The Whippet!

A Whippet is a petite, graceful dog that resembles a greyhound. It has an arched neck, small ears that are carried folded and a long tapering tail. The coat is short and smooth that may come in various colors. Whippets were bred in Northern England by crossing greyhounds with terriers. The early owners of this breed of dog were mostly working class people such as factory and mine workers. It was because of this that the Whippets earned the name “poor man’s greyhound” or the “poor man’s racehorse”. The owners raced their dog in fields and town roads during non-working days. A piece of cloth was used as a lure which eventually resulted to having these races to be known as “rag races”.

Some Quick Facts:

Life Expectancy:
13-15 years

Energy Level:
Gentle; subdued.

Living Conditions:
Indoor living. Sensitive to temperature extremes.

Less than average.

Exercise Needs:
Daily walk; occassional run.

Breed Group:


18 to 22 inches

25 to 40 pounds

Standard Hair Colors:
Black, white, red, brown, blue or cream. Variety of spots, blazes and patches.

National breed club:
The American Whippet Club

Whippet Skills

Whippets were bred to hunt by sight, chasing game in open areas at high speed. The working-class people then of Northern England found them cheaper to feed than greyhounds and were very handy and skillful at chasing rats and rabbits. They are exceptional running dogs and are proven top competitors in lure chasing, straight racing and oval track racing. They are considered the fastest domesticated animal of its weight reaching speeds as high as 35 miles per hour. They have also become popular show dogs due to their natural elegance and ease in grooming them.

Whippet Personality

Whippets are generally calm and gentle dogs that spend most of their day sleeping. They are quite attached to their owners and are good with young children making them ideal house pets. They are not suited as guard dogs due to their natural trusting nature. They do not always bark at strangers and are generally friendly towards visitors. Once outside however, they readily show their magnificent athletic skills as they pursue the lure with all the aggressiveness they could muster.

Exercise Needs

Whippets need regular exercise because they were born to run. Their lithe figures are a product of good genes and sufficient exercise. They require regular walks and occasional good hard runs.

Living Conditions

A Whippet is well suited for apartment life as it prefers to be close to its owners either lying next to them or on their lap. Nothing could make them more content than to be kept as a house pet. Its coat does not provide the insulation needed to withstand lengthened exposure to extreme temperatures especially to the cold so much so that to put it in a kennel or treat it as an outside dog may prove disastrous. However, ample chances to run free in open spaces should be given to Whippets although utmost care should be taken while they are on the streets.

Grooming Requirements

Whippets shed in constant trickles and may need occasional wiping or brushing. Proper dental care should also be given.

Health Issues

The Whippet is generally a healthy breed but genetic eye defects have been found, although rare. It also has some problems with undescended testicles. They are not prone to frequent ear infections, skin allergies, digestive problems and hip dysplasia which are common in other breeds.

If you liked this dog… might consider owning an Italian Greyhound which makes an affectionate household pet as well but comes in a smaller package than a Whippet.


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