Utah Whippet

Utah Whippet Rescue

Whippet Information

Basic Care


Buying a Puppy

Breeding Puppies

Local Events

Lure Coursing

Whippet Racing


Obedience & Rally

Agility & Flyball


Breeder Referrals

Local Clubs & Shopping

Breed Information

A Brief Whippet History
There are several theories about when whippets evolved as a breed. Small greyhounds are deprecated in paintings as old as the Roman time.  It’s speculated that whippets came about between the 17th- 18th century. They were bred to hunt rabbits for the table and possibly for sport as “Snap-Dogs”. They are most known in history as the “Poor Mans Race Horse” for factory and mine workers near Liverpool. These working class citizens would hold races on roads and in fields. These events got the nickname of “Rag Races” because of the white piece of cloth waved at the finish line as a lure. The word "whippet" comes originally from the latin "via" meaning "a road, a street, a path, or way. The American Kennel club recognized the first whippet in 1888.

Whippet Utah

Whippets V.S. Greyhounds V.S. Italian Greyhounds
All three breeds have the similar athletic body build, all three breeds have different characteristics, temperaments, and energy level. Greyhounds tend to be the most laid back and lazy while Italian Greyhounds are considered high energy. Whippets can have more of an intense personality when it comes to play and prey drive. One of the biggest differences with the 3 breeds is size.

Greyhound size 60-70lbs and stand 28-30” tall at the shoulder

Whippet size 24-40lbs and stand 17-22” at the shoulder

Italian Greyhound size 8-18lbs 13-15 at the shoulder


Whippet Characteristics
The Whippet is an elegant medium size dog and are considered the Ferraris of the Sighthound family. Whippets are athletic, versatile, well balanced dogs, with a passion for running. They are sprinters and are capable of speeds up to 35 M.P.H. Whippet are generally quiet dogs that don’t excessively bark. They typically weigh around 22lbs to 40lbs. Males tend to be one to two inches taller and three to six pounds heavier than females.  For a full description of the Whippet standard, go to the American Whippet Club web site.

Whippets have a sweet, mild temperament, and are very devoted to their owners. They are affectionate, intelligent, quiet dogs. They have received the nickname “Velcro dogs” because of their desire to be near their family at all times.  They DO NOT make good watchdogs. Whippets can be reserved with strangers so early socialization is important. Males are to be slightly more loyal and may do some repetitive play. Females can be more complex, moody and strong-willed.  They say that owning whippet has a potatoes chip effect. You can’t have just one. Generally most homes have 2 or more whippets at a time.

Most whippets dislike repetitive play such as chasing balls or Frisbees. They may retrieve once or twice but then want to move onto something more exciting. Whippets generally like the chasing part of the game but not the retrieving part.
sleeping whippet

Whippets and Family life
Their short coats and sweet temperaments have made them a family favorite for centuries. The whippet temperament makes them excellent dogs for smaller homes and apartments if proper exercise is given.

Whippets get along with soft handed, well-mannered children. Due to their soft personalities, Whippets don’t tolerate teasing. A child that falls on the dog pulls their ears and tail may get snapped at or even bitten. Always keep young children supervised around all dogs. Never let a toddler interrupt any dog while it’s sleeping, or eating. Both the child and dog needs to respect the space of the other. ALWAYS SUPERVIES when they are together!

Whippet and kids

Prey drive and cats
Whippets have a high Prey Drive, which means the like to chase. The instinct to chase small moving animals is very strong in this breed. They will want to chase squirrels, rabbits, rodents and even the neighbor’s cat. Whippets that are raised with cats get along fine with their feline family member. But the neighbor’s cat is fair game in their eyes. Unless socialized with cats early, Whippets might chase and kill cats along with other small animals. Because Whippets have this high prey drive, it’s not recommended that they be allowed off leash in unfenced areas. Whippets can dart across a busy lane of car traffic faster then the owner can grab them. It’s extremely difficult to get their attention once they start chasing a critter Remember that this is a breed that can still perform its job to HUNT! A good recall is so critical for a whippet. Teaching the come command should start at the earliest age possible.

Race whippets VS Show Whippets
There was a time where one whippet could do it all. Whippets could win a dog show in the morning and enter a race meet in the evening. Both sports breed for particular styles of Whippet and the breed has begun to form two body types. The characteristics that are rewarding in the show ring can inhibit speed on the track. At the same time, while breeding for speed, some cosmetic traits are overlooked and not valued in the show ring.

race vs show whippet

So currently there is a show type and a race bred type of Whippet. The preferred coat color for show Whippets is white with patches of brindle or fawn. Race Whippets can be any color including blue, blue brindle, blue fawn, black, black brindle and seal. These are mostly absent from the ring except for a smattering of black in recent years. Race Whippets carry more muscle and generally run larger in size then show Whippets. Both styles of Whippets have the same sweet personality and breed characteristics. There is a handful breeders who strive to breed for both venues and should be commended for their efforts. But typically most breeders will breed one variety over the other. The Continental Whippet Alliance (CWA) is one of the few clubs that promotes both conformation and racing. CWA does require a bench show champion in a 3 generation pedigree in order to compete which most race bred Whippets can't fulfill.

Race whippet

When deciding which variety to get, keep in mind that all varieties are enthusiastic about running. If you are looking for a family pet, choose reputable breeder in your area and don’t worry about the variety.  If you want to compete in a Whippet sport, you need the body style to fits the activity. Race Whippets are much faster then show Whippets. Show Whippets are flashier and will win over the race bred variety at a dog show. Dogs bred for a purpose will still be able to compete successfully at that purpose. Their body style will reflect the purpose which in turn will set the type.

Remember that these events are fun for all Whippets and the Whippet doesn't’t know what body style it has or if it won or lost that day. You can always show or race for fun and your whippet will love doing the activity with you.

© 2010 Utah Whippet Copyright