Are Whippets Good Family Pets?
Categorically, yes they are! Whippets, who look very much like medium-sized Greyhounds, enjoy the company of their family and they feel content when they are loved back. They are great indoors and outdoors and can do just anything with their owners. Generally, Whippets are very behaved and they rarely bark which makes them good city dogs whether you live in a house or at an apartment.
An ideal Whippet, according to AKC standard, is gentle, friendly, and amiable, but they have high energy levels to compete in intense sports. Despite their regal look, Whippets are surprisingly low maintenance. They are often called the “poor man’s racehorse” due to their innate and superb hunting skills and speed- they are bred to be that way!
Does a Whippet sound like a perfect family addition? To learn more if this dog breed ticks all the boxes, we have created a guide to answering the commonly asked questions before deciding to adopt or get a Whippet puppy from a reputable breeder or shelter. Of course, all dogs are individuals, but this will help you in getting an excellent overview of the Whippet breed. Keep reading!
Table of Contents
Why Are They a Good Companion for the Family?
Naturally affectionate, a Whippet dog can exceed all expectations as a family companion. He has established a great reputation as a dog breed for most families due to his undemanding temperament and quiet manner when indoors. Once outside, he will automatically sprint and run around the yard as he bursts with so much energy and excitement to sniff around.
Keep in mind that a Whippet will typically have one particular person in the family whom he will find as the most special for him. This doesn’t mean, however, that he will not be sweet and affectionate with the rest of the family. Although he is not the fluffiest breed, he will not hesitate to cuddle with you either you sit on a couch or lay on your bed.
Always be prepared when he is around looking for some cuddles. One blanket won’t be enough for the two of you actually. You may agree with sharing it, but your Whippet will eventually “steal” it for himself!
Are Whippets Child-Friendly?
Whippets love kids! Whether it be playing games or sit around whilst being gently petted, this dog breed will not easily get bored. Take note that although a Whippet can dwell greatly around children, he is also very sensitive, easily scared, and timid. This means that even if he won’t purposefully hurt a child, if a toddler trips by accident, he will likely flee, or if someone pets him improperly, this may result in a nip.
Teaching kids what to do and what not to do when around this Whippet dog breed can avoid undesirable circumstances. Kids must learn to:
- Be gentle with the Whippet.
- Avoid taking away their dog’s food.
- Avoid approaching the dog when he’s eating or sleeping.
A Whippet may have a good reputation as a child-friendly breed, but there is no such thing as a bombproof dog. Basically, all pooches shouldn’t be left with kids unsupervised, but normally, if an adult Whippet has been raised well, he will do just fine with your kids. However, anyone must still not compromise their children’s safety.
Additionally, we all know how exhausting it can be to deal with the endless amount of energy kids can exert every day. A Whippet can be a great match to keep them tired. Not only that, but kids will be able to develop a sense of empathy and responsibility with the presence of a family dog. They will be able to learn how to aid in taking care of him such as feeding and brushing his coat.
Are Whippets Great With Other Family Pets?
If they are socialized at an early age, then yes, Whippets do well around other family pets. It is not ideal though to have smaller pets around this dog breed due to his strong prey drive. He will chase small animals such as rabbits, squirrels, or hamsters because it is in his nature!
Since each Whippet dog is unique and different, you may still try to slowly introduce to him your other pets such as your cat. Once they both get comfortable with each other, the two pets can become great friends and will typically play with each other. One Whippet owner shared that her dog actually became a bit scared with the cat and won’t do anything to displease the little feline.
When around other dogs, a Whippet is usually peaceful. He likes the company of other dogs and this will prevent him from feeling lonely if you are out throughout the day. This keeps him from having a separation anxiety disorder. He will be more delighted to meet a new canine who enjoys running as much as he does. Throughout the years, the Whippet breed has developed a pack mentality. For this breed, companionship is necessary especially if the house is empty for the most part of the day.
Can Whippets Be Aggressive as a Family Dog?
In most cases, the Whippet breed is not aggressive. Most Whippet owners can attest that this pet is by far, the most gentle, caring, and soft non-aggressive dog they have had! Whippets have this non-confrontational attitude and would prefer a peaceful environment over a rowdy one.
Some Whippet owners have expressed their concern whenever they bring their Whippets to a dog park. As some have reported, the breed tends to chase other dogs especially if he sees them running. Nibbling and knocking over them may even occur. For some, this can be labeled as ‘rough play’ and could be a sign of playful dominance. It is as if the Whippet is asserting that he is the lord of the dog park!
If the other dogs and the dog owners are uncomfortable with it, intervene and pull him away immediately.
Are Whippets Excellent Family Watchdogs?
Whippets can be friendly even to strangers, so no, they aren’t great as family watchdogs even if they look a bit intimidating with their body structure. Moreover, experts only rate them 3 out of 5 in this area. This simply explains that due to the Whippet’s quiet and calm demeanor, his low tendency to bark equals a poor chance of him signaling the owner whenever an intruder or a suspicious movement is lurking inside or outside the house.
Even if you train him in situations where he needs to be aggressive, relying on this dog breed as a guard dog is not a wise choice at all. He won’t protect you from harm as he is bred to go after animals, not humans.
Can They Be Trained Easily?
Known to have minds of their own, Whippets may exhibit a stubborn attitude when they are being trained. With patience and consistency, your dog will learn tricks and rules in no time. Having a rewards-based and positive reinforcement system may also encourage your dog to take up commands such as sit, stand, and stay. However, if your Whippet only obeys when there are treats, he is in charge of his obedience, not you.
Digging up on this purebred dog’s background, we will come to learn that he has been bred to be a hunting dog while accompanying his owners. With that, he is required to follow orders and commands. Whippets are very intelligent dogs, but training them poses a challenge to any owner.
To make it easier for your dog to take up the house training and excel in obedience training, focus on how you live with him. The things you let him do, what you do with him, and what you tell him not to do will give him an idea of how to live with you. Send the right messages so he knows what’s right from wrong.
Can Whippets Exercise With Their Families?
Of course! An average of one hour per day is enough to keep your Whippet healthy which is good if you like to take walks. Split this into two sessions, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, while giving him the chance to explore the environment. Since this dynamic breed likes to run, if he ever wants to sprint, let him do so in a secured area. The fence must ideally be up to 5 feet high so the dog won’t be able to jump over.
Also, you can’t always trust a Whippet off-leash in an unsecured area whilst doing his routine exercise. They bolt so fast and you won’t be able to catch up easily especially if they are chasing a small animal. You wouldn’t be able to tell him off if he’s several meters away from you already.
Additionally, do you know that many families get a Whippet as a second dog to exercise their first dog? Well, this is indeed true! A Whippet can keep other family dogs and even owners energized especially those who are already older. With that, it can be stated that a Whippet is an ideal companion to those who love to work out and can be the motivator for those who don’t!
Are Whippets High Maintenance Family Pets?
Whippets are low-maintenance dogs. Due to their short fur, grooming does not have to be tedious, but they may need coats to fight off the cold weather. They may want to have occasional baths because they love to smell fresh and clean! Always check that their nails are trimmed short too.
In terms of food, just ensure that they are given dog food that has the complete needed nutrition. Don’t skimp on this part if you want them to have no health issues! Don’t give them too much as their bodies are built to have low body fat. This dog is generally healthy and can live from 12 to 15 years. Veterinary care, proper food, and exercise play a big part in their life span.
Lastly, this breed can run for up to 35 mph, so if by any chance he gets loose, microchipping your Whippet beforehand will play to your convenience. The price will, of course, vary but one thing to expect is it isn’t expensive at all. Some clinics only charge $45.
Is the Whippet an Ideal Dog for Your Family?
Having a Whippet as your new family dog can improve the quality of your life in many ways. Not only is he a suitable exercise partner, but he can also be a great playmate for your kids and other dogs. He is a slender, light-footed, racing dog who can behave well indoors in a dignified and unobtrusive manner. Although he is an independent thinker, training him will be worth it in improving your bond with this sighthound breed.
If the Whippet resonates well with your family and lifestyle, consider adopting a dog of this breed now!