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.
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.
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.
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.