Whippet Dog Breed

Table of Contents

  1. Statistics Table
  2. About the Whippet
  3. General Appearance
  4. Owning a Whippet – What to Consider?
  5. Whippet Puppies
  6. Whippet Activities & Dog Sports
  7. History of the Whippet
  8. Whippet Clubs
  9. Whippet Rescue Groups
  10. Whippet Facts
  11. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Classification AKC (American Kennel Club): Hound
UKC (United Kennel Club): Sighthound and Pariah
CKC (Canadian Kennel Club): Hound
ANKC (Australian National Kennel Council): Hounds
RKC (Royal Kennel Club): Hound
FCI (Fédération Cynologique Internationale): Group 10 – Sighthound; Section 3 – Short-Haired Sighthound
Bred For Pursuing and Capturing Small Game, Dog Sports, Conformation Shows, Companionship
Known For Intelligence, Speed, Gentle Nature, Gracefulness
Popularity High
Activities Coursing, Conformation Shows, Dog Sports, Therapy Dog
Measurements Height at Withers: Males 19-22 in.; Females 18-21 in.
Weight Range: Males and Females 25-40 lbs.
Coat Type: Short, Smooth
Color: Immaterial
Pattern: Varies
Grooming: Periodic Bathing, Weekly Brushing and Combing, Periodic Nail Trimming, Regular Tooth Brushing
Temperament Playful, Affectionate, Calm
Expectations Lifespan: 12-15 Years
Energy Level: Moderate to High
Exercise Requirements: 2 Hours/Day (Minimum), Daily Walks, Regular Exercise, Vigorous Running, Playing with Another Dog, Mental Stimulation
Breed Standards AKC Whippet Breed Standard
UKC Whippet Breed Standard
CKC Whippet Breed Standard
ANKC Whippet Breed Standard
RKC Whippet Breed Standard
FCI Whippet Breed Standard
Similar Breeds Azawakh, Greyhound, Italian Greyhound, Silken Windhound

About the Whippet

The Whippet is a quick and beautiful dog recognized for its racing speed and gentle temperament. The breed was created in England for coursing rabbits, which later became outlawed and the dogs were used to chase lures or rags. Whippets have a sleek coat, slim frame, and a great desire to chase moving objects. The breed is characterized by a sleek gracefulness, so the name is synonymous with grace.

General Appearance

Height and Weight

In terms of height, male Whippets measure between 19-22 inches and females are between 18-21 inches tall. Both males and females weigh within a range of 25 to 40 pounds, with females being smaller.

Body Proportion and Substance

The Whippet displays a slender build, showing a naturally graceful arch over the backline without a dip behind the shoulder blades, a wheelback, a flat back, or a steep or flat croup. With its broad back, muscled and firm, and length over the loin, the breed gives the impression of speed and strength. The chest is very deep and well-defined, allowing plenty of heart room.

Coat Texture, Colors & Markings

Texture: The coat of the Whippet is short and smooth and lies close to the body.


  • Black
  • Blue
  • Blue Brindle
  • Blue Fawn
  • Fawn
  • Fawn Brindle
  • Red
  • White
  • White & Fawn
  • White & Red
  • Red Brindle
  • Sable
  • Black Brindle
  • White & Blue Fawn
  • White & Sable
  • White & Black
  • White & Blue
  • Cream
  • White & Blue Brindle
  • White & Red Brindle
  • White & Fawn Brindle
  • Seal


  • Black Mask
  • White Markings
  • Blue Mask
  • Water Marked
  • White Markings, Blue Mask
  • White Markings, Black Mask
  • Black Saddle


Skull: The Whippet skull is long, lean, and flat on top, while tapering to the muzzle. It’s wide between eyes with a slight stop.

Expression: The Whippet has an alert expression. Its eyes contribute to showing its gentle nature.

Eyes: The eyes of the Whippet are oval and bright in color.

Ears: A Whippets ears are rose-shaped which means that they are upright and fall to the side. The ears and small in size.

Muzzle: The Whippet has a black or bluish-colored nose, it can even be cream and other possible colors. The jaw appears as strong.

Nose: The nose of the Whippet is black, cream, or white butterfly nose.

Bite: The Whippets bite is clean, powerful, scissor bite. The upper teeth slightly overlap the lower teeth and are set square to the jaws.


The tail of the Whippet is without feathering. When dragged in between the rear legs, the long, tapering tail reaches the hip bone. The tail is carried low when the dog is moving, with only a modest upward curl. The tail does not extend past the top of the back.

Owning a Whippet – What to Consider?

The Whippet is a gentle, playful, and affectionate dog. His biggest advantage is the fact that he rarely barks and he enjoys playing with the kids. With that in mind, the Whippet is a popular breed among families and dog lovers overall. However, owning this breed, as with any breed, comes with specific responsibilities and factors to consider to ensure the well-being of both the dog and the owner.

Whippet Health

Acquiring this generally healthy breed from a responsible breeder will help you get the healthiest Whippet possible. Although the Whippet frame isn’t built to carry excessive weight, these dogs usually appear as “skinny“ to the untrained eye. Responsible breeders screen their stock for diseases such as cardiac disease, deafness, and eye abnormalities.

The average lifespan of the Whippet is 12 to 15 years, but with proper care, a balanced diet, and regular check-ups, many can thrive beyond these years.

Potential Health Risks

Although generally a healthy breed, some Whippets can be prone to certain health conditions, including:

Anesthesia Sensitivity: Because of low body fat, sighthounds like the Whippet are sensitive to anesthesia and some other drugs. It is recommended to always find a veterinarian who is aware of this or at least alert them to the risks.

Deafness: This is an unusual condition within the breed, but it does appear occasionally. In case of deafness, the dog will have special training and communication needs. Vibrating collars are also useful for making a dog’s life easier.

Eye Diseases: Various eye defects can appear in some Whippets. When purchasing your dog, the breeder should have eye clearances for both parents, certifying that their eyes are normal.

Von Willebrand’s Disease: This is a blood disorder that affects the clotting process due to the lack of von Willebrand factor in the blood. Nose bleeds, bleeding gums, and prolonged bleeding from surgery or during heat cycles are some of the signs that a dog is affected by the disease. Treatments include cauterizing or suturing injuries, infusions of the von Willebrand factor before surgery, and avoiding certain medicines.

Whippet Personality

The Whippet is amiable, gentle and elegant, yet powerful and playful. The breed enjoys daily walks and always appreciates the opportunity to run around in a fenced yard. However, the Whippet is gentle and quiet at home. Between walks and bursts of energy, this hound loves to relax for long hours and stretch out. So, make sure to provide a soft bed, because comfort is most important to a Whippet.

The Whippet gets along with other people and dogs, although early socialization is important. Prey drive is strong in this breed, so it is better to keep Whippets away from cats, if indoors. Also, because of that prey drive, it is recommended to always walk the breed on a leash. If a Whippet sees something worth chasing, it will disregard commands such as “stay” and “come.”

Rarely barking makes the Whippet suitable for apartment buildings with a lot of neighbors. The breed is not much of a guard dog. As with any other dog breed, temperament is affected by heredity, training, and socializing. Exposure to different people, sights, sounds, and experiences is recommended from a young age. Whippets are gentle and patient, which makes them good with children and other dogs, and a perfect addition to many families.

Whippet Feeding and Nutrition

The best diet for a Whippet includes a combination of high-quality protein, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and fiber from vegetables and berries. The breed should be fed high-quality dog food, purchased commercially or prepared at home with a veterinarian’s supervision.

An adult Whippet needs 1 to 1.5 cups of food per day, preferably dry food, divided into two meals. You should feed the dog at regular intervals throughout the day. Appropriate food must be chosen based on the age, size, and activity level of each dog.

Whippets are prone to obesity, so don’t overfeed. Always measure each dog’s food and monitor its weight periodically. Avoid giving too many treats and feeding table scraps or human food, which can be high in fat.

It is important to feed your Whippet a high-quality food. Low-quality ingredients can cause health problems such as obesity or skin issues, since the breed can have sensitive skin.

Whippet Training

Whippets are intelligent and inherently happy to please, which often makes training a relatively straightforward process. Being sighthounds, however, they have a strong prey drive and can sometimes become distracted, especially if something catches their eye and tempts them to give chase. Hence, it’s crucial to incorporate consistent, positive reinforcement techniques when working with a Whippet.

These dogs respond best to gentle, rewards-based training. Harsh methods or negative reinforcement can prove counterproductive, potentially leading to a fearful or skittish Whippet. Early socialization is essential for the breed, exposing puppies to a variety of people, places, sounds, and experiences while they’re still young. This all but guarantees they’ll grow up to become well-adjusted adults.

Due to the breed’s prey drive, teaching a reliable recall is critical for these fast-moving hounds. While they love to run and chase, it’s essential that they learn to return when called, especially in unfenced areas. It should be noted, however, that training a good recall can be at but impossible with a Whippet.

Additionally, Whippets can excel in various dog sports such as Lure Coursing, Agility, and even Obedience competitions. Engaging them in such activities not only reinforces training, it also provides them with a productive outlet for their energy and speed.

Whippet Exercise

Whippets are known as sprinters by nature. Sprinting means the breed can get occasional bursts of energy throughout the day and doesn’t need as much exercise as it may seem. With the Whippet’s moderate to high levels of energy, 40 minutes of walking a day will fulfill all its needs. This can be divided into several shorter walks.

If your Whippet is not getting enough exercise, it could appear hyperactive, start gaining weight, become destructive or withdrawn, or even bark, which is not something the breed usually does often. In that case, some exercise other than daily walks should be added. The good thing is that the new activities can be fun for both you and your dog.

Playing fetch can be a great exercise for Whippets. They can even be trained to bring the ball back. As it is in their nature, Whippets will probably even start chasing the ball. Overall, any exercise that contains a lot of short, fast runs and some toys is great for a Whippet.

Whippet puppies should have five minutes of exercise for every month of age, which means that a four-month-old puppy will need 20 minutes of exercise. Keep in mind that walking is exercise and not an addition to an exercise regimen.

Whippet Grooming

The short, smooth coat of the Whippet needs a little bit of maintenance beyond general coat care. Because of its thin coat, the Whippet’s skin is not as protected as that of other breeds. So, Whippets shouldn’t be bathed too often.

Although they are short-haired, Whippets do shed, and regular weekly brushing is needed. Brushing should begin at a young age, so the Whippet becomes accommodated to it. While grooming, the dog should be checked for sores, rashes, or signs of infection.

Whippet’s teeth should be brushed at least two to three times a week to remove food buildup and bacteria. To prevent gum disease and bad breath, a daily brushing is recommended

A Whippet’s nails should be trimmed once or twice a month, if needed. Short, neatly trimmed nails keep the feet in good condition. The mouth and ears of a Whippet should be checked periodically.

Living With a Whippet

Whippets are gentle souls, known for their speed but also for their calmness. This makes them a perfectly adaptable breed. If they are outside, Whippets will gladly use the opportunity to do sprints and explore. Inside, to the contrary, they will turn into couch potatoes and enjoy their time just lying around.

Whippets are great medium-sized apartment dogs. They don’t bark as much as other breeds and they like the comfort that one home can provide. Playing with the kids can be their favorite activity, almost as much as following the owner around. With this in mind, they don’t like being alone for too long.

Low body fat and a short coat makes the Whippet more adaptable in warm weather. A nice, warm, dog coat or sweater is a necessary addition to winter walks.

Whippet Puppies

Whippet puppies have wonderful temperaments. They are curious and playful, and they have no problem approaching strangers and letting people hold them. When choosing a puppy, always consider the breeder’s experience with this all-important decision.

Caring for Puppies

Before bringing home a Whippet puppy, make sure to ensure a safe and nurturing environment. Since the breed is curious from a young age, constant supervision is required to keep Whippet pups from harm. Providing them with toys will help with their teeth and play needs.

During the puppy’s growth stages, nutrition is critical. It’s best to feed a Whippet puppy high-quality puppy chow to ensure it gets all the nutrients it needs for healthy growth. Setting a regular feeding plan is also a good idea. Keep in mind that puppies are always growing and need more food than adults.

Regular veterinary check-ups are crucial in the first year of life. Vaccinations, deworming, and basic health checks should be performed to ensure the puppy is growing normally.

Important aspects of puppy care are basic training and socialization. Training puppies at an early stage will allow them to grow into well-behaved adults. Early and consistent socialization will instill confidence and reduce the chances of fear or aggression later in life.

Whippet Activities & Dog Sports

The Whippet is one of several breeds that excels in speed-based sports such as Lure Coursing. Whippets are smart, agile dogs; versatile, indeed. They can climb, jump, run, and so much more.

Agility: In Agility competition, dogs navigate through a pre-set obstacle course within a time limit. Tunnels, weave poles, jumps, teeters, dog walk, and an A-frame are common obstacles on courses consisting of 14-20 obstacles.

Lure Coursing: This dog sport involves chasing a mechanically operated lure. The purpose of this competition is to preserve and develop the coursing skills inherent in the Whippet and to demonstrate that the hounds can perform the function for which they are bred.

Frisbee Dog: Dogs and their disc throwers compete in events such as distance catching, and partly choreographed freestyle catching in frisbee tournaments. By allowing the handler and dog to work together, the sport celebrates the link between the team.

Dock Diving: Dock Diving is a sport in which dogs compete at a distance or height by jumping into water from a raised platform known as a dock. Dogs can be scored based on distance (the distance between the dock and where they land in the water), speed (how quickly they recover a toy at the pool’s end), or height (how high they can jump to fetch a toy dangling above the water).

Flyball: A canine sport in which teams of dogs relay race from a start/finish line, over a series of hurdles, to a box that releases a tennis ball to be retrieved when each dog presses a spring-loaded pad, and then returns back to its handler while carrying the ball.

Therapy: The breed’s gentle disposition and intuitive nature make the Whippet an excellent Therapy Dog. Furthermore, its intelligence and trainability have led it to serve as a Guide Dog for the visually impaired and as an Assistance Dog for those with disabilities.

Rally Obedience: Rally-O, or Rally, is a team sport in which the handler guides the dog around a course, similar to Agility. The distinction is that the Rally course consists of signals that imply obedience-like skills that a team must complete before proceeding to the next sign. The team strives to complete all of the signs in a certain order in the shortest amount of time.

History of the Whippet

The Greyhound has been a template for later sighthounds for thousands of years, and the mild-mannered Whippet is a very successful member of this clan of lightning-fast sprinters. The Whippet is not much more than a couple of hundred years old, which makes it a somewhat modern breed. They were first bred in England, during the late 1700s, by crossing Greyhounds with Terriers.

North-country coal workers enjoyed dog racing and rabbit hunting on their days off, but they couldn’t afford to feed large breeds. Their solution was to breed the Greyhound with smaller dog breeds. With that, the Whippet became the fastest breed of its size. The races usually took place on a straight track that spread across the field. Later, when chasing rabbits became outlawed, Whippets chased rugs or pieces of clothing.

The Whippet was known as the “Poor Man’s Racehorse” and the “Lightning Rag Dog” in its early days because it would chase a rag trailed along a straight course in an early type of lure coursing. The name Whippet appears to be derived from the word “whappet,” which means “a small dog that yaps.”

The Whippet as a breed was recognized in 1891 by Britain’s Kennel Club. The American Kennel Club registered the breed somewhat earlier in 1888. Stories indicate Whippets had been brought to America by English mill workers.

Whippet Clubs

The most important thing when searching for a Whippet is finding a reputable dog breeder. Reputable breeders are dedicated to producing healthy, well-socialized puppies that will make excellent pets. They will test their breeding stock for health issues, socialize their puppies from birth, and offer you lifetime support.

The American Whippet Club (AWC) is a national breed club operating under the broader umbrella of the American Kennel Club. It promotes showing and responsible breeding, offers resources, organizes events, and supports Whippet-related research.

The Whippet Club in the United Kingdom was formed in 1899 and is the oldest Whippet club in the world. Also, it is the only breed club in the United Kingdom to provide for all working Whippet disciplines.

The National Whippet Group of Canada (NWCC) is the Canadian Kennel Club’s (CKC) national Whippet organization. The club’s aim is to unite Whippet enthusiasts for mutual support and benefit of the breed.

Joining or engaging with these clubs provides Whippet enthusiasts with a wealth of knowledge and opportunities to connect with others who share the same passion for this iconic breed.

Whippet Rescue Groups

Whippets regrettably sometimes find themselves in need of new homes due to unforeseen circumstances, such as owner illnesses, financial hardships, or behavioral challenges. Whippet rescue groups rise to the occasion, ensuring that these loyal companions find loving forever homes while also providing education to potential adopters.

Northern California Whippet Fanciers Association is a rescue group that operates in the US. The group encourages people to come to their events and meet the breed. Their operation is done under the National Whippet Rescue group.

In Canada, The National Whippet Club of Canada is the national breed and rescue club working under the Canadian Kennel Club. The group has successfully found homes for thousands of Whippets, emphasizing the importance of the right match between dog and owner.

Just Whippet Rescue is the Whippet rescue charity that operates in the United Kingdom. The organization is a non-governmental rescue group that provides shelter and rehomes and rehabilitates Whippets in need.

Whippet Facts

Speed: Whippets are sprinter dogs, originally used for hunting. They are extremely fast and capable of reaching speeds up to 35 mph.

Temperament: Whippets appear as gentle, affectionate, and playful dogs. Although they are great apartment dogs, Whippets enjoy exercise and love to run in a good, fenced-in yard.

Bathing: The Whippet, with its short, smooth coat, is a moderate shedder that benefits from weekly brushing. However, they only need bathing if they get dirty.

Bark: Whippets are not generally vocal dogs, which means that they don’t bark as much as the other breeds, which makes them excellent watchdogs. The only time the Whippet could bark is if it’s bored or unhappy.

America: The Whippets are bred in England, however, the breed is really popular in America. The breed appears to have been introduced to America by English mill workers in Massachusetts.

Weight: To anyone who is not familiar with the Whippets, these dogs can appear as skinny, while actually, it is their healthy appearance since it’s a small breed that loves to run.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Do Whippets shed?

Whippets do shed, but it’s usually minimal due to the breed’s short, fine coat. Regular grooming, even just a weekly brush, can help manage and reduce the shedding. Using a rubber grooming mitt or chamois cloth can be especially effective for removing loose hairs.

Are Whippets good family dogs?

Yes, Whippets are known to be affectionate, friendly, and good with families. They are often gentle with children and are generally loving companions. It’s important to note that Whippets are agile runners, so providing a securely fenced yard for playtime is crucial to ensure their safety.

Are Whippets healthy dogs?

Whippets are generally healthy, but like all breeds, they can be susceptible to certain health conditions. Some potential health concerns include heart issues, eye disorders, and some skin conditions. Regular vet check-ups and a balanced diet can help to maintain their health.

Are Whippet dogs easy keepers?

Whippets are typically easy keepers, as the breed is generally known for its calm and friendly nature. However, like all dogs, individual temperaments can vary, so proper socialization and training from a young age are essential.

Are Whippet dogs hypoallergenic?

No dog is truly hypoallergenic, and Whippets are not considered a hypoallergenic breed. They have short, fine hair that sheds; however, their shedding is relatively minimal when compared with many other breeds.

Are Whippets good apartment dogs?

Yes, Whippets can be good apartment dogs. While they are known for their speed and enjoy regular runs, they are also quite calm indoors and are known to be couch potatoes. Regular exercise is essential for Whippets, but they can adapt well to apartment living.

Are Whippets good guard dogs?

Whippets are not typically used as guard dogs. They are more friendly and docile by nature. While they might alert you with a bark to someone approaching, they’re not inherently protective or aggressive.

Are Whippets good with other dogs?

Whippets generally get along well with other dogs, especially if they are socialized properly from a young age. However, given the breed’s history as a hunting dog, some Whippets can have a high prey drive and will chase smaller animals. It’s always a good idea to introduce individual dogs slowly and supervise their interaction with other companion animals.

Are Whippets easy to train?

Yes, Whippets are generally easy to train due to their intelligence and inherent willingness to please. They typically respond best to gentle, rewards-based training methods. However, their strong prey drive can sometimes be a distraction, so consistency and early socialization are essential for best results.

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