This charming breed was developed in the late 19th century by crossing with the Italian Greyhound, the Greyhound and other breed of terrier. The Whippet gets its name from the expression whip it, as this breed can move extremely quickly when it chooses to. This breed is a fantastic track racer, especially over short distances, and it can reach speeds of 60kms an hour in just a few seconds. Therefore, this breed was used in races for many years, while it also displays excellent hunting, sighting, watchdog and lure coursing skills. The breed was recognised by the American Kennel Club in 1888 and in 1891 by the English Kennel Club.

Body Type

This medium-sized sighthound is closely related to the Greyhound and has a similar appearance. The breed has a long and lean skull with widely spaced ears. The long muzzle has virtually no stop and tapers to the nose, which can be black, dark brown or dark blue. The small ears are folded back and become perked when the breed is excited, while the teeth form a scissors bite. The dark eyes are oval-shaped, while the straight legs feature thick feet that resemble those of a hare or cat. The tail is long and is held low with an upward curve. The coat is short and smooth and comes in a wide range of colours including black, fawn and red and can either be solid colour or a mixture of colours.


This breed is extremely intelligent as well as sweet, docile, lively and affectionate. The Whippet makes an excellent family dog as it is very calm and quiet in the home, while it is also a devoted companion. Because the breed is very sensitive it should not be roughly trained and it is likely to either withdraw or become aggressive if treated harshly. The best way to train this breed is through playing games and running and the Whippet can relate well to children as long as they do not treat it too roughly. This dog travels well and is very calm when travelling. Families must make sure that the Whippet is kept away from small pets such as birds and rodents, as it will attack them if given the chance. It is also known for pursuing and killing cats.

Associated Health Conditions

The Whippet is prone to skin problems and upset stomach, which makes controlling the diet of this breed an important concern.

Living Conditions

The whippet is sensitive to the cold and it should wear a coat during the winter months and kept indoors as much as possible. The breed is calm and fairly inactive indoors, which means that it is able to live in an apartment.

Exercise and Care

If the Whippet is kept indoors as a pet it requires lots of exercise over open ground and should also be given a daily walk. It is essential to keep this breed in a fenced garden and on a lead when walking, as it will chase and even kill any small animals that it comes across. Grooming the Whippet’s smooth and fine shorthaired coat is simple and can be done with a firm bristled brush, while the coat can be kept gleaming by rubbing it with a damp cloth. The coat is odour free, meaning that the Whippet does not need bathing regularly.

Breed Stats

Height of males: 47-56cms
Height of females: 18-21cms
Weight of males: 11-21kg
Life expectancy: 12-15 years
Group: Southern, AKC Hound

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