The whippet is essentially a small greyhound sharing the same genetic purity and ancient history. Works of art, bronzes marbles and paintings depict dogs of whippet type, short coated, streamlined, elegant & functional going back through the centuries.
The whippet has the classical sighthound shape; long elegant neck generous length, good legs and feet, short smooth coat, all contributing the impression of a speed machine.
As colour is listed in the Standard as ‘immaterial’ whippets have a wonderfully wide range of colour permutations to suit the most exacting of owners.
Whippets share the general sighthound characteristics. Bred to hunt by sight their instinct to chase is stronger than their instinct to obey. They are however less extreme in these characteristics than other sighthound breeds, more forthcoming and easier to train to a degree with stock, cats, & other quarry. They form an extremely close bond with an owner needing physical contact and a human environment. They can be bribed and persuaded but rarely bullied. They have a huge sense of humour, they are very good with children if brought up with them. They are naturally clean in their habits and quick to house-train.
Exercise is not a problem as they are an explosive breed and given a safe environment(i.e an open space free from roads or stock) they will cover a lot of ground without the owner needing to walk far as they keep themselves very fit with a minimum of effort. Another plus is the wide variety of activities available to the pure-bred whippet, showing, racing, lure-coursing and of course agility & obedience, though the last two come less naturally.
Whippets have been cleared by two Kennel Club/BVA surveys of any hereditary problems. There are currently no tests which are mandatory for whippets. That is not to say however that we as a breed are complacent and a new survey specific to whippets is in the process of being circulated by the Breed Council to ascertain whether there are issues which should be addressed.
The breed is unexaggerated and manifestly fit for function and most whippets live long healthy lives up to 14 or 15 years old and even longer.
The most frequent causes of damage or ill-health are running injuries or car accidents. Despite their elegant look whippets are tougher than might be imagined, they heal incredibly well, and with proper care can over-come most things. They are a very loving and rewarding breed.