Whippet

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The elegant and graceful whippet is often to be seen competing at agility shows.  The pure bred whippet can be anything from 17ins to 21ins (44-51cm), but the ones I've seen in the competing have all been in the large classes.  The weight is around 27 to 31lb (12.5 to 14kg).  Whippets always look very light on their feet when they're jumping and they do have a different style to collies. Pictured left is a pure bred whippet. (Photo by kind permission of Morguefile)

The breed is built for speed and some of them do very well in competition.  People who have had whippets give mixed reports on how easy they are to train.  Most people say that they have a gentle, even temperament but you have to remember that the whippet is a hound and it will be inclined to chase.  Some people have found them difficult to train.  One problem with whippets is their very fine skin which is easily damaged.  They also need protection from the hot sun and from cold weather. 

Pictured on the right is Phoebe, a whippet/spaniel cross.  Phoebe stands about 19inches high and would come into the large category if she was an agility dog.  She has an excellent temperament and is very easy to train and to handle.

Respondents to the survey said that they would choose a whippet cross for agility again.  The whippet terrier/cross mentioned below came into the medium category for agility.

 

Whippet people are very enthusiastic about their breed and they like to read about them and collect bits and pieces.  Some of the products available are shown below and there are also lots of comments on the breed.  More dog products can be found in the Agility Bits Doggie Shop

Comments on whippets and their crosses

Paul & Sue:
We have a whipjack pup. Mum was a whippet and dad a jack russell. We can highly recommend this cross, our bitch is really fast nearly as quick as our greyhound. She has a lovely temprament and is very easy to train. She is also very affectionate. The chap we bought her from bred her as a working dog as she is double coated. We bought her as company for our rescue greyhound as we dont have the space for two large dogs. I can honestly say she has been brilliant, and has been no trouble.

Krystal:
I have a whippet x staffy I am finding him very hard to train we have had a huge problem with him barking I don't want to have to get him debarked. He's just over 2 years old and I love him to pieces.  If anyone can give me advice on this type of breed for anything I would love to hear from you.

Pat comments: This sounds like a dog that could be ideal for agility.  The energy of the staffie combined with the speed of the whippet could be amazing.  However, neither of these breeds are easy.  Whippets are hounds and they don't always listen.  Staffies can be wilful.  You need to be firm but fair with them.  I would go along to training classes or ask the advice of a professional trainer.  When you have more control, do think about agility.  You could do some training in your back garden.  It would tire your dog and give him something to think about. 

Kristian- Wales:
I have a pure bred whippet, and I'm having trouble house training hI'm, he's about 4 mths old, and still messing everywhere, he'll even stand there in front of us an do it. we even put hI'm outside an when he comes back in he still does it. losing patience with hI'm fast we are.....I'm hoping to race hI'm for a bit of fun in the future but we must get over this hurdle first

Sarah:
I have a 4 1/2 year old pedigree Whippet that is the most laid back and lazy whippet going but he has been doing agility for about 6 months and is really good. He is a lot calmer than other dogs around the course and therefore much easier to keep control of and he looks so graceful. Whippets can be nervous and can take longer to master some of the course, such as tunnels. To make matters even worse, my whippet isn't food or toy orientated, but if I can manage it and have fun with my Whippet Dexter, anyone can.

Glenys:
We have two 14 week old whippet cross with jack russell pups - brother and sister and they are adorable. Any advice on when we should have them both neureted would be good as professional advice has been a bit vague. Thanks.

Abbi:
I really want to know why people don't know about the cute energetic whippet cross jack russell coz they are soo cute and I had one called Bella so I don't know why there are no photos or any thing for them because they are a lovely breed as I have said alot in the piece of writing.

Anon:
I have a pure bred whippet who is progressing really well with agility. She is very agile and ball obsessed so has been quite easy to train. I had to really persevere with obedience training first as she found it boring at tI'mes and soon switched off. However, having mastered keeping her attention through motivation, then adding the speed of agility, she has really taken to it. I have a couple of jumps up in the garden and I have spotted her, through the window, hopping over them on her own! She absolutely loves it, but unlike the more hyperactive breeds, once she's had her run, she just curls up and goes to sleep! She's so cool!!!

Dog owner:
My terrier cross whippet is an obedient dog that wood rather sleep the day away and have cuddles allday she is the cutist dog ever more like family

Carol:
I have a whippet she is the best but when it comes to training she was is ok but only if you had something good to eat and only if she wanted to. I also have lots of animals and she gets on well with them all. My boy and Dash all play together it is like having 3 kids in the house. I am so happy to have this breed.

Whippet handler:
H
ave a whippet that enjoys agility, but more difficult to train with tunnel if it can't see through

Rheian Davies:
I have the most loveable whippet Jack Russell Cross. He is very very fast and playful. He is obedient 90% of the time but can be a bit unpredictable and wilful and can refuse to come back if he is chasing a rabbit in the wild.

Rachel:
We have a Whippet/ Miniature Fox Terrier A very lovely dog, with a great temperament. Quite difficult to train as she is she is quite a free spirit and independent love her!!

Lesley:
I've got a whippet/jack russell. She's 4 and is very shy but I did used to work with her at agility but she likes tracking better.

Martina:
I have a 5 year old whippet/sheepdog cross MAX, very loyal dog, easy to train until he spots a bird or cat, loves the thrill of the chase but once he catches up with his prey, he just starts barking for them to take off again. Loves company and affection, almost human like!!! Im convinced he even knows what im thinking. Max loves to travel in the car with me and cannon get enough exercise, loves the woodlands and freedom of the beach.......can't say enough about him really......wouldn't part with him for the world..

Michelle:
I have a rescued whippet cross, what with I dont know as she was a stray. She is really lazy when it just the family at home and prefers to be upstairs sound asleep in the bed, but the very second anyone enters the house she goes absolutely beserk, litterally juming on theryre heads, and no amount of training has calmed her down. Even when people ignore her it makes her worse. Its a lost cause, but I still adore her!!!

Whippet handler:
I own a pure bred whippet and he is the easiest dog in the world to train.He was house trained within a week!

Chris:
W
ill I be able to let my whippet cross lurcher off lead? He is 2 years old got from home. I've got him to sit. He's good on lead till he finds birds or others. Very loving and stupid, or has he got that killing in him and can't let him off lead?
Pat comments: Chris, it's very difficult to tell when you can't see the dog and how he's behaving.  Most dogs have a hunting instinct but it's more pronounced with some dogs than with others.  Lurchers are bred to hunt but they will come back off the lead if they are properly trained.  You need to find someone who knows the breed to give you advice.  I would suggest that you contact a local dog trainer initially. 

Fuzzi:
My dog is a jack russell cross breed whippett and is sooooooooooooo cute he has massive ears and looks like a gremlin!

John:
Thinking of buying jack x whippet  as pet. I have kids and a cat. Good idea or not?
Pat Comments: Possibly not.  Terriers are quite strong willed and they need a firm hand sometimes.  Whippets can tend to be a bit difficult as well and a cross like this may turn out to be a cat chaser.  Children generally like to have dogs that they can play with and train easily. They like to be able to hold the lead if you go out for a walk and they may want to go to family dog shows or do some agility in the garden.  Cavalier King Charles spaniels and their crosses make excellent pets for children.  They are real little spaniels and they're easy to train.  Miniature poodles are also excellent and they don't shed their hair.  In general you want a dog that's easily trained and small enough for the children, and even tempered enough for the cat.

Conure:
I find whippets easy to train if you give them a reason to obey. Most of the dogs I've met are very very food motivated though they do have the attention span of a gnat (Heehee). Once they get it down they'll trip over themselves to do it for you. Mind you I've lived and trained with birds and dogs are FAR easier to train!

Judi Broad:
Because she is part whippet Dasha can get a bit fast and hyper but once she is under control she can channel all her energy into the agility course. She is fantastic at jumping and the pause, but she is quite nervous so the a frame was a real challenge!

Jess (Whippet / collie cross):
Always lovely natured and a very calm dog indoors. easy to train, needs quite a lot of exercise, gets bored quickly, can be very fast.

Velva:
Whisky is a whippet Husky mix. He is still a puppy but my son and the puppy get along wonderfully.

Lucy:
I'm thinking of getting a whippet and teaching it agility! Has anyone got any advice to help me out.
Pat comments:  If you join our forum you'll find lots of  people who are willing to help.  A whippet might not be the best choice for a first agility dog as they are typical hounds.  They don't all have a great attention span and as others have commented they love to sniff.  It's not a fault, it's part of their make-up.  A whippet needs consistent and careful training and you may have to be a bit firmer than you would be with other dogs.  Good luck.

Deborah (Sasha - Alsatian x Whippet):
Easy to train, obedient and cute!

Annyetta (greyhound/whippet cross)
She's fast doing contacts well and fun.  Not the easiest to train but she gets it in the end.

Charlene (Whippet terrier cross)
 I have a whippet cross terrier she has a lovely temperament and is very playful. She gets on with other dogs when she's out. She thinks that she can play with cats but I don't let her. she lives with me and my carer and also with my 3 Guinea pigs, 1 hamster and 2 Gerbils but she leaves them alone.

Elaine (Whippet and possibly pointer cross)
Sasha is the most graceful, kindest, most loving dog I've ever owned, and she excels at the athletic part of agility, but...she has a training attention span of about 20 minutes and is not very treat motivated.  When boredom sets in, she'd just as soon go home and snuggle on her couch, thank you very much.  Can she do the physical part of agility?  ABSOLUTELY YES, and she looks stunning!  Does she want to?  Only if the mood strikes her and we don't do it too long (but I love her anyway!)

Jack Russell / Whippet Cross (small and easy to train):
S
he is very fast!!

SLM (Cavalier /Whippet cross):
This type of breed would be brilliant at agility as the obstacles themselves are no problem, keeping her attention and preventing her from sniffing is the stumbling block!!
(This one came into the "Oh Dear" category for ease of training.)

Shaun Jackson, who has a whippet/doberman cross, says:

"She is very fast and enthusiastic, she beats my collie by 5 secs on a easy jumping course. Not for the faint hearted. We are both still beginners."

Comments received on the whippet/terrier cross were:

"Terriers have a mind of their own but their smart and quick to learn (once they put their minds to it!!) - training was challenging - but the hard work pays off... they may not be as quick as a Collie but they add a little variety!"

Kay Oxley writes:
I have a kelpie x whippet (probably, as she is a rescue) She is a delight to train and very, very athletic, but doesn't have the 'drive' that you see in many herding breeds. Of course it depends on what else is in there other that whippet, but I would suggest that these dogs are excellent for people new to the sport as they are keen and capable without being manic.

Kay adds further comments:
"
My little lurcher is a delight and has managed lots of top 10 Starter places this year. She is sweet, willing and incredibly athletic. The only consideration is that - like lots of lurchers - she has limited concentration and would be very easy to overtrain. The only reason I am not going for another one is that my pure bred kelpie (a flaming nightmare to train!) has got so far under my skin with his character, intelligence and 'kelpie traits'(nothing to do with agility) that I can't imagine having any other breed in future, but this is in no way detrimental to the lovely lurchers."

Comments on cavalier/whippet cross
"Lots of obedience training before starting  agility.  Our dog has a tendency to wander off sniffing if there is anything more interesting on the ground!" 
 

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