The whippet originated in England and belongs to the FCI Group 10 sighthounds. The breed standard stipulates a shoulder height of 47 – 51 cm for males and 44 – 47 cm for females. The weight should be between 12 – and 13 kg. The Whippet has a very fine, short, and dense coat of all colors. A strong wind, by definition, blows at a speed of 56 km/h. A whippet around the dog track has an average value that is just as fast.
The small sighthound breed from the British Isles is only slightly slower than the larger greyhounds. Well-trained top athletes among the whippets reach top speeds of around sixty km/h. The Whippet owes its existence to the mine and factory workers of northeast England. During the Victorian era in the 19th century, greyhounds were used by the nobility and the wealthy for their hunting pleasures.
Not being able to afford these dogs financially, the workers crossed smaller greyhounds with Italian greyhounds and local short-haired wiry terriers. The Bedlington Terrier, for example, brought the Whippet to rats and mice. In addition to the occasionally vital poaching of rabbits, the whippets were initially used for so-called “snap racing”, i.e. the hunt for rabbits and hares in a fenced area. The rabbits and hares were released into the area and the Whippets had to hunt and kill them against the clock.
However, due to the extreme brutality of the sport, it was eventually outlawed in Britain, and greyhound racing became a popular sport. In this sport, known as rag racing, the baiting object was an old cloth which the owner waved and the dog had to run to its owner as fast as possible.
At the start, a helper threw the dog with momentum onto the racetrack. This is how the whippet got the nickname “rag dog”. These events took place on remote, straight tracks and empty spaces because the workers could not afford circuits, so the whippet became a straight sprinter. He has tremendous acceleration ability and can cover 180 m in 12 seconds!
Whippets with an average speed of 50 km/h have already been measured. In-circuit greyhound racing, the rag is quickly dragged along the inside of the track. Both of these types of races are still common today and are a very popular Sunday pastime, particularly in Northern England. In the beginning, there were also often rough-haired whippets.
However, since it was believed that they were faster with smooth hair, they were shorn. This variant of the Whippets could not prevail as a result. In the early 20th century, textile workers from Lancashire migrated to New England in the United States, bringing whippets and greyhounds to the United States.
More recently, long-haired whippets have appeared, causing a great deal of dispute among breeders, with breed clubs eventually refusing to recognize these variants. Crossbreeding of greyhounds with other small greyhounds and long-legged terriers is seen by dog experts as a possible origin of the breed. In 1891, the first studbook for the whippet breed was opened in England.
Sand, black and brown colors prevail. However, the standard does not limit the coloring and up to one hundred color varieties are described. The short, fine, and dense coat lies close to the Whippet and gives it an elegant appearance. The missing undercoat makes grooming easier. A rough cloth or a knobbed glove is enough for the owner of a whippet to remove the animal’s dead hair.
In severe cold, however, the heat-insulating function of the coat can sometimes be insufficient. The low set tail of the whippet is striking, it is slightly curved inwards. What signals a fearful attitude in the dog in other breeds is anatomically determined in its case and accommodates the high running speed.
The trembling that can be observed in the dog, especially when it is looking forward to the start of a race, is less an expression of a lack of warmth than of excitement. Race serves to satisfy instincts.
The Whippet is an extremely easy-care pet. He is gentle and loving and loyal to his family. He also feels very comfortable in a small city apartment, but he needs a lot of exercises every day, preferably on a dog track, because racing is in his blood.
He is always cheerful and lively and loves to play outdoors. The whippet’s habit of constantly shaking does not automatically mean that the dog is cold or even scared. However, he is sensitive to cold weather and drafts.
Although the outward appearance of the whippet suggests a rather fragile dog, like its larger half-brother, the greyhound, it is an unusually powerful and elegant animal. He has already presented the champion at many exhibitions and is also very strong in obedience competitions.
The Whippet is also a very social dog, loving to socialize with people and with other dogs, especially other whippets. For people who want to have their dog around them all the time and who are also sporty, the Whippet is certainly ideal.
Work out, stretch and let your temperament run free – the innate rush instinct can only be influenced to a limited extent. Racetracks are not really an alternative to free movement in this context; Meadows and fields far away from roads correspond to species-appropriate terrain.
Gladly in connection with sporting activities such as agility, Frisbee, and running on the side of a bicycle. Coursing in particular corresponds to the natural hunting behavior of whippets. They prey on a racetrack in the open field and tempt the hunter by swerving.
Nowadays, the Whippet lives in close association with humans as a family dog. The be-all and end-all is the socialization of the animal. The earlier it begins and the more consistently it is maintained, the easier the hunting dog can develop. Consistency does not depend on a hard hand, whereas a lasting influence can be achieved through positive reinforcement.
However, the Whippet owner always has the companion’s predator sharpness in mind. A moving everyday object is enough to trigger the hunting instinct at any time. In the game, the bundles of energy bark and squeal, they jump up, run and want to do their best.