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Is a Whippet a Good Family Dog? Personality Traits & Considerations

Written by: Jordyn Alger

Last Updated on April 26, 2024 by Dogster Team

whippet dog hold by owner

Is a Whippet a Good Family Dog? Personality Traits & Considerations

The Whippet is a playful and affectionate companion with a calm demeanor. They were originally bred for dog racing and rabbit hunting, but today, many of them are kept as family pets. Whippets are widely considered to be great family pets due to their temperament and willingness to get along with younger children. If you are trying to decide whether or not the Whippet is the right dog for your family, read below to learn more about this breed.

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Whippet Personality and Temperament

Whippets are well-balanced in terms of temperament. They have moments when they are frisky and energetic but enjoy curling up on the couch and relaxing. However, families that spend most of their time indoors are not recommended for the Whippet.

Exercise Needs

While Whippets have calm moments, they require regular exercise to maintain their physical and mental health. Providing for the Whippet’s physical and mental needs will help them to be calm and content. However, Whippets that do not receive adequate physical and mental stimulation may be loud and disruptive.

Since they enjoy spending time with their loved ones, it is recommended that you participate in exercise and training activities with your dog to provide them with a healthy lifestyle. Rigorous exercise isn’t needed, but around an hour daily is essential. Participating in agility training courses or playing fetch are two great ways to keep your Whippet active and spend quality time with them.

Man with whippet dog in nature
Image Credit: Dora Zett, Shutterstock

Prey Drive

Whippets enjoy outdoor time, but they must always be kept on a leash or within a fenced-in area. Since they were bred to chase prey, they may take off the moment they see a squirrel or other small animal. If you think that you’ll be able to chase your Whippet, you’re mistaken–Whippets can reach speeds as high as 35 miles per hour, easily outpacing even the fastest humans.

Minimal Barking

A quality that many families like about the Whippet is that they do not bark often. Some dogs will bark at the slightest provocation, but the Whippet tends to vocalize only when they sense a threat. This makes the Whippet a great family member for those who may become overstimulated by the constant barking of other breeds. The Whippet is a gentle soul. They will love to spend time with their favorite humans, so finding ways to include your four-legged family member in activities will keep them content.

Fawn and white Whippet dog standing in grass
Image Credit: Eudyptula, Shutterstock

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Are Whippets Good With Children?

Whippets are considered excellent family pets because they get along with children. Their gentle natures make them ideal companions for young children; however, the Whippet can also be sensitive. If your household is loud and chaotic, it may overwhelm your dog. Young, rambunctious children may agitate your Whippet. In essence, while the Whippet is a kid-friendly breed, ensuring your home is a Whippet-friendly household is essential.

Likewise, you should always supervise interactions between your dog and young children. This is especially true for children with little to no experience with dogs or who have not been taught proper boundaries around pets. By supervising, you can ensure that your dog and child bond in a pleasant and stress-free manner.

Are Whippets Good With Other Dogs?

Another reason why Whippets are great family dogs is because they get along excellently with other dogs. If you have multiple dogs in your home, the Whippet will become fast friends with them, assuming they are properly introduced and socialized. Like with rambunctious kids, the Whippet may become overwhelmed with rowdy canines.

The Whippet is not a recommended companion for smaller mammals, such as cats, hamsters, or mice. Their powerful prey drive may compel them to view a smaller creature as prey, which is not a suitable living situation for any of the animals involved.

cute whippet puppy lying on a wooden floor looking at camera
Image Credit: Kevin Mallon, Shutterstock

Grooming a Whippet

Whippets do not require intense grooming, but they should still be groomed once per week to check on the state of their skin, nails, and ears. They have short and smooth fur, so brushing it will be easy. They shed infrequently, and an occasional bath will be enough to keep them clean.

Check their ears each week for signs of infections and clean them as necessary. Likewise, monitor their nails to determine when they need to be trimmed. Whippets are considered a low-maintenance dog in terms of grooming, but they still require special attention regarding their skin and coat.

Skin and Coat

Whippets are known to have sensitive skin, so be mindful of that when choosing canine shampoo products. It’s also best to use a soft brush that won’t irritate their skin.

Their skin’s sensitivity can also make them prone to minor lacerations from their environment, especially after a fun outdoor romp. After a long day outdoors, check over your Whippet’s body for signs of injury.

Lovely whippet dog at home in bed
Image Credit: Inese Agnese, Shutterstock

Training a Whippet

Training can be a rewarding task. They respond best to positive reinforcement training, which focuses on rewarding them for desired behaviors rather than punishing them for misbehavior. Early socialization and obedience classes are essential to raising your Whippet to be a well-mannered canine citizen.

While training your Whippet, remember that they can be sensitive. Harsh training methods will be counterproductive with a Whippet and will only discourage them from trying to learn.

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Common Health Issues

The Whippet is generally considered a healthy breed, and they live an average of 12–15 years. However, they are prone to some serious health conditions.

Mitral Valve Disease

This condition occurs when the mitral valve in the heart degenerates. The deterioration can lead to a dysfunction of proper blood flow through the heart and, eventually, a heart murmur.

Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus

Gastric dilatation and volvulus (GDV) is a potentially fatal condition in which the stomach expands with gas and flips. When flipped, the entry and exit to the stomach are twisted shut. This blocks the digestive system entirely and requires emergency surgery to correct.

close up of whippet dog looking sad
Image Credit: stylefoto24, Shutterstock

Von Willebrand’s Disease

Von Willebrand’s disease is a genetic bleeding disorder. Dogs with von Willebrand’s disease suffer from a protein deficiency that makes it difficult for platelets to clot and seal an open vessel.

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Final Thoughts

Whippets are excellent family pets. They have friendly, gentle temperaments and playful natures that make them great with children and other dogs. They are also low-maintenance in grooming care and do not shed often, so you won’t need to clean up loose dog fur all the time. Raising a Whippet is a highly rewarding experience, so if you believe that the Whippet is the right fit for you, do not hesitate to bring one home to the family.

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Featured Image Credit: atallia Miranchuk, Shutterstock

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