The Whippet is a lean, muscular, athletic dog. They balance muscular strength and power with grace and elegance, being built for speed and work. Their coats are fine and short and come in a wide variety of colours and mixes of colours. Adult males measure 47-51cm and females 44-47cm. The weight range is about 12.5-13.5kg.
- Category size: Small
- Grooming requirements: Less than once a week
- Shedding: Little
- Allergies: No
- Noise: Usually quiet
- Dog Group Kennel Club: Hound
- Alone: 1 to 3 hours
- Other pets: Medium
- Stability as a guard: Low
The Whippet dog breed was developed during the latter part of the 19th century from various sporting, coursing and running dogs, including small Greyhounds. He was bred to race and his ability to reach speeds of up to 35mph suited him to track racing. This breed was adopted by the miners of north-east England who were keen dog racing enthusiasts but they also used him for coursing, as he is capable of catching rabbits and hares. He gained his nickname of Snapdog from his ability to kill rats and rabbits with a sharp snap. Although he is still used as a working and racing dog now, his main role is as a companion.
The Whippet is a gentle, patient, tolerant and affectionate dog. Although they are competitive when racing, they are adaptable and quiet dogs. They can however, be highly strung and need understanding from their owners. Loving to their family, they make rewarding companions in the right home.
The Whippet dog breed is generally a relatively healthy breed with few widely recognised breed specific health problems.
Whippets are capable of short sharp bursts of fast running but are spirited enough to spend a long day of exercise if required. They will be happy to walk or jog with their owners and, although in need of daily exercise, are not too demanding. An hour's exercise is needed, as a rough guide, for an adult.
Small dogs have a fast metabolism, meaning they burn energy at a high rate, although their small stomachs mean that they must eat little and often. Small-breed foods are specifically designed with appropriate levels of key nutrients and smaller kibble sizes to suit smaller mouths. This also encourages chewing and improves digestion.
The Whippet dog breed benefits from regular grooming but care must be taken to use soft brushes and gentle handling, as their coat and skin is very fine and sensitive. Any shampoo used should be gentle without harsh ingredients, as these may cause reactions in the sensitive skin.
Is this the right dog breed for you?
All dogs have their own, unique personality, but some instincts and behaviours they’re born with. Try our breed selector and find out which dog breeds better match your preferences and lifestyle. If you and your dog enjoy similar things, you will be more likely to live a happy, fulfilling life together.
What to Consider next
It is incredibly fulfilling to adopt a dog from an animal shelter or rescue organization. It often means offering them a second chance in life. There are many dogs waiting for a loving family, a forever home. Reputable centers will be very careful about matching the right people with the right dogs. Staff learns all they can about the dogs they take in, and will spend time getting to know you, your family and your lifestyle, before they match you with any of their dogs. They’ll also be happy to give you advice and answer any questions you might have before and after the adoption.
Finding a good breeder
If your heart is set on a pedigree puppy, then your best bet is to find a reputable breeder. Contact The Kennel Club or a breed-club secretary who may have a list of litters available, or should be able to put you in contact with breeders in your area. Try to choose a breeder who is part of the Kennel Club’s assured breeder scheme.Visit dog shows to meet breeders in person and inquire about availability of pups of your chosen breed.
Welcoming your dog home
Whether you’re bringing home a tiny puppy or rehoming an adult dog, this is a hugely exciting time for everyone. While you’re waiting for the big day you might need to distract yourself, so luckily there are a few things you need to sort out before you welcome your new arrival. Click here for more information