If you’ve read my post about Whippet temperament, you’ll know that Whippets are a very loving breed that require companionship. In truth they can be a little bit needy! As a result, some people ask me if Whippets can be left alone at home and if they suffer from separation anxiety.
Like most dog breeds, Whippets can be left alone. However, it’s not something you should permit for long periods of time.
In this post, I’m going to talk about separation anxiety. Do Whippets suffer from it and how long you can really leave a Whippet at home on its own?
Table of Contents
- What is Canine Separation Anxiety?
- Can Whippets Be Left Alone?
What is Whippet Separation Anxiety?
Separation anxiety can affect any dog breed. As the name suggests, it’s a condition where a dog feels anxious and stressed when it’s left alone, separated from its family.
Normally, this type of stress occurs when a dog is left alone because its family members are out. Perhaps they’ll be at work or school during the day and don’t have anyone to spend time with their dog as a result.
The symptoms of canine separation anxiety vary, though most of them relate to disruptive or destructive behaviours, such as:
In my experience, Whippets can certainly suffer from separation anxiety. Although Whippets can be independent thinkers, this doesn’t mean to say they don’t relish the company of their family. In fact, Whippets are excellent pets and they love hanging around with their human companions.
So… Can Whippets Be Left Alone?
Whippets are hounds (sighthounds) and as such are used to being together in packs. As a rule then they tend to prefer company and dislike being alone.
With proper socialisation and training, a well adjusted adult Whippet can be left alone. However, many canine experts don’t recommend leaving any dog for more than 8 hours.
Let’s not forget that even a well-adjusted dog can still get up to mischief if they’re left too long to their own devices. They can easily get bored and turn destructive.
For me though, 8 hours is way too long a period to leave a Whippet alone. When we go somewhere we can’t take our Whippet Misty, we never leave her for more than 4 hours.
Misty stays in the house when we’re out. To leave her longer than 4 hours we feel is unfair: she’ll need a bathroom break if nothing else!
Additionally, if we’re going to leave her alone for a few hours, we make sure she has a walk beforehand. This helps to prep her for a snooze while we’re out. Whippets need exercise just like any other dog and a good run is a great way to dissipate a potential excess of energy!
If you own more than one dog, this might make Whippet separation anxiety less of an issue: leaving them together at home alone may result in less distress.
Whippets that have another canine companion will probably not feel the separation from their owners so keenly. That said, even if separation anxiety isn’t a problem in this scenario, you might still return to a messy home if you leave them alone upwards of 4 hours!
What About Leaving Whippet Puppies Alone?
Whippet puppies are a totally different ball game. You simply can’t expect a puppy to be able to cope with being alone for long periods.
So if you’re planning on buying a Whippet puppy anytime soon, you have to remember it’ll need the security of having someone with them until it grows in confidence.
Such confidence only comes with time and training and I would never advocate leaving any puppy alone at home for several hours.
Separation anxiety aside, Whippet puppies need far more frequent bathroom breaks than an adult and so you’ll need to be around to let them outside. Leaving a Whippet puppy alone for a number of hours will likely cause it distress and result in your home being used as a toilet.
All dogs suffer separation anxiety if they’re left alone at home for too long. In my experience, Whippets tend to be more susceptible to stress when their family is not at home than some other breeds.
Adult Whippets can be left alone for a reasonable amount of time. Some people say that you can leave a Whippet for a maximum of 8 hours, but for me and most other Whippet owners I know, 8 hours is too much. I’ve never left my Whippet at home alone for so long.
There have been very few occasions where we’ve left Misty alone for more than 4 hours… not because she couldn’t last, but because we feel it isn’t fair on her.
As with any other dog breed, owning a Whippet is a responsibility you have to face up to.
With proper care and training, Whippets can be left alone and be comfortable with it. However, any dog will become distressed if they’re left alone for too long.
Are you a Whippet owner? What are your thoughts about leaving a Whippet alone? Please let me know in the comment section at the bottom of the page.
Our whippet millie is 9 on the 20th November, we had her at 8 weeks old and she was clever from day one. We had a puppy pen and she managed to jump up and worked out how to open the zip so that had to go (lol) because she knew how to get out. Toilet training was ok she got that pretty well.
I find now as she’s getting older our early nights due to work hours and more so around bonfire night, she has accidents in the house, but it’s understandable and can’t be helped. But she’s the most loving, softest dog I’ve ever known, never barks, only now she barks at postie, but not fearfully. She always gets excited seeing you when you arrive from being at work and have visitors. She lets you know in her own way when she wants to be left alone and she has full rain of the house so can go off an be alone when she wants.
Whippets are the best dogs, ever so easy to look after and so loving and cuddly. I’d be lost without her… I was away for 2 weeks and she stayed at my mum and dad’s. They treat her like a grandchild, she’s so spoilt she ignored me for a week when she came home so they definitely have feelings and thoughts.
Hi Shell… I totally agree with you… Whippets are the best. Millie sounds just lovely!
My little boy is now 6 months old and so far we have never left him on his own for more than 4h. Although he is such a trooper and loves his crate, even 4h in my head and heart feels too long, but we have to do it due to fact that me and my partner both work full time. We have arranged our dog walker to come over every day to take him for lunch time walks, give him food and some company.
This is our first dog together and he has become such an important member of our little family. Saying that we always plan our days, especially days off, so that he can take part of everything we do… be it visiting friends or going out for meals and of course every walk/hike outside.
What I have learnt is that whippets love company. Company of their humans as well as other dogs and funny enough….mine also likes socialising with our neighbour cats. They are so loving and smart. Once you have a whippet all you want to do is give them the best life they can have and lots of love and cuddles (they love cuddles) :).
Aww Regina… thanks you for sharing your story of “your little boy”! Whippets are just the best aren’t they?!
We own a whippet who is a little over a year and a half now. We got him during the pandemic lockdown, so when he was a puppy, he spent a lot of time with us (family of 4, 1 older child and 1 younger). He still prefers to be with his humans both indoors and out. With that being said, we worked a lot on crate training as a pup, and he loves his crate. He is able to stay home alone in his crate without incident if we have to venture to the office that day.
I would never let my whippet home alone out of his crate- my house and it’s contents would be destroyed! Without exercise and/or attention, he can be very mischievous in the house, which can be difficult to manage during northeast winters. He’s very well trained, even with outdoor recall, but I could never see him being trained to stay off furniture. They like to be warm, and being up on the furniture is natural for them. Watch out for their long legs- as they seem to always be in your personal space
Whippets are a very unique breed and not for a wishy-washy pet owner as they require a lot of attention and consistency. However, you will be rewarded with love, kisses, and the best snuggle buddy. Wherever we take our whippet, he garners a lot of attention. And when they run, everyone stops to watch their grace.
This is my first whippet as I grew up with golden retrievers. We only have our one whippet currently but are considering adding a golden to the family down the road, no rush!
Hiya Kala. Thanks for leaving your comment, which perfectly captures the essence of Whippets!
My dog had pretty bad separation anxiety but started to get better gradually. Then when I was on furlough we were together all the time, so once I went back to work, it got really bad again. It’s such a shame 🙁 I wish you could tell them what was going on.
Awww… poor thing. It’s such a pity we don’t share a language with them!
Stumbled upon your post as I would really love to have a whippet but some considerations wondering if you could lend your advice.
I have a 9 year old cat who requires earth integration I suspect from puppy age. However at the same time I intend on bringing my Whippet with me into work most weeks.
How would you navigate the first couple weeks of training so that they are well integrated into the home?
Is bringing a 10 week old puppy into work (with a crate) advisable, or is it better to train them to stay at home, crated in a separate room from my cat?
We have had Weimaraners and Vizslas and Dobermans and I’m looking at Whippets next…my boy is 13yrs and we are looking into a dog not so needy as our Vizsla which sleeps in the bed and has to be with us always and that is a bit smaller …so would a Whippet b a good fit?
Hello Ann. In terms of size, I think Whippets are ideal: not too big that they’re physically hard to handle and not so small that they’re fragile. However, I wouldn’t say they aren’t a little needy though since they love the company of their family and don’t really like to be left alone for too long (I’d say 4 hours max).
They’re also famous as bed sharers (yours, not theirs!) and love to snuggle under the covers with you! This can be trained out of them but it’s not easy: we lost that battle years ago! That said, they don’t take up too much room!
As a canine companion though, they’re unbeatable in my opinion.