The Whippet was developed in England during the late 19th century from crossbreeding greyhounds with small terriers, to produce a small, swift hound capable of hunting rabbits and other small game.
This breed became popular with the miners of North-east England who were keen dog racing enthusiasts but they also used him for coursing (chasing game by sight other than scent).
Although still used as a working and racing dog, and they take part in agility and obedience activities, today, there main role is as a companion.
Whippet Temperament & Size
The Whippet is sweet-natured, docile, yet playful and athletic, medium sized dog and is fantastic with children, which makes them an excellent family pet.
They will happily relax on the couch but also enjoyvigorous bursts of exercise occasionally reaching speeds of up to 35mph.
They have a short, smooth, easy care coat and generally are very healthy. However take care with flea powders and other drugs as they have heightened sensitivity to a number of them.
Whippet Life Span & Health Problems
Average life span is 12 – 15 years.
Common Illnesses include;
- Mitral Valve Insufficiency – Degeneration of the heart’s Mitral Valve leading to eventual congestive heart failure.
- Cancer;most likely haemangiosarcoma (cancer of the blood), lymphosarcoma (cancer of the lymphatic system) or liver cancer.
- Epilepsy – Recurrent seizures
- Immune mediated haemolytic anaemia – The body’s immune system attacks and destroys its own red blood cells resulting in life threatening anaemia and kidney failure.
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy – Degeneration of the retina eventually causing blindness.
- Cataracts – Clouding of the lens causing blurred vision to blindness.
- Vitreous Degeneration- The clear jelly-like material within the eye that helps support the retina becomes inflammed. Vision is impaired or lost as a result and they are predisposed to other eye conditions.
- Skin Allergies – Hypersensitivity to environmental allergens causing itchy and inflammed skin.
- Musculoskeletal injuries – Common as they exercise at high speeds.
- Inherited deafness – Deafness present at birth can affect one or both ears.