The Ultimate Guide to Owning a Whippet

The Whippet is a sleek, beautifully statuesque, and athletic breed. These “mini Greyhounds” have become increasingly popular, and with their friendly nature, manageable size and easy grooming, it is easy to see why.

Loving a mad dash around the park, they also don’t mind snoozing the day away, and aren’t a yappy or barky breed. Wondering whether a Whippet is the dog for you? Here’s your StyleTails guide to all the pros, and cons, of owning one.

whippet
Photo: Dada Ma, Unsplash

TEMPERAMENT

Whippets are gentle and affectionate with an even disposition, making them a great choice for families, as they enjoy being around children and other dogs. Some Whippets can be quite sensitive whilst others are more outgoing, but they all tend to enjoy being part of a pack and will want to be with you most of the time.

Even though Whippets are fairly easy to train, their muscular build makes them excellent jumpers and runners, and they will chase anything small and furry given half a chance. So if you have bunnies or hamsters, you may want to think twice about bringing a Whippet into your home! However, Whippet puppies raised with other pets can coexist peacefully, but instinct is a powerful thing, so it’s essential to keep them separated when you’re not around to supervise.

SIZE

Whippets are considered small dogs, measuring more or less 47 cm tall and weighing around 13kg – so big enough to be fairly robust but still a good size should you need to scoop them up to carry.

EXERCISE

Despite their athletic frame Whippet’s do not require as much exercise as you may think. About an hour’s run around per day will be sufficient for most Whippets. Being a hound, Whippets will tend to tear around like crazy in the park for short bursts and then crash out on the sofa for the rest of the day for a good snooze.

Though they love to run and are prone to unprompted laps around the house or yard, you don’t need to be a runner yourself to raise this breed. They are fine city dogs, as long as they are allowed to get to a park for regular sprints. Other than that, regular walking will keep the Whippet happy and healthy.

LIVING ENVIRONMENT

Their size and quiet natures makes them suitable for living in apartments, but there should be enough room to accommodate a good play and dash around. As such, they are suited to both city and country living and will generally adapt well to both.

GROOMING

Whippets are one of the easiest breeds to groom; give them a once over with a rubber hound mitt and they’re good to go! Baths are rarely necessary (unless they have rolled in something stinky!), and although they don’t shed as heavily as other breeds, you’ll still want to keep a lint roller on hand.

Photo: Mitchell Orr, Unsplash

HEALTH

Whippets are generally a healthy breed, though as with any dog, there are a few things to look our for. Some of the conditions known to Whippets include Progressive retinal atrophy – gradual deterioration of the retina of the eye, Hypothyroidism – a condition in which there’s a decrease in thyroid hormone production, Cushing’s syndrome (Hyperadrenocorticism) – hormonal disorder which results in the production off too much cortisol and Cervical disc disease – an extremely painful condition in which a disc ruptures in the neck. For some conditions, there are screening programmes available through the British Veterinary Association (BVA) and the Kennel Club. You can find out more about the Canine Health Schemes on the BVA’s website.

Looking for a stylish collar for your Whippet? Visit our online shop to see our favourite designer whippet collars.

Do you own a Whippet or are you thinking about getting one? Tell us what you think about this breed in the comments below!

Caroline is a writer and marketer, currently working as the Head of Digital for the UK Kennel Club. Caroline has previously contributed to publications including Time Out Dubai, Wallpaper* and the World Travel Guide. In her spare time she combines her love of dogs and travel, taking her rescue dog Rudi on as many pooch adventures as possible, whether it's a weekend break in Paris or seeking out the most dog-friendly pub in London.

4 Comments

  • Reply November 20, 2019

    William Nelson

    I’m a 66 yr. old man and Myles is the 3rd whippet I’ve owned. And in that whippets are so attentive and loving I can truly say that I do not live alone. As a true dog lover I’ve owned many different breeds, but that all changed after getting my first whippet. Any whippet owner can tell you why that is. Just don’t count on your whippet to be a guard dog unless you want the burglar to be kissed to death. They’re the most loving and affectionate breed I’ve ever been around and are the best companion I could ever hope to have. I’m thoroughly in love with the breed and wish everyone could experience the sheer joy they bring to your life!

    • Reply December 5, 2019

      Sara White

      Hi William, thank you so much for sharing! Whippets are truly a very special breed.

    • Reply February 4, 2021

      Julie

      Hi William, in the 2020 situation I finally decided to get a dog and whippets were my first choice. Couldn’t find even one to adopt and found a breeder with puppies. I came home with 2 of these huggable lovers, I read it but having them at home is such a joy, I just had no idea! I’ve had a few other breeds and none compare, we are all 3 so in love with each other. They just want so badly to please and I want so badly to make them happy.

  • Reply March 1, 2020

    Roger Sylvester

    I got a whippet from humane society. She is the best dog I have ever had.

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