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Whippet – A Loving Family Dog

Updated on April 8, 2011
Whippet Dog. Picture from Google Images
Whippet Dog. Picture from Google Images

Whippets and Children

The Whippet is generally a quiet even-tempered dog, that enjoys human company.   These dogs are best kept as indoor dogs, and are even suitable for apartment living.  Whippets need regular daily exercise, and can be very energetic; but inside, they like the comforts of home and like to snuggle with the one special person that they have bonded with most.  Although, they will bond well with everyone in the house hold.  They are known to be very affection and sweet lap dogs.

Whippets excel at outdoor sports, matching any child’s energy and enthusiasm for life.  Whippets love to run and play hunting and racing games.  This breed can run at an amazing speed of 36 miles an hour, that’s almost 60km an hour!  They love to play games like flyball and complete agility and obedience challenges.  Providing endless play for children and families.

The breed is very low maintenance, requiring occasional brushing, of their short, clean coat.  Their very lean bodies can be susceptible to very cold climates.  Ask your veterinarian about your dog’s ability to cope in cold weather if you have concerns. 

Whippet Puppies at Play.  Picture from Google Images
Whippet Puppies at Play. Picture from Google Images

Whippet Tip -

When training Whippets and when making sure the Whippet's home environment is adequate keep a blanket handy for your Whippet to lay on.  Because the dog is so lean, with a broad chest and does not have thick hair, it can be uncomfortable for them to lay on hard ground.

Whippet on the Hunt.  Picture from Google Images
Whippet on the Hunt. Picture from Google Images

Whippet Breed History

Whippets originated in the United Kingdom around 1610.  They were originally developed to hunt small game.  The Whippet is a sight hound, which is what is sounds like, a hound that hunts primarily relying in it’s sight to track prey.

Over the years, the Whippet also became known for it’s agility and speed and gained popularity in the world of dog racing.  By the nineteenth century Whippet racing had become a national sport in England.   Whippet racing was even more popular than Football to the English during this time.  

By the late nineteenth century, the United States had caught on to the Whippets popularity and Americans were very impressed by the Whippets’ ability on the race track.  They learned that the dog not only had phenomenal racing ability, but other qualities too.  The Whippet breed still was an excellent hunter, great exhibition competitor and companion dog. 

The Americans than began breeding which increased the breeds popularity and helped them gain international recognition.  The American Kennel Club officially recognized the breed in 1888. 

Health Care Symbol.  From Google Images
Health Care Symbol. From Google Images

Whippet Health

Whippets are a very hardy breed, and generally surprisingly healthy.  Unlike many other breeds, Whippets are NOT prone to ear infections, skin allergies or hip dysplasia. 

However, they are known to have some unique health issues very specific to their breed.

Some Whippet health issues are as follows:

  • Undescended Testicles, in male Whippets discovered at birth. Treatment shortly after birth consists of hormonal therapy to promote descension or surgery.  Your veterinarian will monitor the dog’s progress and discuss an individualized care pan for you. 
  • Cardiac Arrhythmia, this breed typically has a slow beating heart that may be irregular at times.  Most dogs will still have a normal heart rate upon physical excretion. However, this condition may be normal for the breed and may not require treatment.  It is important to find a veterinarian who is experienced with Whippet’s unique health challenges
  • Myostatin Mutation, abnormally large muscle development causing the muscles to be disproportionate, and is affects the dogs athletic performance.
  • Intolerance to Anesthetic, due to decreased body fat, the breed cannot metabolize certain anesthetics well.  An experienced veterinarian will be able to provide properly for your dog. 

 Most Whippets can be very healthy.  Speak to the breeder or shelter staff about your Whippet’s health if you have any concerns.  Develop a relationship with a good veterinarian experienced with Whippet’s unique health challenges early in your dog’s life, and see that veterinarian consistently.

Share Stories About Your Family Dog! What Makes Them Great?

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    • Paradise7 profile image


      7 years ago from Upstate New York

      Very good hub. They seem like great dogs for a family pet.


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