Are Whippets aggressive? We could say that all dogs have the potential to be aggressive if they’re placed in a position where they feel they need to defend themselves.
It’s also fair to say that any dog can become aggressive without proper care, training and socialisation.
Some breeds, such as Pit Bulls, are perhaps more prone to aggression than others. So are Whippets naturally predisposed to aggression than other dog breeds?
Are Whippets Aggressive by Nature?
No, Whippets are not aggressive by nature. In fact, the opposite is true: Whippets are extremely loving and gentle dogs.
They can become over excited, and that can manifest in rough play and barking. To be honest though, Whippets seldom bark… but they do growl. At least my Whippet does if she sees someone approaching the front door while staring out of the window!
I’d say on balance that aggression is one of the least likely traits you’ll find in a Whippet.
Of course, as with any dog breed, you could certainly make a Whippet aggressive if you don’t provide adequate care and training or if you treat them badly. But by nature Whippets are not aggressive… ask any Whippet owner.
In my own experience I’d say they can be a little bullyish with smaller dogs when they play and chase, but this is likely the sighthound prey drive kicking in rather than an overt aggressive streak in the Whippet breed itself.
Similarly, Whippets will chase small animals such as squirrels and cats since this too is in their sighthound nature. This isn’t aggression though, it’s instinct… and it’s one of the characteristics they were bred for.
What If Your Whippet Has Aggressive Tendencies?
If you have a Whippet that has a tendency towards aggressive behaviour, I’d suggest the following:
1. Take them to a trainer or specialist in canine behaviour to see if you can identify why your Whippet is aggressive and understand how to train the tendency out of it.
2. Socialise your Whippet in a safe environment. This might mean formal training or it could be gradually introducing your Whippet to other dogs in an environment it feels safe in, such as your home.
3. Keep your Whippet on a leash in situations where you feel they might become aggressive. If you’re out walking and your Whippet finds socialising with other dogs difficult, always put them on a leash to prevent aggressive tendencies resulting in a dog fight.
4. Always be aware of your surroundings when you’re outside walking your Whippet. This is not only helpful if you’re concerned about aggression, it also helps to avoid injuries like Whippet skin tears.
5. Don’t encourage rough play that’s likely to make your Whippet aggressive.
Want to know more about Whippets? Check out these helpful posts…
- Information about the Whippet Breed
- Are Whippets Lazy?
- Do Whippets and Cats Get Along?
- Are Whippets Hypoallergenic?
Do you believe Whippets are aggressive or do you see them as kind and loving? Why not drop me a comment below and tell me what you think?
We have two whippets, a female of 11 years who is very calm and relaxed and Bertie who is nearly two. He has always been extremely friendly, strong and gregarious. He usually plays well with other dogs and loves to run with them. But if he meets a submissive timid dog he plays too rough, never biting but rushing in and causing the other to squeal. This is extremely stressful and has led to owners accusing me of keeping a vicious dog and arguments ensue. We also use a dog walker who says he’s not vicious and other dog owners are too ‘precious’ But I would love to find a way to stop him playing too rough. Any advice much appreciated.
My 5 month old Whippet play bites my 4 yo Whippet and then the playing gets really rough between them. 4 yo chases the puppy and stands over her growling and wresting her. Very rough play not sure if it will get aggressive. The puppy instigates it by biting 4 yo on the side of the neck. She seems to like the rough play but I’m afraid that she will get hurt. Is this normal and will their play calm down when the puppy is older?
My 17 month old girl Whippet had taken a distinct dislike to my friends 6 year old daughter. Today she would have attacked her if we hadn’t intervened. Not sure if the girl had been cruel or hit my dog as for a short while was alone with the dog upstairs. I’m very worried as my Whippet is usually gentle.
I’m so sorry Kathy… usually Whippets are very easy going as you say and I’ve never seen my Whippet be aggressive towards anyone.
That said, I’m always very careful when I take my Whippet for a walk and I put her on the lead whenever we come across a family with young children. Even dogs in “play” mode can still really hurt a little person, and sometimes younger children can be a little rough with pets.
Susan Todd says
My whippet bit my dear friend while he was mowing our lawn. Our friend was house sitting and decided to mow our lawn for us. Our whippet barked aggressively then attacked our friend, leaving a bad bite on the back of his leg. Our friend had to seek medical attention the bite was so bad. 2 weeks later, my Dad was house sitting for us a again, started to mow our lawn and was attacked by our whippet, luckily was able to avoid the bite. Our whippet does get very aggressive when chastised for unacceptable behaviour….ie, mounting aggressively our 5 year old nephew. He also mounts aggressively my older mother, especially if she is sitting near him at eye level. The other day, he mounted her shoulder, digging his claws into her and when she pulled away he growled and nipped her, breaking the skin on her arm. We have a new baby and our whippet is definitely not happy about our new edition. We have tried to be loving and include him in everything but he is very agitated when she cries and does not like me holding her. He is obviously very jealous, even though we have done everything to ensure he knows he is loved. I am very worried about the safety of my baby and my loved ones around my whippet at the moment.
Hello Susan. I’m so sad to hear about your situation and understand how upsetting it must be. Is there a professional dog trainer you can speak to? Perhaps your vet could recommend someone or offer advice?
Wow I’m sorry to hear this and shocked your Whippet is biting. I suggest you see a dog trainer to sort the problem out. This can be fixed. All the best of luck