Most Whippet lovers admire Whippets for their athletic elegance and affectionate nature. In my own case, it was these two characteristics that first attracted me to Whippets. Initially I wanted a blue Whippet puppy but as I researched for a dog to give a home, I discovered the huge variety of Whippet colours and markings and this led me to change my mind.
Today I’m looking at Whippet colours to help give you an understanding of the coloration that naturally occurs in their coats. In the process, I’ll explore Whippet markings, which are also enormously varied. The combination of the various colours and markings that purebred Whippets can have makes for a staggering number of possible permutations.
I hope that this helps you understand what Whippet coats can look like if you’re considering rescuing a Whippet or buying a Whippet as a puppy.
Table of Contents
- A Note on Whippet Fur
- Whippet Colours
- Rare Whippet Colours
- Whippet Markings
- Merle Whippet Markings
- The Variety of Whippet Colours and Markings
A Note on Whippet Fur
Whippets have short “single” coats. While they’re not 100% hypoallergenic, they’re low shedders, which means they might be more suitable to those with allergies than a heavy shedding dog breed.
Since their coats are short, it’s easy to see the shape of markings on their fur. Some people believe that Whippets can have long hair because of the Silken Windhound a.k.a. the Longhaired Whippet. However, the long haired Whippet is not a purebred Whippet and nor is it breed in its own right, since it’s likely a mix of several different dog breeds, including Whippets.
Want to know more about whippet shedding? Find out how much Whippets shed and other information about Whippet fur.
Some purebred dog breeds have a very limited number of naturally occurring colours, and some such as the Samoyed or the Japanese Spitz only have one colour (white). By contrast, Whippets have a wide base range of naturally occurring colouration:
Hence a purebred Whippet can have a coat of any of the above colours in combination (particolour) or be 100% single coloured. Of course, while it’s possible for Whippets to be totally black, blue or any of the other colours in the list above, some are more uncommon than others.
Rare Whippet Colours
The most rare Whippet colours are pure white and dun (a brownish colour often confused as chocolate or liver).
Of the two Whippet colours, white Whippets are perhaps not quite as rare as dun coloured Whippets. It’s estimated that only 1 in every 1,500 Whippets born are Dun coloured.
Dun Whippets are especially interesting as they tend to have pink or brown coloured noses and brown claws on each paw.
Alongside this great variety of colours, Whippets also have a variety of coat markings. The markings that purebred Whippets have are:
- White Trim
Brindle is a coat pattern that’s often described as tiger stripes. Although the brindle markings tend not to be as pronounced and dark as the stripes on a tiger, they are still quite visible. The brindle pattern is a look I adore… my Whippet Misty would have it no other way!
A mask pattern refers to the colour of the face and / ears that give the appearance of a mask… hence the name! Masks are predominantly black in colour, however they might also be grey, brown or a grey / brown mix. Masks can appear solely on the muzzle area, the ears (full ears or just the tips) or the whole face.
Parti-colour is the combination of any of the colours I’ve listed with white and is usually called White and colour. As mentioned before, purely white Whippets are relatively rare and even the smallest spot of colour on an otherwise white Whippet would be considered parti-colour.
A coat with a white trim will see the tail, the muzzle and the breastbone tipped with white. However, the white trim doesn’t completely cover these areas: it’s just the tips that have the white colour.
Merle Whippet Markings
Merle is a pattern that appears as mottled patches of colour on the coats of many animals. Merle markings are actually the result of a gene that can result in blue or different coloured eyes as well pigmentation on the skin beneath the coat.
Merle is not a naturally occurring marking in Whippets and it’s not considered possible for a purebred Whippet to carry the gene that causes the pattern.
Be wary of any breeder advertising purebred Whippets with merle markings.
The Variety of Whippet Colours and Markings
As you can see, putting the combination of Whippet colours and markings together results in enormous variety:
- Black & White Parti-colour
- Black & White Trim
- Black Brindle
- Black Brindle White Trim
- Blue Brindle
- Blue Brindle Parti-colour
- Blue Brindle White Parti-colour
- Blue Brindle White Trim
- Blue Fawn
- Blue White Parti-colour
- Blue White Trim
- Brindle & White Parti-colour
- Brindle White Trim
- Fawn Black Mask
- Fawn Black Mask White Trim
- Fawn Blue Mask
- Fawn Brindle
- Fawn Brindle White Parti-colour
- Fawn Brindle White Trim
- Fawn White Parti-colour
- Fawn White Trim
- Red Brindle
- Red Brindle Parti-colour
- Red Brindle White Trim
- Red Fawn
- Red Fawn & White Parti-colour
- Red Fawn Black Mask
- Red Fawn Black Mask White Trim
- Red Fawn White Trim
- Silver Brindle
- Silver Brindle & White Trim
- Silver Brindle Parti-colour
- White & Blue Brindle
- White & Fawn Parti-colour
One of the things that I love about Whippets is the sheer variety in colours and markings. Although of course Whippets with a single coat colour look similar, Whippets with brindle, mask, parti-colour or white trim markings almost always look unique.
As if the Whippet temperament and athletic physique weren’t enough!
Any questions or comments on Whippet colours and markings? Please post them in the comments at the bottom of this page.
- How to Groom a Whippet
- General Information About the Whippet Dog Breed
- How Much Exercise Should a Whippet Have?
- Are Whippets Affectionate?