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Whippet Dog Breed Profile


Other Names
Dog Group Kennel Club
Breed Classification
The Whippet is a small dog, a member of the Hound group. It is a Sight hound, chasing by direct sight rather than scent and is valued both as a working dog and as a companion. 
Cost of Ownership
Average Food Cost
< £4 per week
Feeding Requirements
The Whippet is generally not a fussy eater, often with a small appetite but requires a good quality, easily digested diet. They may become overweight if overfed or underexercised. 
Other Expenses
Whippets are generally inexpensive dogs to keep, feeding costs are low and professional grooming is not required. Veterinary expenses can be high as the Whippet is susceptible to injuries of skin and bone. The Whippet has little resistance to cold and will appreciate a coat, preferably both wind- and rain-proof. Puppies are around £400 to buy. 
> 15 years
Whippets are often long lived dogs, reaching 15 years or more. 
Average Litter Size
Litter sizes can vary from 2 to more than 10 but between 5 and 8 is more common. 
General Physical Description
The Whippet is a lean muscular athletic dog with an aerodynamically designed body. Their coats are fine and short and they are very clean dogs. They balance muscular strength and power with grace and elegance being built for speed and work. They are both working or racing dogs and ideal companions.

Height Min Max
Bitch 44cm (17") 47cm (19")
Dog 47cm (19") 51cm (20")
Weight Min Max
Bitch 12.5kg (28lbs) 13kg (29lbs)
Dog 12.5kg (28lbs) 13kg (29lbs)
Size Category
Weight Height Range
Dogs ideally measure between 47 - 51cms at the withers and bitches measure between 44 - 47cms. Both dogs and bitches weigh between 12.5 - 13.5kgs. 
The Whippet has a very fine coat which offers little protection to the skin, so scratches are likely to become tears and may require suturing. They have sensitive skins therefore harsh shampoos may provoke skin reactions and should be used with care. Their limbs are susceptible to injury and fractures may well be serious. They are also susceptible to stomach upsets on poor quality food but these apart they are generally healthy dogs. 
Common Ailments

Skin lacerations  
Susceptibility To Illness
The Whippet was developed during the latter part of the 19th century from various sporting, coursing and running dogs, including small greyhounds. He was bred to race and his ability to reach speeds of up to 35mph suited him to track racing. This breed was adopted by the miners of North-east England who were keen dog racing enthusiasts but they also used him for coursing, as he is capable of catching rabbits and hares. He gained his nickname of Snapdog from his ability to kill rats and rabbits with a sharp snap. Although he is still used as a working and racing dog and takes part in agility and obedience activities, his main role is as a companion. 
The whippet is an intelligent and adaptable dog but can be slow to learn and the owner must be patient and gentle. Whippets can be trained for agility and obedience in addition to their racing, working and companionship roles.< 
Show Characteristics
The Whippet should have a head which is long and lean, flat on top and tapering to the muzzle with a slight stop. The jaws should have a perfect scissor bite. The eyes should be bright with a lively expression. Ears are small, fine-textured and are described as rose-shaped. The neck should be long and well muscled, the body moderately long with a very deep chest and well sprung ribs. The loins should be well arched. The legs are long and strong, feet are neat with thick, strong pads. The tail should be long with no feathering and the coat is short, fine and dense. They come in a variety of colours and combinations of colours. 
Country Of Origin
Famous Examples
Records Held
Overall Exercise
60 - 80 minutes per day.
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. They are happiest on level, clear surfaces, uneven ground may lead to injury, particularly when travelling at speed and rough vegetation can tear their skin. 
Distress if Left Alone
Personal Protection
Guard Dog Suitability
Risk of Sheep Worrying
Tendency to Bark
Level of Aggression
Compatibility With Other Animals
Suitable For Children


General Character And Temperament
The Whippet is a gentle, patient, tolerant and affectionate dog. Although they are competitive when racing, they are adaptable and quiet dogs. They love people but prefer to stay away from very young children who may handle them roughly. At home in castle or cottage, they make ideal companions. They can be highly strung and need understanding from their owners. 
Coat Length
Grooming Requirement
> Once a week 
Requires Professional Groomer
The Whippet 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 in the sensitive skin. Eyes and ears should be checked when grooming and his teeth will benefit from regular brushing. 
The whippet comes in a wide variety of colours and mixes of colours. These include black, fawn, white, blue, brindle, black and white, blue and white etc. 
Suffers From Allergies

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