The Whippet: The Ultimate Sprinter with a Calm Sweet Nature

The fastest domesticated animal for its weight, the Whippet is capable of speeds of up to 35mph (56kph), impressive acceleration and can twist and turn at speed


The fastest domesticated animal for its weight, the Whippet is capable of speeds of up to 35mph (56kph). It has impressive powers of acceleration and can twist and turn at speed with dexterity.

Table of Contents




Sight Hounds.

Canine speed-merchants, the sight hounds—or gazehounds as they are sometimes called—are hunting dogs that locate and follow their prey primarily by using their keen eyesight. Streamlined, lightly framed, but powerful, a sight hound in pursuit of quarry moves fast and turns with great flexibility. Many dogs in this group were bred to hunt specific prey.

Breed History

Whippets have been compared to the English Greyhound, in miniature. They originate from England, and were given official breed status there in 1891.

Originally bred for hunting hare, rabbit, and other small game, the Whippet soon became popular as an affordable sporting dog. Whippet racing, held wherever there was enough space for dogs to sprint a few hundred feet, became a regular fixture for working men of mill and mining towns.

The breed was derived from crosses of small English Greyhounds with both rough and smooth-coated terriers.

Later, Italian Greyhound was added to the mix. AKC recognition occurred in 1888.

Today it is still used for racing, as well as lure coursing and agility trials, but is mostly kept as a pet.

Physical Characteristics

Height at Withers

Female 18-21” (45.5-53.5cm), male 19-22” (48-56 cm)


Females 14-25 lb (6-11 kg), males 17-28 lb (7.5-12.5 kg)


The very short coat is firm textured but not coarse, lays flat and hairs are straight. Any colors are accepted.

A longhaired whippet association exists, though the breed standard for AKC or any other major registry does not mention these.

They cannot compete as whippets in racing and coursing etc. In the longhaired standard, miniatures are described and for these dogs; the upper size limit is 10 lb (4.5 kg).


12-14 years

Points of Conformation

They have a long narrow skull and tapered muzzle, though the skull is wider between the eyes. The stop is minimal.

Their gait is graceful and smooth.

They possess light bone and lithe musculature.

The nose is black, and eyes must be same color and large, and dark with pigmented palpebral margins. Small fine-leathered ears (rose ears) are carried back and folded.

The neck is arched, long and fine, though well muscled.

The back is broad and the loin is long. The topline is arched starting ove the loin. The thorax is deep and ribs are well sprung. They possess a well tucked up abdomen.

The tail is long, thin, tapering and carried low between the legs. It is gently curved upwards, reaching to the tarsus.

Leg bones are straight, feet have hare-to-cat-like shape and the pads are hard and thick; toes well arched. Dewclaws may be removed. Metatarsals are short.

Breed Behaviour and Traits