Whippet Breed Guide
Middle Age: 6 years
Geriatric Age: 12 years
Life Span: 12 to 15 years
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Whippet Information & History
Commonly referred to as “the poor man’s greyhound”, the Whippet dog breed is an athletic breed known for their speed and agility. Although their history is uncertain, researchers have traced Whippets back to England for hundreds of years. Back in the day, this sighthound excelled at hunting rabbits and small game for Englishmen and farm owners.
Later on, the Whippet breed increased in popularity when they began “rag racing”. Due to their unique running style, this breed can run up to 35 MPH. These entertaining races were so popular that the Whippet suddenly gained world-wide attention as one of the greatest racing breeds in the world. Shortly after, the Whippet breed made its way to the United States and continued their racing practices.
Finally, in the 19th century, the whippet was recognized as their own independent breed by the American Kennel Club. The word “Whippet” has changed in meaning over the past couple of years, but it is now defined by a small and fast dog. Today, the Whippet is a popular breed all around the world. Pet owners admire their beautiful build, calm demeanor, and friendly personality.
Whippet Temperament & Personality
The Whippet personality is extremely loyal and caring. They thrive in a lively household that can keep up with their high activity level. This obedient breed has a sensitive side and will act accordingly depending on their treatment. Whippets have different personalities. When they are at home relaxing with the family, they have no problem resting and lounging around on the couch.
However, don’t mistake this breed for being lazy. When they get the opportunity to run around outside, they turn into a speed machine. Since they are a racing breed, they love to have an opportunity to exert their energy with a little sprinting.
Unlike many breeds, the Whippet does not require constant attention and can be left alone at home without any issues. Keep in mind that Whippets do best in smaller families; they can easily become overwhelmed and anxious with too many kids running around.
Whippet characteristics include intelligence and loyalty, making them a perfect breed for training. They love to please their owners and are great at following commands. Basic commands are a breeze for this breed and they are commonly trained in more challenging tasks like obedience training and agility competitions.
Training your Whippet is an easy way to establish a strong relationship with your pet. Make sure to always train a Whippet in a calm and loving manner. They are a sensitive breed and can pick up on any frustration or annoyance, which will make them anxious.
It is also important to start the training process as early on as possible. This breed can be shy and should be exposed to different situations starting at a young age. Socializing your pet with other dogs, people, and experiences is the best way for them to become a well-behaved pup later on in life.
Whether you are a first-time pet owner or one with years of experience, the Whippet is a fairly easy dog to train no matter your prior experience. These loving creatures are also known to adjust very easily to new situations.
Exercise Requirements For Whippets
Whippets do not need as much exercise as similar dogs their size, however, it’s still important that they get at least 20-minute of walking every day. Even though they are a sprinting breed, that doesn’t mean it’s necessary for them to be running all the time.
They aren’t made for endurance, and their daily exercise should be planned accordingly. If you have a large fenced-in backyard, your Whippet will love to run around and entertain themselves.
Since they are such an intelligent and athletic breed, they are also great at agility training and lure coursing. They can also get in their daily activity from playing with other dogs of similar size.
The Whippet life expectancy is typically 12-15 years.
Popularity of Whippets
Due to their impressive skills, the Whippet is among the top three most popular dog breeds for racing. Within the sighthound variety, the Whippet is the most well-known in the United States. According to the American Kennel Club, they are ranked as the 60th most popular dog breed in America.
There is a lot to love about this breed – they are well behaved, easy to groom and get along with just about everyone. Bringing a Whippet into your home is an easy adjustment for both you and your pet.
Feeding Recommendations for the Whippet
On average, a Whippet should be fed 1 ½ -2 cups of high-quality food a day, split into two separate meals. When coming up with an appropriate meal plan, make sure to take their age, activity level, metabolism, and size into consideration. Different dogs require different feeding plans and that’s why it is necessary to look at all these factors.
Always make sure to use a high quality and reputable brand when it comes to your dog food. This is very important in supporting the overall health of your furry friend. Often times, dog food can be packed with unwanted fillers and byproducts, lacking essential nutrients needed for a supportive diet. Contact your veterinarian for recommendations and guidance when it comes to your individual pet.
How to Groom a Whippet
Whippets have a short and smooth coat that varies in color. Luckily for their owners, this breed sheds minimally, making them an easy dog to maintain. While they do not require tedious grooming, they still need to be brushed at least once a week. Since they have such a short coat, they tend to become cold easily, and cannot handle extreme climates.
Many Whippet owners will buy a sweater to keep their pup warm during the colder winter months. It is also important to inspect your Whippet of any scrapes or scratches. Since their coat is so thin, their skin is not protected as well, making them more susceptible to minor injuries.
Aside from grooming their coat, you should brush your Whippets teeth twice a week to prevent bacteria and tartar to build up. Lastly, be sure to trim you Whippets nails at least once a month. A good rule of thumb to follow is if you can hear their nails tapping on the hardwood floor, it means it’s time for a trimming.
Are Whippets Good With Kids?
Whippets are the perfect size for children. They aren’t too fragile and they’re not too strong. This makes them a great addition for all households. As said before, Whippets are not a needy breed that requires constant attention. They can also be quite playful, matching perfectly with the energy levels of younger children.
Just like with any pet, it is always recommended to have a parent supervise any interaction between a child and a dog. Not only should you train your dog how to behave around children, but you should also teach your child how to interact with your pet.
Make sure they know to never get between a dog and their food or cause any physical harm while playing. Whippets are gentle and docile, making them a great companion for children of all ages. From playing fetch to cuddling on the couch, this breed is the perfect addition to any household.
Whippet Health Problems
Although Whippets are generally a healthy breed, they can still be affected by many health complications. Below is a list of potential Whippet health concerns to be aware of.
Congenital Deafness: Although uncommon, deafness has been seen to affect this breed starting at a young age. Veterinarians suggest frequent hearing tests in order to monitor their overall health.
Anesthesia Sensitivity: In general, sighthounds are prone to sensitivity with anesthesia and other drugs. This can be extremely dangerous when it comes to treatment options if they become sick. The best way to avoid this is to find a veterinarian who has specialized experience with sighthound breeds.
Cardiac Disease: Within the past few years, more and more Whippets have been diagnosed with Cardiac Disease. In severe cases, heart disease can cause further health complications and even death.
Von Willebrand’s Disease: This blood disorder prevents blood from properly clotting. Signs to look out for include bleeding gums, prolonged bleeding, and bloody noses. Although there is no cure at the moment, there are treatments to alleviate symptoms.
Eye Defects: A wide range of eye issues have been seen in the Whippet breed. Make sure to take your pet in for routine checkups with your veterinarian to prevent any type of infections or complications.
National Breed Website: The American Whippet Club
Whippet Rescue: Whippet Rescue & Placement
Health Issues Associated with this Breed:
- Anesthesia Sensitivity
- Deafness/Hearing Loss
- Eye Diseases
- Separation Anxiety
- von Willebrand's Disease (vWD)