Whippets are a dog of medium size which originated in England. Whippets were used to hunt game by sight in open fields.
Whippets were originally greyhounds that were deemed unsuitable for hunting because of their size.
They were returned to their peasant breeders after being purposely maimed by cutting a tendon or removing a toe so that they could not be used to hunt and break the law forbidding peasants from hunting.
These maimed dogs were bred together and used to catch rats and rabbits.
In the nineteenth century, Whippet racing was a major sport in England.
Whippets are a medium-sized dog weighing around 15 to 42 pounds. The height ranges for Whippets are 18 to 22 inches to the shoulder. Coat colours vary widely and can be solid colours or varying patterns of colours.
The coat is short and smooth.
They are the fastest dog of their weight, capable of achieving speeds of 35 MPH due to their unique way of running as all of their legs are off the ground twice in each stride. Once when the legs are at full stretch and again when they are fully tucked under their body.
They are not as fast as a greyhound but from a standing start with a greyhound their accelerating speed is faster.
Whippets are believed to be the fastest accelerating dog in the world.
Whippets are quiet and tend not to do a lot of barking.
They are generally gentle dogs and may be content to spend much of the day resting, usually stretched out on a sofa or human’s bed.
Whippets are touch sensitive, meaning that they can jump or overreact when touched unexpectedly.
Whippets usually expect to live about 12 to 15 years.
Whippets have been bred for course work and hunting for years which has kept them a structurally sound breed which is usually free from health problems.
Whippets, like other sighthounds, are intolerant of barbiturate anaesthetics.
This is in part due to their low concentration of body fat and their liver's inability to metabolise the anaesthetics.
Extra care is needed during visits to the vet for any treatments.
The heart of a Whippet is large and slow beating, often being arrhythmic or even intermittent when the animal is at rest.
This is not a fault but does cause concern to humans or vets not familiar to the breed. Their heartbeat changes to a ‘normal’ beat during exercise.
Whippets have a myostatin mutation. That means they have a mutation in their protein which is due to their athletic performance.
Whippets with a single mutation are fast but Whippets with two mutations are usually a ‘stockier’ whippet, although still fast they may be more prone to muscle cramping.