Are Whippets Smart Dogs?

Some dogs are smarter than others and that’s just a fact, some are easy to train whilst others can take years to learn the most basic commands.

There are a lot of variables that come in to play when trying to decide if a dog is intelligent or not, such as genetics, training and time spent with the owner.

Recent research has suggested that dogs are on average as intelligent as a two-year-old child, a study found that dogs are able to understand up to 250 words and gestures.

Whippet intelligence is no different, they are also able to learn a lot of commands from their owners and can be trained to a high standard.

You may think that a smart dog makes training easier, but it’s actually more about the dog’s willingness to follow instructions rather than his ability to understand them.

The key is to find a dog that has a high willingness to learn and obey his owner, whilst still being intelligent enough to think on its own.

In this post we are going to answer a common question, are whippets smart dogs?

Let’s find out…

Young vs Mature Whippets

First, we need to look at how the age of a whippet affects its intelligence and willingness to learn.

If you’ve ever been around a puppy, then you’ll know that they get excited over just about anything, from a bit of string on the floor to a butterfly floating around a garden.

Let’s look at the difference between a young whippet and a mature whippet;

Young whippets

When a whippet is still in its infantile stage, usually from birth to around two years old, it is still developing its brain and taking in its environment.

This age tends to be when your whippet can be a little mischievous, chewing things he is not supposed to, chasing every scent that passes his nose and being a bit of a pain to get back on a leader.

Energy levels are also heightened as a puppy, so you’ll find it’s much harder to tire him out than when he gets a little older.

are whippets smart dogs?
Image by Susi Anderl from Pixabay

Puppies also require a lot of nutrient-dense food whilst they are young, as this provides them with energy, strength and muscle growth.

Mature whippets

Once your whippet starts to calm down at the age of around two to three years old, you’ll notice a shift in his behaviour, character and values.

Mature whippets are much calmer, then don’t require the same level of exercise as a puppy, and you’ll notice that your whippet is just as happy chilling on the sofa as he is out running in the field.

Mature whippets have a lot more patience than puppies, as their character starts to mature they have a lot more time and willingness for their owner.

This is the perfect time to train your whippet, as he is much more likely to listen to your commands and want to please his owner.

Are Whippets Hard To Train?

Some whippets can be harder to train than others, but this really depends on the individual, as every dog is slightly different.

Generally speaking, puppies are harder to train than mature dogs as they have a lot more energy and are still working out what to do with it.

Puppies are less obedient and still figuring out their environment, so are naturally curious of smells, other dogs, people and food.

This also depends on the level of training you want to get your whippet to, as simple sit and stay commands can be achieved at a young age, but if you’re wanting to race your whippet or use him as a working dog then this can take a lot more effort and work.

Once your whippet becomes mature, it’s usually easier to train him as he has an increased willingness to want to work with his owner.

This is the time where you can really connect with your whippet and ensure you teach him the commands you need him to know.

are whippets smart dogs?
Image by popovicmjeljica from Pixabay

I learned my whippet to jump, recall and stay commands before the age of three and found it wasn’t too difficult as she was starting to mature by this point.

Again, it’s different for every whippet, but these are intelligent dogs that want to spend time with you and work with you, so training them at the right age isn’t too difficult.

What Makes Whippets Intelligent

Whippets are sighthounds, which means they use their sight and speed to hunt and catch prey.

They were originally bred specifically to hunt in the 1600s here in England, and to this day they still do so very effectively.

Whippets were bred to hunt without the use of commands from the hunter, so they’ve learned to become independent and hunt on their own.

They have an incredibly strong sense of smell, which is backed up by speeds of up to 35mph, making them excellent hunters.

Whippets are more than capable of going out and hunting on their own, small game such as rabbits, rats and mice are no match for a whippet.

That being said, because these dogs have internal independence that has been bred into them, they can be tricky to train in their younger years, so in my opinion, I do recommend putting off intense training until the age of around two years old.

Whippets have quite a large brain for the size of their body, this brain allows them to take in their environment and learn their surroundings.

Teaching your whippet simple house commands such as sit, down and stay should be an easy task for such a smart dog.

General Dog Intelligence

Dogs, in general, are much more intelligent than we may first think, studies have shown that dogs display many behaviours associated with intelligence.

For example, they have advanced memory skills which enable them to learn complex commands, when you think of a dog that’s used for protection, these are trained to the highest level and are taught to obey commands in an instant.

Dogs are also capable of reading a humans body language, and reacting to gestures and pointing, many working dogs benefit from learning these commands.

are whippets smart dogs?
Image by Fran_Mother_Of_Dogs from Pixabay

As when they are out in the field the hunter doesn’t want to have to shout and spook the game, so the dog much understands gestures.

It may come as a shock to find that the average dog has the equivalent IQ of a two-year-old child.

The findings are based on a language development test, revealing that average dogs can learn 165 words (similar to a 2-year-old child), including signals and gestures, with the top 20 percent of dogs being able to learn upwards of 250 words.

Some of the smartest dog breeds are German Shepard’s, Poodles, Collies and more. Dogs are actually very intelligent; they can understand a lot of what you say which is why they can be trained to such a high standard.

Whippets are incredibly intelligent too, which is why they are widely used as working dogs, as they can hunt independently without commands.

Final Thoughts

So are whippets smart dogs? Absolutely!

Whippets are incredibly smart, just like many other dogs. Studies have shown that they are just as smart as a two-year-old child, which is fascinating.

Whippets were bred to hunt, and are exceptional at doing so.

They have been used for many years to hunt independently without the need for commands from the hunter.

Whippet intelligence gets better as they grow older and mature, making them easier to train as the age.

However, even at a young age whippet can be trained for simple commands such as sit, stay or down.

Hopefully, you now have an answer to the question, are whippets smart dogs?

And understand just how smart dogs in general are, especially whippets.

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