrants to America took with them their prized dogs, and the Whippet can be counted among those dogs. The Whippet landed in New England in the late 19th century and has remained a popular breed ever since.
Key Characteristics of Whippet
The Whippet looks, sounds, and behaves much like a Greyhound – elegant and calm, with a delicate balance of agility and strength. In contrast to their stately appearance, Whippets absolutely love being around people and have no qualms about walking straight up to strangers and making friends.
Whippets have little to no tendency to be aggressive towards people or other dogs, as they let out all their intensity and focus when they’re running. At rest, the Whippet is a friendly and sociable dog, and is able to play gently with children.
Most Whippets are also very quiet dogs, never barking save for rare occasions. Some Whippets may become more vocal if they develop separation anxiety, which the breed may be prone to since they bond so closely with humans.
Around the home, the Whippet is more focused on napping and relaxing, as the breed loves warmth and comfort. Despite their laid-back nature, they do occasionally need to go run full-gas outdoors, so that is something a Whippet owner will need to consider.
While the Whippet is bred for speed, they aren’t really bred for endurance. They don’t need as much exercise as working breeds, and will be generally fine with an hour of walking each day. This hour can be split into two or three shorter sessions.
However, most Whippets will also need special arrangements for full-speed running sessions. Every once in a while, a Whippet will want to stretch their legs and run for real. A secure, fenced-off area is the best place for this, as there is no way a human being will be able to keep up with a Whippet that is running as fast as they can.
The fenced area is important because the Whippet has a high prey drive and may take off after smaller animals. As a sighthound, the Whippet has excellent vision and can spot prey from much further off than a human.
Another safe way to exercise your Whippet is agility course training, as they excel at running, jumping, and climbing – all of which are featured in the sport of agility.
Everything about the Whippet is geared toward speed, and that extends to their coat. They have a short, smooth coat that lies close to the body and requires little maintenance. Weekly brushing is enough for most Whippets, preferably using a soft-bristle brush or hound glove.
Baths can also be done every once in a while, typically once every two to three months. Whippets don’t tend to smell, making frequent baths unnecessary for the most part.
A good option to clean off your Whippet after outdoor play are pet wipes or a damp towel. Simply wipe them down after outdoor play sessions, and they’ll be clean, unless they rolled around in something muddy or stinky.
Tooth brushing can be done three to four times a week, and nail trimming can be done every two to four weeks. Whenever you brush your Whippet, inspect them for wounds or sores – their fur is short and does not do much to protect their skin, so Whippets may be prone to small injuries. If left unattended, these may develop into infections.
Whippets are generally smart and willing to learn during training sessions. However, they are sensitive to human emotions and do not respond well to punishment or harsh rebukes. Training your Whippet with negative reinforcement may make them uncooperative or fearful during training, which is the exact opposite of what you want.
It’s much easier to use patient and supportive training that incorporates positive reinforcement. Whippets are smart enough to avoid things that are unpleasant to them, and will naturally repeat things that get them rewards. Praise, treats, and play are the most common ways of reinforcing good behavior, and this should be the focus of most of your training time.
Whippets are also intelligent enough to get bored with repetitive training tasks. Try to keep your training sessions varied, so that your Whippet stays engaged and interested. Consistent long-term training will yield the best results for a vast majority of Whippets.
|Whippet Lifespan And Health Issues||
Whippets are generally healthy and have an average lifespan, and can live for 12 to 15 years. Whippets may be prone to:
|Whippet Size And Space Requirements||
Whippets are medium-sized dogs, but have a very sleek and slim build. Most male Whippets will stand between 19 to 22 inches at the shoulder, while females will be 18 to 21 inches. There is little weight difference between males and females, with Whippets generally weighing between 25 to 40 pounds when fully grown.
While they are intended to race and put their whole effort into going as fast as they can, at home the Whippet is calm and well-behaved. They don’t need too much space and have an easy-going demeanor that lends itself well to apartment living.
The only thing a Whippet really needs in terms of space is some kind of outdoor area where they can run off-leash. This area should be secure and fenced so that the dog cannot run after small animals they spot.
If the Whippet can get to run around at full speed every once in a while, they’re usually more than happy to live the rest of their lives at a much more sedate pace. They’re also indoor dogs, as their coats do not protect them from the elements, and they thrive on human interaction.
- Whippets are not good watch dogs as they will almost never bark, even when strangers enter their property.
- It is not advisable to have a Whippet in a home with cats, as their prey drive is very strong and they will tend to chase and hunt smaller animals.
- It’s easy to housetrain Whippets, and they respond very well to crate training.
How can I take good care of my Whippet or Puppy?
Whippets tend to be gentle, non confrontational dogs so long as they are properly socialized. If you are getting a Whippet puppy, start with socialization work immediately after bringing them home. Because they are so sensitive, introducing new situations and experiences gradually is the best approach. Doing this early and consistently is the best way to ensure that your Whippet grows up to be even-tempered and calm.
Whippets may not weigh a lot relative to other dogs, but they still need premium-quality dog food to fulfill their energy needs. If you are getting a Whippet from a reputable breeder, they will likely have recommendations for the brand of dog food to give. Some of the more active Whippets may require a high-protein dog food to maintain muscle mass. Your veterinarian may have specific recommendations for your dog, depending on their health condition.
Whippet puppies brought home at 8 weeks old will have to be brought to the vet multiple times over the next couple of weeks. Your veterinarian will be able to advise you on a specific schedule for your puppy based on their development and the common transmissible diseases in your area. Follow your vet’s advice to give your Whippet puppy the best start in life.
Most Asked Whippet Questions
+How Much do Whippet Puppies Cost
Whippet puppies for sale from registered breeders can cost anywhere from $800 to $1500. Testing needs to be done to ensure the overall health of both the mother and the puppies before the sale of any dogs, and the cost of those tests is usually included in the price of a Whippet puppy. Ethical breeders will make sure that any puppies sold are free from health issues and have a good temperament.