There are lots of things to think about when you’re considering a Whippet puppy. For many people with children who are thinking about Whippets, the most important thing they’ll be asking is… are Whippets good family dogs?
In my experience, Whippets are good family dogs and they make ideal pets!
In today’s post I’ll explain why I feel Whippets are so good in a family setting drawn from my experience of owning a Whippet since 2013.
Table of Contents
- Why Are Whippets Good Family Dogs?
- The Negatives
Why Are Whippets Good Family Dogs?
This is a photo of our Whippet Misty when she was a puppy. She’s pictured with the daughter of a family friend to demonstrate that we were always comfortable with her being around children.
Whippets have a very sweet natured temperament. They can be a little bit boisterous, especially when they’re puppies (they are sighthounds after all) but in my experience they’re very loving dogs… and Whippets are not aggressive at all.
A long time ago someone told me that Whippets tend to remain puppies well into adulthood. While their boisterousness calms down, their playfulness and puppy-like excitement tends to remain.
For me, their gentle and loving nature combined with their general happy disposition makes them extremely good dogs for families.
They can be a little aloof around new people or dogs they encounter, but once a stranger becomes known, they respond with (almost) the same delight at seeing them as they do when seeing their owners.
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That said, Whippets need early socialisation with others to make them less introverted and more comfortable when meeting others for the first time.
Whippets adore their family and really do see themselves as a four-legged version of the two legged members of the household! They will follow family members around, lie close to them and even sleep in their beds if permitted.
We do permit Misty to sleep in our bedroom with us. I know some people don’t like the thought of this, but Whippet shedding isn’t a major problem and they’re very clean dogs that don’t tend to smell.
Assuming you regularly groom your Whippet, fur and dander shouldn’t be as big a problem as it is with some other breeds. That said, it’s important to remember that Whippets are not 100% hypoallergenic… because in fact no dog breed is.
Though it’s easy to wax lyrical about our dogs, it is worth noting that owning a dogs is a responsibility. All dogs require care and financial investment and sometimes this can be an inconvenience.
While Whippets are excellent family dogs, they have needs and characteristics that can be difficult for some. As I’m trying to be as objective as possible, I’m referencing some of the negatives of dog ownership in general and Whippet ownership in particular, so nobody gets an unwelcome surprise!
Like all dogs, Whippets need exercise. Whippets are sighthounds and as such they require up to an hour of exercise every day. This might mean walking them on the leash around your neighbourhood or, more preferably, off leash in a safe and enclosed area.
Because Whippets have a natural urge to chase things, they can get themselves into trouble. It’s wise to keep them on a lead when walking in built up areas, especially where there’s traffic.
While I know of many Whippet owners who also have other pets, our experience of Whippets cohabiting with other animals proved a challenge. The sighthound in Whippets can make it difficult for them to share a home with other pets… and I would certainly never recommend leaving a Whippet alone with another pet, especially a smaller one.
Find out more about Whippets and cats living under the same roof.
Whippets can suffer from separation anxiety if left alone for long periods of time. If you would have to leave your Whippet at home alone for more than 4 hours on a regular basis, I would say a Whippet might not be the best dog for you.
Whippets typically do not make great guard dogs. Though they might be a little aloof with strangers, they’re not dogs that have been bred for home protection! They don’t tend to bark or howl very much and they’re simply too sweet!
Because they’re playful, especially when younger, Whippets might bump little ones and knock them over.
Summary: Why Whippets Are Good Dogs for Families
To put this into an easily digestible summary, Whippets are good family dogs because they’re…
- Gentle and loving.
- Generally relaxed (if they’ve had exercise).
- Undemanding in terms of exercise… but you’ll need up to an hour a day.
- Friendly (though a little aloof if they don’t know you).
I don’t have a single regret about welcoming a Whippet into our family. My youngest daughter was 5 when Misty came to live with us as a puppy but we never had a problem with her being around very young children of our friends and family.
Getting any dog can be a totally bonding experience for families as anyone can tell you. Your dog is there for you when all else appears to be going badly and they’re always happy to see you no matter what.
This has absolutely been my experience and if you ask my wife and daughters about Whippets, they’d tell you they are the best family dogs around!
Want to know more about Whippets? Check out my Whippet dog breed information page to find out everything about this lovely creature!
Do you own a Whippet? How do you feel about Whippets and their suitability for families? Please leave a comment below to let us know.
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