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Home > Dogs > Dog Breeds > Whippet Dog Breed Guide: Info, Pictures, Care & More!

Whippet Dog Breed Guide: Info, Pictures, Care & More!

whippet in field

Whippets are fast-moving dogs that have gained top spots in agility, flyball, and racing competitions. They look and move like miniature greyhounds and were bred as hunting dogs that could quickly outpace their prey.

Breed Overview


18 – 22 inches


25 – 40 pounds


12 – 15 years


Black, white, grey, brown, silver, fawn

Suitable for:

Single pet households, active individuals


Gentle, affectionate, calm, quiet

While you might expect this speedy dog to be high-energy and difficult to manage, they are actually relatively calm dogs.Their quiet, reserved personalities make them excellent pets. They rarely bark and are loyal and friendly with people. These dogs can be prone to separation anxiety when left alone for long periods, so they are best kept in a home with people around most of the day.

Let’s take a closer look at this lovable dog breed.

Whippet Characteristics

High-energy dogs will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while low-energy dogs require minimal physical activity. It’s important when choosing a dog to make sure their energy levels match your lifestyle or vice versa.
Easy-to-train dogs are more skilled at learning prompts and actions quickly with minimal training. Dogs that are harder to train will require a bit more patience and practice.
Some dog breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every dog will have these issues, but they have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Some breeds, due to their size or their breeds potential genetic health issues, have shorter lifespans than others. Proper exercise, nutrition, and hygiene also play an important role in the lifespan of your pet.
Some dog breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other dogs. More social dogs have a tendency to run up to strangers for pets and scratches, while less social dogs shy away and are more cautious, even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed, it’s important to socialize your dog and expose them to lots of different situations.

Whippet Puppies

Despite being a purebred dog, Whippet puppies are on the lower end of the price spectrum. That said, this price point depends on what you’re looking for. Show-quality dogs with quality bloodlines will be rather expensive. For a standard Whippet puppy for companionship purposes, you can expect much lower fees.

It’s important to make sure your puppy comes from a breeder who is well-respected and raises their puppies in clean, healthy conditions. You should be able to obtain health information about your puppy’s parents, along with information specific to the breed.

Adopting a Whippet is also an option. These dogs do end up in shelters somewhat regularly, so you are sure to find a Whippet that needs a home.

Image Credit: No-longer-here, Pixabay

Temperament & Intelligence of the Whippet

Whippets are agile and fast when they’re hunting or competing, but they are calm and relaxed at home. They are a quiet dog breed that rarely barks or causes much fuss. These dogs are exceptionally loyal and loving toward their family, making them prone to separation anxiety if they’re left alone for long periods of time.

While Whippets do well in urban settings, they do need plenty of time outdoors. They can be difficult to handle off-leash because their prey drive is strong. Once they’ve locked onto something that they find chase-worthy, it can be hard to call them off. Their speed makes it impossible to catch them once they start running, so it’s best to only have them off-leash in a fenced yard or dog park.

Provided that they get an ample amount of exercise on a daily basis, Whippets don’t need much space in the home. They are generally not destructive dogs unless they are pent up with no outlet for their energy.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪

Since they aren’t easily excited or high-energy, Whippets make great family dogs. They bond well with children and make for a constant companion. As they create strong bonds with members of their families, they don’t cope well as outdoor dogs but are best suited to be in the home with their people.

Whippets make terrible guard dogs because they naturally love people. They are happy to lick strangers and cuddle with them and are exceptionally easy to socialize with.

Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets?

Whippets generally get along well with other dogs, as long as they are not too small. This breed has an extremely high prey drive, so cats and smaller pets are viewed as prey rather than family members. It is not unusual for a Whippet to attack and kill a cat out of instinct. This instinct isn’t usually reduced with socialization, so a Whippet may not be the best choice if you have cats in the home.

If you have a medium to large dog in the house, a Whippet can be a great companion for exercising your other dog (and your children). They do a great job of keeping older dogs energized and tiring out young children.divider-dog

Things to Know When Owning a Whippet:

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

Whippets aren’t large dogs, so they don’t require an excessive amount of food. They will do well on high-quality dry dog food fed twice per day.

Exercise 🐕

While Whippets are fairly calm, they do require regular exercise to avoid becoming destructive or misbehaving. They require 30–60 minutes of exercise each day at a minimum. It’s ideal for them to have a fenced yard to run around in to burn off excess energy.

A Whippet’s energy bursts are short because they are bred to go fast for a limited amount of time when hunting. They burn out fairly quickly with high-intensity exercise.

Whippet in the desert
Image Credit: Danita Delimont, Shutterstock

Training 🎾

As a highly intelligent breed, Whippets are easy to train. They learn quickly and excel at obedience training. As with many intelligent dogs, they can have a stubborn streak and will need consistent leadership.

These dogs do well at all sorts of dog sports, and when trained appropriately, they will do anything that their owners ask of them.

Grooming ✂️

Whippets are extremely low-maintenance dogs in terms of their grooming needs. They have a short coat that rarely requires brushing. They are also virtually odor-free, so they don’t need frequent baths. To keep a Whippet’s coat shiny, simply wipe them down with a wet towel.

This breed is a moderate shedding breed. While their short hair doesn’t make too much of a mess, you may find that you need to carry a lint brush when wearing dark clothing around your Whippet.

They will also require regular nail trims, especially since they run so fast. Long nails can get caught and cause discomfort while a Whippet is running at full speed.

Health and Conditions 🏥

Whippets break the mold as far as health conditions go. Many purebred dogs have a wide range of health problems and genetic concerns, but Whippets do not. They’re a healthy breed, with genetic conditions occurring in rare instances.

The biggest health concern for Whippets is weight. These dogs appear skinny compared to other breeds when they are at a healthy weight, often with their ribs showing. Their frame, however, isn’t built to tolerate excess weight, leading to serious bone and joint problems if they become overweight.

Minor Conditions
  • Deafness
  • Anesthesia sensitivity
Serious Conditions
  • Von Willebrand’s disease

Male vs. Female Whippets

Male and female Whippets have a noticeable size difference, with males being larger than females. Males do not have tendencies toward aggression any more than females, which is another unique feature of this breed.

Females are known for being more independent and stubborn than males, while males are known for being more loyal.


3 Little-Known Facts About the Whippet

1. Whippets are commonly mistaken for Greyhounds and Great Danes

Whippets are descended from the same family as Greyhounds, but they are a distinct breed of their own. They are smaller in stature than Greyhounds but look much the same. Their thin, long-legged frame also leads to some people mistaking them for Great Danes.

2. Whippets originated in Victorian-era England

Coal miners in Victorian-era England participated in rabbit hunting and dog racing in their spare time. They couldn’t afford kennel space for Greyhounds on their miner’s salaries, so they began breeding a smaller version to compete. The breed later came to America with some immigrating coal miners, arriving first in New England. A Whippet’s bloodline is one of obedience and intelligence; this trait persists in the breed today.

3. Whippets can reach speeds of up to 35 mph.

Whippets were originally bred as hunting dogs prior to their arrival in America. They are a sighthound breed that excels in speed-based sports such as Lure Coursing.


Final Thoughts

Whippets are affectionate, loyal dogs that are easily trained. They excel at a wide variety of dog sports and make excellent family dogs. Since they were originally bred for hunting, they have a strong prey drive that can make them dangerous to cats or other small animals, even with socialization. They do make great companions for kids and other dogs,

While they need to be exercised every day, they are generally calm and even-tempered inside the home and don’t need much space. Since they don’t bark frequently, they are suited to urban living, provided that their family is dedicated to giving them regular outdoor exercise.

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Featured Image Credit: Dora Zett, Shutterstock

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