Updated: April 30, 2018

The whippet is one of the lightest greyhounds, a reduced size compared to other greyhounds. This dog looks like a greyhound but smaller, and it was formerly used as a hunting or racing dog. Of British origin, the whippet is a really popular dog, generally because of its slender and elegant appearance. It is an active, playful and very sociable dog that reminds us without doubt of the English hound.

If you are thinking about adopting a whippet and you have doubts about its characteristics (such as size and weight), it character or the education it will need, you have come to the right place. In this breed card at AnimalWised we will tell you everything you need to know about the whippet dog.

  • Europe
  • United Kingdom
FCI classification
  • Group X
Physical characteristics
  • 5-14
  • 14-18
  • 18-22
  • 22-27
  • 27-31
  • More than 31
Adult weight
  • 2-7
  • 7-22
  • 22-55
  • 55-100
  • 100-220
Life expectancy
  • 8-10
  • 10-12
  • 12-14
  • 15-20
Recommended physical activity
  • Low
  • Meidum
  • High
Recommended climate
Type of hair
  1. History of the Whippet
  2. Physical characteristics of a whippet dog
  3. The character of the Whippet
  4. Caring for a whippet
  5. Educating a Whippet
  6. Health of a Whippet

History of the Whippet

The whippet originated from crosses between the greyhound and terrier dog breeds . The crosses resulted in one of the fastest dogs that currently exist, capable of reaching 60 kilometers per hour in just a few seconds. In fact, the whippet is the dog that achieves the greatest acceleration. These dogs were used as racing dogs and hunting dogs for rabbits and hares. Currently, having a whippet as a pet is becoming increasingly more common.

Physical characteristics of a whippet dog

Even though the standard of the breed accepted by the FCI indicates that the appearance of the whippet combines power and strength with elegance and graceful lines, it is difficult to appreciate the power and strength of this dog breed at first sight. In fact, in first view a whippet seems slike a delicate and fragile dog. However, a deeper knowledge of the breed reveals strong and resistant dogs, with a good predisposition to physical activity.

The whippet's head is long and thin, flattened at the top. It narrows towards the snout, which is also long and thin. The eyes are oval, bright and of a very vivacious expression. It has small, fine textured ears and in the form of rose. Its long, muscular neck is arched. Its back is broad, firm and somewhat long, and has a slight curvature. Its deep chest has a low and well defined sill, and continues with the with a well retracted abdomen.

The tail of the whippet is long and ends in a sharp point. Although the dog lifts it when it is active, it never carries it over its back. Itsfur is thin, short and tight, and can be any color.

The height at the withers that males can reach ranges between 47 and 51 centimeters. The height at the cross of the females ranges between 44 and 47 centimeters. The weight is not indicated by the FCI standard of breed, but whippets usually weigh between 9 and 20 kilograms.

The character of the Whippet

The whippet is a dog with a calm, gentle, sweet and sensitive character. It can appear to be reserved with strangers, so it is advisable to socialize this dog from when it is a puppy to avoid problems of shyness when the dog is an adult. However, a certain reservation with strangers can be useful if a you desire a guard dog of sorts, as it means your dog is hyper aware of what is going on around you and it.

These dogs do not tolerate punishments very well. For this breed we suggest a positive reinforcement style of training. Clicker training is perhaps the most advisable variant of positive training to train a whippet.

These dogs tend to get along with children, as long as the latter do not mistreat the dog. They are not dogs that like rough games and, therefore, they are not the best pets for small children. They are excellent pets for older children who are able to control themselves and treat their dog well.

It is not easy to have a whippet along with another pet of small size since these dogs have a strong hunting instinct and tend to chase and catch all small animals that move fast. There are several known cases in which whippets have killed other pets, such as cats and rabbits. However, they usually get along well with other dogs.

Caring for a whippet

Due to their thin skin and short fur, these dogs are very sensitive to cold and should be protected with dog clothes when the weather is cold. Otherwise, tou will notice the commonly known greyhound tremble. On the other hand, the short coat of the whippet is easy to maintain. Regular brushing and occasional bathing is all this dog needs when it comes to its fur.

These dogs can adapt to living in an apartment, but they need to do intensive exercise frequently. Do not forget that they are greyhounds and, as such, they need to run to release energy. Therefore, it is better if you have a fenced garden where the whippet can run freely. If you do not have a garden, it is advisable to give the whippet, at least once a day, the opportunity to run freely in a fenced enclosure. With about three walks a day and some time in freedom, your whippet will be really happy.

Educating a Whippet

The whippet is a shy dog but can relate to other dogs easily if we teach good socialization in its puppy stage. This point is very important if we want the whippet to live with other pets besides dogs.

Like any other dog, the whippet must learn basic commands that provide security wherever he is. In addition, this will allow it to develop good mental health and a good relationship with you.

Health of a Whippet

These greyhounds usually live between 12 and 15 years, but may be subject to some relatively common ailments to this breed. Whippets can suffer from:

  • cataracts
  • heart problems
  • progressive retinal atrophy
  • thyroid problems
  • hypersensitivity to chemicals and medications
  • Skin damage

Following their vaccination schedule and going to the veterinarian every 6 months can prevent many health problems or treat them promptly when they appear.

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