A Detailed Guide to Whippet Exercise Requirements
It’s exciting to imagine sharing your home with a lovable little Whippet pup, but there is of course a lot you need to consider. One of the most important things you’ll need to understand is what kind of physical activity Whippets require. So in this post I’m going to explain how much exercise a Whippet needs.
Whippets are medium-sized speed wizards bred from Greyhounds. Because Whippets are sprinters rather than endurance athletes, they get their energy in small bursts throughout the day. As a result, Whippets are often recognised as having low energy indoors and moderate-high energy outside.
So not only do Whippets need less exercise than one might think, but also they can actually become quite the couch potato. In their downtime, Whippets love to simply enjoy your company, sleep or play with toys.
Despite their sometimes apparent idle tendencies, you should ensure your Whippet still gets plenty of physical and mental exercise to keep them happy and healthy!
Whippet puppies need specialised exercise to allow them to burn off energy without becoming injured or overwhelmed. Physical activities can include walking, running, playing solo or with others, swimming, wrestling or really any other activities your dog is capable of performing safely.
Mental activities are meant to work the brain rather than the body and can involve puzzle toys, learning new commands and enrichment of their food or environment.
Find out more about the Whippet dog breed.
How Much Exercise Does a Whippet Puppy Need?
Gentle exercise is a necessity for puppies of all shapes and sizes, super speeders included. Although regular exercise is important for developing a puppy’s muscles and good habits, any exercise that is too strenuous could be permanently damaging to their young bodies. This is because their bones, growth plates, and joints are not fully developed yet and can be prone to injury.
The best methods of physical exercise for Whippet pups are brief walks and frequent playtime. Since they are still learning about their home and the world around them, mental stimulation for puppies is less of a priority, though attempts should still be made to incorporate it into their daily life.
Playing with your little Whippet is not just lots of fun, but also good for their growth and development into adult dogs. Remember that before they came home with you, they played and learned from their siblings and mum. This means their favourite types of play will be ones that mimic what they are used to.
Mock tussles and wrestling are definitely a favourite as well as some gentle ‘tug of war’. Remember that jogging, biking and extended bouts of running are likely too vigorous for Whippet pups, as are stairs, hills, and intense play.
There are varying recommendations regarding how much exercise Whippet puppies should have each day. Some reports say five minutes for every month of age, while others recommend less. Thankfully, and contrary to people, puppies are typically good at listening to their bodies, exercising when they have energy and resting when they run out.
Although not so crucial as it is to adult Whippets, it is good practice to include mental stimulation into puppies’ new routine.
Some of the best stimulation for puppies is teaching them new tricks. If you’ve only just brought your puppy home, even starting with basic commands like ‘sit’, ‘come’ and ‘lie down’ are a great start.
Additionally, with their teeth having only recently come in, chew toys can be enriching as well as relieving of any discomfort associated with teething.
Be careful not to overstimulate Whippet puppies as that will only frustrate and confuse them. Try working in brief increments, with lots of praise, and plenty of breaks.
How Much Exercise Does as Adult Whippet Need?
As with any dog, adult Whippets need daily exercise to be on top of their game. Since they are more developed and lack that puppy energy, adults enjoy different types of more intense exercise.
Without regular exercise, Whippets can become hyperactive which often leads to poor or destructive behaviour. Adult Whippets must have time every day to run freely, burning off excess energy and stretching their legs.
Time walking or jogging also contribute to the dog’s daily exercise, which the UK Kennel Club recommends to be at least an hour a day.
Mental stimulation is highly important as well, as it burns energy at a similar rate to physical activity while enriching your dog’s life.
Most owners can agree that a Whippet’s favourite game is ‘keep away’, closely followed by ‘tag’ and ‘tug of war’. They may also enjoy playing fetch with a frisbee or ball, but there’s no way to guarantee they’ll bring it back!
If you are spending time away from home, consider a self-moving type of toy as they are highly appealing to dogs with a strong prey drive like Whippets.
As expected, if your Whippet has a choice, it’s likely he or she will want to run freely to burn off energy. This is where agility courses or lure tracks are a fun alternative for your Whippet to stretch his legs.
Not only will a hyperactive Whippet chew up your favourite slippers… but a bored one will too. This is partly why mental stimulation and enrichment is so important for adult Whippets, especially if you spend significant time away from home each day.
Puzzle toys, like Kongs, are great because they test your dog’s intelligence and problem solving skills, while providing something to do… they also include a tasty treat inside! Toys meant specifically for chewing are also stimulating and reduce anxiety as a bonus.
Spending time learning new tricks or commands is also a great workout for their brains and can even boost their confidence, provided you can teach the old dog a new trick!
Whippet Puppy Exercise
Although their bodies are small now and need careful exercising, they won’t stay small forever. That’s why it’s important to get them used to regular physical exercise and mental stimulation.
Short walks and play appropriate for their size and energy will do just the trick. Not only will this keep them happiest and healthiest, but will also keep them from acting out or getting into trouble.
Since their bodies are only partially developed, take caution not to push them too much as they can pick up injuries much easier than you think.
Adult Whippet Exercise
As they have already made it through puppyhood, adult Whippets can handle a bit more in terms of physical exercise and focus. It’s important to keep a regular schedule of daily exercise (up to an hour) and frequent mental enrichment to keep them at their best and out of trouble.
Although they sometimes need a little nudge to be active, take care not to over exert them as speedy sighthounds can be prone to injuries.
Adult Whippets who tend to be independent may enjoy some puzzles or self-moving toys to pass their time.
Please leave a comment below or ask a question on any aspect of how much exercise Whippets need.