The Whippet is a sight hound and is very similar to his larger cousin, the Greyhound. At around 20 inches tall, they are quite a bit smaller than the Greyhound, but share many of their same characteristics and can be likened to a “miniature Greyhound.”
These intelligent dogs gained popularity as many barbaric blood sports, such as bull baiting and dog fighting, became passé. They were known originally as “snap-dogs,” because they would “snap up” the rabbits they were chasing in enclosed pens to the delight of the watching gamblers. Eventually, they became known for racing on straight tracks and came to the United States when they were brought by English mill operators settling in Massachusetts.
Though they are firecrackers on the racetrack, Whippets are quiet and unassuming at home. They are kind and gentle, making excellent companions for families with children. While they have an unusually high athletic ability, they can easily curl up on the couch unnoticed all day. That being said, they do enjoy and require daily exercise. Their short coats need little grooming, but do not keep their bodies warm in extremely cold temperatures, so extra layers will probably be needed for winter walks.
Despite their athletic nature, Whippets are still prone to a number of hereditary and congenital conditions that can adversely affect their health – not to mention your budget. Some of the conditions and illnesses Whippets are prone to include eye conditions such as cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy, color dilution alopecia and corneal dystrophy; skin issues such as pattern baldness; and blood diseases such as von Willebrand Disease.
Thankfully, Petplan pet insurance covers all hereditary and chronic conditions as standard. Which means if your Whippet inherits his dad’s baldness or his mom’s bad eyes, you’re covered.