Understanding the Winning Whippet Temperament

The Whippet (also referred to as an “English Whippet” or “Snap dog”) belongs to the sighthound breed, and the Whippet temperament is a quiet, yet active one.  Let’s learn a little bit more about the breed before we examine its temperament.

A Short History of the Whippet

As previously mentioned, the Whippet is a sighthound, like the Irish Wolfhound, the Greyhound, and the Scottish Deerhound.  The Whippet is actually a descendant of the Greyhound.

Whippets are medium-sized dogs, and they are considered to be the fastest dogs in the world, in terms of how quickly they can accelerate.  They are neck-and-neck with their Greyhound forefathers with regard to their top speed, with the Whippet coming in, typically, at around 35 miles per hour.  You really could say that they “whip” around the corner!

Because of their impressive speed, Whippets, also referred to as the “miniature Greyhound,” are still used as racing dogs today.

The Health and Wellness of a Whippet

As you might expect, because Whippets are so active, they are typically free from many of the maladies that might plague their slower and less active cousins.

As long as a Whippet is given the proper nutrition and exercise, and is taken to the veterinarian for regular check-ups, he can live for between 12 and 15 years, with the lower end of the spectrum being the typical life expectancy.

Some problems that you probably won’t have to deal with if you own a Whippet include the common kinds of ear infections, skin allergies, and digestive issues that other breeds can experience.

Even the more common canine issues, like genetic eye defects or hip dysplasia, are rarely seen among Whippets.  The only thing to maybe keep an eye out for are heart conditions, as the Whippet’s heart is large and beats slowly, which can concern both you and your vet, should your vet have little experience with Whippets.

The Whippet can even have an arrhythmia or an intermittent heartbeat while she’s resting, but get her to exercise and you’ll notice that heartbeat jump right back up to a regular level.

The Whippet Temperament

Now that we’ve familiarized ourselves a bit more with the Whippet breed, let’s take a look at the Whippet temperament and see just what kind of personality lies behind that active physicality.

Lively

Well, it’s no surprise that the Whippet would be considered a lively animal.  After what you just read, it’s probably difficult to imagine a lazy Whippet.  Though, when he’s home, he’s quiet and calm – probably because he’s saving up his energy for the next big race!

The most effective methods of training a Whippet involve running, naturally, and games.  Introducing variety into his training schedule has been known to yield the best results.

Gentle/Quiet

The Whippet is actually a rather quiet animal, and you should take care not to be rough with her during training.  She is very sensitive, both physically and mentally.

You do have to find the delicate balance, however, so as to not encourage the development of Small Dog Syndrome, where the dog turns into a bully because she’s allowed to get away with bad behavior.

The same kid gloves type of treatment applies to the Whippets mannerisms with children.  She can be great with kids of all ages, so long as they don’t roughhouse with her or tease her.

Friendly/Affectionate

Because the Whippet is such a gentle animal, he is rather friendly and affectionate with other humans, though he is good at keeping watch and may be cautious at first about trusting strangers.

Intelligent

The fact that the Whippet is an intelligent animal makes it easier to be around her on the whole.  She’s cleaner than most other dogs, and she doesn’t mind travelling.

One thing to keep an eye out for is her interactions with cats and other small animals.  She does have a keen hunting ability and, given the chance, she will even kill her prey once she catches it.  Though, she is usually better with household cats, so long as they are raised together and are used to being left alone with each other.

When it comes to housebreaking, however, every Whippet is different.  Some can give you a hard time, while others will take to it more naturally – it all depends on the dog.

Can You Keep Up with a Whippet?

You now have the information necessary to make a more informed decision as to whether or not the Whippet temperament is right for you.  The important things to keep in mind are that she doesn’t like to roughhouse, and it’s easy to hurt her feelings, but you have to still establish a sense of dominance so that she doesn’t walk all over you.

It may be difficult at first to get a handle on the Whippet temperament, but once you two understand each other and know what each of you expects from the other, you can have quite the rewarding relationship with your Whippet.

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