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The Whippet is a lean, muscular, athletic dog. They balance muscular strength and power with grace and elegance, being built for speed and work. Their coats are fine and short and come in a wide variety of colours and mixes of colours.

  • Dog suitable for owners with some experience
  • Extra training required
  • Generally healthy breed
  • Enjoys vigorous walks
  • Enjoys one to two hours of walking a day
  • Medium dog
  • Minimum drool
  • Requires grooming once a week
  • Chatty and vocal dog
  • Barks and alerts to visitors/anything unusual
  • Generally friendly with other dogs
  • May need additional training to live with other pets
  • May need additional supervision to live with children
  • Needs a small garden
  • Can happily live in the city
  • Can be left occasionally with training

Key Facts

Lifespan: 12–15 years
Weight: 12.5–13.5kg
Height: 44–51cm
Colours: Black, white, red, fawn, blue, cream and brindle. They may also be a combination of these colours with spots, blazes and patches
Size: Medium
Kennel Club group: Hound


Family-friendly: 5/5
Exercise needs: 5/5
Easy to train: 4/5
Tolerates being alone: 2/5
Likes other pets: 3/5
Energy level: 5/5
Grooming needs: 3/5
Shedding: 2/5


The Whippet is a gentle, patient, tolerant and affectionate dog. Although they are competitive when on the chase, they are adaptable and quiet dogs. They can be highly strung and need understanding from their owners. Loving to their family, they make rewarding companions in the right home.


History and Origins

Country of Origin: England

The Whippet was once referred to as the ‘poor man’s Greyhound’ and that described them well. They were developed in the 19th century by miners in the north of England who couldn’t afford to keep a Greyhound so they invented their own smaller, less costly version. Records of these breeding’s weren’t kept, but depending on who you believe, they were either progressive breeding’s of smaller Greyhounds or else Italian Greyhounds crossed with Manchester Terriers with back breeding to Greyhounds.

However, they were largely used for the sport of competitive rabbit killing - where rabbits would be released and the first dog to make a kill won. This permitted the miners to engage in gambling with little cost. When cruel sports were banned, they turned to ‘rag’ racing where a cloth was dragged in a straight line and the dogs would race. These two sports gave rise to the Whippets other names - Snap Dog and Lighting Rag Dog.

Today the Whippet has won fans all over the world as a gentle companion dog.

Health and Common Issues

The Whippet dog breed is generally a relatively healthy breed with few widely recognised breed specific health problems.

Exercise Needs

Whippets are capable of short, sharp bursts of fast running but are spirited enough to spend a long day of exercise if required. They will be happy to walk or jog with their owners and, although in need of daily exercise, are not too demanding. An hour's exercise is needed, as a rough guide, for an adult.

Whippets love to run and so finding an enclosed local area where they can do that will keep them happy.

Space Requirements

While Whippets need space to run, in the home they are happy whatever its size as long as there is a comfy sofa for them to spend their days. They do need access to outdoor space for toileting and daily exercise.

Nutrition and Feeding

Your dog's diet needs to have the right balance of all the main nutrient groups including a constant supply of fresh water. It's also important to conduct regular body condition scores to ensure you keep your dog in ideal shape and remember to feed them at least twice daily and in accordance with the feeding guidelines of their particular food.

Grooming Whippets

The Whippet dog breed benefits from regular grooming but care must be taken to use soft brushes and gentle handling, as their coat and skin is very fine and sensitive. Any shampoo used should be gentle without harsh ingredients, as these may cause reactions with their sensitive skin.

Training Whippets

Like most sighthounds, Whippets rather look down on training, but they can learn basic obedience and should be taught to walk on a harness and lead. Effort should be made to teaching them a good recall - although this shouldn’t be relied upon as the thrill of the chase can often mean their owner is temporarily forgotten.

If you own cats, finding a puppy from a breeder who has reared them with cats will help. If not, spend time teaching our puppy that the cat isn’t a chase toy. Whippets however may never be safe with other cats or small animals.

Best Family Dog Breeds

Whippets make wonderful family dogs as they are gentle and kind - but they also like peace and quiet, so a noisy boisterous house will not be good for them.

While many dogs are traditionally thought of as being good with children, all dogs and children need to be taught to get on with and respect each other, and be safe together. Even so, dogs and young children should never be left alone together and adults should supervise all interactions between them.

did you know?

Did You Know?

  • While similar to the Greyhound (the fastest dog on earth), the Whippet, being lighter built, has got better acceleration, and over very short distances will be able to beat them.
  • Whippets can reach top speeds of up to 35mph.
  • This breed has very little body fat, so they’ll need to have a good dog coat for the winter.
  • Whippets are super quiet dogs and some owners say theirs doesn’t ever bark!
  • A Whippet was supposed to star in Alien 3, but they were deemed too cute for the part.

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