We fostered a whippet a few years ago, a friend was getting rid of her for legitimate reasons and when she couldn't find a suitable home quickly we decided to take the dog on for a while as our previous seventeen year old Rotti-Doberman cross had recently died and the house seemed strange not having a canine member of the family.
I learned two things very quickly about whippets, the first being they need inhuman amounts of exercise and hate to be still for too long. You can't just walk a whippet round the block as, like greyhounds, they need to stretch their legs and go for a proper run regularly, not just a walk for however long it takes to go to the toilet. We used to take Bess to the rugby club grounds at the back of the house and let her run there, but if that space wasn't available we'd have had to go to the trouble of loading her into the car to drive somewhere where she could have a run.
The other thing we learned was that whippets do not like to be left alone, they HATE it. Bess did especially as she was quite a babyish dog who liked to be around people as much as possible, our way of punishing her was to move her bed into the kitchen and close her in there for a few minutes as that really made her behave better due to the fact she disliked being left in the kitchen while the humans were all in the living room together!
I remember Bess being quite fussy with her food and only really enjoying one brand of boxed dry food, she didn't like scraps and would turn her nose up at meat unless it was chopped down very small and mixed with a bit of gravy - very choosy! It's important not to over-feed whippets as they're made to be lean so don't worry that your dog looks overly thin - you'll get the balance right eventually but it takes a bit of trial and error like everything.
Whippets aren't for everyone and if you're considering this breed I would recommend you read up on the pros and cons first, this isn't a breed you can 'leave' the walk if you get in from work tired and also you do need to bear in mind the way they feel lonely if left so ideally someone would need to be in the house most of the day with them.
Me and my girlfriend bought a whippet puppy in November of last year. Basically we decided after moving in that we wanted a dog, we've both been brought up with them and thought it was the right time. She's used to chunky chocolate labradors - but my first dog (bitch) was a whippet/collie cross called Bonnie - so I was keen to get another Whippet as Labradors end up massive and take up too much space.
Along comes little Alfie. We found his advert in the paper, and he was the last of his litter to go. He was a nervous wreck when we first recieved him - trembling uncontrollably, rivers of saliva dribbling out of his mouth. When we first got him home he would scamper about nervously and look for the smallest crack / corner to hide him. Left us a bit wary of the farmer we bought him off anyways.
He's now nearly 6 months and an absolute mischievous terror (but brilliant all the same!). He's confident and quite obedient, though he has gone into his chewing phase (we have the cover hanging off the side of the sofa to prove it!).
He's very fast and sounds like a horse when he runs. We let him off in the field nearby and he just does massive laps. If theres any other dogs about, he literally shows off and starts doing dog spins in quick succession! Although he has no papers, the farmer we bought him off said he was from the Sooty Sam lines.
He is the dog in my avatar - and thats no photoshop either. Everytime I take a picture of him in dull light with the flash on, his eyes look really demonic and glow up. I noticed when the sun shines in his eyes they are a deep blue!
We're looking to get him a female Whippet puppy / playmate in the near future. My girlfriends really taken to Whippets, and our house would be so empty without him now!
If anybody is interested in seeing a picture, theres a link to one of Alfie at the end of this review.
HISTORY OF THE BREED
In the nortern mining towns of Lancashire in the mid 1800s, the men wanted a passtime that was exciting, to make up for the drudgery of daily worklife. The small terraced houses in which they lived were too small to house the larger type Greyhound, so they selectively bred the smallest Greyhounds available. This breeding program continued until they ended up with a small compact little racing and hunting dog. A dog that took very little grooming. A dog that required very little excercise........ A Whippet.
THE WHIPPET'S APPEARANCE
There is a little bit of variety in the size of a Whippet, but generally it is about 19" in height and weighs around 10kgs.
In appearance, it is to all intents and purposes a Greyhound in miniature. Its' legs are slim for its' height. The back is curved. The rib cage is well defined but not too boney. The chest is deep in proportion to the dogs' height, curving up to a very slender waist, giving the dog an almost ''teardrop on legs'' shape.
Depending on its' upbringing and treatment by the owner, you will find a Whippet is a very quiet, gentle dog. Not a particularly good housedog. My Whippet I used to own, was a dark brown brindled bitch with a white chest. Her name was Penny.
They are good with children but are inclined to snap at furry cuddly toys so that's something to keep your eye on if you have a Whippet and a small child playing in the same room. Being a sighthound, the Whippet is tunnel-visioned when on the chase. The Whippet is far more likely to attack the cuddly toy than the child, but the observer may see it as the child being attacked. This is rarely if ever the case.
My Whippet, Penny spent most of the day lazing around on a bean bag. She would curl up into a ball like a cat. Typical of Whippets, she preferred to live indoors. We once tried her outdoors, using a converted kitchen cabinet as a kennel...... she howled all night!! We brought her in and she never slept outdoors again.
As previously stated, a Whippet weighs around 10 kgs. Most dogs only need to eat around 5% of their body weight per day. For a Whippet, a 400g tin of ''meaty junks in gravy'' and a sprinkling of biscuit mixer should suffice. This means in terms if feeding alone, a Whippet will cost £200 per year to keep.
IF YOU CANT AFFORD TO FEED IT, DONT BUY THE DOG!!!!
A brush in the morning which will stimulate the skin and help her wake up. A shower once or twice a month followed by a good dry off with a towel.
A half hour walk shortly after waking up. A good run and chase a ball for half hour or so in the afternoon/ evening just to have a good stretch and breathe. A ten minute toilet walk before bed.
IF YOU CANNOT SPARE AN HOUR A DAY DONT BUY THE DOG!!!!
When taking your Whippet to a public place, like a park, be aware that just like a Greyhound, this breed will chase and kill small animals, cats and squirrels and the like, so you may wish to muzzle it.
They have a one-tracked mind on the chase so you are unlikely to be able to call it back. However, once it loses sight of its' prey, it stops running. Whippets like a long, far ranging sight of its' prey which it will hound down, twisting and turning, rather like a Cheetah. It will rarely forage through bushes or go to ground. Mostly it chases in a wide open field with prey in clear view. So just be aware of your choice of excercise area.
Remember a Whippet can reach a speed of 22 yds per SECOND, so in 6 seconds it can be the whole length of a football pitch away.
A good place to run a Whippet is on the hard wet sand of a beach, the wet sand just before the surf line (if thats what it's called). There is nothing more exciting than seeing your Whippet or Greyhound at full throttle!!
You will enjoy these lovely, affectionate, charming little flying machines.... like flying a kite only better!!!!
10 years ago after the death of my 16 year old labrador my sister bought me a whipet X female puppy. I had never been very struck on the idea of whipets, greyhounds etc as they had always seemed a bit highly strung but my Sam as I decided to call her was just fabulous. She was very gentle, always wanted and gave lots of love and was a really great friend. When I met my husband she took to him without any problems, in fact she seemed to adore him. My husband is a runner and the favourite part of her day was their daily runs together and he loved having her company. When I became pregnant when she was 8 we worried that as she had always been the baby she might get upset, she didnt. She seemed to know well before our daughter arrived and from the day that we brought her home they became great friends, of course they were never left alone together. She was a very wise dog and always seemed to know when something was troubling me or us and would be there for us. She was very calm except when the doorbell rang, the postman delivered etc and she was a great guard dog. As you can probably guess by the "was" we have very recently had to have her put to sleep after a very very short illness and we are still in shock. This has been one of the worst times of my life because I, my husband and my daughter have lost a very great friend. However I would very much recommend a whippet X to anyone considering a dog. They make very faithful friends, are kind, gentle, not very big and just lovely.
Whipets are lovely dogs they are easy to train need little exercise and very friendly toward children. This dog probably only need ten minutes exercise per day. This dogs are very soft and will play with the kids and have lots of fun. These are easy to train as within two days my dog was toilet trianed. These are small than grayhounds and are easy to look after as they sleep most of the day they also have short hair which wont make a mess of your home