A complete breed guide for Whippet dogs

15 MARCH 2022

This article is written by Pet Circle's qualified veterinarian, Dr Kes Holliday, DVM, BSc.

With a reputation as the world's fastest couch potato, the Whippet is a gentle, affectionate companion dog. Whippets have moderate exercise requirements, enjoying regular 'zoomies' to burn off excess energy, but will happily nap for hours on the couch afterwards. Originally bred as racing and hunting dogs, Whippets excel at lure coursing and agility events and make excellent show dogs due to their elegant appearance.

Facts about the Whippet
Whippet History
Whippet Personality
Whippet Diet and Nutrition
Whippet Common Health problems
Whippet Behaviour
Related Breeds
Further reading

Top toy and lifestyle recommendations for Whippets

Tuffy range

Plush toys are a guaranteed favourite of the Whippet - even better if they squeak!


This flat, flexible mat allows food to be spread or sprinkled on the surface to encourage licking to retrieve the tasty treats!

Kong Classic

Food-dispensing toys help keep your Whippet out of mischief and provide enrichment.

Fuzzyard Pyjamas

With a thin coat and minimal body fat, Whippets really feel the cold. Keep your whippet snuggly and stylish at the same time with these cute PJs!

Facts about the Whippet


Breed size:

Place of origin:

Other names:




Breed group:

Energy level:

Weight range:



9 - 18 kg

Life expectancy:

Tendency to bark:

Height range:

12 - 15 years


44 - 53 cm at withers

Drool factor:

Social needs:

Coat length:




Shedding factor:

Overall grooming needs:




Any colour including:
black, white, red, fawn, blue,
cream, brindle and combinations.

Do Whippets shed?

Whippets have a short, fine coat that is generally low shedding. Regular grooming with a rubber brush or glove can help to remove loose hairs before they are shed.

Whippets may come in nny colour including: black, white, red, fawn, blue, cream, brindle and combinations.

How big do Whippets get?

Whippets weigh between 9 - 18 kg, with the males typically weighing more than females. The typical height of a Whippet is between 44 - 53 cm at the shoulder. Your Whippet will have completed the majority of their growth stage by one year of age.

How much does a Whippet cost?

Expect to pay between $2000 - 3500 for a Whippet puppy. On top of this, it's important to budget for veterinary bills, pet insurance, a good quality diet and regular flea and worming medication. Check out our New Puppy Shopping List for more information!

Are Whippets good pets?

Whippets are affectionate and loyal pets. They are playful and gentle with kids though (as with any dog) should be supervised with very young children.They aren't big barkers, and they can be well-suited to apartment living provided they are exercised daily. Whippets have moderate exercise requirements - a daily 30 minute walk with some 'zoomies' time off leash at least twice a week is ideal!

Whippets adore being with their families, so if you spend a lot of time away from home, they might not be the right choice for you.

Are Whippets barkers?

Generally speaking, Whippets are not big barkers. They will bark when excited, or when something needs your attention. This makes them a good choice for those who live in apartments.

Whippets suffering with separation anxiety may bark or howl when left alone.

How long do Whippets live?

On average, Whippets live between 12 - 15 years.

How do I know which Whippet breeder to choose?

While Whippets are a generally robust breed, it's important to choose a reputable breeder to decrease the risk of health problems down the line. For a full checklist of questions to ask when choosing a breeder, read our vet article How to Find a Good Breeder.

Whippet History

Originally bred to pursue and catch small game, the Whippet arose by crossing Greyhounds and terriers, and later Italian Greyhounds. Whippets quickly became popular lure coursing dogs due to their exceptional speed and agility, becoming known as 'the poor man's Greyhound'. The Whippet was first recognised as a pure breed by the American Kennel Club in 1888 - although similar hounds were present in England for hundreds of years previously.

Whippet Personality

Whippets are a polite, affectionate breed with an even temperament. They have a tendency to closely bond with their family members and can sometimes be shy with strangers. Like other sighthounds, most Whippets have a very strong prey drive - which can make recall training difficult!

Sometimes known as 'velcro dogs', Whippets adore being with their owners, making them the perfect companions. There is nothing a Whippet loves more than being snuggled under the blankets - this of course includes sleeping in your bed at night! They can be clownish and mischievous at home and enjoy playing with toys well into their senior years.

A well-socialised Whippet is friendly with most dogs, although they have a special affinity and preference for playing with other sighthounds. While some Whippets can happily co-exist with a family cat, for most this will require socialisation and training from puppyhood.

Whippet Diet and Nutrition

Whippet Puppies

I recommend feeding your Whippet puppy a premium diet. Premium diets are tested for digestibility, and contain antioxidants which have been demonstrated to improve immune function. There are also many high quality natural diets on the market that suit the needs of active Whippet pups. Whippet puppies can be picky eaters, so a mixture of both dry and wet food can be offered to increase palatability.

Want to learn more about caring for your new Whippet puppy? Check out our other articles:

  • New Puppy Guide
  • What is the best puppy food?
  • 10 Frequently Asked Puppy Questions
  • Common Mistakes Puppy Owners Make
  • Top food recommendations for Whippet puppies

    The ideal diet for your Whippet puppy should be nutrient-dense and gentle on sensitive stomachs. Here are our top picks to help your active puppy grow and thrive.

    Hills Science Diet Puppy

    Premium puppy diet containing DHA for brain and eye development, plus antioxidants and vitamins to help support your growing Whippet puppy’s immune system.

    Advance Puppy

    Australian-made, premium puppy food with a small sized rehydratable kibble great for little mouths.

    Royal Canin Puppy

    Includes antioxidants for strong immunity and balanced levels of calcium and phosphorus to promote healthy bone and joint development.

    Eukanuba Puppy

    Premium puppy diet with precisely balanced levels of protein, fat, carbohydrate, vitamins and minerals.

    Top food recommendations for adult Whippets

    Whippet have no particular dietary requirements, although will do best on a diet that is nutritious and easily digestible.

    Like other sighthounds, Whippets are prone to dental disease, therefore an oral care or veterinary dental diet may be best to help maintain clean teeth and healthy gums. The following diets are designed to meet the energy needs of your adult Whippet.


    Australian-made, premium quality diet scientifically formulated to meet the energy needs of medium sized breeds.


    Zignature recipes contain a high protein content and no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives.


    Savourlife dry food is made with wholesome, natural ingredients, and 50% of all profits are donated towards helping shelter and rescue dogs.

    Ziwi Peak Dry Dog Food Venison

    This recipe contains venison as single and novel protein which is very useful for dogs prone to allergies and those that require an elimination diet to find the source of their allergy trigger.

    Whippet Common Health Problems

    Despite their slight frame, Whippets are generally healthy dogs, living on average 12 - 15 years. However due to their short, fine coat which offers little protection for the skin, they can be prone to skin tears or lacerations that require suturing. This breed also has a known sensitivity to barbiturate anaesthetics.

    Dental Disease

    Unfortunately Whippets are quite prone to developing dental disease. Dental disease starts with plaque build-up on the teeth, which eventually hardens to tartar (calculus) and causes gum inflammation (gingivitis). Not only is dental disease painful and unsightly, it’s a risk factor for other conditions such as kidney and heart disease as the infection spreads throughout the body

    The number one way to prevent dental disease is by regular toothbrushing. Start a brushing regime when your Whippet is a puppy so they learn to tolerate it. Special dental diets and chews can be a helpful adjunct to brushing. Your vet can assess your Whippet's oral health during check ups and schedule a dental cleaning in the clinic when required.

    Cardiac Disease

    Heart disease is an area of increasing concern in the breed. Like many dog breeds, Whippets may develop mitral valve degeneration that progresses to heart failure. If a heart murmur is detected, an echocardiogram can be performed to further investigate the source of the murmur. Maintaining good dental health can help prevent cardiac disease, while weight control can help ease the symptoms.

    Diseases affecting the eyes

    Cataracts appear as opaque, cloudy spots in the lens of your dog's eye. Just like in humans, cataracts may eventually lead to blindness, although surgery is an option for some

    Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) is a known inherited condition in Whippets that can cause blindness. Dogs affected by this gene start to show signs of blindness between 3 - 5 years of age.

    Top health recommendations for Whippets

    Make dental care easier with products your Whippet can enjoy. Natural calming supplements can also be useful if your Whippet suffers from anxiety.

    Petosan Dental Kit

    The palatable poultry-flavoured toothpaste helps make brushing a pleasant experience for your Whippy.

    Greenies Dental Treats

    Greenies help to reduce plaque and tartar when fed daily.


    Containing a natural product derived from casein, Zylkene is a calming supplement that has been demonstrated to help dogs adjust to stressful situations.

    Nexgard Spectra

    A convenient monthly chew that protects your dog from fleas, ticks, mites, intestinal worms, and heartworms.

    Whippet Behaviour

    Early socialisation is important to ensure your Whippets becomes a happy, confident and well-rounded companion dog. This means safely introducing your puppy to a variety of people, pets and experiences. Having visitors to your house is a simple way to introduce your pup to new people.

    Whippets are smart and can be easily taught basic commands. However, like all sighthounds, they have a 'What’s in it for me?' approach - so lots of praise and rewards are a must! Whippets were bred to have a strong prey drive and most will readily drop everything to chase a rabbit, cat - or anything else furry or feathered! A secure yard with a high fence is a necessity, as is a leash when walking in a non-secured area. Have a look into fun lure coursing events which are a fabulous opportunity for your Whippet to chase to their heart’s content!

    Whippet puppies and adolescents can be quite mischievous, and are likely to be destructive if not offered sufficient exercise or stimulation. Whippets adore being with their owners, and may be prone to separation anxiety if left alone for long periods.

    Related Breeds


    Greyhound size: 65 - 75 cm tall, 27 - 30 kg bodyweight

    Originally bred to be noble hounds of pharoahs in ancient Egypt, the Greyhound is one of the oldest dog breeds in the world. Well known for their unrivalled speed, Greyhounds are able to run as fast as 70km per hour. Agility aside, these loveable, placid 'long bois' are incredibly gentle with humans and make surprisingly lazy 'couch potato' pets.

    Italian Greyhound

    Italian Greyhound size: 32-38cm tall, 3.6-4.5kg bodyweight

    The pint-sized Italian Greyhound has an ancient lineage, believed to have been introduced to the Mediterranean region around 600 BC by the Romans. Italian Greyhounds rose in popularity in southern Europe throughout the Middle Ages and became well-known as companion dogs with notable owners including Mary Queen of Scots and Queen Victoria!

    Shop All Dog Toys Now

    Further Reading

    New Puppy Guide

    Premium Pet Food: Is it Worth it?

    Should You Feed Your Pet A Raw Meat Diet?

    Managing Separation Anxiety in Pets

    How to Make Pet Dental Care Easier