What Does Working Whippet Mean?

Whippets are usually considered all-purpose dogs. They’re great house dogs due to their soft coat, free of odour, and have an adorable temperament. Whippets are medium-sized that are incredible sprinters, making them perfect working dogs.

Together with their affectionate and calm nature, all these characteristics make them the perfect dog breed to keep as an apartment companion, even when small children are around.

Even though whippets seem somewhat delicate, they’re incredibly athletic and have an enduring character, making them ideal as working dogs too. So, what does working whippet mean? Read on to learn more about working whippets and other essential information about these type of whippets.

The History Of Working Whippets

Whippets’ history dates back to ancient times, where they appear on various paintings, potteries, artifacts, tapestries, statues, and sculptures.

These pieces of evidence had drawings of a smaller version of greyhounds with the whippet’s resemblance, particularly their rose-shaped ears.

However, in the 1800s, this dog breed became officially baptized as whippets when the idea of pure breeds kicked in. This dog breed started in England during the 19th century after breeding English greyhounds with terriers and Italian greyhounds to give them a lustrous appearance.

During the early times, whippets were used as working dogs and helped their owners hunt and chasing rabbits in arena sports (rabbit coursing) due to their high racing speed. Whippets can run for up to 56km/h or (35miles/hr).

The rabbits were released in an open arena, and whippets chased them and caught them for sport. Since this entertainment is nowadays considered barbaric, there is a comprehensive ban on this practice.

After some time, rabbit coursing became outlawed due to its cruelty, then track tracing came by, giving the whippet its famous nickname, ‘the poor man’s racehorse.’ Miners often used whippets as an entertainment source when off the clock, where whippets chased for a waving rag, and the first dog to catch it won.

Most families made their whippets compete as a way of earning a living and gain pride. For this reason, most of them trained their whippets to have a stronger prey drive and extreme agility.

By the 1920s and 30s, whippets were a status symbol and unrivalled track competitors in the dog world. During the 1940s, whippets weren’t very popular, but this changed over several centuries. Nowadays, whippets are back in demand, not only as working dogs but also as sweet home dogs.

Today, they excel as excellent racers, good home companions, and therapy dogs for the aged and retired individuals because of their even disposition and gentleness. Some institutions introduce whippets into primary level education and pre-schools to educate young minds on caring and treating their family dogs.

What Does Working Whippet Mean?

A working whippet is a whippet bred for working purposes, for example, gaming, hunting, racing, and other fieldwork. Whippets developed for working are usually stockier, huger, healthier, and more sensible than those bred to be house pets.

These whippets have a higher drive for preys and need exercise more than show whippets. Working whippets tend to be quieter and more composed during training than show-bred ones, which are more likely to whine and lose interest during training.

Most breeders have both the working and show whippets. Show whippets are those daintier and pretty whippets trained to be perfect apartment companions. If you wonder, what does working whippet mean? It would be best if you requested clarification from a breeder.

Working whippets excel excellently in the following events lure coursing, agility, barn hunt, and dock diving. Here is a breakdown of what each activity involves.

Lure Coursing

Line coursing is when whippets and other dogs run through a field course while chasing a mechanically operated lure. This event is typically specific for sight and sound canines, such as the whippet with a high prey drive.

Lure coursing events can be competitive or non-competitive. The competitive form aims to develop and maintain coursing skills that are genetically inherent in whippets and other sight and sound canines.

The non-competitive form helps whippet owners to test and gauge their canine’s lure coursing ability personally.


Agility is a general dog sport that measures how fast it can complete an obstacle course. Since whippets are swift, they perform exceptionally well in these events. If you wish to enrol your canine in such agility events, it would be best to take them to your local agility club.

Teaching your whippet agility lessons involves several stages that occur from elementary to advanced levels. Obedience training and obstacle training can help improve your whippet’s agility.

Barn Hunt

Barn hunt is quickly becoming a popular dog sport across the US and other countries such as the UK. This event aims to test the traditional roles of canines in hunting vermin within barns and farms. Barn hunt is typically an open event where various dog breeds can compete.

Dock Diving

Dock diving began in the late 1990s and involved a handler tossing a toy into a water pool, which the dogs jumps in to get. The objective of this dog event is to measure the distance covered by the canine.

When To Train A Working Whippet

Training old dogs new tricks is not very easy. Therefore, the best time to reach a working whippet is when it’s young, as early as 8-10 weeks of age.

The most vital training for a working whippet is teaching fundamental skills like recalling to ensure that he doesn’t ravage your rabbit during hunting. He should also learn basic commands and be able to respond to them promptly.

Proper diet is also essential when work training a whippet. You can feed it raw meat together with a complete whippet racer food package (provide these foods separately).

You should devote the initial 5-7 months of your whippet’s life to training. Please don’t allow your pup to help you with hunting before it’s fully ready, or you’ll ruin him.

Fitness is another important aspect of training a working dog. During the first ten months, actively train your dog to be healthier, enduring, and active. To know what does working whippet mean? Carefully analyze the characteristics of whippets your breeder offers.

Working whippets tend to be more fit, can walk for miles without getting tired, and independent. When training your whippet puppy to be fit, you shouldn’t enter him with more experienced dogs.

Putting him with experienced dogs can be an ineffective approach since he’s more likely to follow others instead of learning.

How To Train Your Whippet To Hunt

Once you’ve understood what does working whippet mean? Knowing how to train your whippet puppy to hunt won’t be daunting. As said earlier, it is crucial that your pup learns basic commands and comprehend how to catch a bunny quickly.

What you need to do for your whippet to be a good hunter;

Introduce Your Whippet To A Rabbits Scent

Once you’ve trained your whippet on basic dog commands, recalling, and taught him to be fit enough, it’s now the best time to introduce him to rabbits’ odour. You can achieve this by wrapping a rabbit’s skin on a ball while playing with him.

what does working whippet mean?
Image: Craig B

Doing this will make the whippet get used to the fur being in his mouth and chasing something looking like a rabbit. The scent on the ball will make him get used to rabbits scent, which he can easily sniff when he’s out hunting with you.

You can also introduce him to domesticated rabbits, which is not entirely recommendable because some rabbits usually get hurt in the process. Since whippets’ have a stronger hunting instinct like other working dogs, it’s best to wrap the rabbit’s skin on a ball.

After he has learned to detect the scent and bring back the ball to you when you command him, you can move on to the next training stage.

Consider Lure Training

The next step after he learns rabbits’ scents is undertaking lure training. At this stage, you should remove the live bait (rabbit) and start training your whippet on how to chase a lure.

It would be best to prepare your whippet with a decoy sprayed with rabbit urine hunting scent for quicker lure training results.

Don’t Forget Obedience Training

If you wish to have a dependable working whippet, it will help if you took him for obedience training. Well-behaved whippets are more coordinated, focused, and faster at overcoming obstacles.

Since whippets are sight and sound hounds, the last thing you’d want is to have a disobedient, unruly companion that rips apart the prey instead of catching and retrieving it.

Start Training Early And Switch Up Your Tactics

Training your whippet while it’s still young helps instil discipline and knowledge at an early age. Whippet puppies are quick to learn retrieval and scent tracking skills because they often consider it part of playtime.

Kindly consider switching up your whippet training regimen to break the monotony. You can use different toys and techniques to ensure your whippet is always excited to train.

Final Thoughts

Whippet owners often ask, what does working whippet mean in a broad perspective? As you have seen, working whippets are those that undergo training to take part in a wide range of dog events such as hunting and lure coursing.

If you wish to develop a working whippet, it would be best to start training early and begin with obedience training.

Other Popular Posts