What's a Whippet?

Running Whippets
Running Whippets | Source
Daisy as a puppy getting ready to go to her new home.
Daisy as a puppy getting ready to go to her new home. | Source
Daisy's mom.
Daisy's mom. | Source

Where the Whippet Started

What's a Whippet? It's not a dance but a Whippet dog breed. A Whippet is a medium sized sight hound (a breed bred to hunt by sight) that looks like a miniature greyhound. Actually the American Kennel Club calls the Whippet an English Greyhound in miniature. Dogbreedinfo.com says the Whippet is similar to it's cousin the Greyhound. The Whippet is smaller than a Greyhound but larger than an Italian Greyhound. Back in the 1800's the Greyhound was a popular breed but most ordinary people could not afford a Greyhound. It is said this is when the Whippet was bred with smaller terriers. The Whippet breed was recognized by the American Kennel in 1888.

Whippets originated in England and were first brought to America in 1891 for racing. Massachusetts was once the center of Whippet racing. Why racing? Well, the Whippet can reach speeds of up to 35 m.p.h. If you've ever seen a Whippet run, you'll easily see how people would want this dog to race. Grace and speed in motion! However, its easy going temperament led to its desire as a companion dog. They shed very little and tend to have a love of upholstered furniture.

;Whippets offer a Lot of Variety

Unlike many breeds, Whippets come in a variety of colors, you can find blue Whippets, black Whippets, white Whippets and brindle Whippets. There are also white Whippets with different spot patterns. Obviously this dog offers a lot of variety. There are also long haired Whippets! Every dog owner has his preference and I understand there are different breeds and different varieties to suit us all but I have to admit I have a hard time with the Bully Whippet.

The only thing I can think of when I see a Bully Whippet is the Hound of the Baskervilles. It is unfair as I understand they are just as docile and loving as a regular Whippet and at the mercy of missing genes. The bully whippet is evidently a mutation. It seems dogs lacking a protein/gene called myostatin windup with an unusual body type and its condition is sometimes referred to as "the Bully Whippet Syndrome". It is also said if the dog has one copy of the gene he is super fast but if he has two copies of the gene he is not. Also due to their size they don't don't live as long as regular Whippets. The picture of Wendy that I have included is all over the Internet. It seems every article I read about Bully Whippets included a picture of Wendy. The last and saddest thing I learned is this mutation may be caused by inbreeding. An article on The Tech Museum states that many Bully Whippets are put to sleep at birth because they don't conform to the Whippet standard. That would account for why we've not seen many of these dogs around. The Whippet isn't among the most common dogs in the neighborhood to begin with. FYI this gene has the same effect in people and was used in the TV series "The Incredible Hulk", though of course fictionalized and highly exaggerated.

Back to the regular, normal Whippet. The best thing about Whippets, though is their temperament. They are gentle dogs, sometimes shy. They are docile and not prone to snapping which makes them very good with children. Of course it's important to make sure children don't hurt the Whippet. Though they love to run they can actually do without excessive exercise. However, it is good to take them for a run occasionally or provide a space where they can run like a large, fenced in backyard, although they like nothing better than to lay around all day. They are very loyal to their owners but are not known to be aggressive - so they really don't make good watch dogs. According to the American Whippet Club this is one species where the animal's sex might matter. It appears males tend to be more loyal and playful but in the long run it might be difficult to tell.

Except for the long haired variety, Whippets don't do well in the cold and really aren't suited to be outside dogs. When walking them or letting them out in cold weather it would better suit them to have a coat.


Dogs looking for a treat; Daisy's in there too!
Dogs looking for a treat; Daisy's in there too! | Source

A Whippet in Our Family

We have a Whippet in our family, Daisy. Daisy is a doll. Very easy going and stays to herself a lot. We had the chance to dog sit recently and she was no trouble at all. Though my daughter brought Daisy's bed, Daisy decided my loveseat was much more comfortable. She greeted me in the morning when I got up by just coming over and looking at me with those big sad eyes. When it was time to eat and I got her dish out she would again just stand and look at me.

Outside is when you see the Whippet come out. She's not too fond of stairs and walks them with caution and a bit timidly but once she hits the ground she's a whole other dog. One of the times I let her out I had a camera in my hand to take her picture but she spotted a squirrel and was gone before I could even turn the camera on. She sprinted across my yard in three leaps! To date she has caught, killed, and buried three squirrels that I know of. I don't know about you but when squirrels take off, I'm impressed how fast they run, so knowing Daisy caught them just adds to my admiration of her speed and grace.

I can truly say this is a wonderful house dog that will give you years of devotion and loyalty. As with purchasing any dog, remember to check animal rescue. There are many Whippet Rescues out there.

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Comments 13 comments

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

Interesting hub about the whippet dog breed. I know folks who have adopted quite a few greyhounds and they seem to have similar temperments. Thanks for this interesting hub.


diogenes profile image

diogenes 4 years ago from UK and Mexico

They were a top breed once here in the UK but have gone out of favor. People used they for coursing hares and is an excellent ratter! We also had whippet races.

My American Kennel book says it was created by crossing the Italian Greyhound with ancient terrier breeds in the 17 and 1800's. They are faster than a Greyhound for the first 20 meters or so.

Bob


Suhail and my dog profile image

Suhail and my dog 4 years ago from Mississauga, ON

A breed I used to love watch compete in organized dog races when I was growing up. They were called poor men's Greyhounds. I may end up owning one when I am older, because of their calm and friendly nature.


Michele Travis profile image

Michele Travis 4 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio

Thank you for this hub. Gave you a thumbs up! I love dogs, but had not known much about this kind of dog. learning more is wonderful! You always write good hubs and I am sorry I don't comment very much.


Maddie Ruud profile image

Maddie Ruud 4 years ago from Oakland, CA

Whippets are adorable, and in my experience very sweet. I wonder, though, does the breed have any particular health issues?


tara 4 years ago

great story! love my daisy!


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Tilly....actually a friend of mine has two of these dogs. She adores them. I found them to be very friendly & lovable....just one question....When does Wendy compete in the Body Building Championship?! Looks like she's related to Arnold Schwartzenagger! Up++


pseudo-scripto14 profile image

pseudo-scripto14 4 years ago from Philippines

Great topic! I love story especially if it's about dogs!I"ve heard of it in animal planet and they really are resemble to a greyhound! They look so proud and the way they run, wow ! who wants to compete with them! Glad that hubber writing about dogs are incresing! Wish that canine writers here thrive! Good info coupled with visual and descriptive illustrations! Thumbs up!


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York Author

Peggy, thanks for reading.

Bob, I would imagine your Kennel Club book is correct!

Sunhail, they really have a wonderful temperament and are basically quiet too.

Maddie, the only health issues can sometimes be issues with their eyes but it is not really common, otherwise they are one of the healthiest purebreds!

Tara, we all do!

Effie, funny you should say that, Bullys have been called the Arnold Schwartzenagger of dogs!

Pseudo, so glad you enjoy reading about dogs. I do too and of course I like writing about them too!


Suhail and my dog profile image

Suhail and my dog 4 years ago from Mississauga, ON

Just wanted to share this. Today as I came out of my office for lunch, I saw this gentleman with his whippet hurrying along. It was a beautiful site. The whippet, with his characteristic lowered head and elegant trot, was looking impressive. I immediately thought about this hub.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York Author

Thanks Sunhail. They are so very graceful and it was nice of you to think of my hub!


UnnamedHarald profile image

UnnamedHarald 4 years ago from Cedar Rapids, Iowa

I came across "whippets" when researching my hub about the Whippet World War I tank. Now I know why the Mark A tank was called the "Whippet"-- it was much smaller and much faster than the other tanks-- it could go more than 8 miles an hour!!! Voted up and interesting.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York Author

That's really interesting UnnamedHarald...I never knew that!

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    Mary Craig (tillsontitan)938 Followers
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    Dogs are man's best friend. Mary has been around dogs all her life and loves every breed she's met. You can never go wrong with a dog.



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