Family Pet Guide > Dogs > Hounds > Whippet


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Size: Medium (25 to 60 lbs.)
Lifespan: Long (12 to 15+ years)
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Whippets are an elegant, medium-sized breed in the Greyhound family, and are known as "the all-purpose dog." Very similar in appearance to the Italian Greyhound and standard "racing" Greyhound, the Whippet was developed in the 1800s in England by crossing a standard Greyhound with a terrier to create the perfect hunting and coursing dog. Whippets are sweet, sensitive, loyal, and affectionate, and although they do better with families in temperate climates due to their lean build and short coat, Whippets make great family pets in both city and country. Like their cousins, they thrive in a "pack" with constant companionship and don't do well left outside unattended. Whippets are perfect family dogs that give back tenfold in love what they take in attention and exercise, and are great fun to train for agility and running challenges.

General Care

Whippets are somewhat cat-like (similar to Italian Greyhounds)--they clean themselves and only require monthly bathing, brushing, nail clipping, and teeth cleaning. Greyhounds are cuddlers, known for demanding to sleep under the covers and having a penchant for luxury living. Don't be fooled by their reputation for racing when it comes to exercise: all Greyhound breeds have an "on" and "off" switch, only needing short spurts of off-leash exercise, known as Zooms, a few times a day and then they become the World's Greatest Couch Potatoes. Because of their lean and slight build, Whippets will start to shiver once the temperature drops below 50 degrees, and in general Greyhounds aren't fond of rain, so be prepared with a sizeable wardrobe for various weather conditions (raincoat, fleece, booties, etc.) Whippets are intelligent and do best with positive reinforcement in training, but are difficult to ever completely housebreak and have been known for their independence and defiance. Greyhounds drink a large amount of water by volume compared to their size, so they need to be let out every few hours, but can be litter box trained if small enough. Common health problems include broken bones (usually from jumping off furniture), seizures, hair loss, skin tags or fatty deposits, and bladder issues. Sighthound breeds cannot metabolize barbiturate-based anesthetics, so please work with your veterinarian closely if your dog requires surgery. Whippets do well with children as long as they aren't rambunctious. Whippets also make great Pet Therapy dogs for the disabled and elderly.

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