Whippets, like their cousins the Greyhounds, are considered to be amongst the fastest dogs in the world. They can easily outrun a grizzly bear, a white-tail deer, or even the kangaroo! While they excel at agility sports and love a nice, long run outdoors, Whippets are quite content to be couch potatoes when at home. When brought up well, they can be calm, loving, well-adjusted dogs who are loyal to their family and like nothing better than a warm snuggle on the couch.History
Whippets are a relatively new breed with a history that dates back no more than a couple of hundred years. This breed was developed in Northern England in Lancashire and Yorkshire, by crossing Greyhounds with taller, athletic terriers. The resulting small, fast dog was primarily used to hunt rabbits and other small game. They were later also used in races, when it was discovered that they would chase a fluttering piece of cloth. The breed was later crossed with the Italian Greyhound for refinement, and this is the dog that today is the Whippet. While they continue to be used in races and retain a large part of their hunting instinct, Whippets also make great family pets and are extremely affectionate loyal dogs, known for their good looks and easygoing temperament.
One of the most unique features of the Whippet is its speed. This little athlete can attain a speed of 60km per hour and is one of the few breed that has a double suspension gallop, which helps them cover the distance in just a few strides. Their unique gait helps them run with all four limbs in air. Whippets also have a 270 degree field of vision, which allows them to see better and farther than most other breeds.
Whippets do not have a layer of fat in their body that protects them from the cold. This lack of insulation means they don’t usually do well in cold places and will need a dog jacket in winter. They are prone to frost bites, wounds, and cuts because of their thin skin.
Because of their innate athleticism, they can get destructive if they are not adequately exercised every day. In spite of their love of the outdoors, they are family dogs and don’t do well without human contact for long periods of time.
We are yet to find a movie or a celebrity that has or feature a Whippet. We will add them to the list as soon as we found out. Just watch out for this space.
Whippets have a short, smooth coat that lies close to their body. This coat comes in a host of colours – black, white, fawn, blue, red, cream, and brindle, with various combinations of spots and patches. Whippets don’t shed much as much as other breeds, but it’s still important to groom them regularly. A weekly brushing with a curry brush or hound glove will keep that coat perpetually shiny and get rid of dead hair from the coat. Whippets don’t carry any distinct odour either, so baths don’t have to be frequent; no more than a couple of times a month.
Whippets have a very thin coat and their skin isn’t very well protected. It’s common for them to have nicks, cuts, and wounds. Check them frequently for skin injuries and get them treated immediately. Oral care is vital for this breed as they tend to have poor dental hygiene. Brush the Whippet’s teeth a couple of times a week to avoid tartar build-up and keep the breath fresh.
Whippets are generally a healthy breed. That said, like all breeds, they are prone to certain generic as well as genetic conditions. Anaesthesia sensitivity is common amongst Whippets. Most sighthounds have this condition. A dosage that is normal for other dog breeds may easily result in an overdose for these dogs. Consult a good vet when your Whippet needs to be medicated.
They are also likely to be deaf, a genetic condition that can be dealt with through special training and the use of vibrating collars. Whippets may also develop a variety of eye defects. Get their eyes checked regularly by a good vet. Finally, this dog is often diagnosed with von Willebrand’s disease (vWD), which is an inherited bleeding disorder. This breed is often deficient in the von Willebrand factor, a protein that helps with the clotting of blood.
While Whippets were originally bred for hunting and coursing games, today they make excellent companions for families as well. They have delightful dichotomies: extremely athletic and outdoorsy, but happy to be lapdogs; super friendly and good with children, but suspicious of outsiders; can be a bundle of energy, but are often just happy sleeping the day away. Whippets can often be reserved, but this is hardly a sign that they are unfriendly. They sometimes draw the line and family and are suspicious of everyone else. If you’d like your Whippet to get along with several people and animals, early socialisation is the best way to do so. This breed has a tendency to chase and hunt smaller animals in the house, so if you live with several animals, get on that early socialisation right away!
While they can survive in all weathers, their thin coat does little to protect them during the winter, so keep a few warm sweaters ready. They are also prone to frostbite and generally have very sensitive coats, so watch out for nicks and cuts. These are definitely not dogs suited to only outdoor living, since they love their families and like nothing more than to spend a cosy evening curled up at the foot of your bed. They don’t have a great guarding instinct, so if you’re looking for a guard dog, you should consider other breeds.
Whippets are perfect for apartments and yards alike. Although they are considered to be one of the fastest breeds in the world, they can turn into the perfect coach potatoes in apartments. If you want a dog that doesn’t bark too much, this is the perfect breed for you. They are shy to meet strangers and need time to socialize with children.
Whippets can easily be housetrained. They are timid but their size and pace can often be a little too much for younger kids. They will need to be trained to listen to the recall. A yard with a picket fence is ideal, so that your Whippet can have enough exercise and, at the same time, is protected from following real or imagined prey for miles away from home. Your Whippet will not respond well to very cold weather. So never leave him or her outside for long during this weather. They do not have a fat layer in the body, which makes them vulnerable to rain and cold.
Training your Whippet is fairly easy. They respond well with positive reinforcements such as food. They are not very difficult to housetrain either. All In all, they are quick learners with average to above average intelligence and a desire to please. Recall is vital in this breed, as they are quite capable of following their prey for miles away from home, if you aren’t careful. Make sure that they have easy and regular access to a fenced yard. For Whippets, an idle mind is the devil’s workshop. A bored or under-exercised Whippet can quite quickly turn his or her mind to destructive means of entertainment.
Because of their hunting instinct, it isn’t safe to take them on off-leash walk. Leash training and socialising at an early age is the best way to a well-rounded adult Whippet. Be especially certain to socialise them with other animals in the house, if you’re planning on more than one pet. Whippets can easily mistake smaller animals for prey and inadvertently hunt a smaller family member!
Whippets are generally a healthy breed and their breeding does not have many complications. It has to be kept in mind that this breed does not respond well to c-section, make sure you have a vet on call at all times. Average male and female Whippets attain sexual maturity anywhere between six to nine months of age, although they are still too young to breed at this age.
This breed takes around 18 months to reach their full height and structure. It is advisable to breed your dog after at least two years of age. If you are first-timer at breeding, then taking a vet’s opinion is advisable. An average litter consists of 4-6 puppies.
Whippet puppies are a handful and then some! They are extremely fast and will zip around your house with gay abandon, tripping and destroying as they go. Give them ample exercise at this age, so that their bones and muscles develop well. Early socialisation with other animals and several people, as well as constant exposure to a variety of sights, sounds, smells, and textures, will result in a well-rounded adult Whippet.
Whippets love company and can at times easily develop separation anxiety. They will be fairly easy to housetrain, though crate training is advisable to facilitate a speedy process. Remember that the puppy should see the crate as his or her home and not as a form of punishment.
This agile, small-sized dog makes a great companion for families. They have a deep-chested body with a broad and muscular back. The ribs are well sprung and the head is long and fine with a flat top to the skull. The nose is black and the tail is long and tapering, with a gentle curve.
They have long and close feet with well arched toes, with hard and thick pads. The forelegs are straight and not too wide. The hind legs are wide with well-muscled thighs. The eyes are large, alert, oval shaped, and dark in colour. They have a strong jaw, which has a perfect scissor bite. The ears are small, fine, and rose shaped. A male Whippet is 19 to 22 inches tall, while females are 18 to 21 inches. Their weight ranges from 18 to 48 pounds, with females being smaller. The average lifespan of a Whippet is 12 to 15 years.