AKC Dog Breeds: Whippet

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Hound Group
Height: 18-22 inches   Weight: 25-45 pounds  
The Whippet dog comes in almost every color imaginable for a dog

A medium-sized sighthound giving the appearance of elegance and fitness, the Whippet denotes great speed, power and balance. In fact, the Whippet, an English Greyhound in miniature, is the fastest domesticated animal of his weight, capable of speeds up to 35 m.p.h. A very versatile breed, they can appear in a wide variety of colors and markings. Although keen when racing or coursing, they are quiet and dignified in their owner’s living room. Having evolved for over a hundred years, it was not until 1891 that official recognition was given to the Whippet by the English Kennel Club. Used for racing early on, the breed was nicknamed "the poor man’s racehorse." Whippets were first brought to America by English mill operators of Massachusetts, which for many years was the center of Whippet racing in this country. Later the sport moved south to Maryland, particularly in Baltimore.

General Appearance
The Whippet looks like a small greyhound. He is graceful and slender, but actually quite hardy. The fine dense coat comes in many colors: brindle, black, red, fawn, tigered white or slate blue, either solid-colored or mixed. The muzzle is long and slender and the overall impression is one of streamlined elegance. This miniature-looking greyhound has small rose-shaped ears, an elegantly arched neck, a deep chest, and its back is long and broad. The abdomen is retracted, and the tail is pointed.


Affectionate, gentle, and sweet, the Whippet is an adaptable creature with an amiable attitude. These dogs are devoted pets and companions, and are fine with inexperienced owners as well as the more experienced. The Whippet does like to have a run around and play, but is also happy enjoying the creature comforts of home. These dogs love the attention of their owners, and enjoy interactive play. He does require daily exercise, and his play area must be safe and secure, as he is very agile and will be off and away before you realize. They are very in tune with the emotions of their owners, and are sensitive and sometimes timid. Early socialization is important with the whippet to promote a more confident, outgoing personality. When they put their minds to something and see something that they think must be chased Whippets are intensely focused. However, they are also dogs that enjoy snuggling up with their owners and relaxing on the furniture. The Whippet will get on well with children, but he is fragile and should not be around younger, boisterous children that may pester and rough handle him. Some may be timid around strangers, whereas others will be polite. They do make good watchdogs, as they will bark is something appears to be amiss. With early socialization the Whippet should get on okay with household pets, although owners may want to be cautious around smaller, running creatures that could be seen as prey. Like other sighthounds the Whippet is very sensitive to touch, and should not be startled with unexpected physical contact. Their intelligence, eagerness to please, and quick learning rate makes these dogs relatively easy to train, although corrections must always be verbal because of their sensitive nature.

Very easily groomed, Whippets must however be protected from the cold. His short, smooth and silky coat does not adapt well to colder climates. Averagely shedding, occasional brushing to limit shedding should suffice. Bathing every six months should be fine, as the short coat does not trap dirt well.

Health Problems and Life Expectancy
Unlike some dogs that are prone to many health diseases and disorders, the Whippet is typically a very healthy dog. With proper nutrition, exercise and food, they can live up to 15 years of age with minimal health problems. An occasion genetic eye disorder may affect Whippets, but this is rare. Breeders can do a test as a preventative measure if they intend on breeding the dog.

Activity Level

Whippets need exercise just like any other dog. They don't need a large yard, but should have enough room to go for a good run as they have a lot of energy to wear off on a daily basis. In addition to running, they enjoy a nice walk with their family members. It is important that their yard be fenced and when out of the yard that they always are leashed. Being part of the sighthound group, they love to chase what they consider their prey and will run for a long time and distance before getting tired. Their instinct to chase and kill their prey is so strong and they are so fast that they may get away from you before you realize it if not on a leash.


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