The Whippet is medium sized, well balanced and resembles a miniature Greyhound. The body is sleek and slender, yet muscular with a graceful outline. Some may view the Whippet as fragile, but in actuality, they are very fit and have the ability to run up to great speeds in just a few seconds. Depictions of dogs similar to the Whippet have been found in art dating back to Roman times.
This breed was developed by the working class in Northern England during the late nineteenth century. It is believed they crossed Greyhounds with other breeds including small terriers when developing the Whippet. This new type of breed was less expensive to maintain than Greyhounds, yet very effective at running at high speeds, hunting by sight and coursing small game – particularly rabbits.
Whippets were also used to course rabbits in an enclosed area and in straight racing – both which provided cheap gambling entertainment to the working class. Today while the Whippet makes an ideal companion, it is also still used in straight and oval racing as well as in lure coursing.
The Whippet was recognized by the American Kennel Club in the Hound Group in 1888.
Height: When measured at withers, the height of a male Whippet is 19 – 22 inches (48 – 56 cm) and for female Whippets 18 – 21 inches (46 – 53 cm).
Weight: There is no AKC specific weight range for Whippets. This breed is generally larger in the United States and Canada than those in Europe. We have seen weight range from 25 – 45 pounds (11 – 21 kg).
Coat Type: The Whippet has a single coat that is smooth, short, fine and dense. The coat does not provide enough insulation against cold temperatures, therefore Whippets should not be left outside for long periods during this time of year. This is also the the likely reason Whippets enjoy soft and warm bedding and not cold surfaces. Brush and bathe only when necessary. The Whippet is a light shedder.
Color: The color of the Whippet’s coat can be of any color, combination or pattern.
Temperament: Whippets are affectionate, sweet, friendly and have an even disposition. They make an ideal companion or family pet. Whippets are very patient and gentle with well behaved children – noting they do like rough play or teasing. This is an intelligent and sensitive breed that should never be harshly trained. They can also become easily bored with repetitive training (and with playing such as frisbee), so you’ll need to mix it up. Whippets are eager to please its master and love nothing more than being with the family. They do not like to be left alone for long periods and if they are, they can become bored and often destructive. Whippets have what some refer to as a split personality – they love to lounge on the couch (or any warm and soft bedding), but can swiftly change gears and be ready for a chase or hunt. They are reserved with strangers and do not bark without reason, making them a good watch dog. Whippets are athletic and natural sprinters. They need daily exercise and play time which is very important in helping them keep mentally and physically fit.
Health Concerns: Whippets have a life expectancy of between 12 – 15 years. This is generally a very healthy breed, and although rare, they can have genetic eye defects.
• The Whippet can quickly top speeds of 35 mph or 56 km per hour.
• Because the Whippet was owned by the lower working class, they were also referred to as ‘poor man’s race horse’ or ‘poor man’s greyhound’.
AKC: Hound Group
ANKC: Hound Group 4
CKC:Hounds Group 2
FCI: Group 10 Section 3 Short-haired Sighthounds
UKC: Sighthounds & Pariahs