Is Whippet a Hound: The Characteristics of a Whippet Breed That Make Them Good for Hunting

Yes, the Whippet is a hound. Whippets are classified as sighthounds because they rely on their keen eyesight to hunt and chase prey. Sighthounds, also known as gazehounds, are hunting dogs that hunt by sight rather than scent. They use their exceptional eyesight and speed to spot prey and then chase and catch it.

Whippets were originally bred in England in the mid-19th century for hunting small game, such as rabbits and hares. They were developed by crossing Greyhounds with smaller Terriers to create a fast, agile dog with good endurance. The resulting breed had a lean, muscular body and a keen sense of sight that made them well-suited for hunting in an open field.

Characteristics of Whippets As Hounds

Keen Eyesight

As sighthounds, Whippets have a keen and highly developed sense of eyesight. They were originally bred for hunting, where their sharp eyesight helped them track and chase prey over long distances. They have a wide field of vision, giving them an almost panoramic view of their surroundings, and their keen eyesight makes them such excellent hunters.

Whippets also have excellent visual acuity, which means they can distinguish fine details and see clearly over long distances. They also have excellent depth perception, allowing them to judge distances when chasing prey accurately. This is important when hunting, as it allows them to make precise movements and adjust their speed accordingly.

In addition, Whippets have a high sensitivity to light, which means they can see well in low-light conditions. This is another important factor for hunting, as it allows them to spot prey at dawn or dusk when many other animals are less active.


Whippets are one of the fastest dog breeds in the world and are known for their incredible speed and agility. They can run up to 35 miles per hour, reach their top speed within a few seconds, and maintain it over short distances.

Whippets have remarkable acceleration and can go from a standing start to their top speed in just a few strides. They can accelerate quickly because of their powerful hindquarters and a streamlined body. They can maintain their speed over longer distances, making them well-suited for lure coursing and racing.

The Whippet breed is often used in racing events, such as lure coursing and straight racing. In lure coursing, a lure is pulled around a course by a machine, and the dogs chase it. The dogs race each other in a straight line over a set distance in straight racing, are highly competitive in both types of racing, and often excel due to their speed.


Whippets are sighthounds that are known for their speed and agility, but they also have good endurance. While they may not have the same endurance level as other breeds built for long-distance running, Whippets can maintain a moderate pace for longer. 

As previously discussed, Whippets were originally bred for hunting small game, such as rabbits and hares, and are built for short bursts of high-speed activity rather than long-distance running. Their lean, muscular bodies and powerful hindquarters are designed to help them accelerate quickly and maintain their speed over short distances.

Despite their preference for short bursts of activity, Whippets still have good stamina and can maintain a moderate pace for extended periods. This makes them well-suited for activities such as lure coursing and racing.

Like all dogs, Whippets can benefit from regular exercise and conditioning to improve their endurance. In addition, regular training and exercise can help improve their cardiovascular health, build endurance, and increase their overall fitness.

Hunting Instinct

Whippets’ strong hunting instinct drives them to chase and capture prey. They use their keen eyesight to spot and track prey, spot moving objects from a long distance, and quickly close in on their prey. Once they catch sight of their prey, they will chase it down and use their speed and agility to catch it.

This breed has a strong prey drive and the instinctual urge to hunt and capture prey. This drive is hard-wired into their DNA and is a key part of their behavior as hunting dogs. Whippets often chase anything that moves, including squirrels, birds, and toys.

While Whippets have a natural hunting instinct, they can also be trained to hunt specific types of prey. Training should be done in a controlled environment and only with the guidance of an experienced trainer. Proper training can help to channel their instincts and teach them how to hunt safely and effectively.

Calm Demeanor

Whippets have a calm and affectionate temperament, despite their reputation as sighthounds. While they are built for speed and agility, they also have a quiet, gentle nature that makes them well-suited for life as companion animals. They are generally quiet dogs that don’t bark excessively. 

This breed has an affectionate nature and loves to be close to its owners. They are often described as “velcro dogs” because they stick close to their owners and follow them from room to room. They have a gentle nature that makes them well-suited for families with children. They are not typically aggressive or hyperactive and are often described as easygoing and laid-back.


As hounds, Whippets are intelligent and trainable dogs. They are capable of understanding and following complex commands. They are quick learners and enjoy mental stimulation. They are also eager to please their owners, which makes them highly motivated to learn new commands and behaviors.

Whippets respond well to positive reinforcement training methods, such as good rewarding behavior with treats or praise. Harsh or punitive training methods are not recommended for Whippets, as they can be sensitive dogs. They also benefit from early socialization, which helps them to become well-adjusted and confident adults. 

In addition, Whippets have a high energy level and require regular exercise to stay healthy and happy. In addition, hound training sessions can be incorporated into their exercise routine to provide mental stimulation and help build a strong bond between the dog and owner.