Whippet illustration
Hound

Whippet

Small, speedy sighthound traditionally used for racing

Breed characteristics

Size
Small
Exercise
Up to 1 hour per day
Size of home
Small house
Grooming
Once a week
Coat length
Short
Sheds
Yes
Lifespan
Over 12 years
Vulnerable native breed
No
Town or country
Either
Size of garden
Small/ medium garden

About this breed

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.

Read the breed standard

Images for this breed

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.

Breed standard colours

Breed standard colour means that the colour is accepted within the breed standard and is a traditional and well-known colour in this breed.

Breed standard colours in this breed include:

  • Black
  • Black & White Particolour
  • Black & White Trim
  • Black Brindle
  • Black Brindle White Trim
  • Blue
  • Blue Brindle
  • Blue Brindle Particolour
  • Blue Brindle White Particolour
  • Blue Brindle White Trim
  • Blue Fawn
  • Blue White Particolour
  • Blue White Trim
  • Brindle
  • Brindle & White Particolour
  • Brindle White Trim
  • Cream
  • Fawn
  • Fawn Black Mask
  • Fawn Black Mask White Trim
  • Fawn Blue Mask
  • Fawn Brindle
  • Fawn Brindle White Particolour
  • Fawn Brindle White Trim
  • Fawn White Particolour
  • Fawn White Trim
  • Red Brindle
  • Red Brindle Particolour
  • Red Brindle White Trim
  • Red Fawn
  • Red Fawn & White Particolour
  • Red Fawn Black Mask
  • Red Fawn Black Mask White Trim
  • Red Fawn White Trim
  • Silver Brindle
  • Silver Brindle & White Trim
  • Silver Brindle Particolour
  • White
  • White & Blue Brindle
  • White & Fawn Particolour

Other colour/s

'Other' means you consider your puppy to be a colour not currently known within the breed and one that does not appear on either the breed standard or non-breed standard list. In this instance you would be directed through our registrations process to contact a breed club and/or council to support you on identifying and correctly listing the new colour.

Non-breed-standard colours

Non-breed-standard colour means that the colour is not accepted within the breed standard and whilst some dogs within the breed may be this colour it is advised to only select a dog that fits within the breed standards for all points.

Colour is only one consideration when picking a breed or individual dog, health and temperament should always be a priority over colour.

Health

Whether you’re thinking of buying a puppy, or breeding from your dog, it’s essential that you know what health issues may be found in your breed. To tackle these issues we advise that breeders use DNA tests, screening schemes and inbreeding coefficient calculators to help breed the healthiest dogs possible.

More about health

Important health schemes and tests

We strongly recommend that all breeders, both assured breeders (ABs) and non ABs, use the following schemes, tests and advice.

Currently there are no additional health screening schemes or DNA tests for this breed. You may want to speak to your breeder, vet or local breed club about any health issues in the breed.

Find out about a particular dog's results

Please visit our Health Test Results Finder to discover the DNA or screening scheme test results for any dog on The Kennel Club's Breed Register.

You can also view the inbreeding coefficient calculation for a puppy's parents, or for a dog you're thinking of breeding from.

Have any questions about health in your breed?

If you have any concerns about a particular health condition in your breed then you may wish to speak to your vet or you could contact your breed health co-ordinator.

Breed health co-ordinators are individuals working on behalf of breed clubs and councils who are advocates for the health and welfare of their chosen breed. They acts as a spokesperson on matters of health and will collaborate with The Kennel Club on any health concerns the breed may have.

Contact the breed health co-ordinator for the Whippet.

Breed watch

Category 1

Currently no points of concern specific to this breed have been identified for special attention by judges, other than those covered routinely by The Kennel Club's breed standard.

Read more about Breed Watch

Breeding restrictions

There are a number of The Kennel Club's rules and regulations that may prevent a litter from being registered, find out about our general and breed specific breeding restrictions below.

More about breeding

There are not currently any additional breed specific restrictions in place for this breed.

More information

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