A slim dog with a pointed muzzle and floppy ears, the endearing Whippet is an under-appreciated individual. A real athlete with a heart of gold, the Whippet deserves to be more popular than it is. Some people describe them as ‘the poor man’s Greyhound’, though with puppies selling for as much as £2,000 in the UK in 2021, this is no longer an apt description.
Dogs that look similar to the Whippet can be found in history as far back as ancient Egypt. While graceful and elegant they were also quick and athletic, meaning they were used for a purpose. Rather than standing around looking pretty, Whippets were bred to hunt and were renowned for their speed.
It is believed that Whippets were the ‘unwanted’ Greyhounds, returned to their breeder for being too small. Despite this, they did well when hunting small prey such as rats and rabbits and slowly became a desirable breed in their own right.
Whippets were recognised by the UK Kennel Club towards the end of the 19th century, after their look was further refined by mixing them with breeds such as the Italian Greyhound.
Whippets are smaller and less well-muscled than Greyhounds, though their size varies from individual to individual. They have dolichocephalic skulls, soulful brown eyes and upright ears that fall to the side. Their bodies are slender and they have long and lean limbs. Their slim tail is very long indeed and often held in between their legs.
The short coat of the Whippet comes in a wide range of colours including white, cream, black, brindle and red.