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  • Temperament: Affectionate, Playful, Calm
  • AKC Breed Popularity: Ranks 60 of 192
  • Height: 19-22 inches (male), 18-21 inches (female)
  • Weight: 25-40 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 12-15 years
  • Group: Hound Group

    The AKC has grouped all of the breeds that it registers into seven categories, or groups, roughly based on function and heritage. Breeds are grouped together because they share traits of form and function or a common heritage.

Whippet head looking up at a green tree branch with white flowers
Whippet head facing left
Whippet standing in three-quarter view
Whippet lying in three-quarter view
Whippet coat detail
Whippet running forward with a ball in its mouth in a field
Whippet puppy

Find a Puppy: Whippet

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AKC Marketplace is the only site to exclusively list 100% AKC puppies from AKC-Registered litters and the breeders who have cared for and raised these puppies are required to follow rules and regulations established by the AKC.
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HEAD

Keen intelligent alert expression. Eyes large, round to oval in shape. Small and/or almond shaped eyes are undesirable and are to be faulted. Eyes to be dark brown to nearly black in color. Eye color can vary with coat color, but regardless of coat color dark eyes are always preferred. Light eyes are undesirable and yellow eyes are to be strictly penalized. Blue eye(s) or any portion of blue in the eye(s), as well as both eyes not being of the same color shall disqualify. Fully pigmented eye rims are desirable. Rose ears, small, fine in texture; in repose, thrown back and folded along neck. Fold should be maintained when at attention. Erect ears should be severely penalized.

BODY

Neck long, clean and muscular, well arched with no suggestion of throatiness, widening gracefully into the top of the shoulder. A short thick neck, or a ewe neck, should be penalized. The back is broad, firm and well muscled, having length over the loin. The backline runs smoothly from the withers with a graceful natural arch, not too accentuated, beginning over the loin and carrying through over the croup; the arch is continuous without flatness. A dip behind shoulder blades, wheelback, flat back, or a steep or flat croup should be penalized. Brisket very deep, reaching as nearly as possible to the point of the elbow. Ribs well sprung but with no suggestion of barrel shape. The space between the forelegs is filled in so that there is no appearance of a hollow between them. There is a definite tuckup of the underline. The tail long and tapering, reaching to at least the inside of the hock when measured down along the hind leg. When the dog is in motion, the tail is carried low with only a gentle upward curve; tail should not be carried higher than top of back.

FOREQUARTERS

Shoulder blade long, well laid back, with flat muscles, allowing for moderate space between shoulder blades at peak of withers. Upper arm of equal length, placed so that the elbow falls directly under the withers.
The points of the elbows should point neither in nor out, but straight back. A steep shoulder, short upper arm, a heavily muscled or loaded shoulder, or a very narrow shoulder, all of which restrict low free movement, should be strictly penalized. Forelegs straight, giving appearance of strength and substance of bone. Pasterns strong, slightly bent and flexible. Bowed legs, tied-in elbows, legs lacking substance, legs set far under the body so as to create an exaggerated forechest, weak or upright pasterns should be strictly penalized.

COAT

Short, close, smooth and firm in texture. Any other coat shall be a disqualification. Old scars and injuries, the result of work or accident, should not be allowed to prejudice the dog’s chance in the show ring.

HINDQUARTERS

Long and powerful. The thighs are broad and muscular, stifles well bent; muscles are long and flat and carry well down toward the hock. The hocks are well let down and close to the ground. Sickle or cow hocks should be strictly penalized.

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whippet illustration

About the Whippet

At somewhere between 18 and 22 inches at the shoulder, the Whippet looks like a Greyhound, but smaller. The Whippet exhibits the classic “inverted S” lines of the sighthound. The deep chest and trim waist; a lean head supported by a long, arched neck; and slim but sturdy legs combine in a picture of an agile, fleet-footed athlete. Between bursts of intense pursuit, Whippets love to stretch out and relax for long hours, enjoying the role of a loving, and loved, companion. Whippets like a fenced yard to run in, but they do nicely in cozy apartments too—as long as they are exercised properly. Another plus for city dwellers: Whippets rarely bark. Despite the breed’s elegant looks, the Whippet is a robust, low-maintenance dog.

National Breed Clubs and Rescue

Want to connect with other people who love the same breed as much as you do? We have plenty of opportunities to get involved in your local community, thanks to AKC Breed Clubs located in every state, and more than 450 AKC Rescue Network groups across the country.
Whippet puppy

Find a Puppy: Whippet

AKC Marketplace | PuppyFinder

AKC Marketplace is the only site to exclusively list 100% AKC puppies from AKC-Registered litters and the breeders who have cared for and raised these puppies are required to follow rules and regulations established by the AKC.
Find Whippet Puppies

Care

NUTRITION

The Whippet should do well on a high-quality dog food, whether commercially manufactured or home-prepared with your veterinarian’s supervision and approval. Any diet should be appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior). Some dogs are prone to getting overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.

GROOMING

The Whippet’s short, smooth coat needs little maintenance beyond regular weekly grooming with a brush and the occasional bath. 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.

Grooming Frequency

Occasional Bath/Brush
Specialty/Professional
Occasional Bath/Brush

Shedding

Infrequent
Frequent
Occasional

EXERCISE

Whippets are sprinters by nature, and adequate exercise could take the form of several vigorous retrieving sessions a week with ball or flying disc, regular walks, or play sessions with another dog in a safely fenced area. Always keep your Whippet on lead when not in a fenced area. Organized activities such as lure-coursing and agility also provide healthy outlets for the breed’s energy and athleticism.

Energy Level

Couch Potato
Needs Lots of Activity
Regular Exercise

TRAINING

Whippets are calm in the house, preserving their energy for explosive bursts of running—ideally in a large, securely fenced area. Young Whippets are smart, agile, and mischievous, and they can jump and climb, so confining them safely while not under supervision is a must. Early socialization and puppy training classes are recommended and help to ensure that the dog grows into a well-adjusted, well-mannered companion.

Trainability

May be Stubborn
Eager to Please
Independent

Temperament/Demeanor

Aloof/Wary
Outgoing
Reserved with Strangers

HEALTH

The Whippet frame is not well suited to carrying excessive weight. While young Whippets may appear gangly and have difficulty keeping their ribs covered when they are in the period of rapid growth, a mature adult should not appear ribby but should have two to four visible vertebrae, and the hipbones should not appear sunk into dimples of fat. A Whippet at a healthy weight will likely appear “skinny” to those accustomed to heavier-bodied, less fleet breeds, but maintaining your Whippet at the correct weight through lifelong portion control will extend his life and avoid many of the orthopedic problems that are both painful and expensive to repair. Responsible breeders screen their stock for health conditions such as cardiac disease, deafness, and eye disorders.

Recommended Health Tests from the National Breed Club:

  • Ophthalmologist Evaluation
  • BAER Testing
  • Cardiac Exam

Read the Official Breed Club Health Statement.

Whippet
Whippet

History

For thousands of years the Greyhound has been the template for later sighthounds, and the mild-mannered Whippet is a highly successful member of this clan of lightning-fast sprinters.

The Whippet story begins in Victorian England. North-country coal miners enjoyed the sports of dog racing and rabbit hunting on their days off. But they couldn’t afford to feed and kennel large athletes like Greyhounds, nor did they have the space to properly exercise them. The miners’ practical solution was to breed a smaller version of the Greyhound. Though it is uncertain which breeds were utilized to create the Whippet, the miners plainly did their work well. Their handiwork, the Whippet, is the fastest breed of its size, reaching speeds of up to 35 miles per hour.

In its formative days, the Whippet breed had such colorful nicknames as the “Poor Man’s Racehorse” and the “Lightning Rag Dog” (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.”

By the turn of the 20th century, textile workers from Lancashire were emigrating to New England. Among the touches of home they brought to the New World were their Whippets. The Whippet was an instant success in America, and Whippet racing—for money or just for fun—caught on with people from all walks of life, just as it had in England. The AKC registered its first Whippet in 1888. These days, lure coursing provides an excellent outlet for the Whippet’s need for speed.

Did You Know?

The Whippet was originally bred to pursue and capture small game.
Whippets appear to have been first brought to America by English mill operatives of Massachusetts.
Never snappy or "barky," the Whippet is an excellent watchdog.
Whippets are a quiet and intelligent breed, and do not bark unnecessarily.
The Whippet is extremely fast, capable of reaching speeds up to 35 mph.
Whippet racing has become extremely popular over the years and very refined; there is an elaborate handicapping system and racetracks.

The Breed Standard

HEAD

Keen intelligent alert expression. Eyes large, round to oval in shape. Small and/or almond shaped eyes are undesirable and are to be faulted. Eyes to be dark brown to nearly black in color. Eye color can vary with coat color, but regardless of coat color dark eyes are always preferred. Light eyes are undesirable and yellow eyes are to be strictly penalized. Blue eye(s) or any portion of blue in the eye(s), as well as both eyes not being of the same color shall disqualify. Fully pigmented eye rims are desirable. Rose ears, small, fine in texture; in repose, thrown back and folded along neck. Fold should be maintained when at attention. Erect ears should be severely penalized.

BODY

Neck long, clean and muscular, well arched with no suggestion of throatiness, widening gracefully into the top of the shoulder. A short thick neck, or a ewe neck, should be penalized. The back is broad, firm and well muscled, having length over the loin. The backline runs smoothly from the withers with a graceful natural arch, not too accentuated, beginning over the loin and carrying through over the croup; the arch is continuous without flatness. A dip behind shoulder blades, wheelback, flat back, or a steep or flat croup should be penalized. Brisket very deep, reaching as nearly as possible to the point of the elbow. Ribs well sprung but with no suggestion of barrel shape. The space between the forelegs is filled in so that there is no appearance of a hollow between them. There is a definite tuckup of the underline. The tail long and tapering, reaching to at least the inside of the hock when measured down along the hind leg. When the dog is in motion, the tail is carried low with only a gentle upward curve; tail should not be carried higher than top of back.

FOREQUARTERS

Shoulder blade long, well laid back, with flat muscles, allowing for moderate space between shoulder blades at peak of withers. Upper arm of equal length, placed so that the elbow falls directly under the withers.
The points of the elbows should point neither in nor out, but straight back. A steep shoulder, short upper arm, a heavily muscled or loaded shoulder, or a very narrow shoulder, all of which restrict low free movement, should be strictly penalized. Forelegs straight, giving appearance of strength and substance of bone. Pasterns strong, slightly bent and flexible. Bowed legs, tied-in elbows, legs lacking substance, legs set far under the body so as to create an exaggerated forechest, weak or upright pasterns should be strictly penalized.

COAT

Short, close, smooth and firm in texture. Any other coat shall be a disqualification. Old scars and injuries, the result of work or accident, should not be allowed to prejudice the dog’s chance in the show ring.

HINDQUARTERS

Long and powerful. The thighs are broad and muscular, stifles well bent; muscles are long and flat and carry well down toward the hock. The hocks are well let down and close to the ground. Sickle or cow hocks should be strictly penalized.

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whippet illustration

Colors & Markings

Colors

Description Standard Colors Registration Code
Black Check Mark For Standard Color 007
Blue Check Mark For Standard Color 037
Blue Brindle Check Mark For Standard Color 056
Blue Fawn Check Mark For Standard Color 036
Cream Check Mark For Standard Color 076
Fawn Check Mark For Standard Color 082
Fawn Brindle Check Mark For Standard Color 088
Red Check Mark For Standard Color 140
Red Brindle Check Mark For Standard Color 148
White Check Mark For Standard Color 199
White & Black Check Mark For Standard Color 202
White & Blue Check Mark For Standard Color 288
White & Blue Brindle Check Mark For Standard Color 333
White & Blue Fawn Check Mark For Standard Color 334
White & Fawn Check Mark For Standard Color 207
White & Fawn Brindle Check Mark For Standard Color 536
White & Red Check Mark For Standard Color 214
White & Red Brindle Check Mark For Standard Color 336

Markings

Description Standard Markings Registration Code
Black Mask Check Mark For Standard Mark 004
Blue Mask Check Mark For Standard Mark 006
Water Marked Check Mark For Standard Mark 119
White Markings Check Mark For Standard Mark 014
White Markings, Black Mask Check Mark For Standard Mark 114
White Markings, Blue Mask Check Mark For Standard Mark 113

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