The Whippet is a dog breed of medium size.
It is quite similar to the greyhound, though smaller in size.
Typically, it can run as fast as 55 kilometers (35 miles) per hour, making it the fastest dog breed of its size.
The name “Whippet” is derived from an early-17th-century word, now obsolete, meaning “to move briskly”.
This sighthound is also known for its alert, friendly, and playful demeanor.
The joyful whippet is a lovely and loyal companion that makes a delightful addition to almost any household.
This breed generally does well for apartment living, since it is not known to be much of a barker, it is fairly inactive indoors, and just needs a good walk or run.
Whippets also participate in dog sports such as lure coursing, agility, dock diving and flyball.
The average lifespan of the Whippet is 11 to 14 years.
The Whippet standing from 46 to 56 cm (18 to 22 inches) and weighing about 13 kg (28 pounds).
Because colour is considered immaterial in judging Whippets, they come in a wide variety of colours and marking patterns, everything from solid black to solid white, with red, fawn, brindle, blue, or cream.
These dogs were bred to hunt by sight, coursing game in open areas at high speeds.
There are numerous representations of small greyhound-like hounds in art dating back to Ancient Egyptian times.
In medieval England, a small Greyhound breed became popular for use as a ratting dog, the first written English use of the word Whippet with regard to a type of dog was in 1610.
Edward of Norwich, 2nd Duke of York confirmed in his early-15th-century translation and additions to the original late 14th century French Livre de chasse the advantage of maintaining the great, the middle, and the small size of greyhound for different sorts of game.
The English physician and academic John Caius refers in his 16th century De Canibus Britannicus to lesser as well as greater sorts of Leporarius, Grehounde (greyhound) and notably to a type which has been connected to the Whippet, the Tumbler, a lesser sort of mungrell Greyhounde and excellent warren dog for catching rabbits, also recorded by the early-19th-century Scottish curator and editor Thomas Brown.
Whippets were commonly known as “snap dogs” for their tendency to “snap up” nearby prey. In the picture by Jean-Baptiste Oudry (1686–1755) of two dogs presented to Louis XV, they are either Whippets or small Greyhounds, but are probably related to an early form of Whippet.
Oudry also painted a second painting of Misse with a different, non-sighthound dog. There is a 1758 painting by Pompeo Batoni entitled Portrait of Charles Compton, 7th Earl of Northampton which features a similar whippet-like dog.
In its formative days, the Whippet breed had such colorful nicknames as the “Poor Man’s Racehorse” and the “Lightning Rag Dog” (they would chase a rag dragged along a straight course in an early version of lure coursing).
When it came to race day itself, the handlers waited at the start line for the boom of a pistol, the signal for releasing their dogs, though “release” is far too gentle a word: Holding the dog’s collar in one hand, lifting him by the base of the tail with the other, the handler would literally toss his dog forward, intent on giving him even the tiniest edge of position or stride to cross the finish line first. After all, bragging rights weren’t the only thing to be walked away with at these noisy gatherings, held on Saturday afternoons or Sunday mornings: Substantial cash prizes – sometimes as much as a week’s wages – were also at stake.
The whippet was first brought to the US in the late 1800s and registered with the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1888. Surprisingly, the breed was not officially recognized by the English Kennel Club until 1891.
In the 19th century, there were two varieties of Whippet. The first type had a smooth coat, was more popular in Lancashire, Yorkshire, and the Midlands, and became the modern Whippet. The other had a rough coat from crossbreeding with Bedlington Terriers. This type was more popular in Durham and Northumberland and was frequently referred to as a “rabbit dog”. Early specimens were taken from the race track by the dog fanciers of the time and exported around the world. John Taylor said that “In all the shapes and forms of dogges – of all which there are but two sorts that are useful to man’s profits, which two are the mastiffe and the little curre, whippet, or house-dogge – all the rest are for pleasure and recreation.”
The breed does love to run, so be sure to provide plenty of space and daily exercise. As a sighthound, the whippet is likely to run after anything in motion, and will not easily find its way back. The breed should never be permitted to run off-leash, and the “invisible fence” is not an option as they will not stop once they spot something to chase. A fence that is at least 1.5 meters (5 feet) tall should keep them in the yard.
Today, the Whippet is the 55th most popular breed according to the American Kennel Club.
Usually, the average price of an Whippet puppy from a reputable breeder is between $2,000 and $2,500, while a top-quality English Whippet puppy can cost as high as $3,500.