Why Are Whippets So Skinny?

Whippets are very well known for their athletic ability, loving nature and being what most consider to be incredibly skinny.

But why is that? In this post we’re going to find out why are whippets so skinny? As well as what you can do if you believe your whippet is a little too thin and needs to pack on some beef.

These dogs are able to run at speeds of up to 35mph, which makes them one of the fastest dogs on the planet, just behind the Greyhound!

Let’s take a closer look at why whippets are so skinny…

The Reason Whippets Are So Skinny

Whippets are part of the sighthound family which means they were bred to hunt by sight. But simply seeing prey won’t allow your dog to catch it? No, that’s where their build and bodyweight comes in.

Whippets were bred for coursing, which is a high-speed chase between dog and prey, meaning whippets need to be incredibly fast to be able to catch their prey and put bread on the table for their owners.

This is the reason whippets are so skinny as they need to be nimble, agile and have the ability to run at lightning-fast speeds to secure the catch.

why are whippets so skinny
Image: retrophoto01

The modern-day whippet is still used for hunting, however many whippet owners use their furry friends to race in competitions.

Whippets are used as working dogs and racing dogs today, as their slim build and large muscles allow them to catapult themselves forwards at incredible speeds.

Understanding The Size Of Your Whippet

It’s important to understand the size of your whippet and determine whether he’s on the larger side of the scale. But how heavy should a whippet be?

Well, a healthy whippet should weigh anywhere between 6.8 – 14kg, this is the perfect weight for whippets as they are designed to be lightweight dogs.

The ideal weight for a whippet is around the 10kg mark, this allows him to be super speedy when it comes to racing and chasing prey, which is what they were bred for. 

Is Your Whippet Too Skinny?

We all know our own whippets very well, but how do you know if your whippet is too skinny? Well, a good rule of thumb to go by is that you should not be able to see any more than three ribs on your whippet.

Any more than three ribs visible is a clear indicator that your whippet is too skinny and needs bulking up.

However, if you can’t see any ribs, then this means your whippet is too fat and needs more exercise.

A healthy whippet eats a nutritious diet of two meals per day and has at least 60 minutes of physical exercise each day, if your whippet isn’t getting this amount of exercise then he may be too large for his own good.

It’s very easy for whippets that aren’t being exercised enough to become overweight, as many dog owners often don’t decrease the food in line with their whippet’s energy expenditure.

But this really should be taken into account, as if your whippet is used for racing he will naturally require more food than a whippet that only gets a short walk each day. 

How To Beef Up Your Whippet If He’s Too Skinny

So, you’ve now identified that your whippet is too skinny as there are more than three ribs visible on his torso. But how do you put some weight on your whippet?

The first thing you need to do is ensure he’s getting plenty of high-quality nutritious food, and if so then you need to add another meal into his daily routine.

A healthy whippet needs around 900 calories per day, whilst a whippet that is used for coursing or racing needs around 1500 calories.

You should continue to give your whippet plenty of exercise each day, but feed him more calories so that he’s still got plenty to work with after he’s had his exercise for the day.

Ensuring that the food you’re feeding your whippet is rich in protein and quality fats is essential for beefing up your whippet.

The breeder should give you a diet sheet for your whippet in most cases, especially whilst your pup is growing up.

However, if you don’t have this, then a good rule of thumb to go by is that an adult whippet needs an ounce of food for every two pounds of its body weight.

This gives you a good guideline on how much your whippet needs to eat per day, and of course, should be adjusted per your whippet’s energy expenditure. 

Is Your Whippet Too Fat?

There is nothing more sad and upsetting than seeing obese whippets when out on a walk.

These dogs are easily able to burn lots of calories through their love of play and running, so there really is not reason to have an obese whippet.

The main reason for an obese whippet is generally down to the dog owner either feeding too much or not giving their pup enough exercise.

However, there are some instaned where the dog has had an injury or health condition which has resulted in them putting on excess weight.

So how do you know if your whippet is too fat?

Well, if there is not three ribs showing on your pups torso then this is a clear sign that your whippet is obese and something needs to be done.

I would recommend inspecting the food your giving your whippet to ensure it’s not a mass gainer food or has abnormally high calories per serving.

You can check out our best dog food for whippets post for some great recommendations on food that is healthy for your whippet.

If you’ve identified that your whippet is obese and now you’ve got him on some better food, you need to ensure your giving him around 60 minutes oh physical exercise each day.

This gives your whippet the chance to burn off any extra calories that he may have eaten and also start chipping away at that excess body fat.

Pro tip – try to take your whippet out with other dogs as the two will play and run rings round each other which is perfect for losing weight, it is also a great tool for helping other dogs lose weight too.

It’s very important that you help your whippet lose weight, as being obese is seriously damaging to his health and can lead to an early grave if not treated.

What’s Wrong With A Little Fat On Your Whippet?

You may be wondering, “what’s wrong with a little fat on my whippet?”, well, quite a lot. You see, whippets are not designed to hold excess body fat, and when they do this causes a lot of pressure on their joints.

This means when they are running at high speeds, which they do regularly, the excess pressure can lead to more frequent injuries and accidents.

But not only that, obese whippets tend to live less than healthy whippets, as they can suffer from heart diseases due to being obese.

why are whippets so skinny?
Image: John D Durrant

It’s important to realise that whippets are small dogs that can easily put weight on if fed too much and not exercised enough, you should take a closer look at the food you’re feeding your whippet if he’s starting to put on weight.

An obese whippet is really sad to see, as these dogs love nothing more than to run and play, which naturally helps them stay slim and in shape.

It’s generally down to the owner who isn’t giving the whippet enough exercise or is giving in to those puppy dog eyes too much and feeding their whippet too many treats

Final Thoughts

So why are whippets so skinny?

These dogs were bred to be skinny as they were used to catch prey for their owners many years ago, they had to be incredibly fast to snap up prey which is why they got the nickname “snap dogs”.

Be sure that your whippet doesn’t have more than three ribs showing and is eating a healthy diet as well as getting enough daily exercise, and you can be sure to have a happy, healthy whippet that will live for 12 – 15 years. 

Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of why whippets are so skinny and how to beef up your whippet if he’s a little too thin.

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