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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. When indoors, Whippets are almost always found on the sofa or the bed, often buried underneath the covers. These dogs enjoy nothing more than relaxing with their family. Intelligent and laid back, Whippets are independent and can never be fully trained, and they have a high prey drive and desire to chase smaller animals. They require gentle training as they are sensitive both mentally and physically. Whippets will thrive when training involves games with running. Whippets have been known to chase down and kill cats, but will be okay with a cat that they have grown up with in the house or if the cat is dominant. The Whippet can make a good apartment dog if it is taken for a long walk or preferably a daily run as it’s in their nature! The Whippet must have a warm, soft bed. It dislikes cold weather intensely and cannot be expected to live outside. The Whippet can play and run in snow and cold weather but should spend inactive times in warmer temperatures. The hair is extremely short and fine, grooming is minimal and the Whippet is thankfully virtually free of doggy odour!

Read about the history of the breed – HERE


Most of these stats are from the UK Kennel Club. You can view stats from kennel clubs around the world at the links below, which may have different standards and classifications.

Group – UKHound
Bred ForRabbit Coursing / Racing
Rare BreedNo
Country of OriginEngland, UK
TemperamentGentle, Affectionate
Exercise NeededUp to 1 hour a day
Size of Home NeededSmall
Height at Withers – Females44 – 47 cm / 17½ – 18½ in
Height at Withers – Males47 – 51 cm / 18½ – 20 in
GroomingOnce a week
CoatShort and Smooth
Life Span12 – 15 years
  • The Whippet has an incredibly strong prey drive, and will pursue almost any non-canine smaller than itself, and some which are significantly larger.
  • Whippets can reach speeds of up to 35 mph.
  • “Whip it,” is an old English phrase, meaning to go swiftly, specifically referring to riders whipping their horses to move more quickly. Another theory is the name is a misspelling of “wappet,” a small yipping dog.
  • They are a peaceful. non-aggressive dog,the only damage these dogs are likely to inflict is a welt caused by the rapid-fire wagging of their tails.
  • Whippets are intelligent, but can be slower at learning new things which can make their training a little more challenging.


Breed standard varies throughout the world, these links will inform you of those standards and give further information about Whippets.


Click on any picture below to view it larger and in a slideshow, it’s worth it! 😃


Enjoy this video about Whippets, you can view the entire playlist of videos about this breed on our YouTube Channel by clicking the button below:


Here’s some websites specifically dedicated to the Whippet breed. I am not affiliated with any of these sites, they’re just here for further information. Please note I will not advertise breeders on this site.

Thanks for reading!

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