If you haven’t guessed, I am a Whippet lover… I’m blogging about them after all! If you’re considering sharing your life with these utterly charming dogs you’ll have a whole bunch of questions no doubt. Are whippets good pets? Will my home be right for them? How are Whippets with children?
I’m going to answer these questions and others. Of course I’m biased because Whippets are adorable and I’m a happy owner of one of the most lovable dogs I’ve ever known.
That said I’ll give you my honest opinion about how good Whippets are as pets and perhaps highlight some of the things you’ll need to consider before committing to owning one.
Table of Contents
- Are Whippets Good Family Pets?
- Are Whippets Easy to Train?
- Are Whippets Good Apartment Pets?
- Are Whippets Good with Cats?
- Are Whippets Aggressive?
- Are Whippets Hypoallergenic?
- Are Whippets Lazy?
It’s exciting to think about sharing your life with a pet dog. If you’re a dog lover, you’ve probably dreamed of the day when you could give a dog a loving home.
You may be a little cautious too though, and rightly so. Taking on any dog as a pet is not something you should take lightly.
You need to be comfortable that you’ll make a good owner. You also need to know the breed you choose will make a good partner for you.
So let me address some common questions about whippets and help you understand if a Whippet is the right dog for you.
Are Whippets Good Family Pets?
In my experience, Whippets make excellent dogs for families. They are very loving, loyal and surprisingly calm at home.
Of course they’re playful dogs and given to excitement quickly… they’re sighthounds after all! It never fails to surprise me how quickly they can go from a state of deep sleep into one of “ready to run”.
A knock on your front door will prove this to you!
Whippets are very gentle dogs and affectionate to all family members. As such they’re ideal for smaller children who’ll enjoy the love Whippets freely give.
Because they’re classed as medium-sized dogs, Whippets also provide less of a bumping hazard to little ones. Of course as with any dog, they can bundle you out of the way if they’re over-excited. Smaller children may find themselves bumped if a Whippet gets over playful.
Our Whippet Misty became a family member when our youngest daughter was around 6 years old. Aside from the occasional bump, Misty never once played too rough with either of our girls. They have loved her to bits since we first went to see her as a four week old puppy.
As with any sighthound you’ll need to give your Whippet a good walk of between 45 minutes to an hour every day. Ideally they’ll have an opportunity for a bit of a run in this window too.
After exercise, you’ll probably find Whippets are content to relax. It perhaps because of this that Whippets have something of a reputation for being couch potatoes!
One thing I should mention is that Whippets see any furniture as a potential place for them to lounge upon… including beds!
I’ve lived with a Whippet since 2013. In all that time I can honestly say that Whippets make fantastic family pets.
Are Whippets Easy to Train?
When our Whippet Misty was a pup, we took her to basic dog training classes and as a result she is able to understand and respond to certain commands. However, as out dog trainer explained, on the intelligence continuum, Whippets are not ranks alongside Poodles!
I’m not saying that Whippets aren’t intelligent because they seem to understand anything whenever food or treats are on the cards. However you may find advanced training a Whippet more of a challenge than it is for some other dogs!
Check out my Whippet dog breed information page for more detail on Whippets as pets.
Are Whippets Good Apartment Pets?
In my view Whippets will live happily anywhere. They’re medium sized dogs and so don’t require masses of space.
They require exercise though as I’ve mentioned above. As long as you exercise them sufficiently, there should be no problem having a Whippet as an apartment dog.
I live in a house with a garden so that’s a benefit for sure. However during the winter months in the UK (cold and very wet!!!) no-one goes into the garden!
During cold and wet weather seasons we stick to dog walks. Even though Whippets are definitely fair weather creatures, it’s important to give them proper exercise and allow them a good sniff around.
If it’s cold and wet outside, you’ll need to wrap them in warm Whippet clothing and a coat.
Whippet fashion is apparently a thing!
In my opinion, apartment living should be fine for a Whippet. As with all lodgings though, Whippets don’t enjoy being left on their own for long periods… and they need exercise.
Find out more detailed information about how much exercise a Whippet needs.
Are Whippets Good with Cats?
I’ve actually written a post about Whippets and cats, which explains in detail my thoughts on this subject.
In my experience, you need to be careful if you plan to share your home with a Whippet and a cat. Whippets are sighthounds and have a very strong instinct to chase small furry things.
Some Whippets can be trained to live in harmony with cats, but others cannot kick the urge to flick into hunt mode when something small and furry moves suddenly or quickly in their field of vision.
They just can’t help it.
If you intend to keep Whippets and cats together, you’ll need to work hard on training and it might not be easy. It might not even be fully possible to train some Whippets to overcome their instinct to chase.
My advice is to be vigilant ALWAYS when cats and Whippets are in close proximity and NEVER leave them at home alone together without a guaranteed way to make sure they’re kept apart.
Are Whippets Aggressive?
I can only speak from my experience here and from what I know from other Whippets owners I’ve come to know since owning Misty.
Whippets are not aggressive dogs but that doesn’t mean they can’t be a little bully-ish towards smaller dogs and they can be a little nippy if they’re playing chase with them.
If a Whippet is over excited they can jump up at you… and boy can they jump high! But this isn’t aggression in any way. If anything it’s over-exuberance and a genuine joy at seeing you.
Some people don’t like this and so you’ll need to train them out of this behaviour.
Whippets are very gentle by nature and I’ve never once seen mine behaving in an aggressive way towards anyone.
They will chase and catch small animals such as rabbits and squirrels if given a chance, since this is in their nature. My advice is to be aware of your surroundings if you’re walking in the countryside and keep an eye open for wildlife.
Are Whippets Hypoallergenic?
Whippets are very clean dogs… apart from when they roll in something!
They have short hair and they don’t moult everywhere. Neither do they smell or have oily fur.
Although Whippets don’t shed an awful lot and are probably better for allergy sufferers than some other breeds, they still leave microscopic dander.
As a result, Whippets are NOT hypoallergenic and will likely trigger allergies in those sensitive to pet dander.
Are Whippets Lazy?
I’ve already made one reference to couch potatoes, so I’ll not do so again.
I guess I did!
Despite their athleticism, Whippets love a power nap… or two. Or five. Or… you get the picture I’m sure.
Whippets are not lazy, though if you spend any time with them outside of exercise and play you could be forgiven for believing they are.
A Whippet will happily run around full of energy at almost any point. But as long as they have sufficient exercise they’ll be quite happy to grab some “zzzs” in a comfortable, warm spot.
Summary: Are Whippets Good Pets?
Whippets certainly are good pets.
Whippets make amazing family pets as long as you:
- Give them exercise… 45 mins to an hour each day.
- Keep them warm… they don’t have heat retaining fur or a lot of body fat.
- Give them lots of comfortable things to lie on… including furniture!
- Shower them with love.
- Play with them often.
- Don’t leave them at home alone for long periods.
- Keep an eye on them when they’re off the lead.
- Don’t let them loose around wildlife or cattle.
- Feed them high quality dog food.
- Accept they’re not as easy to train as other dogs.
If you follow these points a Whippet will be the perfect pet for you.
Do you feel Whippets are good pets? Perhaps you think they don’t make good pets at all? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please share them in the comments section below and let’s discuss!