Whippets are lean and graceful in appearance with fine dense coats that come in many colors.
Some of these colors include black, brindle, red, fawn, tigered-white, slate blue, or a mixture of colors. They have long and slender muzzles and their bodies are very sleek and elegant. Whippets look like miniature Greyhounds with their rose shaped ears, arched necks, deep chests, and long, broad backs. These dogs are also very strong and fast runners. They can accelerate quickly to speeds of up to 35 mph. Male dogs average about 19 to 22 inches (48-56 cm) in height and 20-22 pounds (9-10 kg) in weight. Female dogs average 18 to 21 inches (46-53 cm) in height and 19 to 21 pounds (9-10 kg) in weight. The life expectancy of a Whippet is typically between 12 and 15 years.
Whippets make very gentle and obedient pets since they are surprisingly sensitive and docile dogs. They do however, have a tendency to become high strung and nervous around small children. Gentle and consistent training with positive reinforcement works best with these very intelligent dogs. For the best results, trainers should introduce a variety of activities and games to the dogs. Whippets are quick learners but will never attain “perfect behavior” since they are naturally independent. Harsh or overbearing treatment should be avoided as it may break the dogs’ spirits.
This breed is clean and well behaved and is a good choice for a family pet. They have a hunting instinct that may prompt them to hunt down and kill small animals such as cats or rabbits so they should be restrained or controlled when outside in an unfenced area. If these dogs are brought up with a household cat, rabbit or other pet, they can most often live in harmony with them and not chase or bother them if they are introduced at an early age.
Regular brushing with a firm bristle brush will keep the Whippets coat well groomed. These shorthaired dogs have hair that is very smooth and fine and should only be bathed when absolutely necessary. If you rub a damp chamois all over the coat occasionally, this will help to keep the coat gleaming. As with all dogs, Whippets should have their nails clipped on a regular basis.
No special feeding requirements are recommended for Whippets but they do require regular exercise. They should have frequent opportunities to run freely in an open area and may like to take brisk walks each day as well. These dogs adapt well to urban living but need to have space to run and play. These dogs make excellent companions and jogging partners. They travel well too. Whippets are very sensitive to hot and cold temperatures and may get sunburned if owners and handlers are not careful with their exposure. Children should not be allowed to roughhouse or tease these dogs. Genetic eye diseases like cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy sometimes plague this breed as well as some skin conditions. Whippets are also prone to getting upset stomachs at times.
Whippets are descendents of Greyhounds and possibly terriers. They were used in 19th century England to hunt rabbits and also pitted against other dogs for racing contests. The name Whippet comes from an expression “whip it” which means to move quickly. The Whippets of today have many talents including hunting, racing, sighting, and being watchdogs.