Breeds, Hound Group


Dive into the delightful realm of the Whippet, a breed celebrated for its sleek form and gentle disposition. This guide is designed to unveil the distinctive traits and characteristics that define Whippets as both competitive athletes and loving pets.

Prospective owners and breed enthusiasts will gain comprehensive knowledge and helpful tips to ensure a fulfilling life with a Whippet. Learn about their exercise needs, social behaviors, and health considerations. With this guide, embrace the opportunity to connect with and provide the best care for these affectionate and swift companions. Begin exploring what makes the Whippet a cherished addition to any home.

Whippet – Size & Life Expectancy

Whippet Height

19-22 inches (male)
18-21 inches (female)

Whippet Weight

25-40 pounds

Whippet Life Expectancy
Life Expectancy

12-15 years

About the Whippet

The Whippet, with its sleek silhouette and keen agility, emerged from the north of England during the Industrial Revolution. Originally bred from Greyhounds, these smaller “snap dogs” were the working man’s racing hound. Lacking the aristocrat’s estate for hunting game, the working class needed a dog that could chase rabbits and small game on enclosed lands or compete in straight races over short distances. Hence, the Whippet became known as “the poor man’s racehorse.” By the late 19th century, Whippets had begun to captivate a broader audience, making their way into the hearts and homes of many outside the working class.

Transition to Modern Day

Today, Whippets embody a dual charm: they are both affectionate companions and consummate athletes. Their history as competitive racers is still celebrated in Whippet racing and lure coursing events, where their speed and hunting instincts are on full display. Yet, it’s their role as a family pet that has seen their popularity soar. The breed’s gentle and affectionate nature makes it a favorite among dog lovers worldwide.

Regarded for their quiet and reserved demeanor at home, Whippets are a stark contrast to the fierce competitors seen on the racing track. They are well-suited to both suburban and city living, as long as they have a chance to sprint in a safely enclosed space. This adaptability contributes to their growing appeal among a diverse range of owners, from families with children to urban singles.

The Breed’s Characteristics and Popularity

Whippets are medium-sized dogs, standing 18 to 22 inches tall at the shoulder and typically weighing between 25 and 40 pounds. Their coat is short and comes in a variety of colors and patterns, requiring minimal grooming. This ease of care, combined with their moderate exercise needs and non-aggressive temperament, makes them an ideal pet for many.

In terms of popularity, Whippets have steadily climbed the ranks of favorite breeds, particularly in countries like the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia. They are cherished for their loyalty and the quiet comfort they provide. Not overly boisterous or prone to barking, they fit well into a peaceful home environment.

The Whippet’s Niche Today

Whippet owners today range from active singles and couples who enjoy the breed’s energy and companionship in outdoor activities, to families looking for a gentle pet that can match both calm moments and playful bursts. Their intelligence and responsiveness to training also make them a popular choice for obedience and agility competitions.

The Whippet’s unique blend of grace and grit continues to win admirers across the globe. As a breed that encapsulates the spirit of both a humble beginning and aristocratic admiration, Whippets hold a special place in the world of dogs. Their story from utilitarian hunter to beloved pet highlights their versatility and enduring appeal. With each sprint and cuddle, Whippets carry forward a legacy that is as swift as it is sweet.

Traits & Characteristics of the Whippet

  • Elegant and Streamlined Body: Whippets have a lean, muscular build ideal for speed and agility.
  • Affectionate and Gentle: Known for their loving nature, they are excellent with children and make superb family pets.
  • Quiet and Reserved: Typically calm indoors, they are not prone to excessive barking.
  • Highly Intelligent: Whippets are smart and trainable, responding well to positive reinforcement techniques.
  • Strong Prey Drive: Their instinct to chase is strong, so they require secure spaces for off-leash exercise.
  • Minimal Grooming Needs: With a short, smooth coat, Whippets are low-maintenance in terms of grooming.
  • Sensitive and Responsive: They are emotionally sensitive to their environment and their owner’s moods, needing a supportive and positive home atmosphere.

Owning a Whippet

The Whippet, a breed that epitomizes elegance and agility, is an excellent choice for a wide range of owners. Whether you’re looking for a competitive athlete or a loving companion, understanding the needs and characteristics of this breed is crucial for a harmonious relationship. This guide aims to equip potential Whippet owners with essential knowledge about their health, exercise, grooming, nutrition, and training needs.


Whippets are generally healthy, but like all breeds, they have certain conditions to which they are predisposed. Common health concerns include heart issues, such as mitral valve disease, and eye problems like progressive retinal atrophy. Due to their lean build, Whippets are also prone to anesthesia sensitivity and should be handled carefully by veterinarians familiar with the breed. Ensuring regular check-ups, maintaining a healthy weight, and providing a warm and comfortable resting area to prevent joint issues are essential for their well-being. Owners should watch for signs of discomfort or illness and seek veterinary care promptly to address any health issues.


Whippets require regular exercise to maintain their health and happiness. Despite their reputation for speed, their exercise needs are moderate. A daily regimen should include a mix of physical activity and mental stimulation. Activities like sprinting in a secured area or playing fetch can satisfy their need for speed, while puzzle toys can keep their minds active. It’s important to provide a safe, enclosed space for off-leash running, as Whippets can quickly chase after small animals due to their strong prey drive. Regular, structured exercises not only keep them fit but also help to deepen the bond between dog and owner.


The Whippet’s coat is short, fine, and close, which makes grooming relatively straightforward. Regular brushing once a week is sufficient to keep their coat healthy and to reduce shedding. They require only occasional baths unless they get particularly dirty. Attention should also be given to their nails, ears, and teeth. Regular nail trimming prevents discomfort during running, while cleaning their ears can prevent infections. Dental hygiene is also important, with regular brushing to prevent tartar buildup and gum disease, contributing to overall health.


A balanced diet is vital for maintaining the Whippet’s slim but muscular build. High-quality dog food that meets the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO is recommended. The diet should be appropriate to the dog’s age, size, and activity level. It’s important to avoid overfeeding, as obesity can lead to health issues, particularly in a breed designed for speed and agility. Foods high in fat and fillers should be avoided. Instead, opt for diets rich in proteins and moderate in fats with sufficient fiber. Consultation with a vet can help tailor a feeding plan that keeps a Whippet in top condition.


Whippets are intelligent and generally responsive to training, but they can also be stubborn or sensitive, which requires patience and consistency. Positive reinforcement techniques, such as treats and praises, work well. Early puppy training and socialization are crucial to help them develop into well-adjusted adults. Exposing them to different people, environments, and situations can prevent timidity and nervousness. Training sessions should be short and engaging to capture their attention and make learning enjoyable. Proper training not only eases management but also enhances the safety and happiness of both dog and owner.

The Whippet Standard

The breed standard for the Whippet encapsulates an idealized representation of the breed, serving as the benchmark for judging at dog shows. This standard emphasizes not only the physical traits but also the demeanor and movement that are characteristic of the breed, ensuring that the Whippet retains its distinctiveness and functional capabilities.

Physical Appearance

The Whippet is the epitome of streamlined grace, with a medium-sized frame that exhibits both muscle and refinement. The ideal Whippet should have a balanced body where length is slightly greater than height at the shoulders, creating an impression of elegance and strength without bulk. The head is long and lean, with a powerful yet not overly broad jaw, tapering to a fine muzzle. The eyes are large, expressive, and oval-shaped, conveying an alert and intelligent demeanor. Ears are small and rose-shaped, adding to their keen expression.

Body Structure

A Whippet’s body showcases a blend of athletic build and delicate structure. The neck is long and arched, flowing into well-laid-back shoulders that denote speed and agility. The back is firm and somewhat long, while the chest is deep and broad, allowing for ample lung space, crucial for their remarkable sprinting prowess. The tail is carried low and slightly curved, acting as a rudder during high-speed chases.

Coat and Color

The coat of a Whippet is short, fine, and close, providing protection from the elements while highlighting the body’s natural contours. The breed standard allows for a variety of colors and patterns, reflecting the Whippet’s diverse genetic heritage. This variety ensures that the Whippet can appear in a wide spectrum from solid to brindled or patched, allowing for individual uniqueness within the breed framework.


Movement is a critical aspect of the Whippet breed standard. The ideal Whippet moves with a smooth, effortless action that covers the ground with nimble grace. The stride is long and powerful, with a strong drive from the hindquarters and good reach in the front. This type of movement is not only visually striking but also indicative of the breed’s inherent ability to sprint at high speeds.


The temperament of the Whippet is as important as its physical attributes. Known for their gentle and friendly nature, Whippets should exhibit calmness and affection with their families. In the show ring, they are expected to demonstrate poise and confidence, responding well to handlers and showing no signs of timidity or aggression.

By adhering to this breed standard, the Whippet maintains its historical and functional qualities, combining aesthetic appeal with athletic capability, making it a cherished competitor and companion. This standard ensures that the breed’s integrity is preserved, promoting qualities that are both beautiful and practical.

Whippet – FAQ

Welcome to the Whippet FAQ, a comprehensive resource designed to answer all your questions about this graceful and swift breed. Whether you’re a potential owner or a seasoned enthusiast, find essential insights and tips to understand and care for your Whippet.

Alternatives to a Whippet

Several dog breeds share similarities with the Whippet in terms of size, traits, and characteristics, appealing to those who admire the Whippet’s unique blend of elegance, speed, and temperament.

The Italian Greyhound stands out as a smaller relative of the Whippet, offering a similar sleek body and affectionate nature. This breed delights in companionship and fits well into various living situations, mirroring the Whippet’s adaptability. Both breeds exhibit a calm demeanor indoors and a burst of speed when given the chance to run.

The Greyhound, often considered the Whippet’s larger counterpart, displays many of the same qualities on a grander scale. Known for their incredible speed and gentle temperament, Greyhounds also thrive in loving homes where they can relax and stretch out comfortably. Like Whippets, they possess a short coat and require minimal grooming, making them a practical choice for families or individuals seeking a low-maintenance pet.

The Pharaoh Hound, another breed sharing traits with the Whippet, boasts an athletic build and an intelligent expression. These dogs are active and playful, thriving on interaction and exercise. Their sensitivity to human emotions and environments is comparable to that of Whippets, making them well-suited for attentive owners.

Finally, the Saluki, with its graceful appearance and reserved nature, parallels the Whippet’s elegance. Salukis are known for their stamina and need for regular exercise, similar to Whippets. They also exhibit a gentle disposition and form strong bonds with their families.

Each of these breeds reflects the Whippet’s blend of speed, grace, and companionship, offering alternatives for enthusiasts drawn to these qualities.