Elegant, sleek, so much like a deer, all describe the Whippet. Yet no description would be accurate until swift, powerful and gentle were added. For the Whippet is all this and more. Bred for a purpose, to pursue and capture small game, it has retained all the characteristics first looked for nearly 200 years ago and yet still maintains the place as an ideal home dog to all who own one.Fragile though they may seem, the Whippet's looks are deceiving. Tough would be a more accurate description, for the Whippet is still a strongly competitive breed that can take to the field at a moment's notice and handle the most rugged terrain with little effort. Far from being nervous, the Whippet instead shows an unusual cool and often aloof manner in most circumstances. In the home the Whippet stands out for its quietness with normal backyard vocalizing of the average dog nonexistent. However, they are equally quick to make their presence known if a stranger appears. It is only when a Whippet finds itself outside in a field or on the track that its spirit is released into vocal enthusiasm as it eagerly waits to run. Few people who own one Whippet only stay with just that one. They soon find that two or three are as little trouble as one of many larger breeds. These dogs easily adapt to homes with children, other dogs, even cats (with whom they often take a protective attitude against other cats and dogs). A large yard is not necessary for this sight-hound as long as it is given a chance to stretch its legs regularly. It is truly a loving house dog that blooms when allowed to be with the family and should not be relegated to only a back yard kennel. In return for care and affection, the Whippet will return years of gentle companionship with the opportunity for family outings full of fun and adventure.
The Whippet first appeared in England from carefully selected crosses of small English greyhounds and certain terriers. The "Snap Dog" was a favourite of Welsh coal miners who relied on their pets to capture fresh meat for the dinner table. The breed's distinct advantages in its swiftness, quietness and earlier small size did not go unnoticed by poachers who would hide the Whippet under their coats away from the warden's suspicious eye and then sneak them onto the king's grounds to hunt. The miners first began competitive racing with the Whippet, dubbing it "The Poor Man's Race Horse." An entire week's wages might ride on the speed of the family hearth dog. A fast dog then was money in the pocket and special pride to the one who owned him. The Whippet rose to popularity in America during the 20's and 30's not only as a status symbol but as a competitive track dog. Professional racing ended during the latter part of this era and has not been revived. Though the Whippet slowly faded from the public's eye during the 40's, it is once again coming back in popularity. The increasing awareness of its several different activities and its easy care in the home has brought it back in all measures of competition.
Heather and Everett Dansereau - Devonair Perm Regÿ