(Snapdog)Whippets are elegant but sturdy dogs. With their small and slender bodies, they resemble miniature Greyhounds. Their coat, which can come in many solid or blended colors, is sleek and thin. Like Greyhounds, their bodies are narrow and built for aerodynamics. Plus, their deep chest creates room for the big lungs they need to supply oxygen efficiently to their bodies while they run fast. Whippets have small, narrow heads and long, straight muzzles. Their small, oddly-shaped ears sit at the top of the breed’s head. Because the dog was designed for speed and for running, its skinny legs are also incredibly muscular. To increase speed, whippets’ long tails fold under their stomach.
Whippets are generally sweet natured family dogs. They are calm in the house but playful with kids outdoors. Their friendly temperament can be easily upset by harsh training or corrections, however. They are good family and companion dogs, but they are very active since they were designed for running. Whippets can easily be trained and like to learn games or activities but because of their independent attitude they will sometimes be defiant. They can also be very aggressive towards cats and small animals.
Whippets have no major health concerns. However, they occasionally suffer from deafness and eye defects. Because they are thin skinned, they are also prone to cuts and other skin injuries. The Whippet has an average life span of about 12-15 years of age.
Whippets were originally bred by peasants to hunt rabbits. They were developed by crossing Greyhounds and other small dogs, possibly terriers. The breed’s name is a reference to the phrase “whip it” meaning to do something very quickly. During the Industrial Revolution, the farmers who owned Whippets moved into cities that had few rabbits to hunt. As a result, the owners decided to have races instead for entertainment. These races were known as “snap dog” contests, and people were able to place bets on the dog they thought would win just as people gamble on horse racing today. Whippets become part of the family after they started earning money for their owners. Eventually, Whippets were crossed with the Italian Greyhound to give it a better racing look. Now it is used as a companion, racing, and show dog frequently.
Whippets need very little grooming since their hair is so thin. The breed only has to be brushed and bathed occasionally. Whippets need a great deal of attention and exercise, so they get a chance to run or go on long walks frequently. They can be disobedient, especially when they are bored so it is vital they have resources to keep them busy. Whippets need to have a warm place to sleep because they are susceptible to cold weather.
The charming Whippet is a great family dog. It is great with children since it is playful but is also good for older people because the breed is usually calm in the house. They can live in a country home or a city apartment as long as they get plenty of exercise. The main problem with Whippets is they should not be around small animals because of their strong hunting instincts. However, they are fine around other dogs. Whippets can live in any climate, but they sometimes need coats in cold climates because of their thin skin. Whippets need owners who have time to train and play games with them so they do not become bored. They can be used to hunt or can just be companions. The breed is often sensitive, so it would be better around owners who are not overly rough and with children who are respectful of animals.