Understanding the Winning Whippet Temperament

The Whippet temperament is a quiet, yet active one.  Let’s learn a little bit more about the breed before we examine its temperament.

Photo of an Alert Whippet Dog

A Short History of the Whippet

The Whippet (also referred to as an “English Whippet” or “Snap dog”) belongs to the sighthound breed.

Other well-known sighthounds include the Irish Wolfhound, the Greyhound, and the Scottish Deerhound.  The Whippet is actually a descendant of the Greyhound.

Whippets are medium-sized dogs.

They are among the fastest dogs in the world (if not the fastest), in terms of how quickly they can accelerate.  They are neck-and-neck with their Greyhound forefathers with regard to their top speed. The Whippet's being typically 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

Whippets are typically free from many of the maladies that might plague their slower and less active cousins.

Give your Whippet the proper nutrition and exercises, as well as regular vet check-ups. If you do that he can easily live for between 12 and 15 years.  The lower end of the spectrum being the typical life expectancy.

A Whippet rarely suffers from 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 is heart conditions. The Whippet’s heart is large and beats slowly,

Sometimes while resting a Whippet can experience bouts of irregular/intermittent heartbeats which can result in an Arrhythmia diagnosis. Many times, however, as soon as the Whippet launches back into her exercise you’ll notice that heartbeat jump right back up to a regular consistent beat.

Don't leave anything chance. If you observe this behavior take your Whippet to a veterinarian who has experience with this breed.

The Whippet Temperament

Now that you are a bit more familiar with the Whippet breed, let’s take a look at the Whippet temperament.

Here is the kind of personality that lies behind the active physicality.

Active Whippet Temperament - Photo of Whippet Jumping over Obstacle


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 involves running (no surprise) and games.  Introducing variety into his training schedule has been known to yield the best results.

Gentle and Quiet

The Whippet is a rather quiet animal. 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. This is where a small 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 and Affectionate

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


Photo of Black Whippet Dog Lying Down Outside


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 traveling.

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.

She usually does better with household cats if they grew up and were socialized together. It also helps they 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?

So is the Whippet temperament right for you?

You now have the information necessary to make a more informed decision. Also, check out this article for other specific tips on choosing the right dog.

The important things to keep in mind are that the Whippet doesn’t like to roughhouse, and it’s easy to hurt her feelings. That said,  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, you can have quite the rewarding relationship with your Whippet.

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