Whippet

Other names: English Whippet, Snap Dog

Whippet

Gentle, affectionate, and well-rounded, the Whippet is a medium-sized sighthound with a short coat. Discrete and sensitive, it’s a dog one needs to learn to understand in order to seamlessly communicate with it. Respect and goodwill are key in obtaining this dog’s cooperation, and once he is fully at ease, he will reveal himself to be an exceptional life companion. Active, enduring, and much more robust than his appearance may lead you to think, this sighthound must be taken in by available owners, ready to meet his need for regular outings. 

Key facts about the Whippet

Life expectancy :

7

20

12

15

Size :

Origins and history

His origins go back more or less a century, since the Whippet was officially recognised by the UK Kennel Club in 1900. The first specimens actually saw the light of day in the 17th century. This breed probably descends from a cross between a Fox Terrier and Bull Terrier, and according to some other sources, the Italian Greyhound. The sighthound reportedly owes its name to the old English expressions ‘whip up’ or ‘whip it’, signifying ‘fast as lighting’. These expressions would be used by English miners as commands, aimed at encouraging the hounds to chase for hares, or during races.

FCI breed nomenclature

FCI Group

Group 10 - Sighthounds

Section

Section 3 : Short-haired Sighthounds

Physical characteristics of the Whippet

    Adult size

    Female : Between 17 and 19 in

    Male : Between 19 and 20 in

    Weight

    Female : Between 20 and 35 lb

    Male : Between 20 and 35 lb

    Coat colour

    Black
    White
    Brown
    Blue
    Red
    Sand

    Type of coat

    Short

    Eye colour

    Brown

    Description

    The Whippet is a dog of powerful muscular constitution, exuding a balanced strength that renders him elegant and graciously built. The head is long, lean, flat in the upper part, with a rather wide distance between both eyes; it tapers down along the muzzle. The eyes are shiny, and very lively. The ears are small, of a fine texture, and rose-shaped. The thorax is deep, the stomach tucked in. The limbs are long, lean and muscular. The tail is long, thin, worn slightly curled over when in movement.

    Good to know

    He used to be dubbed the ‘snap dog’, which is a nickname that suits the ever-dynamic Whippet pup very well.

    Temperament

    • 66%

      Affectionate

      This dog is very affectionate once it has given you his trust- until then, he could seem rather distant. He can be very cuddly with his owners, but can just as well retreat to his corner and make himself discreet.

    • 66%

      Playful

      When still a pup, the Whippet is a real jester who loves playing: he enjoys chasing in particular, and likes engaging in friendly ‘scuffles’ with his fellow canines. With time, it is true that this tendency is reversed, depending on the individual in question, of course.

    • 66%

      Calm

      You could say that this sighthound is a ‘fake stoic’. He can indeed be very discreet, but reveals himself to be a real fireball when released into big wide spaces.

    • 66%

      Intelligent

      This dog is very smart and takes pleasing his master to heart. If a relationship based on trust and respect is established, this sighthound can pull various tricks out of his sleeve to reinforce the bond with his master.

    • 33%

      Hunter

      The English Whippet is, as any respectable hound would have it, a born hunter, even if this is no longer his primary function. He mainly hunts for small animals: birds, rodents, rabbits or hares, but also for cats that he does not know, or which haven’t been introduced to him.

    • 100%

      Fearful / wary of strangers

      Contrary to popular belief, the English Whippet is not a wary dog but is quite withdrawn if he does not know the person in question. You mustn't mistake his sensitivity for fear.

    • 33%

      Independent

      The female has a more independent personality than the male. The Whippet’s temperament resembles that of cats.

      Behaviour of the Whippet

      • 66%

        Tolerates solitude

        If he has been accustomed to staying alone from a young age, this dog- often mistaken for the miniature greyhound- can tolerate his owners’ absences without a problem. Bear in mind, however, that these should not be prolonged. Walks both prior to and right after periods of solitude are necessary, especially if the dog lives in a flat.

      • 66%

        Easy to train / obedience

        This sighthound has very good memory and functions on the ‘if it works, let me do it again’ principle. Actually, as soon as the Whippet pup integrates the home, certain rules of conduct and limits must be established, to prevent the dog from developing any bad habits. 

        Training must be strict but gentle at the same time, given how easy it is to offend this highly sensitive dog.

      • 33%

        Barking

        Very discreet indeed, the Whippet rarely barks.

      • 33%