Are Whippets Supposed To Be Skinny?

At first glance, whippets look like they are underweight and malnourished, however that couldn’t be further from the truth in most cases.

Whippets are small, lightweight dogs that are known for their love of running.

Whippets originated here in England in the 1600s and were specifically bred to hunt small vermin such as rabbits and rats.

They even earned themselves the nickname “the poor man’s racehorse” as at the time only the upper class could afford a racing horse, so many had to settle for whippet racing instead.

In this post we are going to answer, are whippets supposed to be skinny?

To help give you peace of mind about your whippet’s appearance and health.

Let’s get to it…

Why Whippets Need To Be Skinny

We all worry about our whippets from time to time, is he too skinny?

Is he too fat? The truth is, whippets need to be skinny and are supposed to be much slimmer than other dogs.

Yes, whippets do often look skinny, and it’s true that some whippet owners are oblivious to a malnourished whippet because they simply think all whippets are skinny.

However, a skinny whippet is usually nothing to worry about, and it’s a sign that he’s getting a healthy amount of exercise and is in good shape.

So why do whippets needs to be skinny?

Well, they were bred for hunting here in England many years ago, and are actually the descendants of greyhounds.

If you’ve ever seen a greyhound then you’ll know that these are skinny dogs too, and they are also exceptional racing dogs.

Greyhounds are the fastest dogs in the world, being able to run at speeds of up to 45mph, it’s simply breathtaking to see.

With whippets being the descendants of greyhounds, it’s only natural that they would look similar and have similar attributes.

Whippets need to be skinny because they too are used for racing, not only that but they are also commonly used as working dogs.

Whippets need to be skinny and able to run at high speeds to be able to catch vermin such as rabbits and rats, as this is what they were originals bred for. 

How Whippets Keep Body Fat Low

The reason whippets are able to keep such low body fat and look skinny all year round is because they have a natural love for running.

Whether that be playing in the park with other dogs, or playing with they’re owner chasing after a dog toy.

The number of running whippets will do when on a walk is generally far more than some other breeds, so they are able to keep their weight low and keep the body fat away.

As mentioned many whippets are used as working dogs and for racing, which means they’ll often be trained to a high level for peak physical performance.

I don’t know about you, but if I was sprinting at 35mph most days chasing rabbits then I would probably be super skinny too.

Can whippets get fat?

Absolutely, whippets usually get fat because of their owner feeding them a diet that isnt suited for them, and not giving their dog the exercise they need.

How To Tell If My Whippet Is Healthy

There are definitely some whippets out there that are underweight and could do with a little beefing up.

But it is normal to be able to see two or three ribs, and this is how you’ll know if your whippet is healthy or not.

You shouldn’t be able to see every single rib and extreme striations in your whippet’s muscles to the point where they look like they’re on steroids.

But you also should ensure that two or three of your whippet’s ribs are visible, as this means he’s healthy in as lean as he should be.

Whippets should be fed on a high-quality diet that’s filled with lots of protein to fuel their large muscles.

They should also have around 40 – 60 minutes of physical exercise per day and have the opportunity to run at full speed to blow off the cobwebs.

Believe it or not, but whippets are actually couch potato’s that love to spend there time chilling on the couch just as much as they love being out in the fields playing.

are whippets supposed to be skinny?
Image: Darien and Neil

So if you’re not taking your whippet out enough then he’ll happily stay on the couch all day and not budge, but of course, this isn’t healthy for him.

Giving your whippet adequate daily exercise and feeding him on a high-quality diet is how you’ll be able to tell if your whippet is healthy, and be sure that he’s got two or three ribs on show, nothing more, nothing less.

How To Beef Up My Whippet

If you think your whippet is a little underweight, then there are some ways to beef up your whippet to get him back to a healthy weight.

The average weight of a fully-grown whippet is between 6.8kg and 14kg, so it’s always a good idea to pop him on the scales first to see where he is before you start to beef him up.

Whippets tend to fill out naturally as they grow older, so it’s quite normal for your whippet to look thin whilst he’s still a puppy and maturing.

However, when he’s in his adult stage and is still showing too many ribs, it’s wise to up his calories to try and get him to pack on some extra beef.

Instead of feeding your whippet two meals per day, try upping his meals to three, and ensure that the food you’re feeding him is highly nutritious, full of protein.

I’ve had whippet in the past that have looked very thin, so I’ve added foods such as sardines, cooked meats, vegetables and rice to their diet every now and again to give them a boost in healthy calories to help them fill out.

You may also want to look at the amount of exercise you’re giving your whippet each day, as if he’s being used as a working or racing whippet he will naturally need more calories than a whippet that’s lounging in the house all day.

If he’s getting a ton of exercise, then you should bump his calories up accordingly to help him fill out.

As long as he’s getting the calories he needs to sustain his level of exercise, then I would advise trusting the process and allowing him to fill out into his body, it takes time for whippets to do this. 

Are Whippets Supposed To Be Skinny?

So are whippets supposed to be skinny? Yes, absolutely!

These dogs were bred to hunt and to hunt they need to be skinny, lightweight and able to run at high speeds to chase down prey.

A fit and healthy whippet will show no more than three ribs, they are descendants of greyhounds, which are also slim racing dogs.

However, fat whippets do exist, whippets love nothing more than to lounge around and chill all day.

So if you’re letting him to do this, and not giving him the exercise he needs then he may become fat.

This can cause a whole host of problems for whippets, as their frame is not designed to carry this extra body fat.

It’s important to exercise your whippet regularly and feed him on a high-quality diet if you want him to maintain his health.

If you can see more than three dogs then he’s too thin, and if you can’t see three ribs then he’s too fat.

It’s in a whippets genetic makeup to be a skinny dog, so don’t worry too much, as long as there are three ribs showing he’s in good shape.

Final Thoughts

Whippets are and always will be slim dogs, they were bred to hunt so need to be thin to be able to run fast and chase down prey.

It’s in a whippet’s DNA to be a thin dog, just like their ancestors the greyhound, which is still used to this day as racing dogs.

Whippets will generally be able to keep weight off providing they are exercised correctly and are being fed on a high-quality diet.

They love to run and burn lots of calories whilst doing so.

But can whippets get fat?

Yes, a fat whippet is super sad too see as they are not meant to be large dogs.

However, if you’re using your whippet for racing or as a working dog then chances are he’s going to be in very good condition due to running, but just make sure you up his calories to compensate for this level of exercise.

So are whippets supposed to be skinny? Yes, they are.

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