Considering bringing a whippet into your family home and wanting to understand more about whippet characteristics? If so, we’ve got you covered.
In this post, we go through everything you need to know about the characteristics of whippets to ensure this is the right dog for you before you decide to bring one into your family.
Whippets have been called the “greyhounds that aren’t.” The whippet is a breed of sighthound that was developed in England for hunting hare and rabbit by coursing them down with speed rather than strength.
Whippets were crossbred from greyhounds and terriers to produce a smaller version of the original hunter.
This meant whippets are known for their speed, and they can run faster than 40 miles per hour! Whippets are the most cat-like dog breed (as strange as that sounds).
Whippet characteristics include being quiet so they do not scare or bother anyone with loud barks or whines, and whippets rarely bite even if an intruder was to come into your home.
What Does Characteristics Actually Mean?
The word characteristics is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as a noun and it refers to a distinguishing feature or qualities of whippets.
Whippet characteristics are defined by whippets’ abilities, their physical/mental traits, and how whippets behave in different situations.
Whippet Characteristics: Physical Trait Examples
The whippet physical traits are whippets’ body structure and whippets’ hair type. They have a large chest as is seen with most sighthounds and a muscular body that aids them well in coursing and racing.
The whippet stands around 55cm tall and weighs around 6 – 8kg, making them a small and agile dog. Their eyes are almond-shaped and they have floppy ears that cover their pointed, whippet muzzle.
They have large muscular back legs which propel them forwards and lightning-fast speeds, making them excellent sprinters.
Whippets’ Hair Type
A whippet’s coat is one of their most distinctive characteristics. They are referred to as double-coated because whippets have a thick undercoat along with their outer coat.
The whippet’s hair grows straight and is short to medium in length, which is what makes whippets feel so smooth and silky to the touch.
Whippets do shed more than other dog breeds; whippet owners should be prepared with a good pet brush, clippers, and vacuum cleaner to manage their shedding.
Whippet Characteristics: Mental Trait Examples
The whippet mental traits are whippets’ intelligence, their energy level, whippets’ trainability, and whippets’ protectiveness of their owners. When it comes to intelligence, whippets are smart dogs.
They are able to learn many tricks quickly, such as “sit”, “stay” and “lie-down”. Whippets are eager-to-please dogs, and their characteristics make whippets very trainable.
Despite their small size, whippets are not yappy or whiny dogs, they rarely bark. In fact, I can count on one hand the number of times that I’ve personally heard my own whippet Bonnie bark.
They are very quiet dogs that do not bark unless it is necessary. Whippets are certainly not the perfect guard dogs, so don’t count on them to protect you from danger or an intruder.
However, they have a strong sense of loyalty to their family and owner.
Whippet Characteristics: Temperament
When it comes to the whippet’s temperament, they are loving, social, and easygoing. Whippets are great family dogs for whoever wants a dog that is very gentle around children, especially if they have known the whippet since it was a puppy.
The whippet’s temperament makes them perfect for people with disabilities or allergies to fur because whippets do not shed like most other dogs and are very clean.
In addition, whippets are calm and not hyperactive, so they will be a good companion for any owner who wants a dog to spend time within the house.
However, whippets do require a lot of exercise if you want them to stay happy in the house because whippets need a lot of physical activity to keep them stress-free.
Mental stimulation is a must for whippets as well because whippets are extremely intelligent and need something to keep them occupied.
If whippets do not receive sufficient exercise or mental stimulation, they may become destructive and annoy whoever lives in the house.
Their temperament is unmatched, which is why they are my favourite dog breed on the planet. Whippets are known to be a very well-mannered dog breed.
They are extremely loyal and make for great companions. If whippets receive proper training from a young age, whippets can be incredibly obedient as well.
Whippet Characteristics: Personality
When it comes to the whippet’s personality, you should note that they can be quite greedy dogs.
They’ll stop at nothing to receive a sneaky treat and you may even find them with their muzzle lodged into your bag of Doritos whilst you binge-watch Netflix.
They can be shy dogs but once you get to know them they will become incredibly social and responsive.
Every whippet is slightly different and has unique personality traits.
Some whippets will be more dominant and controlling whereas others whippets may be more submissive, this is going to depend on the individual dog you have, so it’s important to look thoroughly into the parents before making a purchase decision.
Their small frames make almost every surface uncomfortable for them, so it’s vital that you invest in a comfortable, preferably memory foam dog bed for your whippet.
The amount of dog beds I’ve gone through with my whippets is astronomical as they will often rip them up trying to bunch the bed together to make it more comfortable.
Special Whippet Breed Characteristics
The whippet is a very unique breed, and therefore they have some unique characteristics you should be aware of, First, whippets are not an aggressive breed.
Whippets can be easily startled and will oftentimes run away rather than fight. They are also very gentle dogs, whippets are one of the gentlest dog breeds you could own.
They love children and other pets; they make wonderful companions for anyone and everyone.
Whippets are also a very intelligent breed, they take to training easily and once they’ve learned something new, they never forget it.
These whippets make for wonderful watchdogs as well, whippets are more likely to bark at strangers or unknown sounds than attack them.
The Whippets Athletic Ability
These dogs are incredibly athletic, and their body is built for fast sprints to keep up with small animals. They can make great companions for jogging or bike rides and will happily keep up with you without breaking a sweat.
However, as they get older they can become more susceptible to whippet arthritis or joint problems.
This is something you must look out for and treat accordingly.
They love to be in the outdoors and take long walks or hikes with their owners, if you’re a family of hikers then a whippet will fit in just fine.
Understanding The Whippets Prey Drive
The whippet has been a hunting breed for centuries, they were used for hunting rabbits, rats, and other small prey animals.
They are built for speed and make excellent dog trackers.
They will often chase small animals that they come into contact with on walks due to their strong prey drive; whippets can be incredibly difficult to train not to chase because if the whippet’s prey drive is strong it may prove very challenging for them to go against this and listen to your commands.
They will jump over fences, swim through lakes, and run across roads without hesitation whilst chasing a rabbit so it’s very important that you are aware of this beforehand and can be extra vigilant whilst taking your whippet on walks to ensure they are not in any danger.
It’s important that your whippet is trained to a very high standard to keep their prey drive under control, especially if you live in a rural area where there may be lots of small animals for your whippet to chase.
Often people overlook a whippet’s prey drive and then find them challenging to train and manage, but this is deep-rooted into their instincts and something that proves difficult for many to keep under control.
Whippets And Other Pets
As mentioned above, the prey drive in whippets is often very strong, which makes generally them not suitable for living with cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, and other small animals.
That’s not to say it’s impossible to introduce them together, but it’s not recommended as you’ll constantly be on your toes worrying in case something happens.
Whippets and cats living under the same roof is a particularly bad idea –because whippets think they’re fair game and because cats tend to be more agile and nimbler than whippets and can thus evade them.
This isn’t to say that whippets aren’t suitable for living with other dogs – in fact, whippets love the company of other whippets and dogs alike.
Although whippets aren’t the kind who appreciate being petted all day, they will enjoy your love and affection provided you take them out to get some exercise every day.
The energy whippets have only lasts for a few hours so it’s important that whippets get enough sleep at night to rejuvenate and be energised for the next day ahead.
Whippets make great pets for those that have overweight dogs too, as they’ll help get your larger dog back in shape by running rings around them and playing together.
As a whole, there are lots of whippet characteristics that whippets are known for. Whippets are loving, affectionate dogs that should be taken out to run around every day to stay healthy and happy.
All whippets will look similar in features and size with whippets weighing between 15-22kg and ranging in height from 53cm-61cms at the shoulder when they’re fully grown. They’ll be a long, lean dog that has short hair and a thin whippet tail.
Whippets are known for characteristics like loyalty, playfulness, and gentle affectionate whippet dog personalities. They’re incredibly smart dogs that are easy to train and will pick up tricks quickly without too much work.
Hopefully, this post has given you a good insight into the characteristics of a whippet and you now understand if this dog is right for you.
Thanks for taking the time to read this post and feel free to share it with someone who may find value in it.
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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!