Discover the Elegance and Energy of Whippet Dogs: Your Perfect Canine Companion


Whippet dogs are medium-sized sighthounds that shares ancestry with the Greyhound. In fact, the Whippet’s predecessors may have come from crosses between small Greyhounds and even smaller dogs, which were used by poor farmers for rustling rabbits and other small game during the 18th century.

These poor farmers also used Whippet dogs for entertainment in the form of “snap dog” contests, where bets were made on which one could “snap up” as many rabbits before they bolted from within a circle. The Whippet was also cross-bred with ratting terriers to increase quickness and keenness.

Nicknamed The Poor Man’s Racehorse

Whippet getting ready to run

The industrial revolution prompted the development of the true Whippet breed that we know today. An influx of rural workers migrated to industrialized areas, bringing a need for entertainment, which they satisfied by bringing their snap dogs. However, there were no rabbits to snap up, so they discovered that the dogs would willingly race toward a waving rag.

Thus, a new sport was born, it became trendy amongst coal miners; in fact, the Whippet is nicknamed “the poor man’s racehorse.” A whippet during that time was an enormous source of pride for families. It was not only a source of extra income but a producer of food for the pot as well. They were an important member of the family; it shared in the family’s provisions and often slept in the bed with the children. They also came to be highly regarded as a companion as well.

Whippet dog with his Pug buddy

Today, Whippet racing is still somewhat popular. Unfortunately, it never really garnered Greyhound racing’s marketable appeal; therefore, it remains strictly an amateur sport. The Whippet was recognized as a breed in 1888, and it began to be highly touted for its aesthetic appeal. It was further crossed with the Italian Greyhound, which further refined its appearance.

Whippet dogs were not popular right away; however, its uncanny combination of agile grace and courteous companionship progressively created a fervent following. Today, Whippet dogs are the most popular of the sighthounds and is highly esteemed as a show dog, lure-courser, racer, and family companion.

Breed Facts

Energy levelWatchdog ability
Exercise requirementsProtection ability
PlayfulnessGrooming requirements
Affection levelCold tolerance
Friendliness toward dogsHeat tolerance
Friendliness toward other petsFriendliness toward strangers
Ease of training
A group of five Whippets going into the pond after a stick

Whippet Dogs Temperament

Whippet dogs are probably the most affectionate and obedient of the true sighthounds. In fact, they’re an ideal pet for those that want a quiet housedog and a devoted companion. This is an extremely gentle breed; they’re great with children and can make an exceptional companion for them. It behaves indoors and loves to run and play when outdoors. They’re compassionate both physically and mentally. They cannot take coarse treatment or strict correction.


The Whippet is an excellent dog for those that live in an apartment. However, it requires long walks and runs daily. Grooming is a breeze with this breed. Also, it will require a warm, soft bed. It does not do well in cold weather. The hair is concise and fine, and it is virtually free of doggy odor.

adorable whippet looking at the camera


Somewhat popular





Date Developed


Past Function: Racing, rabbit coursing
Current Function: Racing, lure coursing
Other Names: None
Life Expectancy: 12 – 15 years
Weight: 20 – 40 pounds
Height: Male: 19 – 22 inches; Female: 18 – 21 inches
Color: Immaterial
Health Problems: deafness, some eye defects


dog and owner chillin on the couch on a lazy day

Whippet dogs are among the sleekest, with a curved, streamlined profile, long legs, and a lean body. The Whippet is the ultimate sprinter, unmatched by any other breed in its capability to accelerate to top speed and to twist and turn with unequaled nimbleness.

It is a lightweight version of the Greyhound, with an especially supple topline and powerful back legs, which enables it to perform the double-suspension sprint at its most extreme. It is square or slightly longer than tall. The walk is low and free-moving. The countenance is acute and alert.

Frequently Asked Questions

What 2 breeds make Whippet dogs?

the Greyhound and various small terrier breeds. The exact terrier breeds used in the development of the Whippet are not well-documented, but the Greyhound’s influence is clear in their slender, sleek appearance and their agility. Whippets are known for their speed and are often used in racing and coursing activities.

Is a Whippet a good family dog?

Yes, Whippets can make good family dogs for the right families. They are known for their gentle and friendly nature, which can make them excellent companions.

Can Whippets be an only dog?

Whippets can be kept as an only dog, but it’s important to consider their social and emotional needs. Whippets are known for their strong bonds with their human family members and can be quite affectionate and loyal. However, they are also social dogs and can benefit from the company of other dogs.

Do Whippet dogs like to cuddle?

Whippet dogs are known for their affectionate and loving nature, and many enjoy cuddling with their human family members. They often form strong bonds with their owners and are content to snuggle up on the couch or in bed. However, whether a Whippet enjoys cuddling depends on their personality and preferences.
Some Whippets may be more independent and not as inclined to cuddle. In contrast, others may seek out physical closeness and affection. It’s essential to pay attention to your Whippet’s cues and respect their boundaries. If your Whippet enjoys cuddling, it can be an excellent way to strengthen the bond between you and provide them with the affection and comfort they desire.

What do whippets do?

Whippets are versatile dogs that can excel in various activities and roles. Here are some of the things that Whippets are known for doing:
Racing: Whippets, such as lure coursing and straight-line racing, are often used in racing events. They are swift and agile, making them ideal for these competitive sports.
Companion Dogs: Whippets are excellent companion animals known for their affectionate and loving nature. They enjoy spending time with their human family members. They can be wonderful pets for those who want a loyal and devoted dog.
Hunting: Historically, Whippets were bred for hunting small game. Their strong prey drive and agility made them valuable for hunting purposes.
Agility and Obedience: Whippets can excel in dog sports like agility and obedience. Their athleticism and intelligence make them capable of performing well in various training and competition activities.
Therapy and Emotional Support: Some Whippets are trained to provide emotional support to needy individuals. Their gentle and sensitive nature makes them suitable for such roles.
Show Dogs: Whippets are often shown in dog shows and are known for their elegant and sleek appearance. They can excel in conformation events.
Coursing and Field Trials: Whippets can participate in lure coursing and field trials, chasing a mechanical lure or live game. These activities allow them to display their natural hunting instincts and speed.
Couch Potato: While Whippets are active and athletic, they can also be content lounging around the house with their family members. They are known for their ability to switch between bursts of energy and relaxation.
Overall, Whippets are known for their versatility and adaptability, and they can thrive in various roles and activities depending on their individual personalities and the training they receive.

Are Whippets expensive dogs?
two dogs kissing each other

Whippets can vary in price, but they are generally considered moderately priced compared to some other purebred dog breeds. The cost of a Whippet can depend on several factors, including the dog’s pedigree, age, and breeder reputation. On average, you can expect to pay anywhere from $800 to $2,000 for a Whippet puppy from a reputable breeder.
It’s important to note that the initial purchase price is just one part of the cost of owning a dog. You’ll also need to budget for ongoing expenses like food, grooming, veterinary care, and other supplies. Adopting a Whippet from a rescue or shelter can be more cost-effective, with adoption fees typically ranging from $100 to $500.
While Whippets may not be as expensive as some other breeds, it’s crucial to consider your ability to provide for their needs and provide a loving home rather than solely focusing on the upfront cost.

Are Whippets high maintenance dogs?

Whippets are not high-maintenance dogs for grooming but require attention to exercise, training, and socialization. They are well-suited to households that can provide them with love, exercise, and a comfortable indoor environment, making them a relatively low-maintenance breed compared to some others.

Can you leave a whippet dog alone?

Like most dogs, whippets should not be left alone for extended periods regularly. They are social animals and typically enjoy human companionship. Leaving a Whippet alone for too long and too frequently can lead to issues like separation anxiety, boredom, and destructive behavior.

Do whippets make good service dogs?

Whippets are not typically chosen as service dogs for tasks that require physical assistance or guide work, as their small size and slender build may limit their ability to perform such tasks effectively. However, they can excel in specific service dog roles that don’t require significant physical support. Some of the positions where Whippets can make good service dogs include:
Therapy Dogs: Whippets are known for their gentle and affectionate nature, which makes them suitable for providing emotional support and comfort in therapeutic settings, such as hospitals, nursing homes, or schools.
Alert Dogs: Whippets can be trained to alert their owners to specific medical conditions, such as seizures, low blood sugar (in people with diabetes), or oncoming migraines.
Hearing Dogs: While not as common as other breeds, Whippets can be trained to assist individuals with hearing impairments by alerting them to important sounds, such as doorbells or alarms.
Emotional Support Dogs: Whippets can provide emotional support to individuals with conditions like anxiety, depression, or PTSD. Their calm and loving demeanor can be comforting to their owners.
It’s important to note that service dog work requires extensive training and a strong bond between the dog and their handler. The suitability of a Whippet for a specific service dog role will depend on the individual dog’s temperament, training, and the particular needs of the person they are intended to assist. Additionally, service dog training should be conducted by experienced professionals who understand the specific service requirements.

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