Whippet Puppy Facts

Did you just bring home a new Whippet puppy and want to learn more about the breed?

Maybe you are thinking about buying a puppy and want to know if this is the right breed of dog for you and your family?

No matter what your situation may be, you will find the answers to your questions right here!



Breed History

While images of dogs that resembled the modern day breed were found on various pieces of ancient art, the breed as we know it today originated in the mid to late 1800s.

This is probably the youngest of all sighthound breeds. It was developed in England by crossing the larger Greyhound with some of the smaller terriers and, later, a much smaller Italian Greyhound.

The breed name Whippet derives from the expression "whip it" which in English slang means "to move quickly".

The breed was developed after activities such as dogfighting and bullbaiting began to lose popularity and new, gentler forms of entertainment were sought out. At first Whippets were used for coursing rabbits in enclosed areas. Since rabbits had no chance of escaping, you'll have to decide for yourself if this activity was really "gentle".

Later they were used for racing, mostly on straight course tracks. These races became known as "rag races", probably because after the use of live rabbits was banned, a piece of cloth was used as a lure.

Because the breed was owned mostly by working class people, the Whippet was nicknamed "the poor man's racehorse" or "the poor man's greyhound".

The breed was recognized by AKC in 1888. What's interesting is that despite the fact that the breed originated in England, the Kennel Club of England recognized it as a distinct breed only in 1891, three years after it was recognized by AKC.

Today, the Whippet is used mostly for racing, companionship, and exhibition. It's one of the most popular hound breeds at dog shows.

Physical Characteristics of Whippet Puppies

This is a medium-sized dog that looks like a smaller version of its larger cousin, the Greyhound. Its whole appearance speaks of elegance, fitness, and speed. While the Whippet is not the fasted dog breed, it's the fastest domesticated animal of its size and weight, capable of reaching speeds of close to 40 miles per hour.

It has a broad and well muscled back and long, arched, and muscular neck. The tail is long and tapers to the end. The front legs are straight. The hind legs are long and muscular. Both the front and hind legs look powerful.

The head is long and lean with a long, strong muzzle, dark nose, and large, dark eyes. The ears are small and tip over at the tip. Erect ears are undesirable.

The coat is short, smooth, and firm in texture. Any color is allowed.

Some Whippets have long hair and are referred to as "long-haired". But according to the AKC (American Kennel Club), any Whippet with coat other than as described above must be disqualified.

    Height Weight
  Male 19 to 22 inches 25 - 45 pounds
  Female 18 to 21 inches 25 - 45 pounds


Whippets are gentle, lively, affectionate, and intelligent. They may be reserved with strangers but are usually friendly and not aggressive. They are also good with children of all ages as long as they are treated gently.

Whippets are generally quiet and do not bark unnecessarily but they may bark when strangers arrive. They make decent watchdogs but are not suited for guard duty.

Because of how fast and active they are on a racetrack, you may be surprised how inactive they are indoors. They are generally quiet and content to spend much of the day sleeping, making them well-suited for a small apartment.

They are good with other dogs but unless properly socialized at a young age, they can't be trusted with other household pets, including cats.

Because of its short coat, the breed is not suited for spending prolonged periods of time in cold temperatures. If you live in a cold climate, consider using a doggie coat when taking your pet for a walk in the winter. Even if you live in a warm climate, the Whipped is not adapted for outdoor living.

The Whippet is an excellent runner and is one of the most athletic dog breeds. This article that appeared in a May 7, 2006 issue of Science Daily offers an explanation of unusually high athletic ability of this breed.

They do not respond well to harsh treatment and training methods. You will achieve much better results when you use calm but authoritative voice and reinforce good behavior with rewards.

Unlike some other breeds, males are as easy to housebreak as females and are just as unaggressive. Males are also slightly more loyal, less moody, and not as strong-willed as females.

Best Owner / Living Conditions

The breed will do best with an active and patient family, preferably with older children. It also needs an even-tempered owner displaying gentle authority over the dog.

While it can adjust to an apartment lifestyle, it will do best in the suburbs, living on a large, fenced property.

Some Whippet breeders may interview prospective owners to make sure this is the right breed for them.

Activity and Exercise

This is a fairly active breed that needs daily exercise to stay mentally sharp and physically fit.

It can get plenty of exercise by running off leash but similar to other sighhounds, the Whippet is a sprinter and likes to chase fast moving objects. Don't let your pet off leash unless it's in a protected area such as a fenced yard.

Running off leash is good, but it's not a replacement for daily walks. They provide additional exercise and strengthen the bond between you and your pet. They are also good for you.

At a minimum, take your pet for several long walks every day, always on leash.


The Whippet doesn't shed a lot and its grooming requirements are very similar to those of the Italian Greyhound.

All you need to do to keep its coat shiny and healthy-looking is a quick wipe-down with a damp cloth or chamois. Brush once in a while to remove dead hair.

Because its coat is almost odorless, it doesn't require frequent bathing. Bathe or use dry shampoo only when absolutely necessary.

Health Concerns

Like all dog breeds, Whippets are susceptible to complications caused by internal and external parasites such as ticks, fleas, and worms.

This is a healthy breed with few genetic problems. One health concern involves eye problems. Though quite rare, several genetic eye defects have been noted in the breed. Like other sighthounds, this breed has low tolerance to anesthetics.

For more information about dog diseases and health, visit dog health problems.

Buy only from reputable Whippet breeders to reduce the risk of the above and many other health problems (visit dog breeders to learn how to identify responsible dog breeders).

No matter how small the risk of health problems is, any puppy may get sick or injured. Many health problems will require an immediate attention from your Vet, but there are many others that will not, and you may handle them on your own.

To save time and money, learn how to diagnose and treat dog health problems that don't require your Vet's attention.

Life Expectancy

The average life expectancy for Whippet puppies is 12 to 16 years.

Did you ever consider adopting your next pet?

If this is the breed you are interested in, and adoption appeals to you, consider contacting your local Whippet rescue. There are thousands of pets waiting for a loving home and, yes, it's possible to adopt a purebred dog.

Puppy Training

Not happy with your pet's behavior? Need help with training your dog for obedience? Then check this dog behavior and obedience training guide.

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