What is a Whippet Dog

What is a Whippet Dog? Do Whippets Make a Good Family Pet?

The Whippet is a fast little dog that can reach up to 35 miles per hour when in a full sprint. 

Looking a lot like a small Greyhound, this dog breed is growing in popularity within the United States due to its low maintenance care needs and affectionate personality. 

Whippets are known to behave very well around children and other dogs, making them a great choice for many families. Thanks to their easy-going temperament and trainability they are also great pets for first-time dog owners. 

Here we will be explaining all of the reasons why the Whippet breed is so great. Let’s get right into talking about this mini-me Greyhound! 

what is a whippet dog mixed with

Whippet Dog Breed History 

You can tell that the Whippet dog breed has a rich history simply by the number of nicknames that it has. 

Often called the poor man’s racehorse or the poor man’s Greyhound, the Whippet was originally bred by members of the working class in northern England. 

whippet history

Most likely created by English coal miners, the Whippet was bred by crossing the Greyhound with other breeds. 

This made the Whippet smaller, and consequently much easier for low-income people to care for. The earliest recorded Whippets date as far back as the 18th century. 

In the beginning, Whippets were mainly used to hunt small game and for rag racing. This is where the breed gets its other nickname the Lightning Rag Dog

Racing Whippets

The popular sport of Whippet racing went with English Settlers of North America, and the sport grew in popularity within the US as well. 

This led to the Whippet being officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in the late 1800s, and the American Whippet Club became active in the early 1900s. 

Today Whippets are still commonly used in dog sports like racing and lure coursing. 

What is Lure Coursing?

Lure coursing is a form of dog racing where the dog chases around a predetermined course in an open field, an artificial lure of some type. 

The lure is usually made of some type of white plastic to grab the attention of the dog. These events are a great way for your Whippet to exercise and have fun.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) supports lure coursing events.

What Does a Whippet Look Like? 

The Whippet has a similar resemblance to the Italian Greyhound. 

However, Whippets are known to be much more athletic and reach much faster top speeds than Italian Greyhounds. 

whippet appearance

Whippets have a thin frame with a long tail that curves under their body slightly. 

Whippet dogs should also have a small head with large eyes, a long and thin snout, and rose-shaped ears. Whippets will have little body fat and long legs as well. 

How Big Do Whippets Get? 

Whippets are medium-sized dogs that stand between 18 and 22 inches tall at the shoulder when fully grown, and they can weigh anywhere between 25 and 40 pounds. 

how big is a whippet dog

The male Whippet tends to be slightly taller and heavier than females on average. 

What is the Whippet’s Coat Like? 

Whippets have a smooth coat that comes in a wide variety of coat colors and patterns. These coat colorations often include variations of black, blue, brindle, fawn, and red. 

However, more coat colors are accepted in the Whippet breed than just these. It is also possible for Whippets to have markings like spots and a mask on their face. 

It is important to remember that Whippets have thin coats. 

This means that they can easily get cold, and you may need to put a sweater on your Whippet during cold weather. 

Do Whippets Need to be Groomed? 

Whippets do need to be groomed, but their grooming is widely considered low maintenance when compared to other dog breeds

Brushing out your Whippet’s short coat around once a week and bathing them when they get dirty will keep their coat in good shape. 

Additionally, checking your Whippets ears for infection on a regular basis is a good idea. This is because Whippets can be prone to ear infections due to allergies. 

Whippet dog training tips

Many active Whippets will wear down their nails through activity, but most pet Whippets will need to have their nails trimmed about once a week. 

This is because pet Whippets do not experience as much physical activity. Lots of heavy exercise will naturally grind down a dog’s nails. 

Whippets in dog sports often experience a lot more extensive physical activity than Whippets that don’t participate. 

Whippet Temperament 

Though they are an athletic breed, Whippet owners prize their Whippets for being gentle dogs with a calm temperament

Whippets are affectionate dogs that bond very closely with their family members. It is important to remember that Whippets are one of the sighthound breeds. 

This means that they have an incredibly high prey drive and should not be trusted off-leash in an unfenced area. 

are whippets aggressive

Similarly, Whippets are not a good choice for homes with small pets like rabbits. 

Are Whippets Difficult to Train?

Whippets are fairly easy to train. However, they are not the easiest dogs to train either. 

This is because Whippets are sensitive dogs that only thrive with positive reinforcement training methods

Like with any other dog breed, it is important that you socialize your Whippet to a wide variety of environments and stimuli from an early age. 

Introducing Whippet puppies to a variety of friendly dogs and people is also a good idea. 

How to Potty Train a Whippet Puppy 

Unfortunately, Whippets are not the easiest dog to potty train, and many first-time Whippet owners run into potty training mishaps. 

Following an extremely strict potty training schedule and only feeding your Whippet puppy at scheduled times can help you avoid accidents.

Similarly, keeping a close eye on your Whippet puppy and taking them out as soon as you notice signs of them needing to go potty is key. 

How Much Daily Exercise Do Whippets Need? 

Whippets are athletic dogs that definitely need to get plenty of exercise on a regular basis. 

The good news is that once they get about an hour of exercise, this star athlete quickly turns into a couch potato. 

Whippets love to run freely, so having a securely fenced-in yard can make exercising your Whippet much easier. 

whippets need daily exercise

You do not necessarily require a house with a yard to own a Whippet, though. Apartment dwellers can also take their Whippets to the dog park to run as well. 

Of course, you can also take Whippets for daily walks to get exercise. 

Whippets are also an excellent choice for those getting into dog sports, and this is another great exercise outlet for them. 

What Diet is Best for a Whippet? 

Whippets need high-quality dog food that is full of essential nutrients. 

Most Whippets do well on dry dog food that has a named meat protein as the first ingredient and has no cheap fillers. 

That being said, it is important to feed your individual dog when owning a Whippet. This is because food sensitivities and allergies are very common in the breed. 

Best diet for Whippet dogs

So, what is good dog food for one Whippet might just give yours an upset stomach

The most common food intolerances in Whippets include those to protein sources like chicken or eggs and cheap fillers. 

Some good examples of cheap fillers commonly put in dog food are corn, wheat, and soy-based products. 

It is also important that you feed your Whippet the right portion of their dog food. This will prevent them from becoming overweight. 

Most adult Whippets need around 2 ½ cups of dog food per day. This dog food should be separated into two meals to prevent digestive complications like bloat. 

Health Concerns for Whippet Dogs

All purebred dogs have some health problems to take into consideration. Here is a list of the most common health issues occurring in the Whippet breed. 

  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) 
  • Corneal Dystrophy 
  • Mitral Valve Disease
  • Allergies and Food Sensitivities 
  • Cataracts 
  • Lens Luxations 
  • Issues Going Under Anesthesia 
  • Von Willebrand’s Disease

While this appears to be a long list, reputable breeders should health test their dogs before breeding them. 

whippet health issues

This should always include an Ophthalmologist evaluation, a Cardiac exam, and BAER testing for Whippets. 

All of this health testing prevents Whippet puppies from inheriting the above genetic conditions from their parents, making them more likely to be healthy. 

Whippet Lifespan

A healthy Whippet has an average life expectancy of 12 to 15 years. 

Do Whippets Make Good Pets? 

Whippets are great dogs that make excellent companions and pets. They do great around most people and even enjoy being around other dogs. 

They are also fairly easy to train and have exercise needs that are relatively easy for most people to meet. 

Next, we will be explaining exactly who the Whippet is a good pet dog for. 

Are Whippets Good With Children? 

Whippets are known to behave very well around children of all ages. This is especially true when the Whippet has been socialized with children from a young age. 

Whippets are pretty playful, so any kid is sure to have a great time with a Whippet as their best friend. 

The only thing to consider when having your Whippet around young children is everyone’s safety. 

This is because the Whippet has long and thin legs that could easily break under a lot of pressure. 

Keeping your children supervised when around your Whippet will ensure that everyone will remain happy and safe. 

Are Whippets Good for the Elderly? 

Whippets are a very low-maintenance dog breed that can make a great choice for elderly dog owners. 

Whippets are easy to groom and have a calm and affectionate temperament that is perfect for seniors. 

This is especially true if they have a fenced-in exercise area for their Whippet to run around in. 

Are Whippets Good With Other Dogs? 

Whippets greatly enjoy the company of other dogs, and they are known to behave extremely well around them. 

Typically, a Whippet will do fine in a home with both large and small dogs as long as the other dogs in the home are friendly. 

Socializing a Whippet puppy with other friendly dogs will ensure good behavior in adulthood. 

Are Whippets Well Behaved Around Cats and Small Pets? 

Whippets have a strong prey drive. Unfortunately, this means that Whippets are not the best choice for those with cats and small animals as pets already. 

This is because an adult Whippet is very likely to chase these types of pets down and harm them. 

So, if you have a cat or smaller pets already then getting a Whippet is not a good idea. 

You will also need to be ok with the fact that you cannot get a cat or small pet when having a Whippet in the home as well. 

Are Whippets Good for First-Time Dog Owners?

Yes, Whippets make great companions for first-time dog owners, especially those who are looking to get into sighthound breeds. 

They are pretty trainable, and they are also low maintenance care-wise. They are a dream to own when they get enough exercise each day. 

Where Can You Get a Whippet? 

Getting a Whippet from either a rescue or reputable breeder can be a great option. 

It is important to mention that you will likely have the most luck finding Whippet puppies when getting one from a breeder. 

You will also have the peace of mind of knowing that your Whippet puppy has been health tested when getting them from a reputable breeder.

Related Whippet Questions 

Are Whippets Prone to Separation Anxiety? 

Whippets also love to be around their owners, so it is also important that you have enough time to spend at least some of the day with them.

Yes, Whippets are a breed that is prone to separation anxiety. Careful desensitization to your being away and crate training can help. 

However, it is a good idea to reach out to a veterinarian and a qualified dog trainer for help if your Whippet’s separation anxiety is very severe. 

Whippets adopted from a shelter or rescue are more likely to experience separation anxiety than those bought as a puppy. 

Do Whippets Bark a Lot? 

Whippets are not known to bark excessively for no reason, and they are considered a very quiet dog breed.

Usually, a Whippet barking is a sign that something is wrong such as an intruder in the house. 

Whippets may also bark when they are playing and interacting with other dogs as well. 

Are Whippets OK to be Left Alone? 

So, Whippets tend to suffer from separation anxiety, but can they be left alone? The answer should be yes for a reasonable amount of time. 

Whippets love to be around their family, so this is not necessarily the right dog for those with 12-hour work shifts. 

However, you should be able to leave your Whippet alone for a few hours. Those with Whippets adopted as adults are most likely to have issues with separation anxiety. 

Do Whippets Like to Cuddle? 

Sadly, this depends on the Whippet. Some Whippets absolutely love to get a cuddle from their owners, while others would rather not be touched. 

Whippets are more receptive to receiving pets and cuddles from their owners than strangers, and many Whippets take a while to warm up to new people. 

If the most important part of having a dog is to snuggle up with them, then the Whippet may not be the best choice for you. 

Do Whippets Make Good Guard Dogs? 

No, Whippets do not make good guard dogs. While a Whippet may bark when there is an intruder in the house, they are not likely to do anything past that. 

This barking is also done to alert you that something is wrong, not to scare off anyone. 

So, if you are looking to get a guard dog to protect your family or property the Whippet is not what you are looking for. 

Are Whippets Aggressive? 

Whippets are not supposed to be aggressive by nature. While they can get into some rough play when overexcited, they are calm and gentle dogs most of the time. 

It is important to remember that any dog can potentially become aggressive when they have been neglected or mistreated in some way, though.

Why are Whippets sometimes called a snap dog?

There are a couple of suggested reasons that Whippets have been called snap dogs. One is that they have been seen ‘snapping’ at other dogs when they were racing them.

Two, remember, the Whippet is a hunting dog and they are known for being able to rapidly kill small prey such as a rabbit with a quick ‘snap’ of their jaw.

Are Whippets Loyal to One Person? 

Yes, Whippets do have the tendency to pick a favorite person. They may follow this person around and choose to only snuggle with them on the couch most of the time. 

Whippets will still be friendly and loving to all members of the family. They just will only be attached to one person’s hip.

You can find many older Whippets in breed rescues as well. This is great because you will be giving a Whippet a warm and loving home. 

Whippets Can Make Good Pets

Whippets make great pets for just about any individual or family. They behave great around children and other dogs, and they can even make great companions to seniors.

Typically, the only homes that a Whippet will not fit well in are those with cats or other kinds of small pets. 

What is a Whippet

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