Description

Illustration of Whippet

One theory on the origin of the whippet is that the miners of Victorian North Eastern England could not afford to keep greyhounds for coursing, so bred down from small greyhounds and called it the whippet which in the 17th century was used to describe “a little cur”. Other theories suggest that terrier outcrosses, particularly with the Manchester terrier were used on small greyhounds.

The original function of the breed was to course rabbits, and the Northern Miners enjoyed gambling in their sport. Later when this was outlawed, the dogs were used for chasing lure or rags which were dragged down straight tracks or alleyways this earned the breed the nickname of the “lightning rag dog”. Although Whippet racing continues on a very minor scale, the breed is now hugely popular in the show ring where its elegant lines and smooth daisycutting action has won many admirers. As a family companion, the Whippet is gentle and affectionate and enjoys the comforts of domestic life.

Breed Group
Hound
Vulnerable Native Breed
No
Size
Small
How much exercise?
Up to 1 hour per day
Length of coat
Short
How much grooming?
Once a week
Supposedly sheds? *
Yes
Town or Country
Either
Type of home
Small House
Minimum Garden Size
Small/Medium
Lifespan
Over 12 Years

* If you are asthmatic or have an allergy, you should consult your medical advisor before considering obtaining a dog. More information can also be found on the Kennel Club website.

The Hound Breed Group

Breeds originally used for hunting either by scent or by sight. The scent hounds include the Beagle and Bloodhound and the sight hounds such breeds as the Whippet and Greyhound. Many of them enjoy a significant amount of exercise and can be described as dignified, aloof but trustworthy companions.


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