Whippets were developed in northern England, and they look like shorter, lighter Greyhounds with the same blazing speed as the larger sighthounds. Whippets can make excellent pets, but like any breed, they aren’t suitable for every family. Here are 12 Whippet pros and cons you should know before you adopt one.
The 6 Whippet Pros
1. Whippets Are Quiet.
If you’re searching for a watchdog, the Whippet isn’t the breed for you. Whippets don’t bark very much. They may notice a stranger at the door, but they probably won’t let you know. On the other hand, this trait makes Whippets a good fit for apartments or crowded city housing if they can exercise enough.
Not only do Whippets not bark a lot, but they also aren’t typically very active at home. Your downstairs neighbor probably won’t complain about dog nails clicking on the floor constantly because your Whippet will probably snooze on the couch most of the time.
2. Whippets Are Friendly.
Generally, Whippets have friendly, social, and calm personalities. They get along well with new people and bond closely with their owners. Whippets are affectionate with their family and can do well with children with proper socialization.
They usually like other dogs, too. The loving Whippet’s personality is one of the easiest things to like about them. Combined with their quiet nature, the Whippet’s temperament makes them a good choice for therapy work.
3. Whippets Are Good Exercise Buddies.
Yes, Whippets love to cuddle on the couch, but they’re also speedy hunting dogs at their core. They may not be overly energetic, but they still need daily exercise and experience bursts of increased activity.
Whippets love to run and will happily join you on daily jogs if you’re a runner. Remember to keep them on a leash and pay attention to the weather before you exercise with your Whippet.
4. Whippets Are Low-Maintenance Pets.
Whippets’ short, thin coats don’t shed much or have enough hair to tangle. They still benefit from weekly brushing, but grooming a sleek Whippet takes much less time than a dog with a thicker coat.
You can use a soft brush on a Whippet to avoid irritating their sensitive skin. Whippets rarely need baths. Regular nail trims, ear checks, and preventative dental care will round out the Whippet’s simple grooming routine.
5. Whippets Are Generally Healthy.
As a breed, Whippets are generally free of inherited medical conditions that plague many purebred dogs. Screening tests can usually detect any genetic conditions. Ask your breeder for this information on any dog you’re considering.
Whippets can suffer from inherited deafness, von Willebrand’s disease, and a heart condition called mitral valve disease. Eye conditions can also occur in Whippets. As a small but deep-chested breed, they are at risk of bloat.
6. Whippets Are Smart.
Whippets are intelligent dogs who are usually easy to train because they desire to please their owners. Gentle, positive training techniques are a must for this sensitive breed. Whippets can learn and participate in dog sports, such as agility, lure coursing, flyball, Frisbee, and tracking.
Like any breed, the earlier training begins, the more effective it will be. Start teaching your Whippet puppy routines and commands as soon as you can.
The 5 Whippet Cons
7. Whippets Don’t Tolerate Temperature Extremes.
The Whippet’s thin coat may be easy to care for but provides little protection from the elements. Whippets don’t tolerate cold or wet weather well and must be dressed warmly when venturing outdoors in low temperatures.
They can also get overheated easily, so you’ll need to be cautious about exercising them in warm weather, too. If you live in a very hot or cold climate, be aware your Whippet will need your help to stay comfortable and safe outdoors.
8. Whippets Can Be Nervous.
As we mentioned, Whippets are usually sweet, friendly dogs. However, they are prone to being nervous and fearful in unfamiliar situations. While they usually don’t respond aggressively, it can still be hard for them to handle fear. To help Whippets build their confidence, early socialization is essential. If you adopt an adult Whippet, be aware you may need to devote time to helping your dog overcome natural fears and nervousness.
9. Whippets Can Be Sensitive.
While Whippets can get along with kids, they’re also known to be sensitive to loud, busy environments. Whippets often prefer a quiet, peaceful living environment, and there may be an adjustment period if they’re brought into an active household.
Early socialization will help minimize the Whippet’s sensitive nature and increase their confidence. Ensure they have a quiet place to retreat to at home, such as a crate, when they need space and a break from the action.
10. Whippets Chase Small Animals.
Whippets were bred to chase and hunt small game, so they have a strong built-in prey drive. If they see a small “prey” animal, you can expect them to chase it. Outdoors, that means a Whippet can never be trusted off-leash outside of a fenced area.
Even the best-strained Whippet will let instinct take over if they see a rabbit or cat; unless you can run 30 miles per hour, you won’t catch them. Whippets aren’t a good fit for homes with cats or small exotic pets, either.
11. Whippets Are Injury-Prone.
Because of their thin coat and skin, Whippets are especially vulnerable to injuries like lacerations. They can get hurt playing with other dogs or running through the woods or fields. Whippet owners should monitor puppy playdates to ensure the sessions aren’t too intense.
It’s best to avoid dog parks or stick to the small dog areas with supervision. Keep your dog on a leash during hikes or walks, and consider dressing them in protective booties or a coat to minimize exposed skin.
12. Whippets Can Be Mischievous.
The downside of having a smart dog is that they can sometimes be too clever for their own good. Intelligent Whippets can be mischievous if they think they can get away with it. This trait can be dangerous if they choose to turn their talents to escape from the house or yard.
Speedy Whippets can be hard to catch, and if they realize you frequently leave the door open to carry groceries inside, they may try to take advantage. Teach children to keep doors and gates safely secured. Make sure your fence is high enough to prevent the dog from jumping over too. Supervision, good dog-proofing techniques, and training will help keep your Whippet’s mischievous side at bay.
Whippets make lovely companions for active individuals and families. They can live in apartments, are quiet, and don’t require a lot of exercise. However, Whippets need socialization to increase their confidence and protection from the elements.
They may need time to adjust to living with kids and are not a good fit for homes with cats and small exotic pets. If you’re considering adding a Whippet to your family, further research is needed to ensure you’re aware of the care and considerations the breed needs to stay safe and healthy.
- Related read: How Fast Do Whippets Run? Facts & Comparison Chart
Featured Image Credit: Fotomaha, Shutterstock