LONGHAIRED WHIPPET.jpg
Breed Group Group 8: Sighthound Breeds
Sub-group :
Origin Country Great Britain
Weight Males: 25-40 pounds. Females: 25-40 pounds.
Height Males: 18-22 inches. Females: 17-21 inches.
Breed Type Pure
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Longhaired Whippet

Breed Group Group 8: Sighthound Breeds
Sub-group :
Origin Country Great Britain
Weight Males: 25-40 pounds. Females: 25-40 pounds.
Height Males: 18-22 inches. Females: 17-21 inches.
Breed Type Pure
click here for FULL BREED STANDARD

Origins

As it is with any great hero's origin story, the beginnings of the Whippet are tautly enveloped in a dusky shroud of mystery. Many historians believe the breed has an ancestry that spans back to the days of the ancient pharaohs, but others have traced the Whippet's heritage to the early Greeks, pointing to depictions of small, Greyhound-like dogs featured in the era's art as evidence. Further complicating the story is the fact that the first recorded use of the word Whippet as a dog descriptor was in reference to a Greyhound-Spaniel mix unrelated to the modern Whippet.

One popular theory asserts that the modern Whippet comes from a methodical mix of Greyhounds, Terriers, and Italian Greyhounds. However, other experts believe that today's Whippets likely come from miniature Greyhounds produced in England for the purposes of rat catching and rabbit hunting, with breeders taking the runts of each Greyhound litter and creating increasingly smaller versions of the dog. Medieval English peasants preferred the smaller version since Greyhound ownership was restricted to families of nobility, and any peasant-owned Greyhound found by authorities was often mutilated—either by slicing a tendon in the leg or maiming a paw—to prevent it from hunting in the king's royal forest. The harsh regulations, known as forest law, continued throughout the Middle Ages, and miniature Greyhounds became invaluable to many poachers for their swiftness, relatively diminutive stature (making them less noticeable to the authorities), and natural aptitude for hunting. The Whippet even gained the moniker of snap dog among admirers for his instinctive ability to chase down and snap up smaller creatures.

As the Robin Hood of the animal kingdom—stealing game from the rich and giving it to the poor—the Whippet was championed by England's common man even after the egregious aspects of forest law had been dissolved. During the industrial era, the breed was especially popular in the north, where colliers and other miners were typically too poor to keep a Greyhound. Many working class Englanders entered Whippets into coursing competitions to earn additional income. But, when coursing declined among industrial workers due to its reliance on scarcely available woodland animals (in the urban areas) and its reputation for cruelty, Whippet owners continued making money by racing their dogs, realizing that a Whippet would run after a waving rag much as he would a rabbit. The sustained popularity of the breed led many to refer to it as "the poor man's racehorse" during the industrial era. Whippets became valued family members in miner households, bringing in racing money and captured game for the family pot, so it was not all that uncommon to see a Whippet sharing a meal or a pillow with his owner.

The breed was first officially recognized in England and the U.S. toward the end of the nineteenth century. A Whippet was awarded best in show at the Westminster Dog Show in 1964, and two other Whippets received best in show awards at Crufts in 1992 and 2004. Some of today's Whippet owners still enter their dogs in coursing events to chase after rabbits and hares, but there are also many others who train their dogs to engage in less violent sports, such as lure coursing, track racing, and flyball.

Breed Characteristics

Head: Dolichocephalic skull type, moderately long, and in proportion to the rest of the body. Although long in appearance, the topskull is also sufficiently broad between the ears, giving the head some substance, and preventing a narrow, snipy appearance. The topskull is flat on top when viewed from the front or in profile. The head tapers somewhat from the broad back skull toward the nose. The head is clean-cut and without excess skin or wrinkle.
Eyes: Moderate in size, oval to almost round in shape, dark gray, amber, hazel, or medium to dark brown in color. The eye rims are well-fitted and well-pigmented. The eyes are never bulging. There should be sufficient bone in the surrounding orbital sockets to protect the eyes. Any signs of entropion or ectropion are incorrect for this breed.
Ears: Somewhat small to medium in size, set at eye level or higher on the skull, rose, or “fly-away”. The ears are never long, overly large, hound-like, or fully erect.
Muzzle: The muzzle is long, full, deep, and broad, and tapers only slightly toward the muzzle when viewed in profile or from above. The plane, or bridge of the muzzle, is straight. Upper and lower jaws are well-developed, approximately equal in length, and have good bone substance, never appearing snipy or weak.
Nose: The nose is well-pigmented and black, or self-colored according to the coat. Butterfly nose is permissible in parti-colors. The nostrils are well-opened. The nose may project slightly forward beyond the lower jaw, or rest flush with the lower jaw.
Neck: Moderately long to allow for proud head carriage and good movement. It is powerfully muscled with a good arch. The neck tapers smoothly from the deeper and broader body toward the head. The neck is clean-cut, without excess skin, throatiness, or dewlap.
Chest: Deep and sufficiently broad to give the space between the forelegs filling and prevent a hollowed effect, but never wider than deep. The brisket is long and extends to the point of the elbows.
Body: Deep in the brisket, flexible, athletic, muscular, and capable of great speed, power, and stamina. The body is somewhat racy, but strong. Width at forequarters is approximately equal to the width at the hindquarters.
Feet: Oval to round and compact, with well-arched toes and tough pads.
Tail: Set low on the croup as a natural extension of the gently arched topline. It is thick at the base and tapering toward the tip. The tail is carried in accordance with the dog’s mood and energy level, when moving or hunting, usually at the level of the topline, or lower, and in a lowered neutral position when relaxed, but never tucked against the abdomen. Due to the length of the tail and angulation of the hind legs, the tail may appear tucked when held neutrally, but this is a natural neutral position for the Whippet. The tail is never carried well above the level of the topline. The tail is long in length, with the tip of the last vertebrae extending to the hock joints when held down. The tail may be straight or gently curved.
Movement: Elastic, free, effortless, efficient, and with good energy, the characteristics of healthy structure are evident: when moving away, the forelegs and rear pasterns should remain parallel to one another. When viewing movement from the front, the forelegs should remain parallel, with elbows and paws moving neither in nor out. From the rear, the back pads should be visible when the rear legs are extended. As speed increases, the forelimbs and hindlimbs will converge to the centerline of gravity. From the side, the topline should remain firm and level. Good reach of movement in the front allows the forepaw to extend out in a line with the nose. The width between the forefeet when extended should be approximately equal to the width between the hindfeet when extended, indicating balance, good reach, and good drive. Dogs that exhibit any sign of breathing or locomotive difficulty shall be disqualified from the show ring.
Temperament: Gentle, easy-going, even-tempered, and adaptable, he is capable of great intensity when running. Some have retained a high degree of prey drive and will naturally be inclined to chase anything that moves away from them. Any unprovoked aggressive or fearful behavior toward people is incorrect for this breed.
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Breed Standard

BREED GROUP 8: Sighthound Breeds

Proportions: Square to off-square with length of the body, measured from the point of the forechest to the point of the rump, being equal to or just slightly greater than the height at the withers. The ideal body height to length ratio is between 1:1 and 10:9 Females may be slightly longer. The body is well put together, indicative of speed, elegance, and athleticism. They exhibit moderate bone and substance throughout, and should never exhibit overly fine or coarse bone and substance.

Head

General Appearance: Dolichocephalic skull type, moderately long, and in proportion to the rest of the body. Although long in appearance, the topskull is also sufficiently broad between the ears, giving the head some substance, and preventing a narrow, snipy appearance. The topskull is flat on top when viewed from the front or in profile. The head tapers somewhat from the broad back skull toward the nose. The head is clean-cut and without excess skin or wrinkle.
Expression: Alert, bright, keen, and intelligent.
Stop: The stop is shallow, yet perceptible.
Skull: The ideal muzzle-to-skull ratio is 1:1, with the topskull being equal to the muzzle.
The ideal muzzle-to-skull axis is approximately parallel.
Muzzle: The muzzle is long, full, deep, and broad, and tapers only slightly toward the muzzle when viewed in profile or from above. The plane, or bridge of the muzzle, is straight. Upper and lower jaws are well-developed, approximately equal in length, and have good bone substance, never appearing snipy or weak.
Lips or Flews: Lips are clean and fit tightly over the teeth and jaws.
Nose: The nose is well-pigmented and black, or self-colored according to the coat. Butterfly nose is permissible in parti-colors. The nostrils are well-opened. The nose may project slightly forward beyond the lower jaw, or rest flush with the lower jaw.
Cheeks: The cheeks are smoothly muscled to denote strength of bite. The cheeks should not appear chiseled or coarse.
Dentition and Bite: Forty-two strong, clean, white teeth. Bite may be level or scissor. Contact must be made between the top and bottom incisors. Missing or broken teeth as a result of routine work is not to be penalized.
Eyes: Moderate in size, oval to almost round in shape, dark gray, amber, hazel, or medium to dark brown in color. The eye rims are well-fitted and well-pigmented. The eyes are never bulging. There should be sufficient bone in the surrounding orbital sockets to protect the eyes. Any signs of entropion or ectropion are incorrect for this breed.
Ears: Somewhat small to medium in size, set at eye level or higher on the skull, rose, or “fly-away”. The ears are never long, overly large, hound-like, or fully erect.

Body and Tail

General Description: Deep in the brisket, flexible, athletic, muscular, and capable of great speed, power, and stamina. The body is somewhat racy, but strong. Width at forequarters is approximately equal to the width at the hindquarters.
Neck: Moderately long to allow for proud head carriage and good movement. It is powerfully muscled with a good arch. The neck tapers smoothly from the deeper and broader body toward the head. The neck is clean-cut, without excess skin, throatiness, or dewlap.
Chest: Deep and sufficiently broad to give the space between the forelegs filling and prevent a hollowed effect, but never wider than deep. The brisket is long and extends to the point of the elbows.
Topline: The topline is comprised of a gently sweeping, graceful line that starts at the base of the neck and withers, running to the base of the tail. It is free from any sharp or abrupt angles, drops, or dips (although a small, almost imperceptible, dip may be evident at the eleventh vertebrae, just behind the withers, which is not a fault). The back may be level or just slightly sloped from somewhat prominent withers to the loin. The back is long, broad, strongly muscled, and straight, yet supple. The loin is fairly long and taut, yet flexible, and gently arched toward the croup, yet supportive. The loin should never rise above the level of the withers or back. The topline is never completely flat, swayed, or roached. It should never fall steeply in an extreme fashion.
Croup: Broad, powerful, and gently sloped as a continuation of the arch of the loin. Never steep or flat.
Underline: Moderate to considerable tuck-up present, running harmoniously with the topline. The underline is taut and firm, without any indication of sagging or excess weight.
Ribs: Long, well-sprung, well-laid-back, and oval-shaped, never barrel-chested or slab-sided.
Tail: Set low on the croup as a natural extension of the gently arched topline. It is thick at the base and tapering toward the tip. The tail is carried in accordance with the dog’s mood and energy level, when moving or hunting, usually at the level of the topline, or lower, and in a lowered neutral position when relaxed, but never tucked against the abdomen. Due to the length of the tail and angulation of the hind legs, the tail may appear tucked when held neutrally, but this is a natural neutral position for the Whippet. The tail is never carried well above the level of the topline. The tail is long in length, with the tip of the last vertebrae extending to the hock joints when held down. The tail may be straight or gently curved.

Forequarters and Hindquarters

Forequarters: Forequarters are always in balance with the hindquarters. Forequarters are well-angulated with well-laid-back shoulder blades. Shoulder blades are long and approximately equal in length to the upper arm and forearm.
Elbows: Elbows are close to the body and fall below the withers. The point of the elbows is approximately half the dog’s height at the withers.
Forelegs: Frontal View: Straight, of good muscle, of moderate bone, and parallel to one another.
Side View: The forelimbs appear straight with strong pasterns.
Pasterns: Never weak or broken.
Hindquarters: Upper thigh and lower thigh are long, equal in length, powerfully muscled, sturdy, and of moderate bone.
Rear View: When viewed from the rear, the rear pasterns are parallel to one another.
Side View: Good angulation will allow the rear toes to align with the point of the rump or within one to two paw-lengths behind the point of the rump, with the rear pasterns remaining perpendicular to the ground and parallel to one another.
Stifle Joint: Well-angulated with a good bend to well-let-down rear pasterns.
Angulations: Angulation of hindquarters is always in balance with angulation of forequarters.
Feet: Oval to round and compact, with well-arched toes and tough pads.

Coat

Skin: Tightly-fitted, yet supple. The skin should never obstruct the outline of the dog.
Coat Type: The Whippet comes in two coat varieties: the smooth coat and the long coat.
Smooth-coat variety: The coat is uniformly short, smooth, and close to the body throughout. The texture is firm-to-harsh and glossy, with no undercoat. No fringe or feather permissible.
Long-coat variety: The coat is short on the face, forehead, and front of the forelimbs and hindlimbs. The coat is longer on the neck, ears, rear of the forelimbs and hindlimbs, feet, and tail, forming well-developed fringe and furnishings. Undercoats may or may not be present. The coat should never be abundantly thick, abundantly long, or silky.
Coat Color or Pattern: All coat colors and patterns are equally permissible.

Movement

Elastic, free, effortless, efficient, and with good energy, the characteristics of healthy structure are evident: when moving away, the forelegs and rear pasterns should remain parallel to one another. When viewing movement from the front, the forelegs should remain parallel, with elbows and paws moving neither in nor out. From the rear, the back pads should be visible when the rear legs are extended. As speed increases, the forelimbs and hindlimbs will converge to the centerline of gravity. From the side, the topline should remain firm and level. Good reach of movement in the front allows the forepaw to extend out in a line with the nose. The width between the forefeet when extended should be approximately equal to the width between the hindfeet when extended, indicating balance, good reach, and good drive. Dogs that exhibit any sign of breathing or locomotive difficulty shall be disqualified from the show ring.

Temperament

Gentle, easy-going, even-tempered, and adaptable, he is capable of great intensity when running. Some have retained a high degree of prey drive and will naturally be inclined to chase anything that moves away from them. Any unprovoked aggressive or fearful behavior toward people is incorrect for this breed.

Faults

All dogs should be in proper healthy condition, free from disease or defect. Any departure from this description is considered a fault. Unless altered, all male dogs should have two fully descended testicles.