Whippet

The Whippet dog breed was a poacher’s best friend, speedily going after rabbits and other small game. Today the Whippet competes in agility, flyball, lure coursing, rally, and obedience and is a loving therapy dog. His unique nature, friendly personality, and stylish look make him a favorite as a family companion as well as in the show ring.

See all Whippet characteristics below!

Additional articles you will be interested in:

Adoption
Dog Names
Bringing Home Your Dog
Help with Training Puppies
Housetraining Puppies
Feeding a Puppy
Dog games
Teaching your dog tricks
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Breed Characteristics:

Adaptability
Adapts Well to Apartment Living5More info +

Contrary to popular belief, small size doesn't necessarily an apartment dog make — plenty of small dogs are too high-energy and yappy for life in a high-rise. Being quiet, low energy, fairly calm indoors, and polite with the other residents, are all good qualities in an apartment dog.

See Dogs Not Well Suited to Apartment Living

Good For Novice Owners3More info +

Some dogs are simply easier than others: they take to training better and are fairly easygoing. They're also resilient enough to bounce back from your mistakes or inconsistencies. Dogs who are highly sensitive, independent thinking, or assertive may be harder for a first-time owner to manage. You'll get your best match if you take your dog-owning experience into account as you choose your new pooch.

See Dogs That Are Good For Experienced Owners

Sensitivity Level5More info +

Some dogs will let a stern reprimand roll off their backs, while others take even a dirty look to heart. Low-sensitivity dogs, also called "easygoing," "tolerant," "resilient," and even "thick-skinned," can better handle a noisy, chaotic household, a louder or more assertive owner, and an inconsistent or variable routine. Do you have young kids, throw lots of dinner parties, play in a garage band, or lead a hectic life? Go with a low-sensitivity dog.

See Dogs That Have Low Sensitivity Levels

Tolerates Being Alone2More info +

Some breeds bond very closely with their family and are more prone to worry or even panic when left alone by their owner. An anxious dog can be very destructive, barking, whining, chewing, and otherwise causing mayhem. These breeds do best when a family member is home during the day or if you can take the dog to work.

See Dogs Poorly Suited To Be Alone

Tolerates Cold Weather1More info +

Breeds with very short coats and little or no undercoat or body fat, such as Greyhounds, are vulnerable to the cold. Dogs with a low cold tolerance need to live inside in cool climates and should have a jacket or sweater for chilly walks.

See Dogs Poorly Suited For Cold Weather

Tolerates Hot Weather4More info +

Dogs with thick, double coats are more vulnerable to overheating. So are breeds with short noses, like Bulldogs or Pugs, since they can't pant as well to cool themselves off. If you want a heat-sensitive breed, the dog will need to stay indoors with you on warm or humid days, and you'll need to be extra cautious about exercising your dog in the heat.

See Dogs Poorly Suited For Hot Weather

All Around Friendliness
Affectionate with Family5More info +

Some breeds are independent and aloof, even if they've been raised by the same person since puppyhood; others bond closely to one person and are indifferent to everyone else; and some shower the whole family with affection. Breed isn't the only factor that goes into affection levels; dogs who were raised inside a home with people around feel more comfortable with humans and bond more easily.

See Dogs Less Affectionate with Family

Incredibly Kid Friendly Dogs5More info +

Being gentle with children, sturdy enough to handle the heavy-handed pets and hugs they can dish out, and having a blasé attitude toward running, screaming children are all traits that make a kid-friendly dog. You may be surprised by who's on that list: Fierce-looking Boxers are considered good with children, as are American Staffordshire Terriers (aka pit bulls). Small, delicate, and potentially snappy dogs such as Chihuahuas aren't so family-friendly.

**All dogs are individuals. Our ratings are generalizations, and they're not a guarantee of how any breed or individual dog will behave. Dogs from any breed can be good with children based on their past experiences, training on how to get along with kids, and personality. No matter what the breed or breed type, all dogs have strong jaws, sharp pointy teeth, and may bite in stressful circumstances. Young children and dogs of any breed should always be supervised by an adult and never left alone together, period.

See Dogs Not Kid Friendly

Dog Friendly4More info +

Friendliness toward dogs and friendliness toward humans are two completely different things. Some dogs may attack or try to dominate other dogs even if they're love-bugs with people; others would rather play than fight; and some will turn tail and run. Breed isn't the only factor; dogs who lived with their littermates and mother until at least 6 to 8 weeks of age, and who spent lots of time playing with other dogs during puppyhood, are more likely to have good canine social skills.

See Dogs That Are Not Dog Friendly

Friendly Toward Strangers4More info +

Stranger-friendly dogs will greet guests with a wagging tail and a nuzzle; others are shy, indifferent, or even aggressive. However, no matter what the breed, a dog who was exposed to lots of different types, ages, sizes, and shapes of people as a puppy will respond better to strangers as an adult.

See Dogs That Are More Shy

Health Grooming
Amount Of Shedding2More info +

If you're going to share your home with a dog, you'll need to deal with some level of dog hair on your clothes and in your house. However, shedding does vary greatly among the breeds: Some dogs shed year-round, some "blow" seasonally -- produce a snowstorm of loose hair -- some do both, and some shed hardly at all. If you're a neatnik you'll need to either pick a low-shedding breed, or relax your standards.

See Dogs That Shed Very Little

Drooling Potential1More info +

Drool-prone dogs may drape ropes of slobber on your arm and leave big, wet spots on your clothes when they come over to say hello. If you've got a laid-back attitude toward slobber, fine; but if you're a neatnik, you may want to choose a dog who rates low in the drool department.

See Dogs That Are Not Big Droolers

Easy To Groom5More info +

Some breeds are brush-and-go dogs; others require regular bathing, clipping, and other grooming just to stay clean and healthy. Consider whether you have the time and patience for a dog that needs a lot of grooming, or the money to pay someone else to do it.

See Dogs That Require More Grooming

General Health4More info +

Due to poor breeding practices, some breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, such as hip dysplasia. This doesn't mean that every dog of that breed will develop those diseases; it just means that they're at an increased risk. If you're buying a puppy, it's a good idea to find out which genetic illnesses are common to the breed you're interested in, so you can ask the breeder about the physical health of your potential pup's parents and other relatives.

See Dogs More Prone To Health Problems

Potential For Weight Gain1More info +

Some breeds have hearty appetites and tend to put on weight easily. As in humans, being overweight can cause health problems in dogs. If you pick a breed that's prone to packing on pounds, you'll need to limit treats, make sure he gets enough exercise, and measure out his daily kibble in regular meals rather than leaving food out all the time.

Size3More info +

Dogs come in all sizes, from the world's smallest pooch, the Chihuahua, to the towering Great Dane, how much space a dog takes up is a key factor in deciding if he is compatible with you and your living space. Large dog breeds might seem overpowering and intimidating but some of them are incredibly sweet! Take a look and find the right large dog for you!

See Medium Dogs

See Small Dogs

Trainability
Easy To Train4More info +

Easy to train dogs are more adept at forming an association between a prompt (such as the word "sit"), an action (sitting), and a consequence (getting a treat) very quickly. Other dogs need more time, patience, and repetition during training. Many breeds are intelligent but approach training with a "What's in it for me?" attitude, in which case you'll need to use rewards and games to teach them to want to comply with your requests.

See Dogs That Are Challenging To Train

Intelligence4More info +

Dogs who were bred for jobs that require decision making, intelligence, and concentration, such as herding livestock, need to exercise their brains, just as dogs who were bred to run all day need to exercise their bodies. If they don't get the mental stimulation they need, they'll make their own work -- usually with projects you won't like, such as digging and chewing. Obedience training and interactive dog toys are good ways to give a dog a brain workout, as are dog sports and careers, such as agility and search and rescue.

See Dogs That Have Low Intelligence

Potential For Mouthiness4More info +

Common in most breeds during puppyhood and in retriever breeds at all ages, mouthiness means a tendency to nip, chew, and play-bite (a soft, fairly painless bite that doesn't puncture the skin). Mouthy dogs are more likely to use their mouths to hold or "herd" their human family members, and they need training to learn that it's fine to gnaw on chew toys, but not on people. Mouthy breeds tend to really enjoy a game of fetch, as well as a good chew on a chew toy that's been stuffed with kibble and treats.

Prey Drive5More info +

Dogs that were bred to hunt, such as terriers, have an inborn desire to chase and sometimes kill other animals. Anything whizzing by — cats, squirrels, perhaps even cars — can trigger that instinct. Dogs that like to chase need to be leashed or kept in a fenced area when outdoors, and you'll need a high, secure fence in your yard. These breeds generally aren't a good fit for homes with smaller pets that can look like prey, such as cats, hamsters, or small dogs. Breeds that were originally used for bird hunting, on the other hand, generally won't chase, but you'll probably have a hard time getting their attention when there are birds flying by.

See Dogs That Have Low Prey Drive

Tendency To Bark Or Howl1More info +

Some breeds sound off more often than others. When choosing a breed, think about how the dog vocalizes — with barks or howls — and how often. If you're considering a hound, would you find their trademark howls musical or maddening? If you're considering a watchdog, will a city full of suspicious "strangers" put him on permanent alert? Will the local wildlife literally drive your dog wild? Do you live in housing with noise restrictions? Do you have neighbors nearby?

See Dogs That Are Mostly Quiet

Wanderlust Potential4More info +

Some breeds are more free-spirited than others. Nordic dogs such as Siberian Huskies were bred to range long distances, and given the chance, they'll take off after anything that catches their interest. And many hounds simply must follow their noses, or that bunny that just ran across the path, even if it means leaving you behind.

See Dogs Less Prone To Wander

Exercise Needs
Energy Level5More info +

High-energy dogs are always ready and waiting for action. Originally bred to perform a canine job of some sort, such as retrieving game for hunters or herding livestock, they have the stamina to put in a full workday. They need a significant amount of exercise and mental stimulation, and they're more likely to spend time jumping, playing, and investigating any new sights and smells. Low-energy dogs are the canine equivalent of a couch potato, content to doze the day away. When picking a breed, consider your own activity level and lifestyle, and think about whether you'll find a frisky, energetic dog invigorating or annoying.

See Dogs That Have Low Energy

Intensity2More info +

A vigorous dog may or may not be high-energy, but everything he does, he does with vigor: he strains on the leash (until you train him not to), tries to plow through obstacles, and even eats and drinks with great big gulps. These dynamos need lots of training to learn good manners, and may not be the best fit for a home with young kids or someone who's elderly or frail. A low-vigor dog, on the other hand, has a more subdued approach to life.

See Dogs With Low Intensity

Exercise Needs5More info +

Some breeds do fine with a slow evening stroll around the block. Others need daily, vigorous exercise -- especially those that were originally bred for physically demanding jobs, such as herding or hunting. Without enough exercise, these breeds may put on weight and vent their pent-up energy in ways you don't like, such as barking, chewing, and digging. Breeds that need a lot of exercise are good for outdoorsy, active people, or those interested in training their dog to compete in a high-energy dog sport, such as agility.

See Dogs That Don't Need Tons of Exercise

Potential For Playfulness5More info +

Some dogs are perpetual puppies -- always begging for a game -- while others are more serious and sedate. Although a playful pup sounds endearing, consider how many games of fetch or tag you want to play each day, and whether you have kids or other dogs who can stand in as playmates for the dog.

See Dogs That Are Less Playfull

Vital Stats:

Dog Breed Group: Hound Dogs
Height: 1 foot, 6 inches to 1 foot, 10 inches tall at the shoulder
Weight: 18 to 48 pounds
Life Span: 12 to 15 years
  • Nicknamed the "poor man's Greyhound," the elegant yet powerful Whippet was probably created some time in the late 18th century for use by poachers in search of rabbits and other small game, as well as in "snap" contests, in which the goal was for the dog to snap up rabbits in a circle. They really came into their own, however, when it was discovered that they would chase a waving rag, and Whippet racing became popular among working class men.

    This medium-size hound has a short, dense coat in a variety of colors and markings covering a streamlined body. The Whippet is not a miniature Greyhound but was developed by crossing Greyhounds with smaller terriers and, later, Italian Greyhounds. The result was a sleek and beautiful dog who's gentle and affectionate.

    The Whippet is often called the perfect all-purpose dog and is a keen competitor in agility, flyball, and lure coursing. Although they're known for their independent temperament, which can make obedience training challenging, plenty of Whippets compete successfully in obedience trials.

    The Whippet usually gets along with other dogs and people, although early socialization — exposure to different people, sights, sounds, and situations — is necessary to keep your Whippet from becoming fearful of new situations. If you're fond of cats, however, the Whippet may not be the best choice. This breed has a strong prey drive. Although some Whippets can live peacefully with cats and other small furry pets, there have been cases of Whippets killing family cats. You may be able to train and socialize your Whippet to accept the family cat, but it's important to always supervise their interactions and never leave them alone together.

    That same prey drive that makes Whippets unsuitable to homes with cats makes them unsuitable to walks off leash. They will give chase if they see something worth chasing, and even a well-trained Whippet will disregard commands to come. Some have pursued prey for miles.

    Whippets enjoy daily walks, and an opportunity to run in a fenced yard or other confined area is always appreciated. An underground electronic fence is not sufficient to keep them contained; they'll ignore the shock it gives in favor of going after any moving object.

    In the home, they're gentle and undemanding, asking only to enjoy your company. With children they're playful and mischievous. Their thin coats and affectionate nature make them unsuited to living outdoors. Whippets will snuggle with you on the sofa and warm your feet in bed at the end of an active day.

  • Highlights

    • Whippets are suitable for apartment living if you have access to a safely fenced area where they can run. Whippets have low energy levels indoors, but will become overactive and destructive if their exercise needs are not met.
    • When Whippets are not socialized properly they can become timid and stressed by changes in their environment. A properly socialized Whippet is a polite and undemanding dog who's wonderful with strangers and other dogs alike.
    • Whippets aren't very good watchdogs as they rarely bark and are friendly toward everyone they meet.
    • Whippets need daily exercise and will enjoy romping and running in a fenced yard or on leash.
    • A Whippet should never be allowed to run off leash during walks.
    • Whippets have a strong prey drive and will pursue other animals for several miles.
    • Underground electronic fencing is not recommended for Whippets. They will ignore the shock if they see something to chase. A 5- or 6-foot fence should be enough to confine your Whippet.
    • Whippets don't shed excessively, and weekly brushing will help keep loose hair off your clothes and furniture.
    • A Whippet's thin skin is vulnerable to scrapes, tears, and nicks.
    • Without daily exercise, a Whippet can become destructive. When their exercise needs are met, Whippets are generally quiet and calm dogs.
    • Whippets are not outdoor dogs and should live in the house with their people. Whippets can suffer from separation anxiety and can become destructive when they do. It's important to spend time with your Whippet and allow him the freedom to follow you from room to room or just snuggle at your feet, or more likely on the couch with you.
    • Although Whippets do very well in multi-dog households, there have been cases of Whippets attacking and killing cats. There have been some Whippets who live happily with cats and other small furry pets, but these dogs were socialized to the animal at a very young age. If you have any other small pet besides another dog, please be aware that the Whippet might chase the other pet  or worse injure it  — if he's not properly socialized or trained.
    • Whippets are great companions for kids. Nonetheless, it's important to teach your child how to properly interact with dogs and to never leave a young child alone with any breed of dog.
    • Whippets get cold easily. Buy a sweater or coat for your Whippet to wear when it's cold, wet, or snowy outside.
    • To get a healthy pet, never buy a puppy from a backyard breeder, puppy mill, or pet store. Find a reputable breeder who tests her breeding dogs for genetic health conditions and good temperaments.
  • History

    The Whippet is a fairly modern breed, not much more than a couple of hundred years old. He was developed in Northern England, specifically Lancashire and Yorkshire, probably during the late 1700s, by crossing Greyhounds with fast, long-legged terriers. The result was a small, swift dog frequently used by poachers to hunt rabbits and other small game on local estates.

    The Whippet became popular with working men in Northern England, who spent their off hours seeing whose Whippets could kill the most rabbits or rats or whose was the fastest. Whippet races usually took place on a straight track that spread down roads and across fields. The Whippets would chase a rag or piece of cloth, and the contests became known as rag races.

    While the working class bred and perfected the racing and hunting spirit in the breed, it's said that the upper class perfected the look of the breed as it is today by adding in some Italian Greyhound for refinement. England's Kennel Club recognized the Whippet as a breed in 1891. The first Whippet to be registered with the American Kennel Club was a dog named Jack Dempsey, in 1888.

    Today the Whippet continues to inspire admiration for his stylish look, versatility, and devoted companionship. He's ranked 60th among the 155 breeds and varieties recognized by the AKC.

  • Size

    A male Whippet is 19 to 22 inches tall at the shoulder; females are 18 to 21 inches. Their weight ranges from 18 to 48 pounds, with females being smaller. Males average 34 pounds, females 29 pounds.

  • Personality

    Amiable, friendly, quiet, and gentle at home, the Whippet is intense in the chase. He requires a leash or a fenced yard to prevent him from taking off after any moving object, be it a bunny or a radio-controlled car. He doesn't bark much, but he's alert and makes an excellent watchdog. Guard dog? Not so much. He'll happily show the burglar to the silver.

    Temperament is affected by a number of factors, including heredity, training, and socialization. Puppies with nice temperaments are curious and playful, willing to approach people and be held by them. Choose the middle-of-the-road puppy, not the one who's beating up his littermates or the one who's hiding in the corner. Always meet at least one of the parents — usually the mother is the one who's available — to ensure that they have temperaments that you're comfortable with. Meeting siblings or other relatives of the parents is also helpful for evaluating what a puppy will be like when he grows up.

    Like every dog, Whippets need early socialization — exposure to many different people, sights, sounds, and experiences — when they're young. Socialization helps ensure that your Whippet puppy grows up to be a well-rounded dog. Enrolling him in a puppy kindergarten class is a great start. Inviting visitors over regularly, and taking him to busy parks, stores that allow dogs, and on leisurely strolls to meet neighbors will also help him polish his social skills.

  • Health

    The Whippet is a generally healthy breed, and buying from a responsible breeder will help ensure that you get the healthiest Whippet possible. A puppy from a reputable Whippet breeder will be vaccinated and dewormed before you take him home. Responsible breeders use only physically sound, mature (at least 2 years or older) dogs, and test their breeding stock for genetic diseases pertinent to the breed.

    Both parents should have health clearances, documentation that a dog has been tested for and cleared of a particular condition. In Whippets, you should expect to see health clearances from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) certifying that eyes are normal.

    Health clearances are not issued to dogs younger than 2 years of age. That's because some health problems don't appear until a dog reaches full maturity. For this reason, it's often recommended that dogs not be bred until they are two or three years old.

    The following conditions may affect Whippets:

    • Anesthesia Sensitivity: Sighthounds, including Whippets, are sensitive to anesthesia and some other drugs. A normal dose for any other dog of the Greyhound's size can kill a Greyhound, probably because of the breed's low percentage of body fat. Choose a veterinarian who is aware of this sensitivity in sighthounds and will know how to dose your Greyhound. If you cannot find a veterinarian in your town who is knowledgeable about sighthounds, be sure to alert her to this sensitivity to ensure that all anesthetics and drugs are properly administered to your dog.
    • Deafness: Deafness is uncommon in Whippets, but it occurs occasionally. Whippets who are deaf have special training and communication needs, but there are many aids on the market, such as vibrating collars, to make life easier for you and your dog.
    • Eye Diseases: Some Whippets may develop various eye defects. The breeder from whom you purchase your puppy should have eye clearances dated within the past year for both parents certifying that their eyes are normal.
    • von Willebrand's Disease: This is a blood disorder that can be found in humans and dogs. It affects the clotting process due to the reduction of von Willebrand factor in the blood. A dog affected by von Willebrand's disease will have signs such as nose bleeds, bleeding gums, prolonged bleeding from surgery, and prolonged bleeding during heat cycles or after whelping. Occasionally blood is found in the stool. This disorder is usually diagnosed in your dog between the ages of 3 and 5 and cannot be cured. However, it can be managed with treatments that include cauterizing or suturing injuries, transfusions of the von Willebrand factor before surgery, and avoiding certain medications.
  • Care

    Most important to a Whippet's comfort is a nice, soft bed to cushion his body as well as access to your sofa and bed so he can cuddle with you. For cold-weather walks, he'll need a sweater or coat to help him stay warm. He can't tolerate being outdoors in the cold for long periods.

    A 5- to 6-foot fence will safely contain your Whippet in his yard. An underground electronic fence won't. Your Whippet will readily ignore any shock in favor of giving chase.

    Give your Whippet a couple of 20- to 30-minute walks on leash daily. As often as possible, he'll love the chance to run off leash in a fenced yard or park, but don't be surprised if his burst of energy lasts only a few minutes.

    Be careful not to exercise your Whippet puppy too heavily. It's important to avoid any strain on their joints or system. The general rule is five minutes for every month of age; in other words, a 5-month-old puppy should receive no more than 25 minutes of exercise per day.

    Whippets are easily housetrained, and using a crate will help. A crate is your Whippet's safe place, and he won't want to soil it. Putting him in it when you can't watch him will ensure that he doesn't have an accident in the house or chew up something he shouldn't. A crate keeps him safe and both of you happy.

    Train your Whippet with praise, patience, and positive reinforcement. Whippets are smart and willing, but they also have a mind of their own. Reward them with food or praise when they do what you like, and never be harsh with them. They're sensitive and will stop working for you if you yell at them, try to force them to do something, or hurt their feelings.

    With patience and consistency, you will find yourself the owner of a well-trained Whippet. After basic obedience you may want to pursue training in dog sports such as flyball, agility, and lure coursing.

  • Feeding

    Recommended daily amount: 1 to 1.5 cups of high-quality dry food a day, divided into 2 feedings.

    Note: How much your adult dog eats depends on his size, age, build, metabolism, and activity level. Dogs are individuals, just like people, and they don't all need the same amount of food. It almost goes without saying that a highly active dog will need more than a couch potato dog. The quality of dog food you buy also makes a difference — the better the dog food, the further it will go toward nourishing your dog and the less of it you'll need to shake into your dog's bowl.

    For more on feeding your Whippet, see our guidelines for buying the right food, feeding your puppy, and feeding your adult dog.

  • Coat Color And Grooming

    The Whippet's short, smooth coat lies close to the body. It can be any color or color combination. You'll see him in black, white, red, fawn, blue, cream, brindle, and various combinations of those colors with a wide variety of spots, blazes, and patches.

    Keep your Whippet's coat shiny with weekly brushing, using a rubber curry brush or hound glove. This will help to remove what little hair the breed sheds. You shouldn't need to bathe your Whippet frequently unless he rolls in something stinky.

    Because of his thin coat, a Whippet's skin is not as protected as that of other breeds. It's common for Whippets to have nicks, scrapes, and tears that occasionally require stitches. Check him frequently for such injuries and to ensure that there are no infections in any of the nicks and scrapes.

    Otherwise, the only grooming he needs is dental hygiene and nail care. Brush your Whippet's teeth at least two or three times a week to remove tartar buildup and the bacteria that lurk inside it. Daily brushing is even better if you want to prevent gum disease and bad breath.

    Trim nails once or twice a month if your dog doesn't wear them down naturally. If you can hear them clicking on the floor, they're too long. Short, neatly trimmed nails keep the feet in good condition and prevent your legs from getting scratched when your Whippet enthusiastically jumps up to greet you.

    Begin accustoming your Whippet to being brushed and examined when he's a puppy. Handle his paws frequently — dogs are touchy about their feet — and look inside his mouth and ears. Make grooming a positive experience filled with praise and rewards, and you'll lay the groundwork for easy veterinary exams and other handling when he's an adult.

    As you groom, check for sores, rashes, or signs of infection such as redness, tenderness, or inflammation on the skin, in the ears, nose, mouth, and eyes, and on the feet. Ears should smell good, without too much wax or gunk inside, and eyes should be clear, with no redness or discharge. Your careful weekly exam will help you spot potential health problems early.

  • Children And Other Pets

    Whippets enjoy playing with kids. They're not so large that they knock them over easily, and they're not so small or delicate that they're easily injured by them. That said, a few ground rules will keep everyone safe.

    Always teach children how to approach and touch dogs, and always supervise any interactions between dogs and young children to prevent any biting or ear or tail pulling on the part of either party. Teach your child never to approach any dog while he's sleeping or eating or to try to take the dog's food away. No dog should ever be left unsupervised with a child.

    Whippets like the company of other dogs, and the presence of another dog or two can help keep them from being lonely if you're gone during the day. They have a high prey drive, however, and aren't really suited to living in homes with cats. It's their nature to chase small furry creatures, after all. Some Whippets can learn to live peacefully with cats, especially if they're brought up with them from puppyhood, but you should always supervise them when they're together and separate them when you're not home.

  • Rescue Groups

    Whippets are often bought without any clear understanding of what goes into owning one, and these dogs often end up in the care of rescue groups, in need of adoption or fostering.