The whippet can vary in size from less than 20lb to over 30lb in weight depending upon the lines behind the dog. Any colour or variety of colours is acceptable, white, black, blue, fawn, brindle or parti-coloured are all OK.
The appearance of the whippet is sleek and elegant, although appearing to be very timid, fragile and nesh, the whippet is a robust hardy dog with its own special personality. They are not usually over anxious but thunder or fireworks may occasionally frighten them. Whippets enjoy the company of their own kind but also love the companionship of humans making them an excellent family pet being compatible with children. Contrary to popular belief they can be kept off the furniture when given their own bed to curl up in. All a whippet needs is a caring owner who loves, feeds and provides a warm bed for the dog to sleep in, what you get in return is an affectionate, faithful, companion.
The Whippet loves to run when given the opportunity and to see a whippet at full stretch is a truly wonderful sight. Although they can be careless whilst chasing and swerving, and often end up in a heap, they usually resume the chase uninjured. If your whippet does give chase to a hare or rabbit their natural instinct will take over and they will not respond to your calls (no matter how loud you shriek!) until the chase is over. A whippet is not the most energetic of dogs and after a good walk or run they will curl up and sleep for hours on end. Although some exercise is necessary, they will take as much or as little as you can give them, being just as happy curled up in a basket in front of the radiator. However remember whilst exercising that they have no road sense whatsoever so should be on a lead when walked near the roads.
The whippet is a smooth, single coated dog which means little shedding of hair and little grooming, a weekly brush with a rubber mitt, to get rid of the loose hairs, and the occasional bath being all that is required. They are instinctively very clean animals, and although they may have been out running in the muddy field and be really dirty, an hour later they will be spotless after cleaning themselves.
Whippets can either live in or outside in most climates, however never put a single dog outside on their own, two or more will snuggle up and keep each other warm but a singleton will be extremely unhappy. The kennel must be draft free, sheltered from wind and rain, and shaded from the sun. Warm soft bedding is essential for the dogs to snuggle into, and should be regularly changed.
Whippets here in the UK have no known genetic or hereditary diseases. A whippets skin will easily tear if caught on a stick, barbed wire or any other sharp object, if the tear is substantial seek veterinary advice. Their nails should be cut regularly; road walking will help to keep the nails short but keep an eye on the length. A pedigree whippet should have had its' dew claws removed soon after birth. Be aware that any dog that does have dew claws' may get them caught whilst running and they will rip causing major bleeding. It may be advisable to see a vet about having them removed. As a hunting dog whippets have strong teeth which will need cleaning if they are to remain healthy. Some people recommend raw bones to chew on, personally I will never feed any dogs of mine any type of bone as the problems caused when they splinter and get stuck in the gut can be disastrous. Cleaning teeth with a brush and toothpaste is much better than a dead dog or a hefty vet's bill, alternatively raw hide strips can be given. If whippets' teeth are not cleaned regularly they will develop problems with them as well as bad breath. Whippets do not normally suffer from weight problems unless over fed, excessive weight will put a strain on the heart and put the dogs health at risk, so avoid fattening tit bits especially chocolate unless the dog variety and maintain a healthy diet. Whippets are not very good under general anaesthetic because of the lack of body fat but a reputable vet should know how to treat your dog with as little risk as possible.
Follow the breeders advice and stick to the diet sheet provided by the breeder as the puppies digestive system will be used to this diet, you may be able to modify this as the dog gets a bit older. Whippets seem to thrive well on a 'complete diet', although it has been said that you should avoid a feed with a lot of wheat content. When changing the diet do it gradually so as not to upset the dogs stomach.
Buying a Puppy
Always buy from a reputable breeder, as a written pedigree or even a kennel club registration is no guarantee that the dog is a pure bred pedigree whippet, so if at all possible ask to see both parents. It may be a good idea to telephone a few breed clubs who may have the address of a breeder who has a litter. At least this way you will know the person is a member of a breed club and does breed pedigree stock.