Are you thinking about adopting a Whippet? Well, you couldn’t have made a better choice considering it’s one of the most popular sighthounds and a much-loved family companion. Being a dog owner is such a huge responsibility that it requires you to know as much as possible about a particular breed before bringing one home. And also, keep in mind that every dog is different, so while this in-depth breed profile will give you general information about the Whippet, you’ll still need to learn about your dog so you can take care of it better. Below you will find a complete dog breed profile.
Whippet Dog Breed Introduction
The Whippet is an adorable, dynamic dog breed with a lot to offer to the right owner. This dog was a hunter’s best friend, bred for racing and chasing prey at high speeds, which is why you might have heard of their other names, ‘the Poor Man’s Racehorse’ and ‘Lightning Rag Dog.’ Today they excel in agility courses, flyball, lure coursing, and rally.
This breed of dog is also smart, affectionate, and a loving companion who is quiet and loves lazing around the house just hanging out with its favorite humans. Whippets’ unique nature and stylish look make them a great house pet and a favorite in the show ring. Though related to Greyhounds from cross-breeding hundreds of years ago, Whippets are in a class of their own. Keep reading to learn more about them!
Whippet Breed History
The Whippet is a fairly modern dog breed developed in Northern England in the late 1700s by miners. They couldn’t afford to keep a Greyhound and, therefore, invented a smaller, less costly version by cross-breeding the fleet-footed Greyhound with more rugged and amiable Terriers. This resulted in a smaller, hardier, and still speedy dog. Their small size meant they cost less in care and food, which gave them the nickname the ‘Poorman’s Greyhound.’
This breed inherited their chasing instinct, tremendous speed (How fast can Whippets run?), and sleek appearance from Greyhounds, while the Terrier dog breed blood gave them their drive to hunt. With this combination of smarts and speed, these dogs were excellent at chasing and snapping up prey. Being sighthounds, they relied on visually tracking and chasing prey instead of sniffing it out as scent hounds do.
Whippet dogs were originally used for rabbit and hare coursing, which involved these small animals being released, and the first dog to make a kill won. Locals enjoyed gambling on this sport of competitive rabbit killing, but later it was outlawed, and the dogs were now used for chasing lures or rags.
These new dog sports gave rise to the Whippet’s other names: Lighting Rag Dog and Snap Dog. While the working class bred and perfected this breed’s racing and hunting spirit, it caught the attention of wealthier dog fanciers who perfected their look by adding some Italian Greyhound refinement.
The American Kennel Club registered the first Whippet, named Jack Dempsey, in 1888, while England’s Kennel Club recognized it as a breed in 1891.
Today, the Whippet wins many admirers for his devoted companionship, stylish look, and versatility. It is hugely popular in the show ring, although racing and hunting small game continues on a small scale. Despite all the hunting and racing history, the Whippet is a very sociable and surprisingly lazy dog. As a family dog, it is highly affectionate, playful, gentle, and enjoys the comfort of domestic life.
Whippet Dog Physical Characteristics
Since Whippets were originally bred with Greyhounds, they are often confused for the latter because they have a similar, graceful bodies. But you can easily recognize the Whippet for their generally slender, smaller, and less muscular body (Do whippets have webbed feet?). Other distinct physical characteristics are big sharp eyes, short and silky-smooth coats, and small, neatly folded ears. They also have a medium-sized height, slender waist, a sunken chest, slim legs, and distinctly long arched neck.
Size and Weight of Whippet Dog
The Whippet is classified as a medium-sized breed. Adult males grow up to 19-22 inches tall with an average weight of 34 pounds, while their female counterparts are between 18 and 21 inches tall with a lighter weight of around 29 pounds. Note that the height measurements are taken at the shoulders. A fully-grown whippet is still a small dog; in fact, much smaller than its relative, the Greyhound. More here: How big do Whippets get?
The Whippet typically reaches its full height around the 6th and 8th months, although it’s not unusual for some to go up to a year. But your Whippet is considered fully grown when they reach their full size in terms of height and weight, which is usually around 12-14 months. The larger the Whippet, the longer it will take to reach that optimum size. Since males are typically larger, they tend to stop growing at the 14-month mark while females stop at the 12-month mark.
Aside from the ideal adult size, it’s essential to understand the expected size at different ages so you can know if your Whippet is growing at the right pace. A female Whippet, for instance, should weigh 9.4-12 pounds at three months, 17-22 pounds at six months, and 22-28 pounds as they approach their first year. On the other hand, males should weigh 11-13.5 pounds at three months, 20.5-25.35 pounds at six months, and 26-32 pounds at one year.
Most Whippets grow rapidly between birth and eight months, which is why they need a high-quality, protein-rich diet to aid in growth and development. Aside from nutrition, the dog’s genetics, overall health, and spaying/neutering will also affect their growth pattern. It’s for these reasons that growth rates will vary slightly from one Whippet to another. However, if your dog’s growth rate is far apart from these averages, you might want to visit the vet ASAP.
Whippets are likely to look thin during their development. In fact, according to the breed’s standards, two to four vertebrae should be visible across the back of this dog. When your Whippet reaches full growth, it may not continue to grow in height, but it can still add weight if fed poorly and is inactive (How long are Whippets pregnant for?).
Whippets Colors and Patterns
Whippets come in various colors (Whippet colors), including many different shades and color intensities, color mixes, markings, patches, and combinations. In fact, according to the AKC National Whippet Breed Standard, their color is immaterial. In the UK, Canada, and the rest of the world, where Whippets are bred, registered and shown, this dog can be any color or mixture of colors. These wide color combinations mean there’s something for everyone. So, let’s look at a few possibilities for you to consider.
Base colors include cream, white, black, tan, orange, silver, blue, fawn, grey, brown, and sometimes even dun. Hence, a purebred Whippet can have any of these colors in combination or be one solid color. Markings can also be present and may include masks, brindle, saddle, sibling, white trim, and watermarking.
The Whippet can have a variety of colors and markings, but the Kennel Club doesn’t register all of them. This is important to know if you want to show your Whippet. While some of the Whippet’s color combinations are more common than others, none are more valuable/desirable/preferred than the other.
That being said, some coat colors are rare from a numerical standpoint. This includes pure white and dun Whippets. The latter is especially interesting as they tend to have pink, red liver, or brown noses instead of dark or black ones and brown claws on each paw. It’s estimated that 1 in every 1,500 Whippets are dun-colored.
What about Merle Whippets
Although some merle Whippets do exist, they are not accepted by the Kennel Club. That’s because the gene that creates this pattern is often linked to an increased risk of dogs losing their hearing or vision. Also, if your Whippet has a merle pattern, there’s a chance it possesses the genes of another breed with this color and, therefore, is not purebred.
Shedding Levels and Grooming Routine
The Whippet has a short, single coat. So, while they lose some hair, it’s nothing too noticeable. This breed is among the lowest shedder and, in fact, shed much less than their short-haired cousins. You should expect small-moderate shedding throughout the year, although there are times when they shed slightly more.
This will be at the beginning of autumn and spring when they get rid of their existing coat in preparation for the seasonal changes. But even during seasonal shedding, the Whippet still sheds far less than most dog breeds and, thankfully, not as bad as double-coated dogs.
Aside from the seasonal shedding, your Whippet might shed more for other reasons. For instance, an underlying medical issue can show symptoms like an unhealthy coat that sheds more than usual. Another reason is if they are licking themselves more, which may be in response to sore spots or injuries. Last but not least, Whippets can suffer from stress and anxiety, which can have extra shedding as a symptom. A trip to the vet can help you know if a medical issue is the cause of your dog’s excessive shedding.
Because of their short, single coat, Whippets don’t require a lot of grooming, making them pretty low maintenance. All your dog will need is weekly brushing to remove dirt and dead or loose fur from its coat. This helps keep the coat glossy and in good condition and reduces the amount of fur the dog sheds (Are Whippets easy to take care of?).
These dogs’ short fur also tends not to get dirty quickly, and neither does it seem to become oily and smelly. In short, Whippets don’t have that typical doggy odor and maintain their cleanliness like cats. For this reason, they don’t need regular baths unless they have rolled in something smelly or muddy. Every 4-6 weeks is enough to avoid stripping too much oil from the skin.
Remember to check their ears for any signs of wax build-up, inflammation, or debris, as well as provide regular teeth cleanings and keep their nails short.
Energy Levels and Whippet Exercise Routine
Whippets are famous for their incredible speed, so they were bred to hunt rabbits and race. Therefore, they definitely pass for high-energy dogs. This does not mean they are always all over the place, though (Are Whippets high energy?)
You can manage this high-energy dog through regular exercise to burn the excess energy. Without exercise, the dog becomes destructive. They will engage in destructive activities such as jumping up and down the house, scratching, chewing on things, and being over-playful (Do Whippets need a lot of exercises?).
Walk your Whippet for at least 20-30 minutes every day. You can also take them for a swim, and although they don’t have webbed feet like other breeds, most of them enjoy swimming. Keep your friend leashed all this time, as they have a strong prey instinct. Some people also go for runs with their Whippets, and if you decide to race, well, you lose terribly.
A fenced yard or field is recommendable. You can unleash your dog in your fenced yard and let them run around as they wish. With enough exercise, Whippets are usually calm, relaxed dogs. They only become mischievous and destructive when they have energy build-up (Do Whippets dig?).
Although Whippets are high-energy dogs, do not go too far with exercising. Avoid straining their joints. For young puppies, there is a common rule used that they get 5 minutes of exercise a day every month. In that case, a 4-month old puppy will get 20 minutes of exercise and so on. Adult Whippets are more active and need more time for exercise (Do Whippets swim?)
The lifespan of A Whippet Dog
As a dog owner, you may not want to imagine the demise of your furry friend, but it’s essential to understand their lifespan so you can know how to help them live long healthy lives (How long do Whippets live?). Whippets live between 12 and 15 years, although some have been known to go way past their life expectancy. The oldest recorded Whippet lived for 21 years, which is good news and comforting for those that take great care of their Whippets.
Whippets are thin-skinned and lean without much body fat, not to mention a very active athlete breed. These dogs are generally healthy, especially compared to most purebred dogs. There are, however, a few things that can affect their overall quality of life that you should be aware of. For starters, their lack of body fat means they have very little insulation against the elements, which makes them susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia, both of which can be fatal (Do Whippets get cold?).
There are also certain conditions and diseases that this breed has a predisposition towards. From Mitral Valve Disease to Canine Hemangiosarcoma and even Canine von Willebrand’s Disease, these conditions can considerably shorten a Whippet’s lifespan. These dogs are also sensitive to anesthesia and suffer from orthopedic injuries, skin tears, and deafness. Something that’s often overlooked in all dogs is dental health. Poor dental hygiene can result in some life-shortening problems in your Whippet.
Extending the Whippet Lifespan
There are a lot of factors that contribute to the lifespan of any dog, meaning there’s plenty you can do to help your Whippet live a long, healthy life. For starters, exercise will help keep off excess calories, thus reducing the likelihood of obesity and all other serious health issues associated with it. Mental stimulation is equally essential for ensuring a high quality of life.
Their diet is another crucial factor for their longevity. Like any other dog, Whippets need a high-quality diet that’s nutrient-dense to help keep them at optimum health.
Overall pet care, including regular grooming, regular visits to the vet, and loving and spending time with your dog, also go a long way towards ensuring they live happy, healthy lives (Do Whippets need to be groomed?).
Are Whippets Hypoallergenic
A common misconception about pet allergies is that they are caused by the dog fur and, therefore, single-coated, and short-haired breeds like the Whippet are hypoallergenic. The truth is dog allergies are caused by a protein found in the dog’s saliva, urine, or dander, which is then transferred to the environment.
These proteins are usually harmless; however, if your immune system is overly sensitive, it will identify them as pathogens and attempt to fight them. This leads to some allergic reactions, including coughing, sneezing, itching, wheezing, runny nose, and in worse cases, difficulty breathing.
With this in mind, no dog is truly hypoallergenic (Are Whippets hypoallergenic?). However, some dogs are more likely to cause an allergic reaction than others. For example, those that drool too much and/or produce a lot of dander. So, what category does the Whippet fall into?
Dander is tiny flakes of dead skin that collect on the dog’s fur and are transferred into the environment during shedding. Because it’s almost microscopic, it can float in the air for a long, where it can be swallowed or inhaled. Since Whippets are low shedders, the amount of dander they produce is less, making them less of a problem to those sensitive to dog fur and dander.
Secondly, Whippets are among the least slobbery dogs, although they can drool much when excited or if they see food (Do Whippets drool?). Whippets are not as bad for allergy sufferers as some high shedders and heavy droolers, but you can still be affected whenever you’re around them.
If your heart is still set on a Whippet, there are a couple of ways you can reduce the allergies and live happily with your furry friend. For starters:
- Keep the dog out of your bedroom
- Vacuum and clean your home regularly to remove fur and dander
- Regularly groom them to remove loose fur before it falls out onto your furniture, carpets, etc.
- Don’t allow your dog to lick you, especially on the face
- Invest in a HEPA air filter to help trap the allergens and keep the air clean
- Talk to your doctor to see if allergy medications or shots can help
A highly-nutritive meal is what every dog requires for good health. Whippets require a lot of lean-protein foods due to their low body fat. This is derived from high quality, low fat, and calorie-based meats. Fruits and vegetables are also important in providing the body with vitamins and minerals. I recommend a ratio of 80:20 (meat: vegetables/fruits) as this will support your Whippet’s active lifestyle and high-energy levels – What do Whippets eat?
Meat includes beef and mutton, while vegetables can be carrots, lentils, and broccoli, and fruits can be bananas, berries, or apples. These are healthy and organic, but watch out for allergens and strange additives on the product label. You can introduce supplements where necessary. For instance, when your Whippet is sick, pregnant, recovering, or has other health issues. Contact your vet before making that decision, though.
Although this is a large active breed, they have tucked-in tummies and lean bodies. Therefore, feeding Whippets twice a day, in the morning and the evening, is enough. Also, the food should not be left with the dog all day as it encourages overeating. Overeating will cause weight issues, bloating, and even dog farts. An overweight Whippet is an unhealthy and less active Whippet (Are Whippets prone to obesity?).
Measure the food according to the manufacturers’ instructions, your dog’s weight, and age. An adult Whippet can eat about 5-6 cups of kibble a day, but a 2-3-month-old puppy requires about 150-200 grams. You can adjust the quantity of food based on your dog’s activity levels and individual needs. Otherwise, at least two cups of dry kibble every day is okay (How much should Whippet eat?).
With the market being flooded with so many types of dog food, deciding what is best for your pup can be difficult. Fortunately, you have come to the right place. Always go for high-quality foods that offer complete nutrition with whole meat, whole grains, and natural preservatives. Some foods have filler products such as corn and wheat, which can cause sensitivities and weight issues. Premium brands are a bit pricy, but they offer the best quality of dog food.
Are Whippets Suitable for Apartments
Apartment living has become a popular choice as they are smaller and less expensive than houses. But this can be challenging for dog owners given the limited space and rules against pet ownership. If you live in an apartment complex or flat, you may want to know whether that is a suitable living environment for a Whippet. Further info here: Are Whippets good apartment dogs?
Well, Whippets make excellent apartment dogs for a couple of reasons. For starters, they can sleep for hours by your side and rarely bark unless there’s a good reason. This quiet and calm energy makes them ideal for apartment living as you’ll stay on your neighbors’ good side. Secondly, they love to relax and chill. Your Whippet will always find the most comfortable spot near you and then settle down to keep you company discreetly (Do whippets smell?). They are unlikely to become agitated or start to chew on furniture, curtains, or carpets.
As mentioned earlier, Whippets don’t shed much fur, don’t have that typical doggy smell, and are low maintenance (Do Whippets shed?) This helps to keep your apartment clean. Last but not least, these little hounds are good at moving nimbly and are very graceful when walking indoors.
That being said, this breed needs lots of exercises, meaning a home with a large backyard for running would be ideal. Keeping an athletic dog like this indoors means you must find ways to exercise them daily, no matter your circumstances (Do Whippets play fetch?).
Failure to do so will lead to pent-up energy, and the dog will find destructive ways to get rid of it. Plus, your Whippets muscles may not develop properly. Your Whippet will also need access to outdoor space for toileting (Do Whippets fart?)
Other tips for making your Whippet an excellent apartment dog include:
- Make time for playtime
- Stay tidy: Living in smaller spaces can make unpleasant smells worse, so work on regularly cleaning your dog and house.
- Dedicate to training. This includes teaching basic commands such as ‘stay’ and ‘come,’ without forgetting to housebreak them.
- Develop appropriate boundaries
- Reassure them throughout loud noises: Apartments tend to be located in urban areas where there’s a lot of noise. You’ll need to reassure your dog that the loud noises are not threatening.
Can Whippets Live Outside, In Cold and Hot Weather?
Whippets are generally not outdoor dogs and should live inside with their owners. They are naturally skinny with little body fat, meaning they have very little insulation against the elements. This is especially true for cold weather. Living your Whippet outside during winter can easily lead to frostbite and hypothermia, both of which can be fatal. If you have to bring them out, for instance, to go potty or exercise, they’ll need a jacket/winter coat to help keep them warm (Can Whippet live in hot weather?).
Because of their low body fat and short-haired coat, they are more tolerant of warm weather than cold weather. Another distinctive feature of this breed is its sizable nose, which allows cool air to circulate and keeps it from overheating. Even so, they’ll still need plenty of supply of fresh, clean water and a shed to stay under when it gets too hot.
Whippets love to spend time outside and will be grateful for daily exercise and a chance to run at full speed. They love engaging in family activities, so when you take long walks, they’ll want to be right by your side.
Dangers of Keeping Your Whippet Outside
Aside from the effects of the weather, it’s still not recommended to leave your Whippet outside, especially alone. Being a social breed, they easily suffer from separation anxiety and can become destructive when they do. Secondly, these dogs are very athletic and able to jump high, not to mention, that they have a high prey drive. If your dog manages to run away and chase after prey, it could be a disaster for everyone involved. Your dog could get lost, stolen, injured, or even hit by a vehicle (Are Whippets outside dogs?).
Your Whippet may enjoy being outdoors, especially during warm months, but you shouldn’t leave them there on their own as it opens up to a whole host of adverse effects. It’s best to keep them indoors but still take them out to do their business, exercise, and play.
Whippet Dog Personality Characteristics
The Whippet is virtually every dog owner’s dream, it’s known for being friendly, loyal, highly-affectionate, sweet-natured, and all the positive attributes you would like from a dog. He is calm, relaxed, and undemanding when indoors and desires only your company and a comfy couch. On the other hand, this dog is an energetic, playful athlete who enjoys running and playing fetch and Frisbee when outside. This dual personality makes them almost like two dogs in one and offers the best of both worlds. Read more: Are whippets smart?
Whippets get along with just about anyone, as we’re going to see below. However, while their general temperament is highly praised, note that each dog is different. How your Whippet is raised, socialized, and trained will determine how well they co-exist with others and act in different situations (Are whippets loyal?)
Living with Children and Family Members
Whippets are massively family-oriented and form strong bonds with each family member, whether young or old. They are gentle and kind, cuddly and cozy up with their favorite humans, and like to be involved and feel a part of the family (Are Whippets affectionate?). They are also obedient and well-mannered, of course, following socialization and training. If you want a loveable companion by your side, then the Whippet is the dog for you.
That being said, these dogs are not for everyone. They like peace and quiet, for starters, so a noisy, boisterous house may not be ideal for them. He also likes to run and needs daily exercise to stay healthy and happy, so he needs an equally active owner to meet this need (Are Whippets lazy?). Being a very social dog, the Whippet doesn’t like to be left alone, making them not ideal for people with busy lifestyles.
Whippets are adaptable and versatile. They are happy in apartments and large houses with a backyard, a single person who lives alone, and large families – Are Whippets a good family dog?
Whippets and Children
Gentle and affectionate by nature, these dogs have a natural affinity for children. Solid and lasting bonds will be formed during playtime and snuggle time. But they don’t like rough play or being startled, so make sure you teach your children to treat the dog in a kind and respectful manner. The dog will also need to be well socialized, so they are used to being around kids, and also trained on acting appropriately, like not jumping on people – Are whippets good with kids?
For younger kids, they should never be left alone with a dog of any breed, no matter how well-trained they are. After all, they are still animals, and no one can predict how they’ll react to a situation. Remember to always supervise interactions between your child and your Whippet for the protection of both.
Living with Cats and Other Dogs
If you have or are planning to have a multi-pet home, you may be wondering if a Whippet will get along with other animals as they do humans. Well, Whippets like the company of other dogs, and it’s even a good idea to have a second dog so they can provide each other company when you’re out. Read more: Are Whippets good with other dogs?
When you raise your Whippet with other dogs from an early age, they should be okay meeting other dogs outside, like when you go to the park. Keep in mind that these dogs have pretty thin skin, meaning playtime with other dogs should not get rough as it could result in bruises or cuts.
When it comes to smaller pets like cats and rabbits, these dogs aren’t suited to live with them. Whippets were originally bred for rabbit coursing and later for hunting small prey, and those instincts are too powerful for even a trained Whippet.
Due to their high prey drive, they’ll find cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, and other small prey tempting to chase and catch. The good news is they are not aggressive dogs, and the chase is not likely to end in a kill, although there have been cases of Whippets killing family cats – more here: Are Whippets good with cats?
This doesn’t mean your Whippet cannot co-exist with cats and other small animals, especially those they’ve been brought up with from puppyhood. You’ll also need to train your dog by teaching a few basic commands, so they do or stop doing certain things on your command.
Be sure to supervise the dog’s interactions with the small pets and never leave them alone together when you’re away. That’s because when they see the cat running outside, it may not be their beloved furry friend they see but prey.
Barking Levels of a Whippet Dog
The Whippet is typically a very quiet and reserved dog breed that isn’t fond of barking. This is one of the reasons why they are great apartment dogs. This doesn’t mean they won’t bark at all; instead, they only do so when necessary (Do Whippets bark a lot?). They will also whine, sigh, or even howl occasionally, but growling is rare.
Barking is shared among all dogs as it’s one of the ways they communicate with humans and their fellow dogs. So, let’s look at some of the common reasons your Whippet is barking:
As mentioned earlier, Whippets are very social and don’t like to be alone for extended periods. They will resort to destructive behaviors like excessive barking to try and overcome the feelings of anxiety and boredom. They may even dig under or jump over the fence to try and find a company (Do Whippets have separation anxiety?).
Wouldn’t it be great if our furry friends could talk to us with words, but that’s not the case? When your Whippet wants to communicate a need, they can only do so by barking. They could be telling you they want food, water, to go potty, or perhaps a treasured toy is stuck under the couch. Excessive barking in such cases maybe because you’re not providing what they need (Why do Whippets howl?).
The joy of seeing their owner come home from work, playtime, or receiving a new toy can often elicit a few barks. While this is quite normal, you may want to control it to avoid your pup barking excessively through excitement.
Alarm & Alert
Your Whippet will also bark as an alarm or warning system if a stranger is approaching or there’s a potential threat (Are whippets good guard dogs?).
How to Stop Your Whippet from Excessive/Nuisance Barking
It’s important to be able to differentiate between acceptable and nuisance barking. The latter is not an issue that many Whippet owners face, but some of these dogs are admittedly more vocal than others (How to stop Whippets from barking?).
Excessive barking can drive everyone crazy and cause problems with your neighbors. The first thing you should do to prevent excessive barking is exercise your Whippet. Lack of physical and mental stimulation can increase pent-up energy, and your dog will find destructive ways to get rid of it, like barking excessively.
If they are barking due to boredom, provide entertainment with interactive toys or a second dog for companionship. Most important, never shout at your dog when they’re barking. They will think you’re joining them and will bark more and louder (Are Whippets loud?)
While it’s important to check on your Whippet when they bark, you may be encouraging excessive barking without realizing it. These dogs are pretty smart and will soon realize that barking leads to attention or a reward, which will encourage constant barking to get what they want. If your dog is barking to seek attention, ignore them for as long as it takes them to be quiet and calm.
Are Whippets Good Guard or Watchdogs?
Before we determine whether the Whippet is a good guard or watchdog, let’s first differentiate between these two terms. The former is trained to secure their owners and even intervene in case of a hostile intruder. On the other hand, watchdogs will only alert you if there’s a stranger, an intruder, or any other potential threat by barking loudly but will not intervene.
There are some essential traits that a dog needs to be a good guard dog, and these include intelligence, courage, scary, aggression, alertness, and also being territorial (Are Whippets territorial?). At this point, it’s clear that Whippets cannot be guard dogs.
They are not aggressive, lack the power and the courage to take on a large human, not to mention their medium size isn’t that intimidating (Are Whippets protective?)
These quiet and elegant dogs hate confrontations and would much rather lick an intruder than strike them. Additionally, guard dogs typically live outside, where they protect the perimeter of the premises. And as we’ve seen, Whippets are not suited for outdoor living.
These dogs aren’t excellent watchdogs either. They rarely bark and are very friendly to everyone, including strangers. That being said, this needs to be judged individually as some Whippets can have some aggression in them and be able to scare away intruders.
Whippets are great at being working or racing dogs; they don’t need the added pressure of being guard dogs as well. If you are looking for a dog primarily for protection, the Whippet is not a good choice. Perhaps you should consider the German Shephard, Rottweiler, Bullmastiff, and Doberman, just to name a few. Of course, ensure you get as much information about these breeds as possible to know if they are a good match for you beyond their protective abilities.
It’s safe to say that any dog can become aggressive if placed in a position where they feel they need to defend themselves. There’re also other contributing factors like lack of proper care, socialization, and training. That being said, some breeds like the Rough Collie are more prone to aggression than others. So, what category do Whippets fall into?
The Whippet is not aggressive in any way (Are whippets aggressive?). In fact, the opposite is true; they are extremely gentle and loving dogs. While they can become overexcited, which often manifests in rough play and some barking, it’s fair to say that aggression is one of the less likely traits for this breed.
Again, this needs to be judged on an individual basis. Your Whippet can become aggressive for several reasons, starting with if they were previously abandoned. If you’ve adopted one from a shelter or rescue facility, there’s a possibility that they may have suffered from abandonment. They’ve probably been a stray for long, and finding themselves in a home with humans can cause them to be fearful.
A Whippet that was mistreated in the past may have lost trust in humans. As a result, they may show aloofness and aggression to people as a way to guard themselves. Another category of aggressive Whippets is those that were not socialized and are not trained. Your Whippet may become aggressive when meeting new people or dogs and facing new situations because they don’t know the proper way to act (Do Whippets bite?)
Whatever the reason behind your Whippet being aggressive, you should address this problem as soon as possible before it leads to more severe problems. The first step is to ensure your Whippet is getting enough physical and mental stimulation daily. This will release excess energy so your dog doesn’t resort to aggression and other destructive behaviors. You’ll also need to socialize and train your dog, so they get used to being around people and other animals and learn how to act in different situations (How to stop Whippet from biting?).
Can Whippets Be Left Alone?
While we would like to spend all day, every day, with our furry friends, the truth is that is not always possible. You may need to go to work, school, or run errands, and that means having to leave your dog behind for some hours.
We’ve seen throughout this text that Whippets are a social breed. They crave the attention and companionship of their human family and are, in fact, very needy dogs. As a result, they dislike being alone, especially for prolonged periods, and are prone to separation anxiety. This doesn’t mean you can’t leave them alone if need be. Well-trained and adjusted Whippets can manage to be alone for some time (Do Whippets run away?).
When it comes to how long they can be left alone, this should be judged individually. If your dog is completely housebroken, doesn’t chew on things, doesn’t whine, has free-roam, is usually asleep whenever indoors, and is accustomed to being alone, then you may be able to leave them for up to eight hours. However, this is not ideal or recommended and shouldn’t be a regular thing.
Less is always better, and anything longer than eight hours of alone time shouldn’t even be an option. Be sure to make their alone time easier by providing food, and entertainment, and perhaps ask a neighbor, hire a dog sitter, or get a second dog to help keep them company.
Remember that even well-adjusted and well-trained dogs can still get up to mischief if left alone for too long. They will become bored and turn destructive. Signs that your Whippet has been left alone for too long include accidents in the house, excessive barking, digging, chewing on your stuff, and other destructive or unusual changes in behavior.
While adult Whippets can be left alone for reasonable amounts of time, puppies are a different matter. Separation anxiety aside, puppies need frequent bathroom breaks, and so you’ll need to be around to let them outside. You don’t want to undo the strides you’ve been making in potty training.
There really isn’t a specific age when you can leave your Whippet for several hours since every pup matures at a slightly different rate. For the most part, Whippets become more laid back when they start to mature, which is between one and two years.
Being a dog owner is a responsibility you have to face up to. So, if your schedule keeps you away from home for most days, then perhaps the Whippet is not the dog for you.
Whippet Dog Breed Training – Easy or Hard?
Dog training is an integral part of being a dog owner as it ensures your dog grows into a well-adjusted, well-mannered member of society. It teaches your dog life skills to help them deal nicely with daily encounters and keep them from danger. You’re also able to understand your dog better, allowing you to take better care of them (Are Whippets stubborn?).
While the benefits of dog training are immeasurable, it’s not always an easy road to get there. Whippets are pretty smart and will master basic commands quickly (Are Whippets easy to train?). They also have an eager-to-please attitude. On the other hand, they are independently minded, stubborn, and don’t like being told what to do. Their high prey drive can make training difficult because when they spot prey, their strong desire to chase kicks in, and their concentration is gone.
This dog is also overly sensitive; hurt their feelings or force them to do something and they will quit on you in a hurry.
While dogs can learn at any age, it’s best to start training from puppyhood so they can quickly learn who the boss is and have enough time to learn all the necessary skills they need to thrive in their lifetime.
Whippet Dog Breed Potty Training
Whippets’ desire to please their owners and be clean makes them one of the easier dogs to potty train/housebreak/house train. Some of this breed’s lovers even claim that if they are whelped in a hygienic environment, they’ll want to continue with the same habit even later when they join new families (Are Whippets easy to potty train?).
According to animal experts, the best time to house a train is when your puppy is about 12-16 weeks old. This is when they have more control of their bladder and bowel movements. Of course, you can start preparing them for this task as early as eight weeks but without teaching them to retain. You can potty-train your Whippet at any age, but doing so when they are adults can prove to be more challenging than when they are young.
Steps to Take to Potty-Train Your Whippet
There are many methods of housebreaking a dog, so we’ll just focus on a few important tips that I believe will guarantee success. First, you need a designated spot outside where your Whippet can do their business, and with time, their scent will prompt them to go there every time they want to answer the call of nature. You should also include potty pads in your Whippet’s housetraining routine so they can use them at night or during cold winter months.
Taking your dog out to do their business should be done in a routine. For an adult Whippet, you can do it every 3-4 hours. Since puppies can’t hold it in for this long, you should take them out when they wake up, after every meal, during playtime, after naps, and before sleep. You should also watch out for signs that your pup wants to eliminate, which could include barking, sniffing, circling, scratching, running towards the door, whining, etc.
Once outside, use verbal cues and deliver them in a firm tone to encourage your Whippet to pee, poop, or even fart. And when they do, praise them and hand them a treat.
During Whippet dog potty training, it’s important to note the following do’s and don’ts for the process to be practical and successful. First off, stick to a feeding schedule to allow the dog to develop a consistent bathroom routine. Secondly, don’t ever punish your Whippet for doing their business inappropriately or when they have an accident in the house.
This will only make the dog fearful, and as mentioned earlier, this dog is quite sensitive, and positive reinforcement is the only way to train them. Most importantly, be patient and consistent; house training doesn’t happen overnight.
Whippet Dog Breed Obedience Training
Obedience training is one of the things your Whippet should undergo when you bring them home. One that has no training will be entirely out of control and unmanageable. And without discipline and respect, he may learn destructive behaviors like chewing items in the house, inappropriate elimination, biting, digging, etc.
Whippets love to please their owners, and for this reason, they excel in obedience training. They are smart and can be taught commands and tricks with ease. Prioritize basic commands that will get your dog under control and keep them safe. This includes ‘sit, stay, down, and heel.’ Note these commands as they will be useful for other types of training.
Obedience training is the key to having a well-behaved canine and a way to keep them safe. Whippets are either snoozing and relaxing or hyper and chasing after prey. This means that the dog gets bored easily and quickly and may wander off mentally when their prey drive kicks.
Both situations are not ideal for obedience training. You’ll need to take advantage of the more lucid moments and engage in brief sessions of training. Also, use positive reinforcement or reward-based training that majors on encouraging good behavior rather than punishing bad behavior.
If your Whippet is slow to catch commands or just doesn’t want to do it, avoid punishing them. This will only make the dog fearful. They may appear to follow your command, but that’s out of fear rather than true obedience. Each training session should end on a positive note with a command the dog has mastered. This will help build their confidence and leave them eager for the next training session.
Lastly, since the Whippet can be a challenging breed to train in general, you’ll need to be patient and consistent. Be encouraged by even slow progress; it’s still progress.
Whippet Dog Breed Behavioral Training
Are you starting to experience behavioral problems in your dog? You’re not alone! As an independent dog, the Whippet doesn’t like to be told what to do, which is why they will need some training from time to time to remove unwanted behaviors. Your dog is likely to show behavior problems when needs, such as exercise and mental stimulation, are not met.
You may also experience these problems if your Whippet is left alone for prolonged periods. Puppies show more behavior problems since they are hyper-active and not yet trained to be obedient.
Behavioral issues can be quite subjective because what one owner sees as problems may not be an issue for another. However, there are some typical issues that most owners agree on, such as biting or nipping, inappropriate elimination, excessive barking, whining, digging, chewing, and jumping on people.
If your Whippet’s behavioral problems get worse over time and they won’t obey any commands, it’s important to see the vet. Your dog might be acting up because of an injury, illness, or pain.
Sometimes, it could be you causing the problem. Dogs are like children, and they reflect how we treat them. If you shout at your Whippet or punish them physically, they may feel like this is an appropriate way to act.
Whippets are generally gentle and kind dogs, but they can develop behavioral problems for many reasons. It’s important to solve these problems as soon as possible. Not only for your own good but the good of the dog as well. Be sure to give your dog time and commitment to help them work through their behavioral issues.
Whippet Dog Breed Protection Training
As the name suggests, protection training is meant to teach a dog how to guard its owners against threats fearlessly. Some breeds are better suited for protection training than others because they have certain natural traits that enable them to do this job well, including alertness, courage, aggression, territorial, scary, intelligence, confidence, and being suspicious of strangers.
The Whippet lacks most of these traits, which is why they are not categorized as guard dogs. But with the proper technique, patience, and consistency, you can teach your dog to become anything you want them to be. Once they have mastered the basic commands such as ‘down, stand, sit-stay, come and heel,’ you can take your canine through a protection training course.
If your dog is not responding to all basic obedience consistently or you’re unable to teach them new commands, then you have no business trying to turn your Whippet into a protection dog. Whippets rarely bark, so you’ll have to teach them to start and stop barking on command. Most importantly, socialize your dog so they can understand different kinds of situations and know when there’s a potential threat.
Once your Whippet has learned to bark, appears threatening, and can assess different situations, it’s probably time to stop the protection training classes. If you decide to go further, like teaching them to attack, it may have negative consequences. A dog that is trained to strike is not a great option to have around the house. Your dog might turn around and attack you or your family, of course, when provoked. Don’t forget that a protection dog can also become a liability as you’ll likely be sued if they bite or attack someone, even if it was accidental.
Keep in mind that training your Whippet to become a guard dog will change their personality as well. This sweet and gentle breed may turn aggressive, and now you have another problem to tackle. It’s best to leave the Whippet as it is, and if you don’t have total control of your dog, then don’t even consider this type of training. If you want a dog primarily for protection, why not consider the best guard dogs around?