Breed Group: Hound Group
Shoulder Height: 17-22 in.
Weight: 15-42 lb.
Life Span: 12-14 years
Colors: Black, blue, brindle, fawn, cream, red, white
- The Whippet is commonly referred to as the "miniature Greyhound" due to their shared lineage. They descended from Greyhounds that were deemed too small for proper work, so the common folk used them instead for ratting and rabbit hunting.
- Whippets are the fastest domestic animal for their weight and can reach speeds of up to 35 miles per hour. They are considered to be the fastest accelerating dog in the world.
- History points to the breed being an old breed, with them even appearing in Ancient Egyptian texts and paintings from the Middle Ages and Renaissance. They were not formally called the Whippet until the mid-1800s.
- They continue to be popular at dog races in the UK and the United States.
The Whippet is a very popular member of the hound group. Famed worldwide for their speed and athleticism, these wonderful dogs make the perfect companion for any family.
The breed has been noted to be quite gentle with humans and other dogs, making them an ideal pack animal in a multi-dog house. They are loyal to their people, and love curling up next to them on the sofa. However, if you prefer your dog to stay on the floor, start training early and don't let them on the furniture from the day you bring them home. Consistency is the key to good training.
Whippets are not prone to fighting, but they do have a strong chase instinct so keep an eye on them around smaller animals and especially cats. A properly trained Whippet will maintain a quiet and dignified presence. Be wary with your training method, however. Whippets are known to be sensitive and have a tendency to get shocked or overreact if they are handled harshly.
The breed enjoys an active lifestyle and loves to go walking, although they are perfectly content to lounge on the couch as well. They have a short coat, so grooming is not an issue.
Whippets are remarkably healthy dogs with very few medical issues to worry about.
- Whippets, like other sighthounds, metabolize barbiturate anesthetics slower than other breeds. This can lead to a prolonged recovery. However, these drugs are no longer used in the United States, and the newer alternatives are very safe for these dogs.
- Whippets have a high incidence of soft heart murmurs that don't cause any adverse effects. One study found over 40% of Whippets had such a murmur but there were no structural problems in their heart.
- Some Whippets bear a mutation in the myostatin gene that makes them extremely muscular. These individuals are known as "double muscled". They can suffer from painful cramps in their muscles.
- Pip is the name of the whippet kept by Absolutely Fabulous writer and actress Jennifer Saunders.
- British journalist Sebastian Faulks, author of the novels Charlotte Gray and Birdsong, keeps a blue whippet named Hector.
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