Whippet Dog Breed Traits & Facts

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Whippets are a breed of dog known for their speed and friendly nature. Originating from England, they were initially used for hunting and racing due to their fast speeds.

Their average weight ranges between 15 to 42 pounds and they usually stand at 18 to 22 inches tall. This breed is also known for its long lifespan compared to other dogs, living on average between 12 to 15 years.

Whippets are known to be friendly, affectionate, and are excellent with children and other pets. They are intelligent and easy to train but do require plenty of physical exercise.

Last Updated on September 20, 2023

. The Whippet is a name that whips at lightning speed .. Although he was bred to chase small prey at high speeds and race, he is smaller and more compact that his Greyhound cousins .. You might also have heard his other names: the ‘Poor Man’s Greyhound’ or ‘Lightning Rag Dog .’

These unique dogs are not poor or raggy. The Whippet is one of the most beloved family dog breeds. They are very affectionate and enjoy a cuddle with their family. The breed also has many other amazing traits.

This article will provide information about the Whippet’s personality and appearance. This breed is not the right fit for every family ,. Let’s get started to see if this is the breed that you’re looking for in a canine friend!

Whippet Dog

Breed History

The Whippet’s story began across the pond in England. In the 19th century, Victorian England was a tough time for most. The hardworking coal miners weren’t content to rest on their laurels. They enjoyed outdoor activities like dog racing and small game hunting. Their living space was tiny and had little space for their dogs. A large Greyhound was impossible to keep. The miners created a mini Greyhound , and voilà!

It’s not known which breeds were used in the creation of the Whippet. Although half the size and weight of a Greyhound, the breed is just 5-mph slower, reaching speeds of up to 35-mph! It is the fastest of all breeds its size. Their name comes from the ancient word “whappet”, which means “a small dog that yaps .’


By the turn of the 20th century, many industry workers from Northern England migrated to New England for work and a better life. They brought their dogs along to enjoy the open spaces of the US. This breed became very popular with the outdoor-loving Americans. One of the most famous Whippets is named Whiskey, and he was crowned the AKC’s National Champion in 2018.


The Whippet is extremely playful and loving.

The Whippet is incredibly loving and playful. He is sensitive and hates being left alone. He is best suited for families that can spend the majority of their time with him. He’ll be a very unhappy dog otherwise.

He is an very adaptable dog who will happily live wherever you take him. He is one of few energetic breeds that can be adapted to apartment living. He does require exercise, but that is a caveat. He will happily lounge around for the rest of his day as long as he has at least two walks per day and some time to run around. He loves to snuggle up by the fire and is a great companion. This makes him a great companion for people who love to be outdoors, but also enjoy watching box sets after box set.

Whippet owners have adopted him as a second dog to help their lazier Whippet. He is a great friend to other dogs and will get even the most lazy of pups on their feet. His boisterous, playful nature makes him a great playmate for young people.

Overall this breed is a well-balanced dog that makes a great family pet. He is gentle and sweet, energetic and calm. He is loved by everyone, from babies to grandparents. He will do anything you ask, as long as he has his exercise and company.

Size & Appearance

This beautiful dog is elegant and athletic. This medium-sized hound stands between 18 and 22 inches high at the shoulder and weighs between 25 and 40 pounds. The Whippet looks very similar to the Greyhound. He is very thin and has very little body fat. His weight is mostly muscle.

His lean head and arched neck make him the classic genetic inverted ‘S’ sighthound . People often mistake his long, deep chest for a skinny, underfed dog. His breeding standard states two to four vertebrae should appear across the back. To show a healthy weight, there should be three to four visible ribs.

His eyes, which are large and round , oblong-shaped, make him seem loving and sensitive. The Whippet’s ears have a small, rose-shaped shape. They are straight at the base but crimple and fold towards their ends. His muzzle is narrow and long, and his neck even longer. His tail is tapered and long, and he carries it between his legs when he is happy.

Coat & Colors

The Whippet’s silky, dense, and short coat is short. This breed is very striking and looks almost like a model. Although he has a double-coated coat, he gets cold easily due to his low body fat. You’ll see them wearing dog coats even in mild weather. He will be extremely cold in winter so make sure to get your jumper orders in before he goes.

The Whippet can be bred in a variety of standard colors combinations .. This is due to the large genetic pool he was bred with. If you wish to show your dog, any color can be accepted under the AKC breed standard. Whippets can be found in a variety of colors, including black, white, red and fawn. They can also have many spots, blazes and patches that make them more interesting.

Exercise Requirements

The Whippet can be adapted to almost any lifestyle and environment, provided you are aware of the must-haves. His exercise needs are moderate, and he needs anywhere between 30 to 60 minutes of exercise to keep him healthy. You can do any kind of exercise, and many types of exercises can be done.

His high predator drive is a reason he should not be allowed to run loose in unenclosed areas. It’s best to keep your dog on a leash and a long training lead when he is not. If he sees a squirrel or chipmunk, you will be following him for miles. He will be entertained and satisfied by structured, intense activities like agility and lure coursing.

Keep in mind the need to speed , of this guy, so if possible, incorporate this into your exercise program. He will have fun playing fetch with a ball launcher, which will help him burn off his explosive energy. Running around in an enclosed area or at the dog park with his furry friends is a great way to keep him busy and it will also help improve his socialization skills.

As we have said and repeated, the breed hates to be left alone . Therefore, the time you spend alone should be kept to a minimum of three to four hours. He will crave cuddle time and you. If the balance is not right, separation anxiety can be a problem. As long as the dog is well socialized as a puppy, a canine companion can be a great help. It’s not a good idea to do this with other pets like cats or rabbits.

Living Conditions

The Whippet can live in an apartment, but large homes are fine too. His yard must be secured to stop him from chasing things. If he feels the need to, he will run onto highways in search of prey. It is best to keep him contained and safe. In hunt mode, he can jump great heights so make sure to place your garbage cans carefully.

The breed is adaptable. They can make excellent house pets if they are well exercised. They are smaller than other breeds due to their slim frame. The breed is adaptable to almost any family or living situation.


Whippets are intelligent, but independent-minded . when it comes to training. This simply means that Whippets will do whatever he likes and not what you tell them to. Although he’s not the most obedient dog in the world, he’s not bad either. No-experience owners are welcome to apply to the role of mom and dad. However, don’t expect him be the most obedience-oriented pet. He’ll also follow your commands every day, even if you don’t tell him.

It is best to start your training early . He will soon learn who his boss is and associate positive behavior with praise and cuddles. This is exactly what he needs. Positive reinforcement training is the best way to train your dog. He is sensitive and will cower at loud voices. Therefore, cuddles and high-pitched voices are the best way to reward him.

As with all pups, socialization and puppy training classes are recommended to teach him manners and boundaries from an early age. Because the Whippet is shy ., it is important to socialize him with other dogs. Socialization will increase his confidence and allow him to smile at the world around him.

Crate training is essential to this breed. He needs somewhere to call home as he is one of the most sensitive and anxious dogs. It will give him some space to take a break from the chaos, and also allow him to have a rest when things get overwhelming. The crate should be secure, but also a calming space. This will reduce anxiety when you must leave your dog. Crate training can be beneficial for anxious dogs.


The Whippet is a healthy breed. He needs regular vet visits and good nutrition. He has a 12 to 15 year life expectancy, so you can expect that this furry friend will be around for a large proportion of your life. Responsible breeders will screen parents for eye and cardiac conditions. These are some common health issues for the breed.

Eye Diseases

Eye diseases can be a problem for this breed if it is bred by poor breeders. Your Whippet must have the best vision to be happy and active as a sighthound. Make sure you check that the breeder you are considering has had eye clearances for both parents within the last year. This breed is more susceptible to progressive retinal atrophy than other breeds, and can cause complete blindness.


Deafness is another problem that can be found in this breed. Breeders should ensure that their puppies are tested using the approved BAER method. Again, make sure you ask for proof of health.

Cardiac Concerns

The Whippet can be susceptible to many heart conditions. Heart problems are one of the leading causes of death. Heart valve problems, heart murmurs and cardiomyopathy are all possible concerns. You should be aware of symptoms such as difficulty breathing during exercise, exercise intolerance, fainting, and struggling to breathe. Regular vet checks will detect any issues with the heart.

Von Willebrand’s Disease

This is an uncommon disorder that affects blood clotting. This means that dogs with this condition will experience severe bleeding, while normal puppies would be able to heal quickly and recover. Because of his thin skin, and his deep chests, the Whippet can be easily cut and scraped. The skin can be cut by sticks or shrubs as he runs fast. Your vet should be contacted if the skin continues to bleed or fails to heal. It can usually be treated with medication and is most commonly diagnosed between the ages 3 and 5.

Anesthesia Sensitivity

Sighthounds such as Whippets are very sensitive to medications and anesthesia due to their low body fat. A dose that is normally safe for a breed the same size as yours could prove fatal. It is possible to avoid this by notifying your vet about the sensitivity so they can adjust the dose.


A Whippet should consume two-to-three cups of high quality dry food per day. This is divided into two meals. It depends on their age, build, metabolism, activity level, and size. The breed has a high energy exppulsion rate, but it doesn’t need to eat as much as other breeds.

The quality of dog food is probably the most important factor when it comes to your Whippet’s nutritional needs. Your vet will recommend kibbles that are well-balanced and rich in nutrients. We agree. Although it may seem tempting, cheap dog food can cause damage to his eyes, coat, and teeth. feed your dog high-quality kibble . if you want him looking and feeling his best.

Gastric torsion is also known as bloat. This is when the stomach twists and is common in deep-chested breeds. This happens most often during meals, especially right after or just before exercise. Avoid exercising during mealtime. He also causes a lot of trouble with his explosive energy outbursts. So, learn about bloat because it is a life-threatening condition that needs immediate medical attention.


The Whippet’s silky, short coat is easy to maintain. He only needs a weekly brush, and an occasional bath when necessary. Because he is known for not having a strong doggy smell, he doesn’t need to be bathed as often as other breeds. For massaging hair follicles, and removing dead skin and loose hair, a simple rubber glove mitt can be used. It takes about five minutes to do this and it is a great way for you to spend quality time with your dog.

When bathing, make sure you add an anti-slip matt in your tub or shower tray. Dogs don’t love bath time because they slip. Your Whippet doesn’t have much substance to hold onto. Use a gentle shampoo that is made with natural ingredients to prevent his sensitive skin from becoming inflamed.

Check his eyes and ears for signs of infection or change every week. It is also essential to check his legs and underbelly for any infection because of the many cuts and scrapes that he will receive on his walks. Doggy-onesies and coats will keep him warm and prevent any cuts. For the best dental hygiene, brush his teeth every week and trim his nails if they become too long.

Breeders & Puppy Costs

The average price of a puppy from a reputable breeder is between $1,000 and $1,500. If you are thinking of buying a puppy from racing lineage to race them, champion dogs liters can fetch up to $20,000 per pup. A great place to start your search for a well-bred pup is with the AKC’s list of Whippet breeders and their available puppies.

*) Choosing a good breeder over a poor one is the biggest risk when buying a puppy. Reputable breeders will communicate openly with their clients and respond promptly. They will demonstrate how they screen for health issues. They will welcome you to come visit the puppies and show you how they are cared for. Before you decide to purchase a puppy, meet its mother in person. Bad breeding is characterized by puppies that were raised in unhealthy conditions or litters of sick puppies. Poor smells, poor eyesight, and thin pups are all .signs that the animal was not treated properly. Do not be pressured into buying a puppy or meet with the breeder in public. Do not be tempted to save a puppy’s life by being a hero. You are only encouraging bad behavior to continue, and you will end up with an unhealthy puppy.

Always remember to account the ongoing costs associated with owning a dog. The Whippet can be a relatively inexpensive dog compared to other breeds, but they still need insurance and medical treatment. They need food, toys, and harnesses every day.

Rescues & Shelters

There are hundreds of thousands of abandoned puppies across America that need to be rehomed. Why not adopt a rescue dog? Because Whippets don’t seem to be the most popular breed, you might have to search around for one at a rescue shelter. Talk to staff at the shelter to learn more about the rescue process. They may have a Whippet at another shelter if there aren’t any.

However, shelters specialize in rehoming abandoned or retired race dogs. You can both visit the centers in person or you can find them online. These organizations have photos that you can browse and contact them to offer them forever homes. A great website to check out is the Whippet Rescue and Placement website. You will find important information on how to become a rescue parent or mom. If you are open to it, consider rescuing a Whippet mix. You will probably be able to save money and wait less time before you can adopt a puppy.

As Family Pets

  • Whippets are suitable for apartment living or large homes.
  • This breed has a relatively low energy level indoors.
  • They need 30 to 60 minutes of moderate daily exercise.
  • Exercise should be intense but in shorter bursts.
  • A properly socialized pup is a polite and undemanding dog.
  • Socialized dogs will be relatively low maintenance.
  • Whippets adore humans and are very affectionate.
  • They love other dogs but have a strong prey drive.
  • We’d recommend that this breed not be housed with any non-canine pets.
  • They suffer badly from separation anxiety.
  • This means they can and can become anxious and destructive.
  • They will do best in a home where the family is there all day.
  • Whippets make great companions for children as they are extremely gentle and fun.

Final Thoughts

Despite his slim frame and elegant appearance, the Whippet is active and robust. He is a very high-maintenance .dog. He is a wonderful companion who loves children, dogs, and people. He makes a wonderful addition to any home as a companion dog and is joyful. He is a happy, easy-to-please dog who enjoys cuddles and interactive exercise.

If this sounds like the right match, the Whippet could make a wonderful canine companion .. This breed is not for you if you need an independent dog that can guard your home and be a toy or handbag-toy type dog. You will find an adorable family companion in this gentle, loving family dog as long as you understand what to expect.

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