Breed of the Month: Whippet

Description: The whippet is a medium sized dog whose coat comes in a wide variety of colors, such as black, white, cream, red, fawn, blue, brindle, and can be any combination of those colors. Their skull is long and lean. Whippets have a very dark colored nose, usually a dark variation of blue, brown, or black. They possess large, round, dark brown or black, eyes. The small ears are typically thrown back and folded along the long and muscular neck. The forelegs are straight, the hind legs are strong and powerful, and the tail is long and tapering.

History: The whippet was a culmination of breeds including –unsurprisingly– the greyhound, Italian greyhound, and a now extinct long-legged terrier. These dogs were bred in the late nineteenth century by the lower class in England and were used as a sight hound and for racing.

Size: Males: 19–22 inches at the withers, weighing 45–65 pounds. Females: 18–21 inches at the withers, weighing 25–45 pounds.

Temperament: The whippet is a very friendly family companion. While they are very energetic and require a daily run, they are content with being lazy and lounging around indoors. Since they were bred to be sight hounds, whippets have a strong prey drive and will chase and hunt down anything that runs and is smaller than the dog. Neighborhood cats beware. Since whippets have a very docile and friendly demeanor, they are naturally very good with kids, but they don’t like excessive roughhousing.

Grooming: Whippets require very little grooming and are an average shedder. Whippets are known to not have a “dog smell.” Typically, all the whippet needs for bathing is a wipe down with a moist cloth.

Health: The whippet is generally healthy and does not see many of the diseases seen in other breeds. For example, whippets are not known to experience hip dysplasia while ear, skin, and digestive issues are very rare in this breed. Some male whippets are known to have a higher frequency of cryptorchidism, defined by (either one of both) undescended testicles which can cause pain, reduce fertility, cause sterility, and increase the likelihood of testicular cancer.  The second leading cause of death among whippets are cardiac issues. The whippet has a slow beating heart which is prone to resting heart arrhythmia. Whippets are also prone to athletic hearth syndrome. Like all sighthounds, the whippet has an intolerance to barbiturate anaesthetics which is partly due to overall low body fat and the inability for their liver to metabolize the drugs.

Lifespan: 12-15 years.

Trivia: The whippet can run 200 yards in under 12 seconds. They can run around 36mph.

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