When researching whippets, you may have come across the term ‘sighthound’, it’s a common word that is often used in the same sentence as a whippet, greyhound, borzoi and many more beautiful breeds of dogs.
But what is a sighthound? And more importantly, is a whippet a sighthound?
Stick around as in this post we’re going to give you all of the information you need about whippets and sighthounds and if they are intertwined with one another.
As you know, there are a ton of different dog breeds out there, and it’s easy to be confused by them as many often look the same.
That’s why breed clubs such as The American Kennel Club (AKC) have grouped them into categories to make them easier to identify.
Many dog breeds have very similar characteristics and traits, so grouping breeds making it easier to pinpoint which traits your breed may have.
What Is A Sighthound?
First, we need to understand exactly what a sighthound is.
A sighthound by definition is a family of dogs that hunt primarily by sight and speed rather than scent.
It’s often easy to identify a sighthound by their slim, streamlined body as they need to be able to run at high speeds to catch prey.
Sighthounds typically have slim faces, long legs and a flexible back, they’re often incredibly fast sprinters and able to jump very high too thanks to those long springy legs.
Sighthounds are some of the oldest dogs on the planet, with the likes of the Saluki being around for at least 5,000 years!
The first depictions of sighthounds were discovered in the 2nd century AD and the earliest remains of a sighthound were found way back in 7,000 BC.
As you can see, these dogs have been around for a very long time, they were used to hunt thousands of years ago and often treat them like royalty because of their ability to put food on the table.
The Greyhound is one of the oldest sighthounds that is still incredibly popular in today’s modern world, these dogs are used for racing all around the world and are the fastest dogs on the planet.
Most sighthounds resemble the greyhound, an easy way to spot a sighthound is by comparing the dog to a greyhound, and if it looks similar then chances are it’s a sighthound.
Is A Whippet A Sighthound?
So, is a whippet a sighthound? You guessed it, absolutely!
Whippets are a close relative to the Greyhound and people often get the two confused because of how similar they look to each other.
Whippets look like a miniature greyhound, they have a very similar build and have the ability to run at up to speeds of 35mph.
The whippet is the second fastest dog in the world, being marginally beat by the larger Greyhound, both these dogs are lightning fast!
The sighthound family covers a large range of dogs, not only whippets and greyhounds.
They are easy distinguished by their slim build and streamlined body, usually lounging around, eating or sleeping, these dogs are really one of a kind.
Why Choose A Sighthound?
Out of all of the many dogs to choose from, why choose a sighthound?
Well, there are many reasons, and although I may be a little biased, here are some of the main reasons why I think a sighthound is a great choice.
First off, sighthounds are incredibly social dogs, they love nothing more than to meet new people, and they even mix well with other dogs.
This is great for helping other dogs lose weight, sighthounds love nothing more than to run at full speed playing with other dogs, which is a great way to help overweight dogs lose weight.
My whippets have been great for helping keep my neighbour’s dog nice and trim, as they regularly play together and chase each other at high speeds.
Sighthounds are incredibly loving dogs, they love nothing more than to snuggle up on the couch with their owner binge-watching Netflix and stealing some of your snacks whilst you’re not looking.
They are also very vocal, which makes them perfect for those that live in apartments or simply don’t want to hear the annoying bark of a dog every day.
In fact, I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve heard Bonnie bark.
They love to make their owner happy too, which makes them relatively easy dogs to train, when they start to mature, as puppies they can be a handful!
They also don’t need as much exercise as you may think, people tend to assume that sighthounds need hours and hours of exercise each day, but that really is not the case.
An hour of exercise will keep your sighthound happy, healthy and ready for a snooze.
What You Need To Know Before Choosing A Sighthound
If you think a sighthound may be the perfect dog for you, then there are a couple of things you’ll want to consider first;
- Sighthounds typically have a very high prey drive, this means that they’ll chase small animals such as rabbits, rats and cats. If you’ve got other small pets in the house, then a sighthound may not be the dog for you as it could be a recipe for disaster. That being said, it is possible for sighthounds to live with cats, rabbits and other animals, but they need to be introduced in a controlled environment over a long period of time. These dogs are used for hunting and will immediately pounce if they see a moving object running away from them, so please be careful when bringing a sighthound into your home, especially if you have other pets.
- Sighthounds are prone to separation anxiety, so it’s important that you spend lots of time with your furry friend to help reassure him that you’re here to stay. Although sighthounds are not very vocal dogs, they are known to whine when they feel anxious, so be sure to leave a jumper with your scent on it if you’re leaving your pup at home for a short while.
- These dogs are known to be quite picky eaters, so you may need to do a little bit of trial and error to find the perfect food for your sighthound. You should ensure that you’re feeding your dog twice a day, and ensuring he’s getting the calories he needs to remain big and strong.
- Sighthounds don’t usually take much grooming, especially whippets and greyhounds. However, it’s a good idea to invest in some grooming products if you want your furry friend to stay smelling fresh, especially if he’s going to be living in your home and a resident on your sofa.
- With these dogs having a slim build, it’s important that you invest in a comfortable bed for your sighthound. This gives your pup a place where he can rest his head comfortably, and believe you me he’ll be spending a lot of time there if he’s anything like my whippets. They LOVE to sleep!
Sighthound Characteristics & Traits
There are many reasons why sighthounds are some of the most popular dogs across the globe, they have personality traits that are simply unmatched by other breeds.
Once a sighthound comes into your life, you’ll quickly realise that these dogs are amazing, and chances are you’ll be looking for another one to keep each other company!
Here are some common personality traits of sighthounds;
- Incredible vision
- High prey drive
- Breathtaking speed
- Unmatched affection
- Loyal to the core
- Couch potatoes
- Incredibly smart
- Easy maintenance
Sighthounds are amazing dogs, it’s no wonder they are loved across the globe and make excellent pets.
Their history goes back thousands of years, and to this day they are still regarded as excellent racing dogs, working dogs and family pets.
Whippets are part of the sighthound family, they hunt using their exceptional eyesight and lightning-fast speed.
They also carry all of the traits of a sighthound, making them an affectionate, calm, quiet, couch potato.
The sighthound family covers a wide variety of breeds, but they can usually be distinguished by their slim build and their incredibly fast speeds.
Sighthounds have, and probably always will be the fastest dogs in the world, they have large leg muscles and a streamlined body which allows them to reach speeds of up to 35mph!
As a whole, you can’t go far wrong with a sighthound, they have lots to offer and are excellent family pets.
Hopefully, I have helped answer your question of “is a whippet a sighthound?”, and you have learned a thing or two about this wonderful family of dogs.
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Hello. I’m Luke- the founder of WhippetCentral. I’m somewhat of a whippet nut and have been for most of my life. In that time, I’ve owned and raised numerous whippets. Bonnie is my latest girl; she is currently eight years old and keeps me very busy! Understanding the need for whippet-specific content, I decided to create this blog to share what I have learned and to share my expertise regarding owning and raising whippets – the right way!