The Whippet is known for their graceful yet agile movements. Once they start running, it’s hard to tell that they are even a dog because they’re going so fast! The Whippet is built to be aerodynamic and knows how to pick up speed quickly. So, how fast can a Whippet run? Up to 35 miles an hour! It’s easy to see why these dogs are popular for sports like dog racing and agility competitions. Let’s take a closer look at the speed of the Whippet and what makes them so impressive on the field.
Why Do Whippets Run So Fast?
It is important to note that several general things make the breed fast and give every Whippet their running potential. First is their aerodynamic build. They have long legs, large hearts, and broad chests—all of which work together to ensure that a Whippet can run without fighting against the wind.
Second, there is a special gene mutation that Whippets can inherit from their parents, and scientists believe that it’s linked to improved running and overall athletic performance. A gene called MTSN, or myostatin, is inherited from both the mother and father. A Whippet that inherited a mutated MTSN gene from one parent and a normal MTSN gene from the other parent, was found to be more muscled and faster on the racetrack than those with two normal MTSN genes. Some Whippets may inherit two mutated MTSN genes, and scientists discovered that these dogs become overly muscular and rarely succeed when it comes to racing.
Another thing that can affect the speed of the Whippet is their health. If they don’t eat well, don’t get enough exercise, don’t see the veterinarian often enough, or develop any health conditions, their speed can be negatively impacted.
Whippets Were Bred for Speed and Hunting
The Whippet was originally developed to hunt, in which they needed great speed to catch up to their prey. These dogs are one of a handful of sighthound breeds that are known for their impressive speed and agility. They possess several features that help them excel at running, which include a large heart, a deep chest, a flexible back, and long, athletic legs. Other sighthounds include the Greyhound, Borzoi, Irish Wolfhound, and Afghan Hound.
Whippets are formidable in running and agility competitions. The breed has produced serious stars, such as Spitfire. This 5-year-old Whippet is known for his skills at dock diving, which is a sport that’s all about jumping. Spitfire can jump off a dock that he runs down and soar through the air at about 22 feet—or over the length of a 1979 Lincoln Continental Mark V!1 Spitfire has broken five world records and holds two world championships for dock diving.
Animal Running Comparison Chart
|Rottweiler||18 – 25 m.p.h.|
|Quarter Horse||45 – 55 m.p.h.|
|House Cat||30 m.p.h.|
|Human||5 – 10 m.p.h.|
Whippets are not the fastest dogs in the world, as breeds like Greyhounds can reach speeds of up to 45 miles per hour. However, they do trump the running speeds of many other dog breeds and animals like cats, reindeer, and humans. They are considered the fastest breed of their size by most experts.
Can Whippets Run Far Distances?
Whippets are best at sprinting, especially when they are going at top speeds. However, their build makes them great at running long distances too. It can take practice to get a Whippet to pace themselves and stay disciplined to run long distances. But if they are ready for it, they can run for about 5 miles at a time, if not more. Whippets that are excited and use excess amounts of energy to run are likely to peter out by about the 2-mile mark.
Whippets are sporty dogs that can run at impressive speeds. They have athletic, sleek builds that are designed for running. Watching a Whippet run at about 35 miles an hour for the first time is an inspiring experience for most people. Whippets also happen to make great family pets, as they’re intelligent, loyal, eager to please, and great with kids.
Featured Image Credit: AlyssaDogPhotographer, Shutterstock