Whippets: A Complete Guide to the 2018 Best in Show Breed at the National Dog Show

The Whippet was recently in the news and trending in social media for a very winning reason. "Whiskey" the Whippet from the hound group was named the Best in Show for the 2018 National Dog Show. Is the Whippet a show dog or a racing dog? Our vote is definitely racing hound! 

Did you know this breed dates back to the 1600s? Whippets are a sighthound breed that originated in England, where they descended from greyhounds.  They can reach breakneck speeds up to 35 mph, due to their unique running style. Similar to the greyhound, the dogs use a double suspension gallop.  

We've all seen sighthounds in art and literature but how is the Whippet different than the Greyhound? Let's start with the origin of their name.

How did the Whippet get its name?

The Whippet breed had nicknames including "Poor Man's Racehorse" and the "Lightning Rag Dog" because they would chase a rag dragged along a straight course in an early version of lure coursing. The name Whippet seems to derive from "whappet," an antique word that means "a small dog that yaps."  

Orvis tells us,

"Whippets became popular as racing dogs in England in the 1800s. This earned them the nickname "The Poor Man's Racehorse" because Whippet racing and betting was most popular among the working class. In the 1900s, English textile workers brought the dog to Massachusetts, where their racing days continued." 

They were originally bred to pursue and capture small game.

What health problems do Whippets commonly experience?

Whippets are sensitive to anesthesia, (likely a result of their low body fat) and health concerns include deafness, some eye defects, and Von Willebrand's disease.

Keep them skinny as they can easily become overweight. The National Breed Club recommends a cardiac exam. If this is the breed for you, consult with a breeder as they can provide details on the common eye conditions associated with this breed.

Is grooming high maintenance? 

Not high maintenance! Similar to a lot of sighthounds, Whippets generally have a short, smooth coat that needs little maintenance beyond regular weekly grooming. 

According to the AKC, 

"The ears should be checked regularly for signs of infection, and the nails should be trimmed often if not worn down naturally, as overly long nails can cause the dog discomfort."  

How do you keep your Whippet entertained?

There are many organized activities such as lure-coursing and agility that provide healthy outlets for the Whippet's energy and athleticism. Always keep your Whippet in a fenced yard as they like to chase small animals!

If you live in the city in an apartment, Whippets rarely bark. So if you can manage their energy level with dog sports, these small dogs make wonderful family members (even in the city as an apartment dog). The Whippet temperament and affection level will win you over!

If you like the Whippet, check out the Italian Greyhound!

Do you live with a Whippet? Is this your fave breed? Leave us comments if we left anything out of this story! 

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