Whippets are single-coated dogs with short, smooth and dense fur. They still shed though, so Whippet grooming is still a requirement to reduce fur and dander in your home.
In this post I’m going to discuss how to groom short haired dogs like Whippets and provide you with the tools you need to keep your Whippet’s fur in tip-top condition.
Table of Contents
- About Whippet fur
- Grooming Short Haired Dogs Like Whippets
- Whippet Grooming Equipment
- How to Groom a Whippet (or Any Short Haired Dog)
- Grooming / Brushing
- Nail Clipping
- Whippet Grooming Summary
About Whippet Fur
Since they’re not “furry dogs” and they don’t have much protection against the elements, Whippets do not like being outside in the cold for long periods. Whippet owners will likely need a Whippet sweater or coat for walks during colder periods.
Although they are short-haired, Whippets do shed and they can certainly use a regular weekly brush.
It’s worth noting too that although they don’t shed as much as some breeds, Whippets are not 100% hypoallergenic.
Grooming Short Haired Dogs Like Whippets
Conducting routine grooming maintenance on a Whippet at home is important even if you take your Whippet to a professional groomer every few months.
It’s quite easy to groom a whippet or any other short-haired dog at home compared to many other breeds, and especially long-haired dogs that shed frequently. I’ve never taken my Whippet to a professional groomer, but of course this does mean I have to invest time myself.
Though Whippets are clean dogs, they do get dirty, especially when the weather is bad or when they roll in something unpleasant… my Whippet Misty does this regularly! As a general rule, I bathe Misty around once a month, unless she gets mucky.
The following is a guide on how to bathe and groom short haired dogs. This is the process I use for grooming my Whippet.
Whippet Grooming Equipment
I’d recommend the following grooming equipment for short-haired dogs like Whippets:
- Grooming mitt with rubber pins
- Soft to medium bristle brush
- Dog shampoo & conditioner
- Dog nail clippers
Grooming Mitt with Rubber Pins
A grooming mitt or glove with rubber-tipped pins are great for short-haired dogs and they’re easy to slip on the hand. The rubber tips remove dirt, dander and loose fur and deliver a a soothing grooming experience.
The rubber pins are also less hard than some brushes or metal pins and they provide a more relaxing sensation like being stroked. My Whippet seems to love the sensation and actively pushes herself towards the mitt for an extra deep massage!
Soft to Medium Bristle Brush
A soft to medium bristle brush is not only helpful in the removal of loose hairs but also helps to smooth out a Whippet’s coat to give a “polished” appearance.
Since Whippets have short coats and little body fat, soft to medium bristles provide a more firm grooming experience than a grooming mitt with rubber pins…
… but not so firm as to be uncomfortable!
Dog Shampoo & Conditioner
I stick to mild dog pH balanced shampoos with little fragrance. Whippets can be prone to sensitive skin so I’m careful to use a shampoo that won’t cause irritation.
Personally, I prefer using a combined shampoo and conditioner that’s made with natural ingredients.
I don’t especially like the idea of sulfates, colouring agents and other harsh chemicals that might upset my Whippet’s delicate skin.
Dog Nail Clippers
The American Kennel Club recommends guillotine clippers are for small to medium-sized dogs like Whippets.
They work, as the name suggests, like a guillotine, with a blade that lowers and slices when squeezing the grips, as opposed to scissoring.
There’s a great video below in the nail clipping section below that shows you how to use guillotine clippers.
How to Groom a Whippet (or Any Short Haired Dog)
As I’ve mentioned already, Whippets tend not to need a weekly bath unless they get especially dirty on a wet walk.
If you decide your Whippet needs a bath, give a light brush with a grooming mitt or soft to medium bristle brush to remove excess dirt and fur beforehand.
Wet your Whippet body first with warm water (I use a handheld shower head). When your Whippet is sufficiently wet from neck to tail, work in your shampoo in the direction their fur grows. I start shampooing at the neck and work downwards to the tail and legs.
When your Whippet’s body is fully washed, rinse the shampoo suds away: I use the shower head for this. Once you’ve rinsed your Whippet, you’ll be ready to move on to the face.
I never use shampoo directly on my dog’s face even though I use a natural shampoo and conditioner… my Whippet can’t stand soapy suds all over her head!
Instead, I add a little shampoo to a very wet washcloth so it’s quite diluted, and I gently wash her face with it, being careful not to smother her eyes, ears or nose. I remove the shampoo by rinsing out the cloth and I wipe her face with it until all the shampoo is gone.
3. When you’ve bathed your Whippet, use a clean towel to dry them. I wash my Whippet in our bath and then dry her there too. However, I find that even after a light groom and bath, towel drying still results in fur shedding. I can easily clean up the fur when she’s fully dry.
Some people use a hairdryer after bathing their whippet but I never do this. I try to dry her as much as possible with 2 towels: one right after bathing when she’s really wet (this tends to get soaked) and one afterwards to dry her as much as possible.
She then settles into her bed and tucks herself under a blanket or in the winter she lies down by our log burner!
Only ever use a dog shampoo: the shampoo you use is intended for humans and using it on your Whippet could irritate its skin. I presently use Burt’s Bees 2 in 1 Dog Shampoo & Conditioner, which uses natural ingredients and is specially formulated for dogs.
2. Grooming / Brushing
Start on your Whippet’s torso, using your grooming mitt or soft to medium bristle brush, going from the neck to the tail and move on to the tummy.
As I said earlier, my Whippet seems to really enjoy grooming, especially with the grooming mitt, but if your dog doesn’t enjoy it in the same way, keep some dog treats to hand!
When you’ve brushed the torso, finish your grooming session by brushing the head. Again, use your brush in the direction of fur growth. Take care around your Whippet’s ears and especially around the eyes. Even soft brushes can scratch these sensitive areas so do take care.
I tend to brush Misty every one to two weeks, which really helps to keep our furniture free from fur!
While grooming a Whippet, you should always work in the direction their fur naturally grows and take the opportunity to carefully check for skin aberrations, irritations, cuts or insect bites.
If you’re stuck for time and need to give your dog a quick groom, find out how to vacuum your dog!
3. Nail Clipping
You’ll also need to keep an eye on your Whippet’s nails need, since they’ll need to be trimmed if they they become too long.
Long nails can become a problem if left unattended: they can be painful and actually affect how your Whippet walks.
If your Whippet isn’t walking regularly on surfaces that wear their nails down, you’ll definitely need to clip them. Since we walk Misty mostly in fields, we have to keep an eye on her nails and clip them regularly.
It can be a tricky business to clip any dog’s nails: my Whippet hates the process. We find the best technique is to cut up dog treats into small pieces and feed them to her constantly until the nails are fully clipped.
You also have to be very careful when clipping nails. Cutting too close to the quick (the dark bit inside the nail – you can’t see this on dog’s with dark nails) is painful and will cause bleeding.
This video provides an excellent example of how to trim a dog’s nails using a guillotine nail clipper.
Whippet Grooming Summary
A whippet only needs to be brushed once a week or so under ordinary circumstances. In my experience Whippets don’t shed much and I find once a week is completely sufficient.
Some Whippet owners prefer to use a baby wipe or a damp cloth instead of a brush. Some others swear by a chamois cloth, which apparently leaves the coat smooth and glossy. For me, I mostly use the grooming mitt: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!
In terms of bathing, Whippets are clean dogs and they don’t require baths very often. Once every 4 to 6 weeks is completely normal unless they’ve gotten themselves mucky.
The reality is that washing a Whippet too frequently is not good for their fur and skin. Bathing them too much removes helpful oils from the skin and fur and can cause dry and itchy skin.
Diet too of course plays a role in helping to maintain healthy skin and fur. Choose a diet that’s rich in Omega fatty acids, especially Omega-3. We’ve always fed Misty Wellness Core Ocean… our vet recommended it to us and she’s always been happy and healthy.
Don’t forget… it’s also important to care for your Whippet’s teeth.
I hope this guide to Whippet grooming helps you keep your little friend in the peak of condition! Do you have any tips that show how you groom your short haired dog? Please leave a comment below to let me know.