Table of Contents
- History of the Whippet Dog Breed
- Whippet Dog Breed Physical Characteristics
- Whippet Dog Breed Temperament
- Whippet Dog Breed Overall Health
- Training & Exercise of a Whippet Dog Breed
- Frequently Asked Questions About the Whippet Dog Breed
- Whippets Dog Breed Summary
The Whippet dog breed has come a long way. From being a hunter's best friend, helping them chase rabbits, to competing in agility, flyball, rally, and obedience courses. In addition, Whippets are also tremendous loving therapy dogs.
If you're looking for a lean, muscular, and athletic dog, the Whippet breed might be the choice for you.
Whippets are similar to small greyhounds, and some even call it the “Poorman's Greyhound”. Similarly, they are both built for speed.
Whippets are just a bit smaller than they can sit in your lap but large enough to be a great running companion.
However, Whippets are also known to have an independent temperament. This can make obedience training a little bit more challenging. But don't worry, a lot of Whippets can complete obedience trials.
On the other hand, if you're planning to adopt Whippet puppies, make sure to research and find a responsible breeder that tests their breeding dogs for any genetic health issues. It's best advised to not buy puppies at unknown breeders or pet stores.
History of the Whippet Dog Breed
Who knew these couch potatoes were racing-wonders? They may still have their crack on track when released in a field but Whippets have been known for their snapping ability to chase prey briskly.
Whippets are widely known for Rag Racing during the 19th century. This breed may be small but they are monsters on the race track.
Imagine a rag waved relentlessly and becomes a race of pure agility and speed. With a linear track, dogs are lined up and held until a shot is fired to start. Whippets begin to surge the linear track racing towards the rag.
Even when it was called a ‘Poor Man’s Racehorse’, the sport and the breed in undeniably impressive. Their small stature and ‘S’ line body structure complete their racing ability.
Even other breeds have entered the rag race and sadly couldn’t keep up with the Whippet breed.
Whippets were mistakenly taken as Greyhound, although there are a lot of similarities with the breed. Whippets are much smaller in size and their slimmer muzzles are prominent as well.
It is said that the Whippet’s origin of breeding is still a wonder to many. Even researchers and breeders had a strenuous time deciphering the breed’s origin. Although a terrier breed and an Italian Greyhound breed might be a part of the mix.
Whippets are bred to be Hound dogs. This breed has been utilized to chase rabbits as well.
Whippet Dog Breed Physical Characteristics
Height and Weight
A full-grown male Whippet can grow up to 19 to 22 inches tall at the shoulder. Females, however, are at 18 to 21 inches.
On the other hand, their weight ranges from 18 to 48 pounds. The average weight of a male Whippet is 34 pounds, while females are 29 pounds.
Due to their size and build, they cannot tolerate cold weather. They are great around hot weather. Provide them insulation through heated floors or jackets if you’re residing in cold areas.
Whippets have sleek and short coats that come in a wide range of colors. A Whippet's coat can be in any color or color combination.
You can see them in black, red, white, fawn, cream, blue, and more. You'll even see a wide range of combinations of colors in spots, blazes, and patches.
Whippets hate chilly weather and can easily get cold because of their short coat and lack of body fat. Also, because of their thin coats, they are more prone to have nicks, scrapes, and tears that sometimes need stitches.
As the dog owner, it is your job to check for these injuries and make sure that they are not infected.
Whippet Dog Breed Temperament
Whippet’s temperament may depend on how they grew up. Of course, every dog has a different personality but Whippets may share something in common.
Whippers have a fast reflex and are very intelligent.
They have a high prey drive. It’s quite difficult to stop a Whippet from chasing something when it has already begun. Even well-trained Whippets are rigid when it comes to this.
Whippets are extremely affectionate with their owner or family. They are the type to cuddle with you on the sofa or bed. They’re quite clingy as well.
You’ll catch them hanging around where you are most of the time. They may not stick so close to you at all times but with you within their proximity is enough to assure they’re safe as well.
They are exceptionally great with children. It’s important that children also know how to handle dogs, or at least still keep an eye on them.
It would require a few adjustments for them to open up to strangers but if owners display safety around the stranger, they’ll likely open up to them after a while.
Whippets are extremely sensitive. If they were not exposed to or introduced to new people, animals, places, and situations during their first few months, Whippets presumably will get stressed with every change that is presented to them.
Extremely energetic, Whippets are playful as well.
Whippets can adapt easily to apartment living. They are natural and mostly in-door fellows. They may enjoy the vast field of the outdoors but they prefer the comfort and safety indoors.
Whippets wouldn’t say no to wandering to new places. Though they aren’t the best for new owners.
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They are easily sociable with other dogs too. Cats are another question for Whippets. Since cats are natural prey for dogs, they may not be able to fight the urge to chase cats and injure them as well.
Unless exposed, introduced, and observed that your Whippet will unlikely charge the cat, it’s best not to have a cat present around the area where this chaser is. Not only cats, but it can also be other small animals as well.
Practicing cautiousness and avoiding casualties is still best before anything else.
If you can introduce the small animal during their younger phases, it’s easier for them to adapt and recognize them as fellow pets. Training them will be easier during these stages.
If otherwise and it becomes inevitable during visiting other places, it’s best to keep guard on the Whippet and their encounter with the small animals.
Whippet Dog Breed Overall Health
Generally, whippets are a healthy breed. But just like any other dog breed, there are certain health problems that they are more prone to.
That's why it's in your best interest to adopt a dog from a reputable breeder to make sure that you're getting the healthiest dog possible. A canine companion from a responsible breeder will be vaccinated and dewormed even before you adopt them.
But your breeder should also ensure you that the dog's parents have health clearances. This is for you to check that they have been cleared for any particular hereditary condition.
If you're planning on adopting a Whippet, your breed should give you health clearance from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation or CERF. This is to ensure that their eyes are normal.
However, these health clearances are not issued to dogs that are 2 years old and below. Since some health issues don't appear until a dog reaches full maturity.
In addition, They can not be left alone. Whippets are prone to separation anxiety. You’ll even notice how they tend to follow you everywhere in your home now and then.
Now, let's discuss other health problems that Whippets are prone to:
Unfortunately, Whippets are prone to various eye problems. That's why it's important to keep in mind what we've discussed above. You should demand an eye clearance that is dated within the past year before adopting a dog.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy
An example of an eye defect that Whippets are prone to is Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA). Progressive Retinal Atrophy is a severe eye problem in dogs that gradually leads to blindness. PRA is not painful, but it doesn't have any cure.
Sadly, Whippets are more likely to have PRA than other dogs. And this eye problem lacks symptoms, which makes it harder to spot. Generally, the first symptom of PRA is night blindness, and then overall poor vision.
If you see these signs, take your pup to the vet for regular checkups.
Dog cataracts are the clouding of the lens of the dog's eyes. This eye problem can weaken the dog's eyes and it can even lead to blindness in some cases.
Cataracts can be caused by numerous reasons. It is in your best interest to know these causes to help prevent the chances of happening to your pup.
One possible cause of cataracts is Diabetes. About 75% of diabetic dogs tend to experience cataracts.
Cataracts can also be hereditary. There are a lot of dog breeds that are prone to cataracts, not just Whippets.
A few of these dog breeds are Boston Terrier, Australian Shepherd, French Bulldog, and Poodle.
But the most common cause of cataracts in dogs is aging. Dogs that are 7 years old and above are more likely to suffer from cataracts than puppies.
Whippets are sensitive to anesthesia and other drugs. Because of their low body fat, a normal dose to any other dog can be fatal to them.
Your vet should be aware of the sensitivity in sighthounds and know the proper dose that your pup needs.
Von Willebrand's Disease
This disease is a blood disorder that can also be found in humans. Von Willebrand's Disease affects the clotting process because of the reduction of von Willebrand's factor in the blood.
A few symptoms of this disease are:
- Nose bleeding
- Gum bleeding
- Prolonged bleeding from surgery
- Prolonged bleeding in heat cycles and after whelping
Training & Exercise of a Whippet Dog Breed
Whippets are moderately trainable. Of course, as every dog should be, they should be exposed to a variety of people, animals, places, and situations.
In their first few months, helping them recognize their name and some commands such as yes or no is also helpful for future training.
Their energy level is high but it doesn’t mean it should be poured into physical stimulation. Whippets require more mental stimulation rather than a physical one.
In fact, they require an immense amount of mental stimulation.
Whippets require daily walks but most importantly, a run or two for a few minutes. If you get them to walk for at least half an hour daily, it would be satisfying for them.
Maybe a burst of the madness of running around for a few minutes will also do, but don’t worry, it doesn’t last long.
Remember, Whippets may display low energy whenever they’re indoors. Bringing them outside is one of their outlets to release their contained energy. So it’s essential to meet their required exercise regimen daily.
If Whippets do not feel satisfied with their exercise regimen or are not able to have an outlet for their energy, they may succumb and destroy your home.
Imagine a chase inside your home with everything flying around. It's not the best decorating style for your house, right?
Remember to have your Whippet wear a body collar during walks. Sometimes small movements may trigger their urge to chase something.
If you’re looking for a watchdog, Whippets are not the best choice. They barely bark and will probably be friends with people they meet.
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Owners should always consider how their pet’s body is built. Whippets hardly gain weight or fats. Cold weather will affect your pet seriously when left for long periods of time without insulation.
A Whippet’s body may require a soft surface, as you can see their body is built slim and thin. Long exposure to hard surfaces may affect their skin.
Frequently Asked Questions About the Whippet Dog Breed
How Long Does a Whippet Live?
Generally, the lifespan of a whippet ranges between 12 and 15 years. They are a very active and athletic breed that tends to be healthier than other purebred dogs.
However, take into consideration their diet and exercise to make sure they'll live a long and happy life.
Do Whippet Dogs Smell?
Fortunately, these medium-sized dogs do not have a doggy odor. That's a good thing because they spend most of their days on the sofa sleeping.
If you're looking for dog breeds that do not stink here are our few suggestions:
- Siberian Husky
- Alaskan Malamute
- Bichon Frise
Are Whippets Hypoallergenic?
No, Whippets are NOT hypoallergenic dogs. Many people believe that the fur is causing dog allergies, but that's not the case. The saliva, urine, and dander from dogs trigger these allergies.
Since Whippets have short hair and are single-coated, a lot of people believe that Whippets are hypoallergenic dogs.
Whippets Dog Breed Summary
If you're the type of person who lives in the city and loves to run for exercise, the Whippet dog breed might be the dog for you.
Whippers are energetic and very playful. They can easily adapt to living in a small apartment home.
They love to sleep all day but they also enjoy the outdoors. Since they are full of energy, it is important to burn off these energies through training and proper exercise.
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