The Whippet is one of the most popular of the hunting dogs. A member of the sighthound class of hunting dogs, it is bred to hunt by sight. The Whippet’s keen wide range of vision gives it the ability to zero in on its prey, whereupon it breaks into a fast run to apprehend it. What makes this breed truly outstanding is its particular affection for humans. Athletic and enthusiastic while at exercise or play, the Whippet is docile and tranquil at home, and especially patient with children and friendly with guests.
A cousin to the Greyhound, the Whippet gets his name from the phrase “to whip it” due to his fast pace. Running at speeds of up to 37 mph, the Whippet is a born hunter and racer. Referred to as “the poor man’s racehorse” in early England, this breed is not only fast, but intelligent and loyal.
While the Whippet is often described as gentle, this word doesn’t apply to a Whippet in pursuit of cats or other small, furry creatures. If you have bunnies or hamsters, you may want to think twice about bringing a Whippet into your home. Whippet puppies raised with other pets can coexist peacefully, but instinct is a powerful thing, so it’s essential to keep them separated when you’re not around to supervise.
Like most dogs, Whippets can become bored and destructive when left to their own devices, especially if they don’t have other dogs to keep them company or if they don’t receive enough attention from family members. To counteract this, aim to walk your Whippet several times a day. You can consider taking him to a dog park at least twice a week, so he can really run. But be aware that small dogs may resemble prey to him.
- Whippets are suitable for apartment living if you have access to a safely fenced area where they can run. Whippets have low energy levels indoors, but will become overactive and destructive if their exercise needs are not met.
- When Whippets are not socialized properly they can become timid and stressed by changes in their environment. A properly socialized Whippet is a polite and undemanding dog who’s wonderful with strangers and other dogs alike.
- Whippets aren’t very good watchdogs as they rarely bark and are friendly toward everyone they meet.
- Whippets need daily exercise and will enjoy romping and running in a fenced yard or on leash.
- A Whippet should never be allowed to run off leash during walks.
- Whippets have a strong prey drive and will pursue other animals for several miles.
- Underground electronic fencing is not recommended for Whippets. They will ignore the shock if they see something to chase. A 5- or 6-foot fence should be enough to confine your Whippet.
- Whippets don’t shed excessively, and weekly brushing will help keep loose hair off your clothes and furniture.
- A Whippet’s thin skin is vulnerable to scrapes, tears, and nicks.
- Without daily exercise, a Whippet can become destructive. When their exercise needs are met, Whippets are generally quiet and calm dogs.
- Whippets are not outdoor dogs and should live in the house with their people. Whippets can suffer from separation anxiety and can become destructive when they do. It’s important to spend time with your Whippet and allow him the freedom to follow you from room to room or just snuggle at your feet, or more likely on the couch with you.
- Although Whippets do very well in multi-dog households, there have been cases of Whippets attacking and killing cats. There have been some Whippets who live happily with cats and other small furry pets, but these dogs were socialized to the animal at a very young age. If you have any other small pet besides another dog, please be aware that the Whippet might chase the other pet — or worse injure it — if he’s not properly socialized or trained.
- Whippets are great companions for kids. Nonetheless, it’s important to teach your child how to properly interact with dogs and to never leave a young child alone with any breed of dog.
- Whippets get cold easily. Buy a sweater or coat for your Whippet to wear when it’s cold, wet, or snowy outside.
- To get a healthy pet, never buy a puppy from a backyard breeder, puppy mill, or pet store. Find a reputable breeder who tests her breeding dogs for genetic health conditions and good temperaments.
- Whippets used to be known as snap dogs — for the way they snapped up rabbits and rats.
- Whippet puppies are cunning little creatures, so you’ll benefit from signing up your pup for obedience classes at an early age; 10 to 12 weeks is highly recommended.
- The breed is revered for its graceful, athletic build, which allows the Whippet to clock speeds of up to 35 m.p.h. Read: This is not a dog that should be allowed to run off-leash in open spaces.
7th Earl of Northampton by Batoni