A Pet Parent’s Guide to the Speedy Whippet Dog Breed

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long haired whippets staringSo, you want to be Whippet parent? Or maybe you already are – and are wondering what you have got yourself into! The good news is that the gorgeous and sensitive Whippet breed is simply divine, and the perfect match for devoted owners.

What Are Whippets?

These gorgeous dogs are known for their stunning supermodel looks, which feature a glossy coat and a lithe long-legged frame, and their affectionate and sensitive nature.

Whippets are a breed that is classified as part of the sighthound category of dogs, which also includes Greyhounds and Italian Greyhounds. Sighthounds are renowned for two things – their ability to spot prey from hundreds of meters away, and the astonishing speed at which they can run!

Whips, as they’re known to their devotees, are a gorgeous breed to share your time with.

A Brief History of These Doggos

The history of the Whippet began in England, where the breed originated from a cross between the Greyhound and Long-legged Terriers. They were later further refined to their stylish looks of today with a touch of Italian Greyhound.

Whippets were so named due to their lightning fast speed and agility, likened to the cracking of a whip. Originally they were used to compete in races and were a form of entertainment (and gambling) for the lower classes in England, earning the nickname of ‘poor man’s racehorse’.

Whippet racing was extremely popular and in later years used lure coursing to train the dogs.

This involves using a mechanical lure, resembling small animals such as rabbits, to encourage dogs to reach extremely high speeds during races. The American Kennel Club recognized the Whippet breed in 1888.

What’s the Difference Between Italian Greyhounds, Whippets, and Greyhounds?

Some people get all confused when discerning between the slim sighthound breeds of Whips, Greyhounds and Italian Greyhounds. Here are the differences between these shiny cuties.

Whippet vs Italian Greyhound

While they are similar in appearance, the real difference between Italian Greyhounds and Whippets is size. Whippets are medium-sized dogs, whereas Italian Greyhounds are small dogs – almost half the size of a Whippet!

Whippet vs Greyhound

On the other hand, a Whippet is small compared to a Greyhound, about half to three-quarters of the gentle Greyhound giant’s size. The Whippet is often referred to as a ‘Miniature Greyhound’ because of this.

The Appearance of Whippet Dogs

This breed is a medium-sized dog with a short, dense shiny coat. They are instantly recognizable from their body shape. They have a deep chest, long racing legs, a small triangular head with a long snout and short floppy ears that sometimes point up.

This body shape is one of the reasons that they are so fast, reaching speeds of up to 35 miles per hour. In fact, the breed holds the honor of being the fastest domestic animal of its size!

cute and cool whippet dog with sunglasses

Average Size and Weight of this Cutsie Breed!

This unique dog breed is generally classified as a medium-sized dog. The male Whippet stands at around 19 – 22 inches tall and the female between 18 – 21 inches. Whips generally weigh between 25 – 45 pounds.

Coats and Colors Explained!

The Whippet coat comes in a dizzying array of colors and markings which is another key to their popularity. According to breed clubs such as the American Whippet Club, they do not have to be a standard color to be considered a show dog.

They can be found in black, blue, cream, fawn, red and white and brindle. They can also be found with markings including spots, blazes, and patches.

Do Long Haired Whippets Exist?

While long-haired Whippets technically do exist, they are not classified as a breed by the American Kennel Club.

Temperament and Personality of These Sighthounds!

The Whip is an absolutely gorgeous breed to look at, and its beautiful personality seals the deal for many would-be owners. This breed is known to be affectionate, friendly, gentle and quiet.

They also do extremely well with older children (8+), as they love to be active and play. This combination of liveliness and calm within a breed is extremely rare, making them a real winner for those that do not enjoy the constant rambunctious nature of some other breeds.

Despite their independent streak, they are very trainable with consistency from their owners. It’s important to remember that this breed is highly sensitive both mentally and physically, so they do not respond well to harsh reprimands and scolding.

Whippet puppy training can be challenging but will reap great rewards – this is a highly intelligent dog.

As with other sighthound breeds, a fenced yard is a must, due to the sight of small animals, such as rabbits, sending them slightly loopy! This also applies to their walks outside the house!

It is important to keep these dogs on a leash at all times so when in open spaces as if they spot something that catches their eye, it is possible the will bolt from their owners.

Some of these dogs can be prone to separation anxiety but with adequate exercise and stimulation when their owners are home, most should be fine in an only-dog household.

What is a Whippet’s Lifespan?

You can expect to have a beautiful Whip by your side for between 12-15 years.

What About Whippet Mixes?

Why not have the best of not one but TWO dog breeds, with a Whippet mix? There are some truly lovely Whippet mixes out there. Mixes include the Whippet Bulldog mix (Bullwhip), the Whippet Miniature Australian shepherd mix, (mini Aussieippet) and the Whippet Labrador mix (Whipador).

The Whippet Lab Mix Makes for a Truly Unique Pupper!

The Whippet Labrador mix, also known as a Whipador, is a stunning pooch with a personality to match! This mix takes all the best aspects of both breeds and combines them into one adorable bundle of joy.

4 Potential Health Issues to Be Aware Of!

Whippet health is often a concern for new owners of the breed, so here are some health issues to be sure to look out for if you are the caregiver to a special sighthound.

1. Thin skin 

One issue that can cause owners distress is the thin skin of this breed. This physiological quirk of the dog means it is very easy for cuts to occur, especially when added to the speed that the dog moves with.

Minimising objects that are around on which the dog can injure itself is the best way to avoid cuts. It is also important that your Whip has a soft, padded bed, as their thin skin and lack of body fat can lead to cuts and sores if they sleep on hard surfaces.

2. Hypothermia

As these dogs have extremely low body-fat, it is important that they maintain a healthy body temperature when the weather is chilly to avoid hypothermia. The good news is that the best way to do this is to dress your doggo in super cute clothes! Awwww.

3. Von Willebrand’s disease

Von Willebrand’s disease occurs when a dogs blood does not contain a glycoprotein needed to help blood to clot. Common signs of this disease are frequent nosebleeds, bruising and blood in urine or feces. This condition can be safely managed by you and your vet.

4. Bully Whippets

This is a health issue most pet parents of Whips will never have to worry about,  as it is a rare genetic mutation which involves the Whippet myostatin gene. This mutation causes the whippet to grow double the amount of muscle within its body!

For more specialized health information, check out the Whippet Health Foundation database, which has tons of health information at your fingertips, specific to the breed.

bully whippet puppies tuggin rope

Whippet Puppies for Sale!

Whippet puppies are absolute heart-melters! Check out your local reputable Whippet dog breeders to find a little Whip baby of your own.

Be Sure to Get Your Whippet Puppy from a Reputable Breeder!

To give puppies the best start in life it is crucial to source them from a reputable breeder. Ensure you do business with highly recommended breeders that are open to answering any questions you may have about their dogs.

Adopt, Don’t Shop! Ask an Animal Shelter About Whippet Rescues!

If you’re after a Whippet dog to call your very own, why not try contacting a Whippet rescue?  Rescue Whippets are the same sweet, sensitive fun loving dogs as those from breeders, but without the hefty price tag!

Common Questions on Whippets

What kind of personality do Whippets have?

Are Whippets and Greyhounds the same?

How long do Whippets live for?

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