Whippets are medium sized. They give the appearance of elegance and fitness, denoting great speed and power. They are a true sporting hound that can cover long distances. Whippets are Greyhounds in miniature with much more elegance. They can come in any color or combination of colors. Males stand 19-22 inches at the shoulder while females stand 18-21 inches.
Whippets originated in Europe. What breeds they originated from is unknown. There are many different theories including they came from Italian Greyhounds or even terriers. They used to be known as the working man's racehorse in Europe. They were originally used to catch rabbits as a sport, but nowadays they use artificial lures in a sport called Lure-Coursng.
GENERAL INFORMATION ON WHIPPETS QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
What kind of personality does the Whippet have?
Whippets are generally very quiet and gentle dogs in the house, content to spend much of the day sleeping on the couch! They are not generally aggressive with other animals, and although especially attached to their owners, they are friendly to visitors. They are not prone to snapping, so they are good with young children. They may or may not bark when strangers arrive, and are not suited to be guard dogs due to their trusting and unsuspicious nature. Whippets are a total housedog. They enjoy being part of a family and are not suited for being kept as an outdoor dog.
Does a male or a female make a better pet?
Unlike many other breeds, the males are as easy to housebreak, and no more aggressive than bitches. Both sexes make excellent pets. Males tend to be slightly more loyal and enjoy repetitive play. Females can be a little more complex and strong-willed, but are equally devoted to their owners. Males tend to run one to two inches taller, and three to six pounds heavier, than females.
How should I care for my Whippet?
Whippets, like other dogs, require a good quality kibble and plenty of fresh water. Grooming is minimal -- cut their nails regularly, bathe as needed, and keep them free of parasites. They are not well-adapted for living in a kennel or as outside dogs. Their coats do not provide the insulation for them to withstand prolonged periods of exposure to the cold. Their natural attachment to people makes them happiest when kept as housepets. They need soft bedding on which to sleep, regular exercise, and routine veterinary care. The most important thing you can do to care for your Whippet is to protect him from being hit by a car, or attacked by aggressive dogs. Whippets generally get the worst of any dog fight, so "invisible" fences are not recommended. Protect your Whippet with a safely fenced yard, or by walking him on leash. Puppies can be chewers, so crating is recommended when you are not able to supervise their activities. Obedience training will make your Whippet a better canine citizen.
Can they live in an apartment/condominium?
Yes, provided their owners are active and can take them someplace to get exercise at least four times a week. The quiet Whippet is well-suited to apartment life, provided their owners train them to stay safely by themselves or crated while the owner is away. It takes a dedicated owner who is willing to put in time for those extra walks, free running exersize at safe fenced in areas and willing to give their dog quality time.
What kind of activities can I do with my pet Whippet?
Many enjoyable competitive sports are open to pet Whippets. Whippets, as their heritage would suggest, are outstanding running dogs and are top competitors in lure coursing, straight racing, and oval track racing. In these events, a temporary track and lure system is set up. The lure is usually a white plastic trash bag. All of these events are purely for sport, and are put on for the enjoyment of the dogs and their owners. Top competitors win ribbons and points towards running titles. No betting is allowed. Thus, win or lose, every dog goes home to be "king of the couch". With new methods of motivational obedience training being used, Whippets are becoming successful obedience dogs. Many enjoy flyball and agility. All of the above activities are open to Whippets who are spayed or neutered. For racing and coursing, your Whippet must not have any breed disqualifications, such as being oversized (see Breed Standard). The elegance and ease of grooming of the Whippet have made it a popular show dog, but to be successful at this sport, you must purchase a puppy who is considered by its breeder to be show quality.
What types of health problems do Whippets have?
Given proper nutrition, exercise, and veterinary care, most Whippets live for 12 to 15 years. They are generally healthy, and are not prone to the frequent ear infections, skin allergies, or digestive problems that afflict other breeds. Genetic eye defects have been found in the breed, but are still very rare. Because of this threat, the American Whippet Club recommends that all breeders have the eyes checked clear on their breeding stock. Hip dysplasia is not a problem in Whippets.
Will I be able to keep my Whippet off the furniture?
Probably not!. They love the sofa and will gladly warm your feet in bed at night. They make wonderful hot water bottles! Luckily for them and for you, it is easy to keep your Whippet clean and free of parasites so that he will be a welcome guest on your furniture. You can also put a sheet or throw over the "dog chair" and remove it when company comes.
How often do they need to be bathed?
Whippets are a very clean dog by nature. They are clean about themselves and thier living quarters. That is one of the reasons they are easy to housebreak as they do not wish to sleep in a messy crate. Most whippets preen themselves like cats often do,you will find they don't like going out in the rain or getting dirty out in the mud unless its necessary.
Are whippets prone to chewing?
ALL puppies chew, whether big, small, purebred or mixed breed. This usually starts to taper off at around 12-18 months of age This can be minimized by providing the pup with plenty of safe doggy chew toys, giving the puppy plenty of exercise and attention so it isn't bored, keeping valuable items out of the puppy's reach, and most importantly, supervision. If you leave a puppy alone in your house, you will probably not have much of a house left to return to. Crate training will help keep your pup out of trouble when you are gone and will aid in the housebreaking process, also.
Are they an energtic dog?
Whippet puppies like to tear around your house or yard at breakneck speed. While they don't do it constantly, they DO like to run. By the age of about a year or a year and a half, most of them are content with a couple brief but intense play sessions a day and will spend the rest of their time lounging on the sofa. In general, Whippets who live with other dogs are more active than "only dogs".
What is Seperation Anxiety?
Whippets have a tremendous desire for companionship and will bond very strongly to their owners. There are some Whippets, however, that become extremely anxious and upset when left alone and will cry, chew, drool, and attempt to escape their surroundings. These behaviors sometimes occur when a young puppy goes to his/her new home and will diminish rapidly. Teaching good crate training habits and providing equal time out of the crate will help keep your puppy from this problem.
Do they jump?
Whippets have the ability to scale great heights - I have seen a few sail effortlessly over 6 foot fences. A few Whippets seem to do this habitually, just for fun. Others do it if left alone outside for long periods. Some never do. For these and other reasons, it is unwise to leave your Whippet - or any dog, for that matter - outside in the yard when you are not home. In any case, Whippets are not "outside dogs" - they get lonely and bored, and due to the lack of fur or fat for insulation are rather susceptible to heat or cold.
How can I learn more about Whippets?
An excellent place to see Whippets and learn more about them is a local dog show. It is best to approach the exhibitors after they have finished showing for the day. They should be delighted to talk with you about their favorite subject -- their beloved Whippets! Another good idea is to schedule a visit to the home of a breeder, where you can see Whippets of all ages and colors in a relaxed home setting.