Here in the States, July 4th is known as America’s birthday. Among our canine companions, however, it’s important for another reason. It’s Whippet Day! A vet discusses these ‘pawesome’ pups below.
Whippets are closely related to Greyhounds, though they aren’t quite as well known here Stateside. In fact, they look like smaller versions of the famous racing dogs. They are categorized in the AKC’s Hound Group and, like Greyhounds, are specifically listed as sighthounds. Like many other sighthounds, they are characterized by small heads, long legs, deep chests, and narrow waists. As you can probably guess, these guys are very, very fast: they can run up to 35mph! Fido is also known for his ability to make very sharp turns. The breed name comes from the 17th-century word ‘whippet’ which means ‘to move fast’ or ‘to move quickly.’ (Whips may have had something to do with the original meaning, but that’s another topic.)
This branch of Fido’s family tree has been around for a long time: dogs with similar appearances were depicted in art from ancient Egypt! In the Victorian age, they became renowned for their talents in catching rabbits and coursing competitions. These skills earned them the title ‘Poor Man’s Racehorse.’ Whippet races became very popular in 19th-century England, particularly in Wales and north England. The Kennel Club officially welcomed Fido into their ranks back in 1891.
These sweet, lovable pooches are very, very good at melting hearts. They are known for being very gentle, loyal, and lovable, and affectionate. They also can make wonderful family pets: Fido is good with children, and cohabitates well with other dogs and also with cats. Whippets tend to be quite cuddly, and often enjoy being lap dogs. In fact, they are so sweet that they are pretty much useless at being guard dogs. One might think that these pups are extremely active, but they aren’t always set to ‘Full Speed/Go.’ While Whippets do need vigorous runs and play sessions every day, they actually turn into super cute couch potatoes between their workout sessions. That’s not all there is to love about these pups! They don’t bark or drool very much, and they need only light grooming. That said, Whippets do have some specific care needs. For instance, they get cold very easily. Ask your vet for specific recommendations.
Do you have questions about your canine pal’s health or care? Contact us today!