- The whippet descends from greyhound roots, probably mixed with ratting terriers.
- The resulting small dogs could be used for poaching in the royal forests, and for entertainment in snap dog contests in which bets were made on how many rabbits a dog could snap up before the rabbits escaped from a circle. This gave the whippet its first name of "snap-dog."
- During the Industrial Revolution, workers brought their dogs with them to towns. They staged betting races in which the dogs raced in a 200-yard straight line toward a person waving a rag. This earned the breed the name of "poor man's racehorse."
- The AKC recognized the whippet in 1888.
- The whippet is the most popular of the greyhound-like breeds.
- The whippet is the most successful breed competing in the sport of lure-coursing, in which they chase a plastic bag dragged along a zig-zagging course at high speed.
Whippet Behavior Concerns
- Makes a devoted and gentle companion.
- It is one of the most demonstrative and obedient of the greyhound-like breeds.
- It enjoys sitting close to its family; it is sometimes described as "clingy."
- It may tend to run off to chase moving things, especially small animals.
- Sociable with children, strangers, and other dogs and animals (except small strange ones running away).
- An alert watchdog, but not a very effective protection dog.
- Learns quickly, but is easily bored.
- Does best with reward-based training involving food or play. Very sensitive.
Whippet Suggested Exercises
- Makes a very quiet housedog as long as its exercise needs are met.
- Requires a moderate walk or jog, or a sprint in an enclosed area, every day.
- Games and tricks provide needed mental exercise.
- Its short hair provides virtually no protection against cold weather. A coat may be necessary in cold weather.
- Coat is short and thin.
- The coat needs weekly brushing, and occasional bathing.
- Shedding is below average.
Suggested Whippet Nutritional Needs
- Whippet conformation is for a naturally thin build, but owners often overfeed them. You should be able to feel the ribs, but they should not be too noticeable.
- Adult dogs should be fed a balanced diet, with restricted calories if the dog starts to gain too much weight.