Whippets were bred to hunt by sight, coursing rabbits and other small game animals in open areas at high speeds. In the 19th century, Whippet racing was a national sport in England and this is when the Whippet became a distinct breed.
A greyhound in miniature, the whippet is among the sleekest of dogs, with a curvaceous, streamlined silhouette, long legs and a lean physique. It is the ultimate sprinter, unsurpassed by any other breed in its ability to accelerate to top speed and to twist and turn with unequaled agility.
The whippet is a lightweight version of the greyhound, with an especially supple top-line and powerful hindquarters enabling it to execute the double-suspension gallop at its most extreme. It is square or slightly longer than tall. The gait is low and free-moving. The expression is keen and alert.
Perhaps the most demonstrative and obedient of the true sighthounds, the whippet makes an ideal pet for people who want a quiet house dog and absolutely devoted companion. The whippet is extremely gentle with children and can make an excellent companion for them. It is calm indoors but loves to run and play outdoors. It is extremely sensitive (both physically and mentally) and cannot take rough treatment or harsh corrections.
Like all dogs, the Whippet needs a daily exercise routine. Whippets love to run and have a strong prey drive because of their history of hunting. They are not suitable around cats, rabbits or other small animals. They are not the most fearless watchdog, but will jump or bark to protect their owner. Whippets are intelligent dogs and easy to train especially if training is made fun for them.
The Whippet is a great all-round dog, which although very athletic is also very gentle with children and with elderly people. They are common companion dogs in nursing homes.
Most Whippets need a kind owner capable of recognizing this breed’s need for affection and rewarding its loyalty and devotion. They are suitable for apartment living, but a good daily run is a must.
The Whippet was recognized by AKC in 1888 and by the English Kennel Club in 1891. Some of the Whippet's talents include: hunting, sighting, watchdog, racing, agility and lure coursing.