The Whippet – An Athletic Breed and Kind Companion

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Whippet Dog

The Whippet may appear frail but look closer and you’ll find that it’s a supreme athlete.  The breed is known for being a great competitor in agility, lure cursing, flyball, and rally.  There are many important aspects of the Whippet that you should know about before moving forward so let’s cover some of their most common traits.

Breed History

A few hundred years ago in England, someone had the bright idea to crossbreed long-legged terriers and greyhounds. What they ended up with was a speedy dog that became very popular at the time, mostly because the working class men of Northern England used to compete with their friends to see whose Whippet could catch the most rabbits. Ever since then, they’ve increased in popularity and they’re now bred to be loving pets.

Appareance

Whippets weigh roughly 30 pounds on average and can reach 20 inches in height. They’re very lean and have a long head and muzzle. When you look at them straight on you’ll notice right away they don’t possess the same characteristics of other dog breeds because their chest sits deeps down and their back is arched. They have a very short coat which comes in a range of colors and patterns such as black, white, cream, blue, fawn and brindle, along with a wide variety of blazes, patches and spots. They are quite eclectic animals!

Personality

A whippet might be intense when they’re chasing after something, but when they’re relaxed at home it’s a different story. They’re quiet and gentle. They’re also very friendly towards everyone they meet, which makes it even easier to fall in love with them, especially if you have children in your household. Exposing your Whippet to people when they’re young will ensure they grow up with a good temperament you can handle.

Whippet Dog Breed

Health Concerns

Compared to other dog breeds the Whippet is usually healthy dog with no major health concerns. Because they are very lean animals and do not store much body fat, you should be careful if you need to take them to the vet for any serious emergencies that may require anesthesia. The have a higher sensitivity to anesthesia that other dog breeds. Eye diseases and deafness might occur in some Whippets, but it occurs in a very small percentage of them. To stay on the safe side, it’s better to buy your dog from an educated breeder.

Trainability

Whippets are intelligent and perform well with basic obedience traning. However, they tend to be independent, so learning more advanced training commands may be slightly challenging. But this breed is very eager to please. So use patience and positive reinforcement and you’ll get good results.  One tip that always work is to use treats when they’re learning something new. This keeps them interested and focused. Make sure to give them a lot of praise too! You’ll be surprised by what they’re able to learn and it’s up to you to help them along the way.

Grooming Requirements

As with many dogs that have a short coat, you’ll be required to brush your Whippet weekly to dispose of any loose hairs. This will keep them looking healthy. It’s likely you’ll find yourself dealing with a few minor skin injuries as the Whippets thin coat isn’t very helpful in protecting them from getting scrapes and cuts. There are also some basic maintenance activities like cleaning their teeth on a weekly basis as well as cutting their nails roughly once a month.

Are They Right For You?

Does the whippet dog breed sound like a great addition to your family? Everything we’ve talked about points towards them making a great pet, but even though it’s fun learning about them you’ll need to go and see one for yourself. But be warned, you might end up with a new family member faster than you can say…Whippet!

Adopt A Purebred Whippet

Please consider adopting before purchasing and please avoid purchasing an animal from a pet store. There are plenty of pure bred Whippets in need of good homes. Click here to search for you a Whippet in need of adoption near you: <Petfinder>

Photo Credit:  istockphoto.com

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WagBrag’s co-founder, Russ Boles, has a deep history in animal rescue and welfare. For the past 12 years, Russ has served in various roles with Atlanta-based animal advocacy organizations focused on rescue, training and education. In addition, Russ led a local rescue volunteer team into New Orleans immediately after Hurricane Katrina, assisting in efforts to rescue and care for stranded animals. This experience changed his life, and animal rescue and advocacy will always be a part of everything he does.

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