The Whippet is a lean, muscular, athletic dog. They balance muscular strength and power with grace and elegance, being built for speed and work. Their coats are fine and short and come in a wide variety of colours and mixes of colours. Adult males measure 47-51cm and females 44-47cm. The weight range is about 12.5-13.5kg.
The Whippet dog breed was developed during the latter part of the 19th century from various sporting, coursing and running dogs, including small Greyhounds. He was bred to race and his ability to reach speeds of up to 35mph suited him to track racing. This breed was adopted by the miners of north-east England who were keen dog racing enthusiasts but they also used him for coursing, as he is capable of catching rabbits and hares. He gained his nickname of Snapdog from his ability to kill rats and rabbits with a sharp snap. Although he is still used as a working and racing dog now, his main role is as a companion.
The Whippet is a gentle, patient, tolerant and affectionate dog. Although they are competitive when racing, they are adaptable and quiet dogs. They can however, be highly strung and need understanding from their owners. Loving to their family, they make rewarding companions in the right home.
The Whippet dog breed is generally a relatively healthy breed with few widely recognised breed specific health problems.
Whippets are capable of short sharp bursts of fast running but are spirited enough to spend a long day of exercise if required. They will be happy to walk or jog with their owners and, although in need of daily exercise, are not too demanding. An hour's exercise is needed, as a rough guide, for an adult.
Small dogs have a fast metabolism, meaning they burn energy at a high rate, although their small stomachs mean that they must eat little and often. Small-breed foods are specifically designed with appropriate levels of key nutrients and smaller kibble sizes to suit smaller mouths. This also encourages chewing and improves digestion.
The Whippet dog breed benefits from regular grooming but care must be taken to use soft brushes and gentle handling, as their coat and skin is very fine and sensitive. Any shampoo used should be gentle without harsh ingredients, as these may cause reactions in the sensitive skin.