can check the AKC site for the specific information about the breed
standard and general characteristics of the breed. There you will
find descriptions such as:
"A medium size sighthound giving the appearance of elegance
and fitness, denoting great speed, power and balance without
coarseness. A true sporting hound that covers a maximum of distance
with a minimum of lost motion."
"Whippets are the fastest domestic animals of their size.
They can reach speeds of 35 miles per hour. But they are also
quiet and well-behaved in the house. They are smart, loving,
hardly little dogs who can live in the city. "
What they don't tell you...
all of these general characteristics are true, there are also some
other typical whippet characteristics that are worth noting...and
that you might not find in a simple breed description.
If all, or most of the following points strike you as strange,
keep in mind that these are the typical things that cause a normal
whippet to be diagnosed with "separation anxiety," medicated,
then finally turned over to whippet rescue.
Whippets need company
Very few are able to spend an entire working day alone in crate,
home, or apartment. The best situation for a whippet is in a home
where someone is at home all or most of the day. Whippets can also
do well with another dog - preferably another whippet. If you work
outside the home all day and plan on leaving your dog alone- a
whippet is not a good dog for you.
Whippets and their "special person"
Whippets usually form a close bond with one person in the home. This
doesn't mean that they don't love everyone - they do - they just
form a special attachment to one person. They will follow this
special person everywhere - the bathroom, the shower, the kitchen,
etc. - and look lovelingly at them all the while. Some find this
behavior charming, others find it clingy and "needy." If
you don't want a shadow and/or a bony 20 to 30 pound lap dog, a
whippet is not a good choice for you.
Whippets and window coverings
Whippets are sight hounds. If you leave them alone in the house,
they will try to find you - usually by trying to look out of a
window. They will claw away drapes, blinds (both horizontal and
vertical) and do an amazing amount of damage just to look out of
a window. One of our whippets even escaped from its cage at the
Vet's office and trashed their windows during the night. I have
only left a whippet alone in the house once - and the damage he
did in 40 minutes was nothing short of astonishing. If you do not
have a safe yard or special place (such as a crate) to leave your
dog when you must be away from the home, a whippet is definitely
not the dog for you.
Whippets and a "safe" yard
Whippets are very athletic dogs - even though they can closely resemble
couch potatoes for most of the day. A whippet can easily jump 5
to 6 feet...from a standing position. Although they are not generally "diggers," a
well-motivated whippet can slip under a fence, hop over a 5-foot
fence, and even climb a lattice fence. All it takes is a cat or
a plastic bag blowing in the wind - and your whippet will be highly
motivated to chase it. If you don't have a secure yard - do not
even think about leaving your whippet alone outside.
Whippets and exercise
Whippets need exercise every day. It doesn't have to be a one hour
marathon session - a nice 20-minute walk will do. If you have a
large yard, they will usually amuse themselves. If you have a small
yard, they may well destroy the yard as they charge at high speed
through your carefully landscaped patio...unless you walk them
and/or can take them to a place to free run.
Most whippets are mannerly on the leash. They clearly take a delight
in walking and exploring. You don't have to run - a normal walk is
sufficient. Do not try lashing them to a bicycle or vehicle - whippets
are sprinters, not marathon runners - you can easily over-tax or
injure your dog before realizing it.
If you are fortunate enough to have access to a large open or fenced
area letting your whippet "free run" is a real treat. Whippets
love to run, spin, chase one another...and anything else they happen
to stir up. Before you let your whippet off of its lead, be sure
that it will come to you - by calling and with hand signals since
they can quickly run out of ear-shot. Also make sure that there are
absolutely no roads anywhere near. Tragically, many whippets are
killed by cars as they single mindedly chase after a squirrel - or