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The Whippet is one of the fastest dogs in the canine world. Also known as Snap Dog and English Whippet, this Sighthound is a descendant of his larger cousin, the Greyhound.
Despite their speedy reputation, Whippet dogs like to lounge on sofas. Gentle, quiet, and friendly, these small dogs rarely bark and are good with children. They are highly adjustable and can live in small spaces.
The Whippet dog breed is remarkably odourless and easy to groom. He does not need plenty of exercise despite being a breed made for hunting and running. The average lifespan of the breed is around 12–15 years.
The Whippet dog breed is dubbed as the “poor man’s racehorse” and first emerged in England. His name is inspired by the old English phrase “whip it,” which means “to move swiftly.” They were first mentioned in the 1600s, but they were referred to as a different type of dog.
Originally, Whippets were associated with English Greyhounds that were smaller than average. They were deemed too small for hunting stags and were returned to the breeders.
The breeders, usually peasants, were prohibited by law from owning Greyhounds. Despite this, they kept the rejected canines and continued to breed them. Various racing, sporting, and coursing breeds, especially the Greyhound, were used in the cross-breeding.
The breeders’ efforts produced a small Greyhound variety, which proved skilled at ratting and rabbit hunting. This new type of canine, the Whippet, was used for gambling. They raced and coursed, aside from hunting with their owners.
When the law banning Greyhound ownership amongst peasants was abolished, the Whippet dog breed started to grow in popularity. He began to be called “Snap Dog” for his propensity for snapping up prey that was close to him.
In the 1800s, Whippet racing, or rag races, grew and became a significant sport in England. It was also at this time that 2 varieties of the Whippet dog breed were identified.
One had the smooth coat, which is the Whippet that we know today. The other had a rough coat, which was a result of a Bedlington Terrier cross-breeding.
In 1888, the American Kennel Club officially recognised the Whippet dog breed. Then, in the late 1800s, the Whippet dog breed was acknowledged as a distinct breed by the Kennel Club. In 1930, the American Whippet Club was established.
The KC recognition enabled the participation of Whippets in dog competitions and shows. Since then, 3 dogs of the Whippet breed have won Best in Show at Crufts.
Sighthounds such as the Whippet breed are well known for being nimble and fast on their feet. Capable of running at speeds of 35 kph, this Hound can outrun a kangaroo.
The Whippet dog breed is of small size, but he is not the smallest Sighthound—that honour goes to his Italian Greyhound cousin. The Whippet is elegant, lean, and powerful, with a muscular body and an athletic look.
Adult male Whippets can grow around 48–55 centimetres (19–22 inches) and weigh around 11–18 kilos (25–40 pounds.) Adult female Whippets stand up to 45–51 centimetres (18–21 inches) and measure 9–18 kilos (20–40 pounds) in weight.
The average litter size of a female Whippet is around 5–6 puppies. Full maturity for male Whippet puppies happens when they reach about 14 months old. As for female Whippet puppies, they become fully grown earlier, which is 12 months.
The Whippet breed’s distinctly long and lean head is slimmer than his long and muscled neck. His nose is usually black, although the colour can vary depending on the coat variation.
The oval-shaped eyes of Whippets are remarkable for their night-vision quality and 250-degree sight. The average human sight range is just 180 degrees. Their eyes are placed further to the side of his head, allowing more range.
The Whippet dog breed’s chest is very deep, with a broad and moderately long back that arches beautifully. His ribs are well sprung and his belly is tucked. His hindquarters are powerful and muscular, with broad and muscled thighs.
The legs of Whippets are long and thin, ending in oval-shaped feet with thick pads and decked with strong nails. Their feet are hare-like, giving these lean dogs the ability to claw into the ground to propel themselves more powerfully even with a light tread.
The Whippet dog breed has a short, smooth coat that lies close to the skin. It comes in a wide variety of coat colours and patterns, but merle is considered a fault.
No, Whippets do not exude a doggy smell. Thus, they only need occasional baths, ideally every 6 weeks or when it is required.
Yes, Whippets shed but in minimal amounts since they are single-coated dogs. They only need once a week of brushing, so they are pretty low-maintenance pets.
The Whippet dog breed has thin skin that is vulnerable to scrapes and nicks. Thus, brush your dog gently, and always check for wounds every time you groom him.
The Whippet dog breed is good with children as he is a mild-mannered dog. Although this small Sighthound is gentle with children, do not forego adult supervision. Keep in mind that accidents can still happen whilst children and pets interact and play.
Being Sighthounds, Whippet dogs have a high prey drive and will chase small animals, like cats. As such, they must be put on a lead when taken outside for a walk.
Befriending other dogs is not a problem for Whippets. They get along with their fellow canine friends so long as they are socialised at a young age.
The Whippet breed is a highly intelligent dog that values independence. Although he is eager to learn, he wants to do things his way.
Since the Whippet is a sensitive dog, do not use harsh punishments, as it will make training sessions frightening for him. This clever Hound responds well to positive reinforcement. Giving praises and treats will boost his motivation and obedience.
First-time owners who can provide enough exercise and appropriate training will find the Whippet dog breed a suitable pet. He is loyal and can form a strong bond with his human.
Yes, Whippets are good pets since they are energetic but gentle and affectionate. They may be a running fiend on the track, but they are certified softies off it.
Despite their athleticism, these sleek Hounds are couch potatoes. They are happy just lounging about or cuddling with their family after a spot of vigorous exercise.
Yes, Whippets are known to bond strongly with one person. However, this doesn’t mean that other family members will be left unloved. These small dogs just tend to pick a special person and will noticeably spend more time with them.
No, Whippet dogs don’t bark a lot. They rarely vocalise and are not prone to snapping. When they seek attention, they may nudge their human with their nose. Their low barking tendency and high adaptability make them capable of thriving in small apartments.
Just note that they can be cautious around strangers and may even bark at them. You may need to train your Whippet to keep his barking from becoming a nuisance.
Yes, Whippets love to cuddle and snuggle with their human companions. It is their way of showing fondness for them.
Some Whippet dogs, especially those who lack proper socialisation, do not want to be cuddled. Get them used to this affectionate gesture by applying the positive reinforcement technique.
Yes, Whippets can be left alone for a few hours. Compared to other breeds, they are not prone to separation anxiety and will do well on their own. However, no dog should be kept at home on his own for more than 8 hours.
Since the Whippet dog breed is a muscular, athletic dog, he should be fed a high-quality diet with sufficient levels of protein. His meals should consist of about 20–25% of protein and 10–15% fat.
A regular feeding schedule must be followed, preferably twice a day. The same food should be served to avoid gastrointestinal issues. Should there be changes in his diet, it should be done gradually.
Whippet puppies should be fed 3–4 times daily. They should be fed 48–183 grams of food from ages 2–6 months, depending on their size and activity level. At 7 months old, they may be fed 40–166 grams of food.
From 8–10 months, it’s best to feed them 39–141 grams daily. Once they reach 11 months, they may be given adult dog food.
For adult Whippets, feed about 103–120 grams for those weighing 7 kilos and 114–132 grams for 8 kilos. Those weighing 10 kilos can be given 135–156 grams of dog food, whilst for 14 kilos and above may be given 154–176 grams daily.
The Whippet is a hardy dog breed, but he is predisposed to a few health problems. Here are the prevalent conditions found in these Hound dogs:
Autoimmune Haemolytic Anaemia
It is an autoimmune disease that makes the body attack the red blood cells. Symptoms of this condition include increased heartbeats, pale gums, and fainting. Whippet dogs suffering from this disease will be given medications. Severely anaemic ones will need a blood transfusion.
This is one of the most common eye problems in the Whippet dog breed. Cataracts create a cloudy film in the eye’s lens.
Surgical removal of the cataract is the usual treatment for affected dogs. However, there are many factors that need to be considered before a dog is eligible for cataract surgery.
The Whippet breed may be a canine sprinting machine, but he only needs a small amount of exercise to keep him happy. An hour of daily exercise is sufficient for this Hound. He should also be given opportunities to run a bit, but preferably in an enclosure.
If you have a home with a spacious yard, ensure that the fences are at least 180 centimetres high. This is to keep the Whippet from running off after something that caught his eye.
As this Sighthound has a single-layered coat and low in body fat, he should be provided with added insulation or protection when taken outdoors in cold weather.
The Whippet is one of the healthier breeds of purebred dogs, but he may have a few health issues. He can live from 12–15 years if he is given healthy and balanced meals, sufficient exercise, and prompt medical care.
If you are interested in buying a well-bred Whippet pedigree puppy, expect to spend £1,500–£3,000 for one. To make sure that you get a healthy canine companion, buy a puppy from a Kennel Club-assured breeder or even a reputable breeder that was referred by a local Whippet breed club.
You can also choose to go for a Whippet adoption from animal shelters or rescues. Or find a Whippet rescue organisation in your area that can help you adopt one.
A small-sized dog breed like the Whippet only needs small amounts of food each day. In a month, his food consumption can cost £24–£32. Living with a Whippet puppy means providing him with his necessities such as a dog bed, toys, and a lead. The overall cost of these items is around £200–£400.
The Whippet breed may not be prone to health problems, but he still needs regular vet check-ups. Prepare to pay £30–£60 for each session.
Vaccinations are super important for your Whippet puppy as he is extremely vulnerable to diseases. Initial vaccine shots costs around £100–150, whilst annual boosters cost £50–£60.
Vet bills can rack up high, especially during emergencies. Acquiring pet insurance will help cut the cost. If you go for a time-limited cover, be prepared to pay around £15–£20 each month. On the other hand, a lifetime package will cost approximately £18 to over £80.
Are you sure the Whippet is the best breed for you? Take the Pet Breed Selector Quiz to find your perfect breed match.Dog Breed Selector Quiz
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