Written by Doris Donnerman (last updated April 3, 2009)
There is no definite proof of just how the Whippet got his name but the most likely theory is that the dog, in the form of hunting in which he was adept, "whipped-up" his game. This Greyhound in miniature was formerly known as the "Snap Dog," probably for two reasons. He accounted for the rats and rabbits he caught with a quick snap of his powerful jaws, and in racing, he had a characteristic habit of suddenly turning and snapping at his nearest competitor.
The Whippet is said to have been bred from varied blood. Some authorities wrote that he was the result of Italian Greyhounds crossed with Terriers. The Terrier Breeds mentioned were the Manchester, the old English White Terrier, and the Bedlington Terrier. The Terrier blood was supposed to give courage and stamina. It has long since been bred out of the Whippet, however, he is now definitely established as a Greyhound of the small order.
The Whippet is an exceptionally fast dog, more fleet of foot than any domestic animal of his weight. He is capable of sprinting at the rate of 35 miles an hour. Originally used in coursing rabbits, this streamlined dog has attracted the greatest attention in match races. In disposition, the Whippet is quiet, dignified, and affectionate. He has none of the "barkiness" of the Terrier, but makes a good watchman just the same. Highly decorative, this little dog ranges in weight from ten to twenty-eight pounds. The male stands from about nineteen to twenty-two inches, the female from about eighteen to twenty-one inches.
The Whippet is exceedingly easy to groom. Despite his dainty appearance he is easy to care for, and is by no means delicate. For grace, smoothness in action, and beauty in outline, the Whippet ranks high among all breeds.
Additional information on the Whippet can be found at the website for the American Kennel Club.
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