Help your Whippet to love life! | Blog

Help your Whippet to love life! | Blog

Whippets are small, speedy sighthounds that look rather like miniature Greyhounds, and indeed share that noble breed’s heritage.

The Kennel Club states: “Dogs of a Whippet type were common in the Middle Ages and genetic studies in the 21st century have determined that it originated from the Greyhound, a Celtic breed known to the Romans as ‘Vertragus’. By the 19th century, the Whippet was a recognisable breed.”

“Whippets have a lean build similar to Greyhounds, but they are smaller,” says Dogs Trust. “They have short fur with delicate features and are very fast runners. Whippets can come in a wide variety of colours: black, blue, cream, fawn, red, silver, tan and white.”

Whippets just love all those home comforts

Swift, agile and a joy to watch when they’re zipping around the garden, as a family companion, The Kennel Club describes the Whippet as a breed which is “gentle and affectionate and enjoys the comforts of domestic life.”

While generally a healthy breed, there are some health concerns to consider. Pet insurer Animal Friends says: “Just like other dogs, not all Whippets will live a life free of health problems. Their delicate skin means that they’re prone to cuts while their frame means that they can easily damage their bones. Other potential health problems include gradual loss of sight and dental disease.”

Dogs Trust advises: “Whatever the breed, all dogs need basic preventative health care like vaccinations and flea and worming treatments. You’ll also need insurance to help cover the cost of vet bills.”

Understanding what makes your Whippet tick will help you give them everything they need to love life! Read on to discover more about:



Describing the breed as loving and sensitive, Your Dog magazine says: “They have lots of charm, a curious nature, and are fun and playful. The breed is versatile and thrives on company. Whippets can adapt to various lifestyles. They will have bursts of energy but will also be happy to cuddle up on the sofa.”

PDSA adds: “Whippets are active dogs who enjoy spending time with their owners. They enjoy being part of everything going on at home, so definitely suit households where they can be included in everything.”

The charity also recommends socialising your Whippet from a young age to help them gain confidence with lots of different experiences, people and dogs, stating: “They can be a bit nervous without this socialisation which is why it’s so important.”

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Whatever the breed, every dog is unique

While each breed has certain identifiable traits, it’s important to remember that every dog is unique.

Dogs Trust says: “Just like you, every dog is an individual with their own unique personality and prior experiences. So, every Whippet temperament is different. As dogs grow from puppies, they learn all about the world. They develop their own likes and dislikes and learn to respond to situations in different ways. For example, some dogs might like meeting other dogs, and some may not. Some might like new experiences and others may need to go slowly.”

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To create a perfect canine/human partnership, it’s vital to think about what kind of energy and temperament you’d like your four-pawed friend to have so you’re a good match for each other – and that you can provide a suitable environment.

The Kennel Club recommends that Whippets are quite happy with a small/medium garden, while PDSA says: “As long as they get plenty of exercise, you’ll find your Whippet is happy to curl up on the sofa with you at the end of the day and just chill out.”

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At the top of the list of Whippet requirements is plenty of time spent with their family. “Like most dogs, Whippets dislike being left alone and can suffer with separation anxiety,” advises PDSA. “They form strong bonds with their owners and can get very stressed when left alone for any length of time. We’d only recommend getting a Whippet if someone will be around with them all day. Otherwise, you may find they start to destroy things around the home.”

Whippets are sensitive souls who need space

Because they are calm and gentle around children, Whippets are a popular choice for families. However PDSA says: “As they are a little sensitive, we’d recommend a home with slightly older children who understand when to give your dog space. Remember to make sure you can recognise your dog’s body language so you can put a stop to any potentially stressful situations before they escalate. Always supervise your dog with children and vulnerable adults.”

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If you have other pets, such as dogs or cats, a well socialised Whippet should learn to get on fine with them, particularly if they are introduced at a young age – although be wary of over exuberant playtimes with canine chums. PDSA advises: “Whippets do have quite thin skin, so make sure playtime with other dog friends doesn’t get too boisterous as it could result in bruises or cuts.”

If you have small pets, then a Whippet is probably not for you as, just like their larger cousin – the Greyhound – they have a very high prey drive.

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If you enjoy a brisk walk and like to get some fresh air twice a day, then a Whippet could be your perfect canine companion. While they are calm and gentle dogs who enjoy quiet time and sofa snuggles, Whippets also need a good amount of daily exercise to stay happy and healthy.

Dogs Trust advises: “Whippets are usually moderately active dogs who also enjoy their lounging time. They tend to enjoy a combination of short bursts of activity and relaxing strolls that allow them to explore. They’ll need daily walks, plus plenty of time and opportunity to explore, burn energy, and play.”

PDSA adds: “Your Whippet will need a minimum of an hour exercise every day. This should be split into a couple of walks, usually a shorter one in the morning with a longer one with chance to sniff and explore later on. There should also be plenty of chance for your Whippet to run and play off-lead in a secure area. They need to be able to have a really good run as it’s in their nature. Remember to keep a tight grip on their lead when you’re not in secure areas as they have such a high prey drive and love to chase! On top of regular walks, your Whippet will also need lots of chances to play with you, training sessions and space to explore on their own in a secure garden.”

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Burgess in-house vet, Dr Suzanne Moyes MVB MRCVS, who oversees recipe development and product production, advises: “When choosing food for Whippets, it’s essential to bear in mind that the optimum diet for your dog is one that supplies the correct number of calories and balance of nutrients for their life stage and lifestyle. This means calculating the nutrient content and dietary components such as protein, fat, carbohydrate and vitamins and minerals required. All Burgess Dog Food is a complete food. This means, whatever kibble variety you choose for your Whippet, it will contain all the nutrients they need in the correct balance.”

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“Your Whippet’s diet will vary depending on their age,” recommends PDSA. “You’ll need to feed them a complete, balanced dog food to keep them slim and healthy. Your vet will be able to tell you how much your Whippet should be eating. You should feed them a good quality, commercially available, complete dog food. We usually recommend splitting their daily allowance into two meals. If you give your dog the occasional treat or use treats for training, remember to take this into account and reduce their daily allowance. Treats shouldn’t make up more than 10% of their daily calorie intake as this can unbalance their diet.”

The charity also recommends feeding your Whippet at similar times every day as they like routine, remembering to leave a gap between eating and exercising.

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If you’re looking for a dog that doesn’t need much grooming to look neat and trim, then a Whippet will meet the brief!

PDSA says: “Whippets have short fur, so a weekly brush is usually more than enough to keep it in good condition. They do have quite sensitive skin, though, so it’s better to look for a soft brush for them. Your Whippet will shed, but this is fairly minimal compared to other breeds. You might find they shed more in spring and autumn.”

Due to their thin coat, your Whippet will need to wear a warm coat or jumper during cold weather.

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When it comes to training any dog, it’s all about positive learning, and, when it comes to Whippets, that means plenty of patience and lots of kindness.

PDSA says: “Whippets have a reputation to be a little slow at learning new things, even though they are thought to be fairly clever dogs. It’s important to start positive, reward-based training early to help your Whippet learn even basic commands. You’ll certainly need to be patient when training your Whippet! That said, they are a good choice for first-time owners if you are patient and consistent with their training. If you need some extra guidance when training, we’d recommend taking them to accredited training classes.

Dogs Trust advises: “Find out what your dog loves so you can use this to reward them after a success. Whether it’s small food treats, toys or lots of praise, training with rewards is the best way for your dog to learn. As dogs are clever animals, they need suitable mental and physical exercise so that they don’t get bored. Learning useful life skills such as recall, loose lead walking and settling are just as important. This ensures that you and your dog can spend enjoyable time together, both at home and out and about.”

For expert advice and practical training guidance, visit Dogs Trust Dog School >>


PDSA advises: “If you are thinking of buying a Whippet puppy, make sure the parents of your puppy have had the relevant health screening to reduce the chances of your puppy being affected by certain conditions. We’d recommend looking for a Kennel Club Assured Breeder as they meet extra requirements which will benefit your puppy’s health.”

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Alternatively, there are a number of rescue organisations around the country, including The Kennel Club’s Find a Rescue, Whippet Rescue UK, Just Whippets Rescue, Lurcher SOS Sighthound Rescue and Dogs Trust that would love to hear from you. Staff will seek to match you with the right dog for your home and lifestyle and provide you with support and useful information about the breed. By choosing a rescue Whippet, you’ll be giving one of these gentle, loving dogs a second chance at a happy and fulfilling life.

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Need more advice?

If you’re at all unsure about the best way of feeding your dog or have any concerns about specific nutritional requirements, ask your local veterinary practice for advice. You can also call our expert team, available 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday, on +44 (0)1405 862241 who’ll be happy to help. Alternatively, use our online contact form to get in touch.

CARE MORE Find lots of useful advice on caring for your dog from Burgess, the pet experts >>


Every dog deserves a first-class dinner from puppy to adult and senior. Burgess Pet Care is a British, family-owned company and all our dog foods are made at our own factory in the heart of Yorkshire, using only ingredients that meet our stringent specifications – locally sourced wherever possible to support British farmers

We’ve also developed foods to meet the specific nutritional needs of sporting and working dogs, Greyhounds and Lurchers and dogs with sensitivities.

All Burgess dog food is a complete food. This means, whatever variety you choose for your dog, it will contain all the nutrients they need in the correct balance. By choosing Burgess dog food, you know you can feed your canine companion with complete confidence.

With a whole host of *5 STAR REVIEWS*, our customers have told us:

* “Only food my puppy’s stomach can tolerate at the moment. Love this food!” * “Works well for my puppy and has made a great difference to his digestive system.” * “My doggy loves his food, and it is really good quality. Very happy with the product.” * “My dogs love it and have beautiful shiny coats.” * “My dog seems to like the senior food and it appears to have helped settle his sensitive stomach.” * “My two dogs enjoy the taste of the food. They seem happy and have more energy and bounce. Their coats are glossy and sleek. The end products are easier to pick up. After trying lots of other foods – I’m impressed.” *

Lamb? Turkey? Salmon? Your dog can try them all with our Burgess Sensitive Bundle >>

Is your dog a Burgess dog? Join the Burgess Pet Club for exclusive offers and rewards.  

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