Originally becoming popular for their skills on the racetrack, Whippets are now loved for their sweet nature and the joys of having one as part of the family. They are obviously beautiful, elegant dogs that make for wonderful pets, but are Whippets easy to take care of?
They are generally gentle and docile, and they love to relax and snooze as much as they love a good run around outside, but not everything about caring for a Whippet is easy. They can be a bit stubborn and independent-minded during training, which means they require some extra patience from you, and they are prone to anxiety and timidness.
As with all pets, it’s important to do your research and get to know everything that you can before bringing one into your family.
This article will go into detail about what you can expect from raising a Whippet, how they tend to behave, what they need from you, and what sort of personality they are likely to have so that you know as much as you can about how to care for one of these lovely animals.
Is a Whippet a Good First Dog?
At the end of the day, any dog can be a good first dog, but Whippets are a popular choice for new owners. You should consider a Whippet as your first dog if you are looking for a pet that:
- Is naturally calm and docile
- Is good with children
- Enjoys exercise but is unlikely to be too boisterous indoors
- Requires minimal grooming
What Are the Difficulties of Caring for a Whippet?
While there are many things that make it easy to look after a Whippet, there are some challenges that you may face as well.
- They can be nervous around other dogs.
- They can develop separation anxiety.
- They do need a good amount of exercise.
- They can be a bit disinterested in training (including potty training) and need some patience from you.
Looking after any pet is a commitment and you should be focussing on their needs instead of your own, so you need to be aware of what you can do to help your Whippet to be happy and healthy.
What is it Like Owning a Whippet?
Owning a Whippet is a joyful and rewarding experience, especially if you are putting in the extra time and effort to make sure they are as happy as they can be. For large parts of the day, they like to curl up and snooze in the house, but they love to have fun and get energetic as well.
Whippets are very affectionate and they will definitely show you how much they love you, but they are not lap dogs and they won’t turn their noses up at a good time. While they are usually calm and inobtrusive in the home, they will sprint around in zig-zags – at speeds of up to 35mph – when given the chance.
Raising one of these dogs can be the perfect balance between fun playfulness and sweet affection, but you do need to make sure that you put in the effort with training and socializing so that they are not nervous or disobedient.
Are Whippets Expensive to Take Care Of?
There are always, however, costs to be aware of when you’re making the commitment to raise a Whippets, such as:
- Initial Purchase: This can be very high from breeders, but is much more reasonable from rescue centers and through adoption.
- Equipment: Bowls, collars, toothpaste, brushes, etc.
- Vaccines: Rescue dogs will often be vaccinated for you, but you will still need to keep on top of these with your vet.
- Pet insurance
- Preventative healthcare
Adopting a Whippet is always going to be the best way to avoid the breeding industry, which can be predatory, damaging for the dogs, and very expensive. Puppies, purebreds, mixed breeds and older dogs are all available for adoption and this will save you a great deal of money as well as anxiety.
It can be easy to overlook the financial considerations of caring for your new dog, which is one of the big contributors to animals being put up for adoption by ill-prepared owners.
A Whippet will usually cost between $50 and $150 per month, and they will live for 12 to 14 years. Owning a pet of any kind is an investment, but the reward is definitely more than worth it.
Are Whippets Intelligent Dogs?
Training is a large part of ensuring that your dog is happy, safe, and well-behaved, and how easy a dog is to train will make a big difference to how easy they are to care for. Because we can’t have a conversation with our dogs, their intelligence is widely measured by how quickly they can understand new commands and how readily they will follow them.
In this regard, Whippets are seen as dogs of average intelligence, but this is more to do with their personalities than how smart they actually are. These nippy little pups were originally bred to chase down animals in open fields. This means that Whippets like to solve problems quickly and intuitively, so they rely more on their instinctual intelligence than learning commands and instructions.
What this all means is that Whippets are not always the easiest dogs to train because, despite their natural smarts, they can be a bit stubborn and disinterested in training. Fortunately, they are also very good-natured and can often be motivated by food and praise to get them invested in what you are trying to teach.
You may need to be a bit more patient with a Whippet than you would with other breeds but investing that time early on will make caring for them much easier. Additionally, even though they can take a little extra time to train, Whippets don’t naturally exhibit many challenging behaviors.
Are Whippets Easy to Live With?
Even though they love to run, Whippets also love to laze around too. Whippets are usually very easy to live with because they are naturally calm and good-natured, and they are rarely aggressive or noisy.
Are Whippets Easy to Take Care of In Terms of Exercise?
Exercise is a great way to spend time with your dog, have some fun and get yourself out of the house too. While Whippets are relaxed dogs most of the time, they do need a good amount of exercise as well.
Your Whippet should be getting a minimum of an hour of exercise every day, and they will definitely want to get a good run-in as part of that. Because of their prey instinct, they can be tricky to walk off the lead, so you will want to let them off in a secure area, like a fenced-in yard, where they can really get some speed up.
A couple of walks during the day, perhaps a short one in the morning and a long walk in the afternoon, are a good balance for your dog. Whippets also love to play, so getting some toys and games that you can both enjoy will be great for you and your dog.
Are Whippets Easy to Take Care of In Terms of Grooming?
For some dogs, grooming is a constant battle, but Whippets have very short fur that is easy to keep in good condition. A brush once a week is usually enough, but their skin can be quite sensitive, so it is best to use something soft.
Despite their short fur, Whippets do shed a bit, but it will be in pretty small quantities that are very easy to manage.
Are Whippets Easy to Take Care of Emotionally?
The challenge for any Whippet owner is not in how easy life is going to be for you while looking after them, but how easy you can make a life for your dog. Whippets are not demanding, intimidating, or bossy dogs and, as such, it can seem like you don’t really need to worry about them too much.
Actually, because of their sweet and gentle nature, Whippets need you to look out for their needs and help them to feel safe and secure in the world. They can become frightened of other animals and people if they are not socialized properly, and they can develop separation anxiety if they are not allowed to develop independence.
From an early age, you should be making sure that your dog is gaining confidence by being exposed to lots of different situations, with your love and support. This socialization is a key part of raising all dogs, but it is particularly important for Whippets.
Whippets are wonderful animals to adopt because they are so receptive to a caring owner. Sometimes, their past experiences can lead to them being nervous and frightened, but patience and affection from you will change that.
Can Whippets be Left Alone During the Day?
It is not generally a good idea to leave a Whippet alone for any significant period of time because they can become very stressed and upset. This is partly due to the incredibly strong bonds that they form with their owners.
It is important that you allow your dog some independent time, perhaps in a room on their own, while they are still young, so they know that they are safe by themselves. If they become too reliant on you for support, they will develop separation anxiety and can become very unhappy every time that you leave.
With that being said, no matter how independent your Whippet is, they just can’t help but feel sad to see you leave.
Final Thoughts: Are Whippets Easy to Take Care Of?
So, are Whippets easy to take care of? The answer is yes, as much as any dog can be. They are sweet and docile, but fun and playful as well. Raising one of these special dogs will be a massively rewarding experience for any owner, and they don’t ask much from you.
Taking care of any dog, however, is a significant commitment and you are going to need to invest time, money, and dedication to make sure that your pup grows up happy and healthy. The secret is, though, that the effort of raising a Whippet is always a joy rather than a chore.