Is A Whippet A Lurcher?

Whippets are beautiful dogs; they can run, jump and have an incredibly loving nature.

Whippets and lurcher often get mixed up, if you own a whippet, then you may not be a stranger to people asking how old is your lurcher, or what’s your lurcher’s name?

Whippets often get labelled as a lurcher for their slim build and ability to hunt, but that may not be an accurate assumption.

Whippets are small and nimble, and they even have a watchdog instinct, which enables them to be exceptional hunters.

It’s in a whippet’s instinct to chase down prey and hunt.

But is a whippet a lurcher?

In this post we go over exactly that, to finally answer this age-old question and put an end to this debate once and for all.

Let’s take a closer look…

What Is A Whippet?

The whippet is a graceful, sweet-faced dog that stands somewhere around 18 and 22-inches to the shoulders.

Whippet’s look like greyhounds only they are smaller, they have exceptional agility and are formidable hunters when a rabbit or other small prey is in sight.

Whippets are a breed of sighthound, along with the Irish wolfhound, Greyhound, Saluki and many more.

The whippet breed originated in England and is a descent from the greyhound.

is a whippet a lurcher?
Photo by Mitchell Orr on Unsplash

These dogs helped poachers catch rabbits and provided gambling entertainment in the form of coursing.

The whippet is still known today by its nickname as ‘the poor man’s racehorse’.

Whippets are unrivalled in the dog sprinting world, as they are able to make hairpin turns at incredibly high speeds.

The typical whippet weights around 20 – 42 pounds (9.1 – 19.1kg) and have a fine, dense coat.

Whippets are generally healthy dogs and are usually quite muscular due to their love for running.

The typical lifespan for a whippet is around 12 – 14 years, although they can live longer if they have strong genetics and are looked after correctly.

What Is A Sighthound?

Sighthounds, also known as gazehounds are a type of dog that hunt primarily by sight and speed, rather than sent and endurance as scenthounds do.

This means dogs in this category use their speed to catch prey, something whippets do a fantastic job at.

With whippets being incredibly small and nimble, it makes them perfect for sprinting as their overall body weight is very light.

Combine this light bodyweight with muscle, and you have a dog that is capable of running at 35 miles per hour.

Sighthounds are playful by nature and are high-speed sprinters that love to chase toys at high speeds.

If you own a sighthound, you’ll know how hard it is to tire them out, they need lots of exercise and plenty of space to run freely.  

What Is A Lurcher?

A lurcher is not actually a breed of dog; a lurcher is a type of hound that results from cross-breeding a sighthound with another type of working dog, such as a collie or terrier.

Historically a lurcher is a poacher’s dog, but in modern times lurchers are regarded as pets, hunting dogs as well as racing dogs.

Lurchers are also unique to Ireland and Britain, and they have been with us a very long time.

The development of the lurcher as a ‘type’ of hound is thought to originate from a time when only Noblemen were permitted to own purebred sighthounds, such as the Saluki, Greyhound, and Deerhound etc.

What does a lurcher look like?

That really depends, they can be big or small, and have shaggy or smooth fur depending on what genetics they are made from.

Is a whippet a lurcher?
Image by ElleJW from Pixabay

The lurcher was born to fulfil the need for the commoners and poachers for a fast and efficient hunting companion, so they bred two types of dogs together and thus the lurcher was born.

Today lurchers come in all shapes and sizes, from being as small as a whippet to as big as a deerhound, but the personality will depend on their particular “cross”. 

Lurchers can have many different characters and attributes as their category covers such a wide spectrum, some have shaggy coats whilst some have silky smooth coats.

What’s The Difference Between A Whippet And A Lurcher?

Now that we know what whippets and lurchers are, let’s take a look at what the differences between the two are.

A whippet is a breed of dog that resembles a smaller greyhound, whereas a lurcher is not a breed of dog at all, it’s a mix between two different types of dogs.

For example, a lurcher could be a whippet bred with a Saluki or a greyhound bred with a deerhound.

Typically lurchers have excellent genetics and rarely get sick, as they have genetics from both breeds of dog.

The energy levels and traits of a lurcher largely depend on their parent’s genetic makeup.

Having a lurcher essentially allows you to choose a custom dog, as you can choose the characteristics of the parents and generally know the outcome of the lurcher produced.

Many lurchers are also bred across many different types of dog, so they can have a lot of genetics that influence their character and temperament.

As a whole, the main difference between a whippet and a lurcher is that a whippet is a breed of dog, whereas a lurcher is not.

A lurcher is a cross between a sighthound and any other breed of dog. If there’s one thing that whippets and lurchers have in common, it’s their love to sleep.

Give them a dog bed and a bone and you can guarantee they’ll be out for the count catching zzz’s.

Is A Whippet A Lurcher?

So is a whippet a lurcher?

No, a whippet is a breed of dog that has a unique nature that’s unmatched by any other dog in my eyes.

What does a lurcher look like?

Lurcher’s can look very different to each other, as it depends on what breeds are in them.

They usually have a slim build and are muscly, but can have shaggy or smooth fur.

Whippets love to run free and even compete in agility, lure coursing, fly ball and more.

Whippets are incredibly loyal and obedient dogs; they can make great apartment pets although they require a lot of daily exercise.

Whippets don’t enjoy being left alone for long periods, and they enjoy the company of others, making them a perfect addition to your family even if you already have a dog.

Living with a whippet will require you to take it out for a good sprint a couple of times a day, but they don’t require much attention and love to relax.

You’ll find that most whippets don’t like to be cold, so investing in a cute little coat for your whippet will bring you a lot of affection.

Whippets don’t like hard surfaces either, due to their slim slender build, it’s wise to ensure you have a comfy, fluffy bed for your whippet to sleep on if you’re going to you’re your whippet inside your house.

Lurchers are different from whippets as they aren’t a single breed of dog, and are instead a mix of multiple breeds.

A lurcher is the offspring of a sighthound mates with another type of dog, so to put it simply, no a whippet is not a lurcher.

Living With A Whippet     

As mentioned, whippets make fantastic house/apartment pets, as they love to be close to their owner.

They are incredibly affectionate and are super friendly towards kids.

However, don’t expect your whippet to fight tooth and nail should you have an intruder, as whippets make terrible guard dogs and are incredibly soft.

Your whippet does need the chance to run free a couple of times a day, they need to burn off their energy and have enough room for a good sprint.

If you like to have a companion that doesn’t like to leave your side then a whippet will be right for you, they love to sleep in your bed and stay close to you at all times.

They are also great pets to have if you have asthma or are allergic, as they rarely moult.

I myself am allergic to dogs and they usually set my asthma off, but my whippet doesn’t mould at all which is ideal as it means I can have her in my bed without wheezing and having my eyes glow red and itch.

Whippets are also great if you have other pets, as they love the company of other dogs and can even get along with cats.

That being said, they do have a high prey drive so you’ll need to introduce them slowly and gradually with constant supervision, and never leave your whippet alone around a cat just to be on the safe side.

Final Thoughts

It’s easy to confuse whippets and lurchers, as they both have a slim build and run incredibly fast.

You can usually tell the difference between the size of a whippet, with whippets generally being a lot smaller than most lurchers.

Whippets look like a mini greyhound and have the same loving, loyal nature.

Both whippets and lurchers make fantastic pets, with their unique temperament and elegant ways.

You’ll often find lurchers are more of hunting dogs than whippets, as many breeders tend to mate certain dogs together to create the ultimate hunting lurcher.

The instinct and prey drive is matched in both whippets and lurchers, making them both enjoy chasing lures and keeping fit.

Hopefully, you know have the answer to is a whippet a lurcher, and understand the differences between the two.

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