Whippet

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The Whippet is a breed of dog in the sighthound family. They are active and playful and are physically similar to a small Greyhound. Their popularity has led to the reuse of the Whippet name on a large number of things, from cars to cookies.

Contents

Description

Whippets are a medium-size dog averaging in weight from 15 to 30 lb (6.8–14 kg), with height (under the FCI standard) of 18.5 - 20 inches (47 - 51 cm) for males and 17.5–18.5 inches (44–47 cm) for females. Whippets tend to be somewhat larger in the United States and Canada with their population in show, coursing and some race whippets required to be within the AKC standard of 18.5 to 22.5 inches (47 to 57 cm) for males, and 17.5 to 21.5 inches (44 to 55 cm) for females. Because colour is considered immaterial in judging Whippets, they come in a wide variety of colours and marking patterns, everything from solid black to solid white, with red, fawn, brindle, blue, or cream. All manner of spots and blazes and patches are seen, sometimes all in the same litter.

Temperament

Whippets are generally quiet and gentle dogs, and may be content to spend much of the day resting.[1] Although especially attached to their owners, they are friendly to visitors. Because of their friendly nature, whippets are known to have been used in aged care facilities.[citation needed] They may bark when strangers arrive but are not suited to being guard dogs.

Unlike some other breeds, male whippets are as easy to housebreak as females. Females can be a little more complex, moody and strong-willed. Males tend to be one to two inches taller and three to six pounds heavier than females.

Whippets are not well-adapted for living in a kennel, or as outside dogs. Their short coats do not provide insulation to withstand prolonged periods in cold temperatures. Their natural attachment to people makes them happiest when kept indoors. They are most at home in the company of their owners—in their lap or lying next to them on the lounge. Whippets are quiet and thus well suited to apartment life, although like all dogs they need regular, healthy exercise. The chance to run free in open spaces should be made available to the whippet; however care should be taken with whippets on the street as it is difficult to instill any sort of traffic sense into them.

The whippet may look mild and gentle (and for the most part are), but make no mistake, when in pursuit of any game such as a rabbit the whippet will demonstrate the heart of a lion. Whippets are excellent hunting dogs for small game, which comes from their original role as providers of meat for the table. Often owning a whippet meant the difference between having meat for dinner or not.

Whippets have been called a "poor man's racehorse." As their heritage would suggest, whippets are outstanding running dogs and are top competitors in lure coursing, straight racing, and oval track racing. Typically in these events, a temporary track and lure system is set up. The lure is usually a white plastic trash bag, sometimes in conjunction with a "squawker" to simulate a sort of prey sound or with a small piece of animal pelt. With the advent of new methods in motivational obedience training being used, whippets are becoming successful obedience dogs. Many enjoy flyball and agility.

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