Why Not Whippets?
Although I love the breed dearly, they are not for everyone. Please read below for reasons a whippet may not be the right dog for you.
- Whippets can and will kill small animals. They can be trained, with work, to leave other pets in the home alone. When they are outside they may kill birds, squirrels, rabbits, opossums and even the neighbors cat. If the idea of your dog killing another animal is extremely upsetting, choose another breed. Whippets have been bred for centuries to chase down and kill small animals. Some whippets may not get along with your indoor cats and should not be trusted with any pocket pets (rats, hamsters, guinea pigs, etc).
- Whippets should not be trusted off-leash. If you want a dog that can wander around your unfenced yard with you or hang out and not leave the front porch, whippets are not for you. Although there are a few exceptions, whippets are sighthounds and will chase anything they see moving. It could be as simple as a plastic bag blowing across the street to cause them to bolt. Since they can run 35-40mph you won’t catch them, and cars will not be able to stop in time.
- Whippet puppies require a lot of time, attention and exercise. While adult whippets are usually laid back couch potatoes, whippet puppies are little dervishes. If you don’t have the time or inclination to deal with it, get an adult, over 2-3 yrs old.
- Whippet are indoor dogs. Whippets have very short coats and little body fat, making them unsuited for life as outdoor dogs in cold or hot weather. They much prefer to be around their family, usually curled up on the couch.
- Whippets play rough. While they aren’t huge dogs (usually under 40lbs) if one runs in to you at 35mph they can do some serious damage. Young whippets especially do everything at full speed, the saying is “no brains, no brakes” until they are around 2 years old. If you or someone in your household is frail, consider an older more sedate whippet. They are usually pretty good at not running in to you, unless they are chasing each other or another animal. Then you better watch your knees!
- Minimal grooming, and baths take 5 minutes.
- Very affectionate and love to cuddle.
- Quiet, rarely bark.
- Adjust to your activity level. When you’re active, they want to play. When you’re not, they’ll sack out on the couch.
- Intelligent – they can be easily trained with the right methods.
- They are beautiful athletes – once you have them all other dogs look fat.
- Few health problems. Whippets should be checked for congenital eye and heart problems and screened for deafness. Other than that they’re a relatively healthy and long lived breed.
- Fun! There are several sports whippet owners can participate in, including racing and lure coursing. Many whippets excel in obedience and agility too.