It’s plain to see, Whippets are incredibly fast animals. They can run as fast as 40 miles per hour. But in the home they are relaxed and discreet, displaying excellent manners and just the right amount of charm. They love to cuddle on the couch for hours and hours, soaking up the love and attention. Also, these are handsome creatures, brightening up any old boudoir.
- 19 - 22 pounds
- 18 - 22 inches
Ideal Human Companions
- Outdoorsy types
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What They Are Like to Live With
Whippets have a good-natured, easygoing spirit. They get along with most people (and most dogs, for that matter). This makes them exemplary companions to children, but not the best watchdogs. Whippets have a gentle way with strangers and seem to like meeting new people.
Energetic and built for speed, Whippets make great jogging companions. Though they like nothing more than a long, afternoon snooze, it’s easy to rally them for a marathon run.
Things You Should Know
Easy to train and eager to learn, Whippets still have an independent streak that will make some training slightly more difficult—like house-training, for instance. Also, if you have a favorite chair or couch, be warned: Your Whippet will probably claim it. If you can get them a soft doggie bed, they will appreciate that even more.
Whippets are very calm and carefree, but they should still be kept on a leash during walks and runs. If they see a rabbit, a squirrel or anything else of interest, they will be gone in a flash.
A healthy Whippet can live as long as 15 years. Common health issues include eye problems and sunburn. Because their coat is so short, Whippets should not be left for too long in the cold. During brisk afternoon walks, make sure they have a sweater. Their short coats are very easy to groom.
Whippets were developed in 19th century England from a mix of Greyhounds and Terriers. Because they were small and easy to keep, Whippets became popular with miners and other members of the working class. Originally used to hunt rabbits, Whippets were also used for racing. To this day, Whippet enthusiasts meet in country meadows to race their beloved canines for fun.
The Look of a Whippet
Whippets, for the most part, look like medium-sized Greyhounds. They have lean, balanced frames covered in smooth, dense coats that can come in a number of colors including black, red, light brown, tiger-striped, brindle, white or slate—either solids or mixed. Their heads are slender with long muzzles. They have rose ears and dark, oval eyes that have an enthusiastic and intelligent expression. Their lean necks slope down to firm backs and legs that seem durable without being thick. They have long, tapered tails. Overall, Whippets have an elegant, streamlined look.
Talk About Whippets
Whippets come in all colors, combinations and personalities, but they're all wonderful! I have been blessed thus far with three of these fabulous furry friends. The first won me over when she was brought in by her owners to a shelter where I worked. They were busy at the intake desk doling out their totally lame excuse for surrendering such a sweet dog, and she quietly came over to my desk and snuck up underneath and put her nose on my knee. One look into those dark, soulful eyes, and I was gone. I adopted Annie, and a few years after she passed away, I looked for my second Whippet, who has turned out to be he love of my life. Athena is smart and gentle and beautiful, and she has been my companion for 11 years and still going strong. Her step-brother, a rescued boy, remains with my ex, but we see him often.
Living with a Whippet is easy. Make sure there are plenty of soft, warm surfaces for curling up on, keep cold water (preferably bottled) at the ready at all times, and never, ever try to go to bed without them. Of course, you'll need a queen size bed or larger to accommodate their legs, which stick straight out like stilettos and can push a large human completely off the bed! Finally, make sure you've got plenty of room for Frisbee or ball-chasing. Whippets are sprinters, not marathoners; they play hard and fast, and then they drop onto the nearest soft surface where they will sleep with eyes that never seem to close all the way as they watch you.
I tell people that Whippets are "apartment-sized Greyhounds." You get all the best sighthound traits in a compact package that seldom barks. They are usually great with kids and have excellent manners. The only health problem I have noticed is a tendency toward dental issues, but consistent mouth care is an easy fix. They don't have much tolerance for extreme temperatures on either end of the spectrum. Winter coats are not only fun, but are a must. Careful training is needed to ensure safety (they are sighthounds and they'll chase whatever they see!) I can't say enough positive things about whippets. They are the perfect breed!
~Lindseye G., owner of three Whippets