What's Good About 'Em,
What's Bad About 'Em
Whippet Temperament, Personality, Behavior, Traits, and Characteristics, by Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2015
The AKC Standard says the Whippet is "amiable, friendly, gentle, but capable of great intensity during sporting pursuits."
The Whippet is sweet-natured and docile, yet playful and athletic. The same dog who will curl up under the blankets -- a perfect couch potato, sleeping for hours -- will tear enthusiastically around the yard, darting and zigzagging and turning on a dime without slowing down.
Whippets love running games and require short bursts of vigorous exercise each day. The area must be fenced, for this racy breed is the fastest dog of his weight: he can run up to 35 mph.
Whippet puppies can be mischievous and destructive, but adults are calm, undemanding, and unobtrusive indoors, trotting around with a light-footed easy grace and seldom making a peep. They do insist on the luxury of being up on the furniture, so if this offends you, you shouldn't consider a sighthound.
Polite with strangers, the Whippet should be accustomed to people and noises at an early age. He is peaceful with other dogs but has a high prey drive and cannot be trusted with smaller pets.
Whippets are mildly stubborn, but also very sensitive. They respond favorably only to calm, upbeat training methods that emphasize praise and food.
Sighthounds are touch-sensitive, tending to startle when touched unexpectedly or grabbed for a hug, so a verbal correction is less upsetting and distracting than a physical one.
If you want a dog who...
- Looks like a medium-sized Greyhound, with a slender, elegant, racy build and a graceful, lightfooted gait
- Has a sleek easy-care coat that comes in many colors
- Indoors, is quiet and dignified, undemanding and unobtrusive
- Outdoors, is playful and athletic and gallops with breathtaking speed
- Is polite with everyone, including other dogs
A Whippet may be right for you.
If you don't want to deal with...
- Providing a safe enclosed area where he can occasionally gallop
- Strong instincts to chase other living creatures that run
- Fearfulness and timidity when not socialized enough
- An independent "what's in it for me?" attitude toward training
- Emotional sensitivity to stress and abrupt changes in schedule
A Whippet may not be right for you.
- choosing the RIGHT breeder and the RIGHT puppy
- or choosing an ADULT dog from your animal shelter or rescue group – a dog who has already proven that he doesn't have negative traits
- training your dog to respect you
- avoiding health problems by following my daily care program in 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy
More traits and characteristics of the Whippet
If I was considering a Whippet, I would be most concerned about...
- Providing enough running exercise. Whippets don't need miles of running every day, but they MUST have regular opportunities to vent their energy a few times a week. Otherwise they will become restless and bored -- which they usually express by destructive chewing.
Whippets need access to a large fenced area -- fenced because these independent dogs are likely to take off and not come back. If there is a dog club in your area, get your Whippet involved in lure coursing (chasing a mechanized lure around a track or across an open field). This is an appropriate outlet for the full-speed galloping behaviors that are "hardwired" into his genes.
- Timidity. Standoffish by nature, Whippets need extensive exposure to people and to unusual sights and sounds. Otherwise their natural caution can become shyness or fearfulness, which is very difficult to live with.
- Chasing other animals. Most people do not realize just how fast and agile sighthounds are -- or how strong their instincts are to chase and seize fleeing creatures. They could seriously injure or kill your neighbor's cat or toy dog. In today's society, the legal liabilities should be considered.
- The independent temperament. Whippets are not Golden Retrievers. They are independent thinkers who don't particularly care about pleasing you. Many Whippets are stubborn. They can be manipulative. You must show them, through absolute consistency, that you mean what you say.
To teach your Whippet to listen to you, "Respect Training" is mandatory. My Whippet Training Page discusses the program you need.
- Emotional sensitivity. Be honest...is there tension in your home? Are people loud or angry or emotional? Are there arguments or fights? Whippets are extremely sensitive to stress and can end up literally sick to their stomachs, with severe digestive upsets and neurotic behaviors, if the people in their home are having family problems. Sighthounds are peaceful, sensitive dogs who need a peaceful, harmonious home.
To learn more about training Whippets to be calm and well-behaved, consider my dog training book, Teach Your Dog 100 English Words.
It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will make your Whippet the smartest, most well-behaved companion you've ever had.
Teaches your dog to listen to you, to pay attention to you, and to do whatever you ask him to do.
My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a healthy Whippet. Health problems have become so widespread in dogs today that this book is required reading for ANYONE who is thinking of getting a purebred, crossbred, or mixed breed dog.
If you'd like to consult with me personally about whether the Whippet might be a good dog breed for your family, I offer a Dog Breed Consulting Service.
Once you have your Whippet home, you need to KEEP him healthy -- or if he's having any current health problems, you need to get him back on the road to good health.
My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy is the book you need.
Raise your dog the right way and you will be helping him live a longer, healthier life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.
Please consider adopting an ADULT Whippet...
When you're acquiring a Whippet PUPPY, you're acquiring potential -- what he one day will be. So "typical breed characteristics" are very important.
But when you acquire an adult dog, you're acquiring what he already IS and you can decide whether he is the right dog for you based on that reality. There are plenty of adult Whippets who have already proven themselves NOT to have negative characteristics that are "typical" for their breed. If you find such an adult dog, don't let "typical breed negatives" worry you. Just be happy that you found an atypical individual -- and enjoy!
Save a life. Adopt a dog.
MORE OF MY ARTICLES YOU MIGHT ENJOY.....
What Works, and What Doesn't
|Puppy Training Schedule: What To Teach, and When|
Is The Best Food
For Your Dog
|Teach Your Dog Words|
|The Second Best Food For Your Dog||When Buying a Dog, Are AKC Papers Really Necessary?|
Copyright © 2000-2015 by Michele Welton. All rights reserved.
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