- Originally from England
- Group: Hunting
- Weight: 7 – 14 kg
- Height: 45 – 55 cm
- Colors: black, white, red, brown, tiger, blue
- Training: easy to train
- Care: it is an indoor dog breed
- Temperament: gentle, friendly, quiet, intelligent, affectionate
- Health: disease resistant
- Puppies: 5 – 8
- Average age: 12 – 15 years
Whippet is a pure-blooded ogre with a low body profile in the line of purity and elegance and an enthusiastic hunter. This breed is native to the north of England, being an efficient, fast and persistent hunting dog for small game.
The time when the first specimens actually appeared is not yet clearly established in history, but dogs with a very similar profile are found in mosaics and frescoes dating from the Romanian period. The first written record of the word “whippet” in relation to a dog breed was recorded in 1610.
The name comes from English. The verb “to whip” translates “to go fast”, “to make quick movements”, “to go in pursuit”. There are 2 paintings by the painter Jean Baptiste Oudry (1688 – 1755) in which an identical dog is displayed as an appearance with the current copies of Whippet (hosted by the National Galleries in Washington and the National Museum in Fontainbleu).
The Whippet breed inherited on one hand the elegance of the movements and the reaction speed from the Greyhound (with which it resembles a lot, differing significantly only in size), and on the other hand the liveliness and tenacity of the ancestors of the Terrier breed.
In the nineteenth century the race is distinctly stabilized, being very popular in speed racing. In fact, the ogre races represented the most popular sporting event in the British archipelago at that time, long before the football fever was felt. Miners in the northern region of England loved these easy-care and affectionate dogs, after which they made sometimes significant incomes when their favorites won a race.
The Whippet ogres traditionally compete for 300 meters, as opposed to their larger “cousins”, the Greyhound Ogres, whose sample measures 900 meters. A nickname often used at the time for the Whippet race was the “racehorse for the poor.” The recognition of the association English Kennel Club was officially made in 1891, from that moment the breed was accepted in the gender competitions and thus initiated the series of pedigree specimens.
The recognition by the American Kennel Club occurred even earlier, in 1888 (Jack Dempsey’s dog belonging to the P.H. Hoffmann breeder in Philadelphia). The admirable qualities of hunting dogs (rabbits, foxes, popandai), amazing speed, intelligence, sociability and attachment to humans have made this animal highly appreciated and preferred as a companion.
A nice aspect is that the Whippet behave very well in tandem with other canine specimens (from the same breed or from different breeds). Currently, the Whippet breeds are still widely used as hunting dogs, they are efficient as a guard dog, they compete successfully in speed racing but at the same time they are highly appreciated as pets. In other words, there are dogs with a wide range of expression and their popularity is maintained at very high levels, being spread practically at present on all meridians.
In this chapter things are clear: dried food of the best quality, according to the waist, age and level of activity, or food cooked in the house.
Remember, for the Whippet breed, it is advisable for the dry food to be soaked a little in the water before being offered, in order to avoid the dangerous phenomenon of gastric torsion. The food cooked in the house is, in many ways, healthier and easier to “balance” depending on the moment needs of the dog, its formula can be modeled accordingly (content of vitamins, proteins, fats).
In addition, for the preparation of food in the house you will have the certainty of using fresh ingredients, with reliable sources and you will avoid the presence of preservatives. Occasionally, when the “wet look”, intensely theatrical that “burns” in the eyes of your dog Whippet can no longer be ignored (and we know that this can happen with a high frequency) you can give them leftovers from the family table.
These are small quantities of red meat, chicken, eggs, cheese or boiled rice with vegetables. In order not to form a “professional beggar”, always offer this supplement in the food bowl, after you have finished eating, not directly from the table.
Boiled bones. It is very difficult to resist in front of large, moist eyes by Whippet, I agree. But it is even harder to look at his convulsions, suffering and agony. Keep in mind that, by boiling, the bones become brittle, will break in the process of chewing in sharp chips. The risk of perforation of the stomach and / or intestines is immense. Do not give in sentimentally and you will keep your dog away from a major danger.
Pay attention to the rubbish bin. The disgusting smell exhaled by the household waste waiting to be evacuated by the sanitation services or the bags with different debris that have not yet arrived in these tanks is absolutely overwhelming for a Whippet. In England Whippet also has a less honorable nickname related to this habit. You must monitor it closely to correct or prevent (as the case may be) such unhealthy approaches. And this will further improve your domestic skills.
Chocolate. Here, not only does the Whippet “sin” valid for almost all breeds, chocolate is a poisonous food for dogs. Keep in mind that this sweet dessert much appreciated by us, the people, was used in the southern United States for the “gentle” extermination of coyotes.
We recommend you to be selfish and, regardless of the pressure put on by the friendly Whippet, keep the chocolate just for you. In the particular case of these very supple dogs, without a layer of fat and with very low possibilities of accumulating it in time due to the level of internal combustion (they have a fast digestive process, specific to athletic dogs, speeders), even very small quantities of chocolate ( or other harmful foods and substances) make their effect very fast. The symptoms of intoxication with harmful substances (for dogs) contained in chocolate will be very strong, which could endanger his life.
The Whippet dog presents itself as a very successful combination of balance of movement, muscular strength and elegance of outer forms. The Whippet breed has always been appreciated for speed of movement, focus on set goals and work power. At all dog shows the harmony of the dog forms Whippet is appreciated as being special. The British say of this dog that it would have “snake head, swan neck, fish back, cat paw and rat tail”.
His body is arched at the bottom, but without creating the impression that he is brought from behind. Hair is short, it can have colors in any combination of white, black, brown. The whippet has a long neck, elegant bow. The chest is deep, with a well-defined depth, and the back is robust. The long, thin tail is worn arched between the feet at rest.
Whippet is a medium-sized dog with moderate scratches. It has a height of 44 up to 51cm and the weight of 11-18kg. The most common colors are any pattern in combination with white.
In the 1970s, an AKC-licensed American breeder, Walter A. Wheeler Jr, made his successful public announcement of a new breed, in fact a variety of Whippet developed from specimens with longer, wavy fur. Dogs, called Longhaired Whippet, have the same physical characteristics as the standard breed, with the only difference being that the fur is long, silky and slightly wavy, slightly changing their appearance.
Wheeler claimed (and continues to do) that he was able to “reactivate” a recessive gene existing in the genetic pattern of the Whippet breed, responsible for longer, wavy hair. His statement quickly found opponents.
They accused him that, in fact, Longhaired Whippet specimens were obtained by crossbreeding with dogs from the Barzoi and Shepherd breeds of Shetland. The dispute continues today, but it is worth noting that, in principle, the Longhaired Whippet can be considered a variety of Whippet, with which it shares all the defining features of the breed, except for the length of the hair.
Whippet dogs show a natural attachment to humans and feel excellent in their immediate vicinity. Indoor dogs are very good, a little greedy, clean, submissive and loving.
The tenderness of these animals is very often emphasized by connoisseurs of the breed and, even if they prefer independent thinking (especially females), the dogs of the Whippet breed prove gentle being content to spend most of their time relaxing on the couch or on the carpet in the hall.
On the other hand, there is no companion more eager than a whippet for exercise that includes running specifically. This dog is intelligent and patient and will be friendly even to strangers, which he will only point out.
If he is encouraged to bark he will do it with the casualty (sometimes he emits a thin, shattered scream), but this attitude can be kept under control and modified. They are sociable with other dogs, however small animals will not escape: rabbits, guinea pigs or cats will certainly know their hunting instinct.
The charming and graceful Whippet dog is a wonderful companion, beyond all subjectivism. Inside the house it will not show up and show a calm behavior. Whippet owners note that they are almost as elegant and pretentious as cats. Prefer to stay very close to the masters and be involved in all the major actions that take place in the family.
They will not react well if they are isolated from the family and many individuals suffer from separation anxiety. As we emphasized in the article dedicated to the health of the breed, Whippet are sturdy and robust dogs, beyond the fragility and delicacy of the figure. And, even though sometimes a thrill crosses their graceful body, they are courageous and voluntary animals. As is normal for a hunting dog. A Whippet will face the bravery of the challenges that will be addressed by other dogs and will ruthlessly hunt cats and other small animals.
So pay attention to this kind of behavior. In the case of cats “resident” in his family, if he benefits from early socialization, he will learn to live with them and will be permissive in the presence of other dogs belonging to the family, especially those of his breed.
It all depended, I said, on the early socialization and on the general attitude of the owner, who should not make any difference in the affection shown to each dog. Whippet dogs interact better with middle-aged children because they do not lend themselves to playing too harshly and do not support being teased and teased permanently. Especially in the puppy stage, they must be carefully protected and “handled”.
In the presence of foreigners these dogs are quite reserved. They will signal their presence and carefully study their intentions and behavior. But, if they notice the acceptance of the family and benefit from attention and sympathy, they will quickly become friendly.
Because of their very strong instinct to hunt small animals that move within their visual range, you must be very careful when you let them into the garden. High fences are needed because they are capable of spectacular jumps, thanks to long legs and thigh muscles.
Also, it is good to keep them under observation and to fear them, because it is so intensely dedicated to the act of hunting that they can get hurt in trying to overcome some obstacles. Also to prevent situations where they can find “moving targets”, do not move in public spaces, in open lands, in agglomerations, etc. without having a leash with you. Such a dog can be lost easily.
A Whippet will be happy to moan and soak on a couch in the house throughout the day, but in order to maintain a good mental state and maintain physical fitness you have to walk and perform dynamic exercises with him 2-3 times per day. day. A safe space in which to run free is ideal for these dogs, and a few weekly visits in such a place would be a wonderful opportunity for them, from all points of view.
Games like catching the ball or the disc (frisbee), agility sports, flyball, overcoming obstacles, sprint races will enhance their special abilities and keep them mentally stimulated, for the benefit of all. Beyond the particular aspect of the indoor training and which shows a better level of response in males than in females (which can be stubborn and greasy), educating this dog is not difficult. Everything is based on the intensity of the relationship that the dog establishes with the owner and on the early onset in training.
A Whippet will be able to take on numerous orders and carry out training exercises with a high level of difficulty. Also, this race participates with a very high share of success in competitions that focus on obedience training. The trainer and the owner must consider the breaks of recovery after the effort and, of course, efficient methods of reward and recognition of the successes, because Whippet is a breed of sensitive and sentimental dogs.
The harsh methods, which involve the abruptness, the physical aggression or the reproaches done in the harsh tone will only have counterfeits, causing these dogs to become nervous and insecure. Such behaviors are totally contraindicated, because in time they will erode the basis of affection and trust between the owner (trainer) and the animal and this is, in essence, the key to success in training with dogs of the Whippet breed.
They are generally healthy animals, without many specific diseases and much more resistant than the elegant and delicate silhouette.
It is amazing that, although they are very dynamic dogs, willing to exercise and “subscribers” to practically run races, they are not threatened by hip or shoulder dysplasia.
The most important element to consider is that the Whippet dog breed is an indoor breed. These dogs can not withstand good conditions if kept in outdoor enclosures, exposed to the weather and cold season.
It is manifested by the absence of one or both testicles in the scrotum (these organs do not descend into the “sach”). It is a common disease among this breed. Most often the defect can be obtained at birth, especially in premature babies. Statistics show that about 3% of the term fetuses and up to 30% of those born prematurely are affected by cryptorchidism in mono or bilateral form.
However, about 80% of the specimens diagnosed with this condition at birth will have a recovery process in the first 3 months of life, making the actual incidence of the disease to be slightly over 1%. Very rarely, the disease manifests in young dogs, in the sense of withdrawal of a testicle into the abdominal cavity. The disease is associated with the reduced fertility of the affected men, but also with the risk of torsion of the seminal channels and with the production of inguinal hernia. Stabilized cases can, in many cases, be surgically corrected.
The heart of Whippet dogs is large and with a slightly lower activity rate. Often an arrhythmic or even intermittent operation may occur when the dog is resting. These should not be alarm signals for the owners of such dogs, because they are normal. In the rhythm of effort the heart of these dogs beats normally.
But on the other hand, real heart disease can endanger the health and even life of Whippet dogs. The Kennel Club of the UK Canine Association has published statistics showing that heart disease is the second major cause of mortality in the Whippet breed. The specialists have not clearly established whether the modified dimensions and the particular rhythm of functioning are the cause of the onset of heart disease, but, generically, they are grouped under the name “athletic heart syndrome” (athlete’s bradycardia).
As it is normal, case reported in human subjects, the heart of an athlete engaged in intensive training and demanding competitions (and here are the Whippet dogs) pumps additional blood at a very fast pace to prevent the occurrence of oxygen deficiency in skeletal muscles.
This leads, in time, to the change of the general volume of the heart (especially the left ventricle), in the sense of its enlargement, as a natural adaptation. Against the background of increasing the general volume of the heart, correlated with a natural thickening of the walls of its rooms, of the imbalance of functioning between the left ventricle and the other rooms, a distinct arrhythmia appears and, in time, at the age at which the physical exercises decrease in intensity, they can be causes complications and triggers heart disease.
The genetic mutation of myostatin
The gene responsible for producing the substance called myostatin was discovered in 1997 by geneticists Alexandra McPherron and Se-Jin Lee during experiments on guinea pigs. Myostatin, in principle, is a protein that controls muscle development. A study completed in 2007 identified a mutation of this gene specific to Whippet dogs. There are two such genes in the dog’s body.
The mutation results in the production of an inactive myostatin protein, the muscles of the body not being “controlled” in the process of development. The specimens with only one copy of this mutation are capable of above average athletic performance, and those with two children have a spectacular muscular development, far beyond the standard appearance of the breed, without affecting their temperament.
The affected dogs (called Bully Whippet) have a wider head, a more pronounced muzzle, shorter legs and a smaller tail. Also, the muscles of the body appear more prominent. This mutation was not recorded in other dog breeds, nor in those characterized by pronounced muscle mass, such as Boxer or Mastiff, nor even in the closest relative of the Whippet breed, the Greyhound. As a curiosity, the mutation has been reported in cows and even humans.
Other diseases with reduced incidence
Intolerant to barbiturates
Like other breeds of ogres and Whippet dogs have low resistance to anesthetics. This is a characteristic justified by the low fat concentration present in their body, which leads to the inability of the liver to efficiently metabolize the compounds of these substances. It is good to know that these dogs also react strongly to insecticides, so pay close attention to this aspect, in order to protect them from contact with such substances.
Without registering too high a frequency, the most commonly reported is cataracts.
Alopecia (progressive hair loss in certain areas of the body, inherited condition, it seems, from the Italian Greyhound, for which it is a specific disease), ectodermal disorder (specimens are born without hair). Diseases in this category are usually incurable and have a very wide range of triggering factors.