Miniature Whippet – A Calm, Vibrant Companion

Miniature WhippetThe miniature whippet resembles a smaller version of a traditional greyhound and was consider the “poor man’s racehorse.” Today, this hound dog breed provides families with kind and gentle companionship in the home and an energetic prey-like playmate outdoors.

History of the Miniature Whippet

The small agile breed is believed to have been cross-bred with an English terrier and greyhound as a cheaper alternative to the upper-class full-size greyhound. Workmen in the late 1700s used whippets as hunting dogs to catch rabbits and other small game. Once they realized the breeds resounding speed and their willingness to chase anything moving, workers began to race whippets for gambling.

Later, the miniature whippet would be refined by upper-class dog owners by adding the Italian greyhound to the bloodline. This accentuated their slender, s-shaped physique while keeping their hunting and racing instinct intact.


When not in the pursuit of prey, the miniature whippet is calm and friendly. They even welcome strangers with ease and are playful yet tender with children. Their accepting nature and unwillingness to bark does not make them an efficient guard dog. However, they remain alert and can still be adequate for surveillance.

Probably due to their small statue, whippets can be sensitive to sounds, lights, and unexpected touch. So, a soft verbal warning would help get their attention first without startling them. This sensitivity also applies to their need for warmth, which also makes them great for cuddling. Outdoor time is for running, then it is back to the cozy comfort of their soft bed.

When outside of the yard and home, whippets must be kept on a leash as they will ignore your stay command if a small animal is spotted. They have been known to never give up on a prey, so once a chase begins, it does not end. Avoid a lost pup by being safe rather than sorry. A fenced-in area like a dog park is perfect for this breed as they get along with other dogs and need to be socialized at an early age.

Size and Physical Characteristics

Similar to greyhounds, whippets are lean, short-haired dogs that follow the classic s-shape model with low, strong hind legs and broad shoulders. They display a variety of coat colors from solid shades to two-toned large spots.

Their size can also vary greatly depending on the purity of their bloodline. Males can range from 19 to 22 inches tall and an average of 34 pounds. Females are smaller, ranging from 18 to 21 inches tall and an average of 29 pounds.


As with any purebred, be aware of any genetic diseases by ensuring you buy from a respectable breeder. However, there are many rescue centers that you can adopt racing dogs who may have health histories available.

This breed is relatively healthy other than the uncommon occurrences and natural complications like deafness and blindness as old age persists. They do have a sensitivity to anesthesia that is most likely due to their low levels of body fat. So, be sure to tell your veterinarian and avoid anesthesia when at all possible.


The good news is that this breed’s short, silky coat does not shed often and requires only weekly brushing to keep it smooth. The bad news is that their skin is thin and sensitive. It can be prone to scratches and cuts. This also means that whippets hate the cold. So, a sweater or protective cover will suit both needs all year.


Whippets rarely gain too much weight, so overeating is not a concern. Feed your pup twice a day of 1 to 1.5 cups of quality dry dog food. Of course, portions rely upon your dog’s level of activity, so adjust your feeding based on exercise and metabolism.


Although calm indoors, this racing breed can let out a bolt of energy outdoors, so do not let their calmness fool you. Allow them to get plenty of exercise or else it will build up and come out in mischievous forms. About 20-30 minutes twice a day of walking on a leash, or better yet, playing in a fenced-in area, will make your pup happy and obedient.

A Closer Look at the Whippet Temperament

Whippet TemperamentMost people know whippets as racing dogs. They fly down the track in pursuit of a mechanical rabbit or other artificial prey. These dogs have intense focus and are very competitive. So, they are well-suited for this type of racing activity. But, what about the temperament of these sleek, flexible canines? Consider a few facts about the whippet temperament.

An Affectionate Dog

When considering a whippet, it’s important to note that this dog is extremely affectionate. A whippet is likely to prefer curling up next to you in bed over climbing into a dog bed located on the floor. Whippets are friendly to children, adults and other dogs. Some whippets get a little overexcited when their owner arrives home from work and it can take them time to calm down. This excitement is due to their loyalty to their owner. However, if this regularly occurs, an owner can simply speak to their whippet in a soothing voice to calm it down. Eventually, the whippet will greet its owner with a calm demeanor.

Easily Startled

If whippet puppies aren’t handled in a calm way and spoken to in a soothing voice, they can grow up to be jumpy adults. They are sensitive animals, but if they are raised in a responsible way, they grow up to be relaxed adults. So, the way a whippet was raised should factor into a person’s decision to take the dog home.

High-Energy, Athletic

Though a whippet may act like a couch potato at times, this dog needs to run and play in order to stay healthy. Taking this dog out to play ball, chase a Frisbee or just run down a path in the woods helps to keep its muscles in good condition. This dog is an ideal candidate to take to a dog park due to its friendly nature. If there are large dogs playing in the dog park, it’s best for the owner of a whippet to see how the bigger dogs interact with the other dogs there. A whippet’s biggest defense is its speed, but it shouldn’t be put with aggressive large dogs.

Enjoys the Company of Another Dog

Anyone thinking about getting a whippet may want to get two instead of one. Whippets are hounds which means they prefer to live with other dogs. Two whippets may not add up to a pack, but this canine is not made to stay by itself while you’re at work or otherwise out of the house. Plus, the behavior of one of a pair of whippets is likely to influence the behavior of the other.


Intelligence plays a big part in the whippet temperament. This dog is alert and will respond whenever its name is called. Training a whippet to obey basic commands such as sit, stay, lie down or come is very easy with this intelligent canine. Whippets are experts at finding things and figuring out how to get out of risky situations. A whippet’s combination of speed and intelligence makes it a special favorite with owners who want to train their dogs for agility competitions. They can sail over jumps and through hoops with grace and speed! They can even crawl through the plastic tunnels that are a familiar sight on a dog’s agility course.


Part of the whippet temperament is lack of barking. In fact, some whippets bark very rarely. If whippets do bark, it’s usually during a fun game of chase or while playing around with other dogs. A whippet in a household walks around with a light step similar to that of a cat. It sometimes takes a few minutes for an owner to notice this dog is in the room.

The Whippet Temperament Makes it Friendly with Strangers

Whippets are friendly with people they haven’t met before. They are the type of canine that are likely to give people and dogs the benefit of the doubt until they prove otherwise.

Lastly, the whippet temperament makes it a good choice for a household with lots of young children, a couple with no children or a single person living alone. In short, this dog fits into many types of households. As long as it gets to stretch its legs each day, a whippet is a loyal companion as well as a low-maintenance pet.