Whippet Care and Maintenance

Whippets are generally very quiet, well behaved, and easy to groom and care for in the house. Grooming is minimal and the Whippet's smooth, silky, fine, short-haired coat is easy to maintain. A regular rub all over with a damp chamois will keep the coat gleaming. Brush with a firm bristle brush, and bathe only when necessary. The coat of the Whippet is virtually free of doggie odour and generally only sheds twice a year at change of seasons. They are very sensitive to flea bites, so these parasites must be controlled, preferably eliminated.

Their nails will need trimming, and as with any breed, teeth and ears checked on a regular basis.

Whippets do not adapt well to being relegated to kennels or as outside dogs. Their natural attachment to people makes them happiest when kept as house pets and the Whippet's sweet personality makes it an excellent companion dog. This breed is sensitive to the cold, as their coats do not provide enough insulation for them to withstand prolonged periods of exposure to the cold. Wearing a coat is a must in the winter.

An important consideration for new owners of a Whippet is to be aware that this breed has skin that can tear rather easily. Being 'thin-skinned', with no thick dense coat as additional protection, can lead to nasty cuts which in other dogs would amount to nothing, but for a Whippet could be serious, however Whippets do heal amazingly quickly. They are very sensitive to flea bites, so these parasites must be eliminated. Not only do fleas propose a health risk to your dog but also to members of the household too.


You don't need to spend a lot on food to keep your whippet in peak condition. As juveniles they should have a premium quality dry puppy food supplemented with some fresh meat. Chicken necks are excellent for small puppies because the bones are so small they can be swallowed readily without doing your young dog any harm. They are also great for the young puppy's oral care, helping to loosen the milk teeth. As your Whippet gets older you can gradually change him onto a "growth" or "active" dry food and include meaty bones at least twice a week to keep his teeth and gums clean and in good condition. It is the action of tearing on the meat and sinew on the bone that actually cleans the teeth. Remove the bone after your dog has tired of it so he doesn't get the chance to swallow too much bone, which could cause a blockage in the stomach or bowel. There are also many good quality hard biscuits and dog chews available now which will also help in oral care. If your dog is participating in a lot of ‘action' sports such as racing or agility, he will continue to thrive on the "active" dry foods but as he gets older you may find that he needs transferring onto a "light" dry food to keep his weight under control. Like humans, the metabolism of each dog differs, and you will need to experiment with different quantities of food and possibly different brands until you have your Whippet looking in perfect condition.


As premier canine athletes, Whippets require short periods of vigorous exercise, daily if possible, and do best where they can either run in a safely fenced yard, or be taken on leash to a secure park or field for play sessions with balls and frisbees. A ten-minute gallop around a fenced oval is better than nothing at all. But of course if you have hours to spare they will walk or run beside you for as long as you have the stamina. Whippets, like all other sight hounds, are visually oriented and love to chase objects (like rabbits) which they may see at a distance. This means that they are vulnerable to being hit by cars. They are keen hunters and will run into busy roads if they see something interesting to chase, often oblivious to the calls of their owners. For this reason, you should never have your Whippet unleashed unless it is completely safe to do so, right away from any roads. At times, when they have "something" in their sight nothing else matters and it is then that they will most likely run through a fence or into an object that is in their path. This is where all your patient but necessary training comes into for. If you are in "control" of the situation you should be able to call them "off" the chase and stop a nasty accident from occurring. There is a fine line between controlled and out of control running. 

Training Whippets

Blessed with a gentle and affectionate nature, the Whippet is eager to please its owner and with a soft but firm “hand” and “voice” can be successfully train for obedience and also agility. Whippets are independent thinkers, and some, more so females, find obedience training to be somewhat beneath them but those who do enjoy it have excelled at it. They are intelligent and love attention, but don't enjoy rough handling or loud voice commands. As most will find, Whippets don't particularly like the "sit" position. They also don’t especially like sitting on cold or wet grass. But they CAN do it and with sensitive training, lots of praise and play interspersed, they do very well indeed.

As might be expected, Whippets excel at coursing and racing. Unlike Greyhound racing, Whippet racing is purely for sport and not for gambling or prize money. An amazing experience for the novice owner is to spend a day at a race meeting. Whippets are "Dr Jeckle, Mr Hyde" dogs. Once they hear the sound of that lure they turn into screaming "demons". To chase a piece of "lamb skin on a stick" seems to be a natural born instinct in many. But as soon as they are home again it's back to the sweet natured, "butter-wouldn't-melt-in-my-mouth" couch potatoe that we are all know so well.

Read more about the Whippet from the The Whippet Association of Victoria, Inc. 

Whippets - A Brief History

Whippets - Breed Characteristics