The Whippet dog breed derives its origins from Great Britain in the 19th century. A cross between Greyhounds, Italian Greyhounds and various terrier breeds, it is one of the fastest dogs in the world.
It can reach speeds up to 37 miles per hour in a matter of seconds. For the most part, the working class people of England were the first owners of the Whippet. The working class population initially used the dogs to hunt rabbits until they evolved into a racing dog, where they earned the nickname of a poor man's racehorse.
The dog's first public appearance was in 1897 at English Dog Show. The AKC registered the breed in 1888 and the British Kennel Club accepted it in 1891.
The Whippet breed has a frail elegant body that is lean and thin, yet muscular. Looking like a miniature Greyhound the height of the dogs range between 18 to 22 inches and weighs approximately 25 to 45 pounds.
Whippets have a long skull and muzzle that tapers down to a dark colored nose. They have small rose ears that lay back in a fold with dark colored, oval eyes.
The front legs are straight and their feet are thick. They possess a long tail that tapers to a point. The coat is short and smooth ranging in colors that include brindle, red, black, striped white, fawn and blue-grey.
Although there is a type of Whippet with long hair, no kennel club has recognized it to date.
Whippets are one of the friendliest and most affectionate of the sight hounds, yet they tend to be nervous and reserved with strangers, which makes them a good watchdog.
They make a devoted companion, but are extremely sensitive both mentally and physically, so a firm but gentle hand is required in their care.
The breed is extremely sensitive to cold and sunlight so the animal needs housed as an inside dog. As long as the dogs receive proper exercise, the docile animals remain calm while indoors.
Whippets are obedient and, if not mistreated, they are also good with children.
The lively dogs love to play sporting games that include running, jumping, and catching. While Whippets are good with other dogs, they have a tendency to chase and kill other small animals, including cats.
Due to its devoted nature though, a cat raised with the dog is usually safe. The English bred dogs are adaptable and intelligent, becoming intense when participating in sporting games.
Whippets are clean dogs and virtually odor free. As an average shedder, the dogs need to be brushed with a firm bristled brush, and rubbed with a damp cloth to remove excess hair and maintain their shiny coats.
Since the animals are easy to groom and have sensitive skin, owners should not bathe them unless necessary. The Whippet has a life expectancy of 12 to 15 years.