Whippets – a Champion Pet!
This week’s breed, the Whippet, has the distinction of having won this year’s Best in Show at Crufts Dog Show. Like the Greyhounds, Whippets are part of the Hound Group of breeds. The breed is over 400 years old and has retained its popularity, although with the current fashion for crossbreeds it is perhaps seen less often. This is a shame, because Whippets make great family pets, as the breed description indicates. Let’s hear what Tracey has to say about her breed..
Tracey says that she wanted a breed that was active and healthy, as well as being able to cope with being left for a few hours at a time. She has owned five Whippets in total and says;
“Each one of our Whippets has had a very distinct personality, but all have shared similar breed characteristics.”
Kind, gentle dogs
Tracey says that Whippets are kind and gentle dogs, who love to snuggle up against you, despite not being lap dogs. Watching them run at full speed is perhaps one of the most amazing sights to see. Whippets are intensely loyal; they are intelligent, sensitive, comical and incredibly loving. Tracey says that although they are not the easiest dogs to train, a good level can be achieved with positive, reward-based training.
If you love to take long walks, then chances are a Whippet will fit your lifestyle perfectly. Tracey says
“We enjoy attending companion and fun dog shows on most weekends during the summer months. This provides us with the perfect opportunity to socialise with our friends and their dogs.”
All her dogs travel well in the car and have accompanied Tracey on her holidays. They are happy to be left at home for short periods of time and can be real couch potatoes. If you happen to be short of time, a quick off-lead blast around a field is more than adequate for Whippets.
Whippets can be hard work as puppies – just like any other breed! Tracey points out that they do not respond to harsh training methods (I should hope not!) as they are a very sensitive breed. They can be stubborn (that word again :)) when it comes to training, as they often have their own agenda. Tracey says that a good solid recall is a must for this breed as they can cover a lot of ground quite quickly. Whippets are described as high maintenance until around two years of age.
“Our Whippets have all been (and still are) incredibly greedy and are highly skilled at counter surfing.”
Heart disease sufferers
Whippets do seem to be high on the list for suffering from mitral valve disease. Tracey’s 11 year-old Whippet has had a heart murmur for a number of years due to mitral valve disease. She takes daily medication for this, but is currently symptom free. Whippets also appear to be prone to a number of different autoimmune diseases and some ocular conditions, with cataracts and PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy) being two of the most common. It is recommended that any Whippet owner brushes their whippet’s teeth as they are quite prone to dental disease. Other than that, due to their fine skin Whippets can be prone to skin injuries.
Fitting in easily
Whippets can fit into most homes as they are so versatile. Younger Whippets would definitely benefit from living in an active household, with people who are committed to spending time with them. Tracey says,
“We live in a town with few open green spaces where they can run freely and safely but we do have a small number of enclosed private fields that can be hired.”
Her Whippets are currently walked for anywhere between 2 and 3 hours a day (the older whippet less so, but does still go out on a walk most days). They do little mini training sessions daily. One of Tracey’s current whippets also does short trick training sessions 2-3 times a week.
“You only get out what you out in! Spend the time and effort on your dog as a puppy and you will reap the benefits. Research your breeder carefully!”
Thank you to Tracey for her input and the beautiful photos!
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I hope you have enjoyed my insight into owning Whippets? Please comment and share your views and experiences? What breed would you like to know about? Or do you have a breed of dog and would like to share your views on living with your dog? Please CONTACT ME to let me know?
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