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The Whippet is a medium-sized dog breed developed from terriers and small English Greyhounds. They have tremendous speed and are specifically sighthounds who hunt with sight rather than smell. Today, the Whippet makes an excellent house dog and family companion thanks to its gentle, cuddly, loyal, quiet, affectionate, and friendly nature. But one thing new owners tend to overlook when choosing their next dog is their shedding level. This can be such a huge problem for allergy sufferers, but even if you’re not allergic to dogs, think of all the cleaning you’ll have to do when your dog sheds profusely all over the house. So, let’s see how the Whippet fairs in this area.
Do Whippets shed? All dogs shed, and this breed is no exception; the difference is in the level of shedding. Like most short-haired single coat breeds, Whippets are low shedders. And while they do so lightly throughout the year, they do experience increased shedding twice a year during spring and fall.
When considering a new breed of dog to add to your household, it’s important to consider their coat. Does it shed more or less than most breeds, and is it easy to maintain? Breeds such as the Golden Retriever shed a lot and require a lot of grooming and maintenance. But before you think short-haired dogs have fewer shedding issues than the fluffier ones, that’s not always the case. In this text, I will answer a few important questions about this dog like how much do Whippets shed, what they are like to groom, their effect on allergy sufferers, and much more. Hopefully, by the end of this article, you’ll have enough information on this topic to make an informed decision about the Whippet. Without further ado, let’s jump right in:
Do Whippets Shed? – Whippet Shedding Level
As mentioned earlier, all dogs shed, although some more than others. Unlike furrier dogs with double layers of fur, the Whippet has a single coat made of short hairs that are densely packed together, thus giving it its sleek and shiny look. As short-haired dogs, the Whippet does lose hair but nothing too noticeable. In fact, if you visit someone with this dog, you won’t automatically know they have a dog, unlike visiting someone with a Golden Retriever, as there will be fur everywhere.
Of course, there will be some variance even within the Whippet family. Your dog may shed more or less, depending on other factors like nutrition and grooming. Additionally, Whippet mixes will shed differently depending on the dog they were crossed with.
You can expect a small-moderate amount of shedding throughout the year, but this will increase when the dog blows its coat. This is when they shed their entire coat in preparation for seasonal changes, which usually occur in fall and spring. They will blow their coat in the fall to allow for the growth of a thick winter coat to help keep them warm. And come springtime, they will shed the heavy winter coat for a lighter one to keep them warm during the hot summer months. However, even during seasonal shedding, Whippets still shed less than many of their short-haired cousins and are nearly not as bad as breeds with a double coat (hence they are pretty great apartment dogs).
If you’re looking for a breed that doesn’t shed, you’re in for a great surprise, as they all do. But if you want one that doesn’t shed much, the Whippet might just be the right dog for you. This also makes them a popular choice among those who hate cleaning up pet hair all the time. But keep in mind that this thin coat doesn’t offer much protection against the elements, and your dog can easily suffer from scratches, bleeds, and nicks, unlike a furrier dog.
Are Whippets Hypoallergenic?
When answering the question do Whippets shed, it’s only logical to know their effect on people with allergies. An estimated 15% of the population is allergic to dogs and cats, so some breeders claim to produce hypoallergenic dogs. These are breeds that are less likely to cause an allergic reaction.
Unfortunately, all dogs produce an allergy-triggering protein called KNF-1 that ends up getting transferred into the environment via their saliva, urine, and dander. This protein is usually harmless, but individuals with an overly sensitive immune system will identify them as pathogens and try to fight them. In turn, this results in a number of allergic reactions, including sneezing, runny nose, hives, coughing, wheezing, asthma attacks for those with asthma, and in worse cases, difficulty breathing.
By this logic, no dog is 100% hypoallergenic. However, different breeds produce different amounts of allergens, which means some are less likely to cause an allergic reaction while others can cause you to suffer worse allergies.
For allergy sufferers thinking about becoming Whippet owners, what’s the verdict? Whippets are not considered hypoallergenic because they still produce the allergen-triggering protein, which sticks onto dander and eventually gets blown into the environment. The good news is Whippets shed less and are, therefore, likely to cause less of a problem to allergy sufferers. You can further alleviate your symptoms by doing the following:
- Regularly groom your dog to catch loose hairs and dander before they fall into the environment
- Regularly clean your house and anything else that the dog comes into contact with
- Keep your Whippet out of your bedroom
- Use a HEPA air filter to keep the air in your home/office clean and allergen-free
- Try allergy medications or shots, of course, after speaking with your doctor/allergist
Why Does My Whippet Shed So Much?
While molting is a natural process in Whippets, you should watch out for excessive shedding. Indeed, each dog sheds differently, even within the same breed. Some Whippet owners swear their dog hardly sheds while others experience hairs in every part of the house that the dog frequents. Once you get to know your dog and its shedding habits, you’ll be able to know what is normal shedding and what isn’t. That being said, your Whippet should never shed in clumps. This includes seasonal shedding when they are expected to shed more than usual.
There are several reasons why your Whippet might be shedding so much. This includes:
Stress and Anxiety
Just like humans, your Whippet can get stressed as well. Changes in their lifestyle or environment, increased family conflict, death, and even trips to the vet have been known to induce stress. Whippets are also prone to separation anxiety when left alone for prolonged periods. The stress and anxiety from any situation are powerful emotional responses that can manifest physically in your dog’s body through excessive shedding.
Parasites and Fungi
Whippets love spending time outdoors, whether for exercise, socialization, or play, but they can easily pick up parasites like fleas, ticks, or mange mites. These parasites can also hitch a ride on your clothing and beddings or come through windows and doors, meaning even indoor Whippets can acquire them. All the itching, scratching, and licking, can lead to skin irritations, which causes excessive shedding. Your dog may also experience hair loss if they have fungi-induced ringworm. Luckily, you can prevent these causes of excessive hair loss using antifungal shampoos or other topical treatments or drugs.
Nutrition is the key to a dog’s health. If your Whippet is not getting a balanced diet with all the necessary nutrients, their coat and over health will suffer, thus leading to excessive hair loss.
Your Whippet’s hair could also be falling out because they are allergic to certain foods, medications, pest bites, soap/shampoo, or something in their environment like a cleaning product. Elimination is the best strategy for diagnosing allergies in your Whippet. With the help of your vet, remove all the possible allergens around your dog until their coat grows back and reintroduce them one by one until you figure out what is causing the problem.
Why Do Whippets Lose Hair?
The molting process is characterized by hair loss, so you shouldn’t worry if you’re picking up hairs off the floor, shaking the carpets, and brushing them from your clothing. However, if you notice your Whippet is suddenly losing hair in large quantities, it could be a medical condition that needs urgent attention. For instance, in cases of illness-related traumas, infections, or adrenal diseases such as Cushing’s disease, you’ll likely find spotty or patchy hair loss on your Whippet, rather than more generalized shedding all over their body. In some cases, like a hypothyroid dog, they might experience symmetrical hair loss that is also isolated to certain body parts. That being said, if you notice any of the following signs, you should explore the cause of the problem with your vet:
- Bald patches of clumps of hair loss
- A coat that is dry and brittle
- Hair loss that is accompanied by another skin issue
- If your dog is tender to touch or refuses to be touched where they’re losing hair
- Fur that breaks or falls out unevenly
Both male and female Whippets are more likely to experience pattern baldness. As with balding men, the hair on your dog will gradually fall out and not grow back. This type of hair loss doesn’t cause itchiness, although the skin can be dry. The areas usually affected are the chest, belly, throat, and insides of the dog’s legs.
When you visit the vet, they will conduct tests on your Whippet to rule out treatable causes of hair loss, like having too little thyroid hormone. And, if it’s true your Whippet has pattern baldness, the vet can offer hormonal treatment or supplements, which can help with the symptoms but not cure completely.
Are Whippets Clean Dogs?
Whippets are generally clean dogs. Their short coats tend not to get dirty quickly or become oily and smelly like some breeds. Therefore, that unmistakable ‘doggy’ smell is something owners don’t have to deal with. Additionally, Whippets will avoid getting dirty at all costs and even tip-toe around puddles and mud pools to stay neat and clean. And even if they do get dirty, they are known to engage in self-grooming as the cat does.
Like other dogs, the Whippet requires grooming to maintain upkeep. The good news is it’s only needed once in a while, perhaps every one to two weeks. However, you may need to do it daily to manage all that increased shedding during the seasonal shedding. Brushing helps prevent hair mats/knots while trapping loose hair and dander before it gets spread all over the house, where it can affect allergy sufferers and even make cleaning a daunting task. When brushing your dog’s coat, you’re helping to distribute healthy natural skin oils all over their body, thus promoting a healthier, shining coat.
Grooming also involves keeping other parts of your Whippet’s body clean. So, regularly check their ears for any signs of wax build-up, debris, inflammation, or infection. Their nails should also be kept short. Note that long nails can cause a lot of discomfort, especially when your Whippet is running at high speeds. Dental issues are among the leading causes of death in Whippets and dogs in general. Needless to say, they will need regular teeth cleanings to keep these issues at bay and ensure a long, healthy life.
As mentioned earlier, the Whippet is self-cleaning, so it doesn’t require frequent baths unless, of course, it rolls in mud or something smelly. Overbathing them will strip their skin of healthy oils, thus causing dry and itching skin. This will, in turn, result in excessive shedding. While you’re at it, remember to use dog shampoo as the human type has a different pH that can irritate the dog’s skin.
Lastly, even as you keep your dog clean, remember to clean their beddings and clothes as well. Otherwise, all the dirt and germs will get transferred onto their clean bodies.
How Often Do Whippets Need A Bath?
While it’s clear that you should wash your Whippet as rarely as possible, you’re probably wondering how far apart. You’ll often find conflicting information online about the specific time frame for bathing the Whippet. Some owners prefer to do it regularly, while others leave it for quite a while. The answer largely depends on the dog. If he rolls in mud or smelly things more often, then you won’t have a choice but to bathe them. Some Whippets won’t go near the water at all and will jump over mud patches and tip-toe around puddles just to stay clean and fresh.
That being said, how often your Whippet needs to be bathed will also depend on their age. Adult Whippets, for starters, will need bathing once every month. After that, they might not be quite as clean as you would like them to be. Aside from the age factor, Whippets that spend a lot of time outdoors tend to pick up filth and dirt, meaning they will require frequent baths than indoor dogs.
Puppies don’t need regular baths like the adult Whippet, even if they spend a lot of time outdoors. You can use unscented baby wipes to quickly and effectively remove filth from their body and only offer baths around every 8-10 weeks.
For senior Whippets, bathing once a month should be more than enough. After all, they’re likely to spend more time indoors lounging on the sofa than rolling in mud outside.
This bathing schedule is just a guide. It all comes down to an individual dog and how clean they keep themselves. Also, use your own judgment; if your dog comes home smelling bad, it only makes sense that you bathe them.