Temperament: Affectionate, Playful, Calm
- Height: 19-22 inches (male), 18-21 inches (female)
- Weight: 25-40 pounds
- Life Expectancy: 12-15 years
- Group: Hound Group
The sleek, sweet-faced Whippet, the “Poor Man’s Racehorse,” is lightning quick. He is an amiable, dignified, and gentle soul, but give him something to chase and he’s all business. The name Whippet is synonymous with streamlined grace.
Keen intelligent alert expression. Eyes large, round to oval in shape. Small and/or almond shaped eyes are undesirable and are to be faulted. Eyes to be dark brown to nearly black in color. Eye color can vary with coat color, but regardless of coat color dark eyes are always preferred. Light eyes are undesirable and yellow eyes are to be strictly penalized. Blue eye(s) or any portion of blue in the eye(s), as well as both eyes not being of the same color shall disqualify. Fully pigmented eye rims are desirable. Rose ears, small, fine in texture; in repose, thrown back and folded along neck. Fold should be maintained when at attention. Erect ears should be severely penalized.
About the Whippet
At somewhere between 18 and 22 inches at the shoulder, the Whippet looks like a Greyhound, but smaller. The Whippet exhibits the classic “inverted S” lines of the sight-hound. The deep chest and trim waist; a lean head supported by a long, arched neck; and slim but sturdy legs combine in a picture of an agile, fleet-footed athlete.
Between bursts of intense pursuit, Whippets love to stretch out and relax for long hours, enjoying the role of a loving, and loved, companion. Whippets like a fenced yard to run in, but they do nicely in cozy apartments too—as long as they are exercised properly. Another plus for city dwellers: Whippets rarely bark. Despite the breed’s elegant looks, the Whippet is a robust, low-maintenance dog.
NUTRITION The Whippet should do well on a high-quality dog food, whether commercially manufactured or home-prepared with your veterinarian’s supervision and approval. Any diet should be appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior). Some dogs are prone to getting overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.
GROOMING The Whippet’s short, smooth coat needs little maintenance beyond regular weekly grooming with a brush and the occasional bath. The ears should be checked regularly for signs of infection, and the nails should be trimmed often if not worn down naturally, as overly long nails can cause the dog discomfort.
EXERCISE Whippets are sprinters by nature, and adequate exercise could take the form of several vigorous retrieving sessions a week with ball or flying disc, regular walks, or play sessions with another dog in a safely fenced area. Always keep your Whippet on lead when not in a fenced area. Organized activities such as lure-coursing and agility also provide healthy outlets for the breed’s energy and athleticism.
TRAINING Whippets are calm in the house, preserving their energy for explosive bursts of running—ideally in a large, securely fenced area. Young Whippets are smart, agile, and mischievous, and they can jump and climb, so confining them safely while not under supervision is a must. Early socialization and puppy training classes are recommended and help to ensure that the dog grows into a well-adjusted, well-mannered companion.
HEALTH The Whippet frame is not well suited to carrying excessive weight. While young Whippets may appear gangly and have difficulty keeping their ribs covered when they are in the period of rapid growth, a mature adult should not appear ribby but should have two to four visible vertebrae, and the hipbones should not appear sunk into dimples of fat. A Whippet at a healthy weight will likely appear “skinny” to those accustomed to heavier-bodied, less fleet breeds, but maintaining your Whippet at the correct weight through lifelong portion control will extend his life and avoid many of the orthopedic problems that are both painful and expensive to repair. Responsible breeders screen their stock for health conditions such as cardiac disease, deafness, and eye disorders.
Recommended Health Tests from the National Breed Club:
- Ophthalmologist Evaluation
- BAER Testing
- Cardiac Exam