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Whippet Facts

Whippet facts: everything you always wanted to know about whippets but you were too afraid to ask.  

Early Whippet Facts

Origin of the Breed

The whippet was probably selected by the miners of Northern England within the last two centuries although dogs of whippet type are present in ancient paintings and sculptures.

Making of the Breed

There are currently two theories to explain how the whippet breed was selected.

Theory A: whippets comes from crossing greyhounds, italian greyhounds and working terriers.

Theory B: inbreeding the smallest greyhounds created a new, smaller hound breed.

First Whippet Registered

Jack Dempsey, bred by P.H. Hoffman was the first whippet registered in America in 1888.

Breed Official Recognition

In 1980 the Kennel Club officially recognized the whippet as a dog breed.

First Whippet Show Champion

Zuber, born in 1889 and sired by White Eye out of Herndell owned by Herbert Vickers, was the first breed’s champion.

Early Looks

Wire coats were present initially but by the mid 1900 they were bred out in favor of the smooth coated variety. 

Other Names of the Whippet

Snap dog, rag dog, poor man’s greyhound, lazy man’s dog, miniature greyhound, whipit, whappet.

Origin of the Name

In 1550 the Oxford Dictionary of English the word whippet defined “a lively, young woman” and in 1600 it came to define a “small breed of dog”.

Early Whippet Diet

Probably early whippets shared the same diet of their owners of bread and gravy and were fed meat only the last few days before a race.

Today Whippet Facts

Breed Group

The whippet is the most popular breed of the sighthound group with the highest number of registered dogs.

How Fast is a Whippet?

Whippets can reach 38.5 miles per hour (62 km/hr). They are the fastest tame animal of this size.

Most Famous Whippet

The all time most famous whippet is Ashley Whippet.

In 1974 with his owner Alex Stein, Ashley interrupted a nationally televised baseball game with his Frisbee performance and thus creating a new sport, dog frisbee.

Whippet Mystery

In 2006, Vivi the whippet (Bohem C’est La Vie), a prize-winning show dog vanished at Kennedy International Airport after she competed in the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

Vivi escaped from her crate while being loaded onto her flight to Los Angeles. Despite the massive search Vivi was never found and to this day her whereabouts remain a mystery.

Whippet Exercising

Whippets need at least half an hour a day of brisk walk on the leash plus some free running.

Favorite Whippet Activities

Lure coursing, racing, frisbee, dog agility, shows, snoozing.


Whippets are considered veteran at 7 years of age although they maintain  a youthful appearance well into their senior years.

Health Problems

Very healthy breed. Laceration and skin injuries are the most frequent cause of veterinarian emergencies.

Bully whippet

So far whippets are the only dog breed that shows the double muscling mutation.

The heavily muscled appearance of these mutant dogs is caused by a genetic deficiency of myostatin. This condition is known to occur also in sheep, cattle and mice.

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