Whippet Dog Breed Information and Personality Traits

Whippets are gentle, non-aggressive and enjoy human companionship. They can be an apartment dog if exercised a couple of times a day.

Whippet at a glance
The Whippet Dog Breed

Whippets do not like being cold and hate hard surfaces. Consider a whippet if you don't mind it being on furniture.


Weight Range:

Male: 25-40 lbs.
Female: 20-35 lbs.

Height at Withers:

Male: 21 in.
Female: 20 in.


Dolichocephalic (long face)


Exercise Requirements: >40 minutes/day
Energy Level: Average
Longevity Range: 12-15 yrs.
Tendency to Drool: Low
Tendency to Snore: Low
Tendency to Bark: Moderate
Tendency to Dig: Low
Social/Attention Needs: High

Bred For:

Coursing, racing


Length: Short
Characteristics: Flat
Colors: Immaterial
Overall Grooming Needs: Low

Club Recognition:

AKC Classification: Hound
UKC Classification: Sighthounds
Prevalence: So-so

The whippet is similar to a small greyhound.

The dog is actually a little bit more curvaceous, with more arch to its loin. Like a greyhound, the whippet is built for speed. The legs are long and slender, the chest deep, the abdomen tucked up, the body relatively narrow, and the whole dog is muscular. The long whip-like tail is naturally carried low. The eyes are large and lustrous.

In size, the whippet is just small enough to sit in your lap and just large enough to be a good running partner. Although whippets stand about 19 to 21 inches tall, with their slender build they weigh only about 20 to 40 pounds. Most probably weigh in at around 30 pounds.

The coat is sleek and short, velvety to the touch. The short coat and lack of body fat combine to make the whippet hate cold weather. These dogs are heat-seeking missiles that like to cuddle in bed for warmth. Fortunately, they are virtually free of doggy odor. Whippets come in almost every color, with no color preferred over another.


Two things make whippets happy — running full speed ahead and sleeping curled up on your best chair as they squeeze you out of it. They are quiet inside the house, occasionally barking if there's something worth barking at. Like all sighthounds, they love to chase anything that moves, and that includes the neighborhood cats. They do get along well with family cats and dogs and are gentle with children.

Sight hounds are not known for their obedience, but the whippet is probably the most obedient of them. They are also among the most demonstrative, enjoying cuddling and playing with their family. This affection is only reserved for family members, however, and they are not social butterflies. A sensitive dog, whippets are attached to their family and do not like to be separated from them. 

Living With:

Whippets can live in an apartment if you take them out for a good sprint a couple of times a day. They spend a great deal of their time relaxing and, as long as they get adequate exercise, they are quite pleasant and quiet inside. They do need the chance to run fast, however, to feel at peace with the world.

They do not like being cold and hate hard surfaces. If you cannot stand the thought of a dog on your furniture or in your bed, do not even think about getting a whippet.

Whippets like to be with you and even want to be touching you when they sleep. They are gentle and non-aggressive. The biggest danger to people is their wagging tail that can leave welts on you once it gets going and smacks your leg. They are hopeless as protection dogs.


The whippet hails from humble origins in 18th century Great Britain. The breed's ancestors helped poach rabbits and provided gambling entertainment in "snap dog" contests, in which the winner was the dog that could snap up the most rabbits within an enclosure in the shortest time. With the Industrial Revolution came the urban incarnation of snap dog contests — racing down a straightaway to grab a rag waved by the guardians. The whippet is still known by the nickname it earned in those days: the poor man's racehorse.

Besides its obvious Greyhound association, the whippet probably has an early dash of ratting terrier (for quickness) and a later cross with Italian greyhounds (for elegance and refinement).

The whippet is the unrivaled sprinter of the dog world, able to make hairpin turns at high speed. This ability has not only made it the most popular breed competing in the sport of lure-coursing, but it also launched one whippet to fame and eventually started a new canine sport. That whippet was Ashley whippet, the founding dog of competitive canine Frisbee catching.