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Pros Cons
  • cleanly
  • elegant
  • loves children
  • forms strong bond
  • affectionate
  • chases everything that moves
  • doesn't like the cold

The Whippet is a graceful and energetic medium-sized dog with its homeland in the United Kingdom. Originally used as a hunter for rabbits and other small animals nowadays it serves as a light-hearted and sweet family pet and also competes at the highest level in various dog sports. The breed has smooth short coat so it’s really easy to maintain.

The Whippet is a newly invented breed, which was developed in Northern England (particularly in Lancashire and Yorkshire) most likely during XVII century. Breeders aimed to create a small but speedy hound that was capable of hunting rabbits and other small species of animals. To achieve this goal they crossed the Greyhound with the Manchester Terrier and other swift, game terrier breeds. The resulting dog could reach impressive speed and was incredibly agile so it was highly suitable for hunting small game as well as track racing over short distance. The name of the breed stemmed from the expression «whip it», designating «to move quickly».

Initially the Whippet was predominantly kept by working class in Northern England so it was called as «poor man’s greyhound» or «poor man’s racehorse». The favourite pastime of the English commoners was spectacles with participation of Whippets, which competed in speed, in the number of killed rats or rabbits. The dog would also pursuit a rag or a bit of cloth and this entertainment was given a name of «rag races». While its excellent hunting abilities the Whippet owed thanks to the working people, its sleek physique and royal dignity it owes to the English nobility. In order to perfect its exterior noblemen used to mix their dogs with the Italian Greyhound.

In the modern days the Whippet is a very popular breed both in England and in the rest of the world. It participates with fabulous success in all sorts of dog sports including agility, lure coursing, flyball, obedience, and rally. The dog has also earned a widespread recognition as a show dog and it has already won lots of championships in multiple categories. Among talents of this truly versatile breed are hunting, sighting, therapy and watchdog. Naturally it remains mostly much-preferred affectionate and faithful companion dog with sweet and calm disposition.

The Whippet was granted recognition of the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1888. The United Kennel Club (UKC) recognised the breed in 1935.

The Whippet is quite variable in terms of temperament, which differs greatly from specimen to specimen. It’s known to have much less independence in its demeanour than most Sight Hounds so it enjoys a company of its beloved humans. It also likes to snuggle under a blanket alongside its master and feels lonesome when left alone for long periods of time. Thanks to its gentle and calm temper this breed will make a wonderful companion for elderly people and certain disabled individuals. The Whippet is also generally nice with children. However it can’t be considered as a patient dog and won’t put up with excessive teasing from their part. At the same time it would rather escape than resort to force and snap the torturers.

A properly socialised Whippet will show good manners in the presence of unfamiliar people. Actually some specimens can potentially become inappropriate greeters jumping on and licking your guests. This dog is endowed with a great deal of vigilance and can be turned into an excellent watchdog. Though it’s too friendly to become a good guard dog.

The Whippet was bred to take part in racing alongside with other canine animals. Hunters usually used several dogs in hunting so it was also supposed to suppress its aggression against other dogs. Therefore this breed is rather accepting to them and will be trouble-free live with one or more dogs under the same roof. Whippets, which have not been timely introduced to other canine, can pose a danger for small breeds as the Toy Terrier since they can be easily mistaken for prey objects.

Despite its overall pleasant and affable demeanour the Whippet possesses strong hunting instinct and will most likely chase and kill all kinds of small animals. The dog is very persistent in its pursuit and it’s able to catch up with its quarry lightning fast. If the dog and a home cat have been living together since its puppyhood then the Whippet will treat it respectfully as a part of its family. Nevertheless this fact doesn’t release its owner from using of a leash while walking with the dog since its attack will mean a lethal outcome for any other homeless cat.

Health Problems
The most common problems for the breed include:
• anaesthetic sensitivity;
• irregular heartbeat;
• allergies;
• skin irritation;
• skin allergies;
• upset stomachs;
• myostatin mutation.

The Whippet’s coat is very short and sleek so it’s fairly easy to groom. It should be occasionally brushed with a bristle brush. The short hair provides the dog with poor protection from the winter cold. That’s why it’s essential to dress your dog in warm sweater and boots before going outside in the nasty weather.

The Whippet breed also has not enough cushioning to feel itself comfortable on the uncovered surfaces. It should be allowed to sleep on your sofa or at least you should arrange some well-cushioned bed for it. The Whippet does shed but very moderately and its coat is deprived of the specific «doggie smell».

The Whippet learns quickly and willingly and it’s considered to be one of the most trainable among Sight Hounds. This breed achieves great results in obedience contest and can even be trained to herd sheep. However the dog has an obstinate streak in its nature and won’t obey your commands thoughtlessly. You should be prepared that the Whippet will from time to time apply to selective listening and display outright defiance.

It’s vital to the training success with this dog to resort only to mild encouragement and plentiful of tasty treats. The trainer should form respectful and trustful relationship with the dog from the first training session and treat it with fair but firm hand.

The Whippet is relatively undemanding when things concern exercise and physical activity. Undoubtedly as a highly athletic breed it should receive at least an hour of vigorous walk every single day but it will be sufficiently satisfied with that. At home it tends to laze around on a sofa all day long and it’s usually found snuggled under the heap of blankets.

Among all forms of physical activity the dog prefers to run freely in a safely enclosed territory. It usually develops issues with hyperactivity, nervousness and destructiveness if it lacks chances to release its excessive energy. The Whippet is praised for its adaptability so it’s quite capable of putting up with moderate amount of exercise which you can offer it.