The Whippet, a graceful dog that is very similar to and descendant of the Greyhound, was developed in England and used to compete in rabbit-luring competitions at first, and rag races later on. They are thin dogs, but are very athletic and excel in various canine sports, like agility, flyball and luring, up to this day. They are very well behaved around children and other dogs, but will need to be supervised around small pets, including cats, as they might see them as prey. They would be good watchdogs as they are very alert, but are not aggressive enough to be guard dogs for your home.
Dogs who are similar looking to the Whippet have been found in some artwork, such as carvings and paintings, for centuries. Their exact history is unknown, and there are a number of theories considering how these dogs came to be. Some think that the Whippet was bred from runt Greyhounds, leading to the smaller size. The crossing of Spaniels with Greyhounds is another idea. There are also some who believe that this breed was created from Italian Greyhounds and several types of Terriers, one of them being the Manchester Terrier. What we know is that these dogs were developed during the 19th century in England, and were used in rabbit-luring competitions. They quickly became popular among the working class in Northern England, and were used in the popular sport of rabbit-killing, where a hare would be released in an enclosed space, and the people would watch to see who’s dog could make the kill the fastest. The owners of these dogs had to eventually switch to a sport called rag racing when rabbit-luring was banned for cruelty. In this new hobby, a fur lure or cloth was used as bait and pulled down a long and straight road or field, as opposed to live rabbits. The townspeople would use these events as a way to meet up and gamble. When these dogs were not competing, they were still using their impressive hunting abilities to contribute to their family by hunting small game. It was the English Immigrants migrating to New Zealand who first brought this breed and its sport into North America between the late 19th and early 20th century. It was in 1891 that the American Kennel Club recognized the breed.
These stunning dogs are lean and graceful, with an appearance that is quite similar to the Greyhound, all but slightly smaller. They have a long head and muzzle, and a deep chest. These canines have bodies that are arched from the neck and the back all the way to the loin. Their ears will usually be held back, but when the dog becomes alert, they will become semi-pricked. The Whippet has teeth that will meet in a scissors bite, and eyes that will vary in color with each individual dog. They have coats that are smooth and hair that is short, lying close to the skin. These dogs can be found in a variety of patterns and in almost any color. Black, blue, white, fawn, cream, red and brindle are all color possibilities. The patterns that can be seen on their coat could range from blazes to spots to patches.
These dogs are thin and will need a sweater to keep them warm while out in the winter time. These dogs love to hunt and will set chase to anything that moves. Therefore, a yard with a high fence, about 5 to 6 feet, will be necessary. Besides some time to run around outside, Whippets will need several walks every day, lasting 20 to 30 minutes each. These dogs should not have too much strain on their joints, and therefore should not be over exercised. They are also very intelligent, and house training should be a breeze. The Whippet loves to please and should be treated nicely; do not yell or be harsh with them, otherwise, they will not be motivated to cooperate with you. Besides basic obedience, these dogs are very skilled at luring, agility, flyball and other dog sports. 1 to 1½ cups of dog food each day, divided into two meals, should be a good amount for them. Keep your dog’s coat soft and shiny by using a hound glove or rubber curry brush to groom them weekly. They should not need to have baths very often. These dogs have thin coats, and can easily get scrapes and scratches. Check them over often to make sure that they do not have any serious injuries. Trim the nails once or twice each month, and every week the teeth should get brushed two or three times.