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October 2, 2013

Meet the Breed: The Whippet

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Overview:

  • Height: 18"- 22”
  • Weight: 25-45 pounds
  • Historical function: Racing, hunting
  • Modern function: Racing, lure coursing
  • AKC classification: Hound

Physical Characteristics:

The Whippet is a medium-sized dog resembles a small Greyhound. They are elegant in appearance. They skull is long and lean, and the muzzle nearly has no stop. The teeth come together in  a scissors bite. The ears are small, and are generally held back except when they are excited. The the ears are perked up, but still folded at the tips. The eyes are oval in shape and dark colored. The front legs are straight and the feet are cat like. The Whippet's tail is long, low and tapers to a point. It curves up slightly at the bottom. Because coat color is not considered when judging the Whippet's appearance, the short, smooth coat comes in all colors including brindle, black, red, fawn, tiger white or slate blue. The coats can be solid, spotted or feature several colors. 

History of the Breed:

The Whippet is thought to have been developed by crossing Greyhounds with Italian Greyhounds as well as a terrier, though some claim that the breed was developed solely from smaller English Greyhounds as the smaller dogs would have been permitted to be owned by commoners since they were thought to be too small to bring down a stag. These smaller sighthounds became popular as the poor man's race horse as coursing Whippets was an entertaining form of gambling for the lower classes in England. They can reach speeds of up to 37 MPH within seconds. The Whippet was recognized by the AKC in 1888. 

Temperament:

The Whippet is clever, energetic, affectionate, sweet and gentle. They are devoted, quiet and calm in the home. They are quite sensitive both mentally and physically. They are responsive to their owners and do not tolerate rough training methods. They are also sensitive to the cold and do well with fleece and sweaters, even indoors. They will often be found nesting in your bed or on the throw on your couch trying to stay warm and soften their bony frame. The Whippet is good with children of all ages as long as the children are taught to be gentle with the dog. Whippets are clean, virtually odor free and easy to care for. They are good travel companions. They are good watchdogs and may be reserved with strangers. They will pursue and kill cats and other small animals if given the opportunity, but are good with other dogs. Household cats that they are raised with will be safe, but those found in the yard may not. Some can be difficult to housebreak.

  • Best suited for: Calm households, apartments, or homes with an enclosed yard. 
  • Preferred living conditions: These dogs are often sleeping when they aren't running. As long as they get plenty of exercise and have luxurious, warm bedding, they will be quite content.  

Care and Health:

  • Grooming requirements: Easy care coat has no doggy odor. Can be wiped down with a damp chamois to make the coat glisten. This breed is an average shedder.
  • Exercise needs: Daily walk, preferably a run in a safe area. Otherwise, use a secure leash.
  • Life expectancy: 12-15 years.
  • Health concerns: May be prone to skin problems and stomach upset.

Breed Club Links: American Whippet Club

BaxterBoo.com Perfect Pairings: Any of our Tiger Dreamz bedding products will provide the ultimate warmth and luxury for your Whippet. 

Have any stories about a Whippet? Please share!

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

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