Are you considering providing a home for a Whippet? Have you owned a dog before? In my opinion, Whippets are good dogs for first time owners… strike that… Whippets are GREAT dogs for first time owners!
I was a first time owner when I got my Whippet Misty. Although my wife grew up with dogs, my experience of dog ownership was completely new at the time.
Added to this, we got Misty when our daughters were still quite young. Hence, my experience has shown me that Whippets make great family dogs too.
In this post I’m going to explain why I feel that Whippets make great pets for those who haven’t owned a dog before. Of course, I’m going to provide opinion here, since I can only talk from my experience.
Table of Contents
- Whippet Temperament
- Exercise Requirements
- Whippets Care for First Time Owners
- Whippets and Cats
- What About Whippet Mixes?
- Why Whippets Are Good Dogs For First Time Owners
- Related Posts
The Whippet Temperament
Whippets have a really lovely temperament and they’re a very loving dog breed!
They can be a little reserved around people they don’t know, though this certainly isn’t the case for all whippets. But regardless of how they behave around “strangers”, Whippets simply adore their families.
In a family setting, Whippets are extremely loyal and loving. For the most part, a Whippet will spend every moment possible with their families when at home… indeed you’ll find that your Whippet will:
- Be your shadow!
- Lie across you when you’re sitting down.
- Sleep in your bed!
Whippets love to burrow under your bed covers to snuggle down next to you at night. Some people don’t like the idea of this at all, but we don’t mind as they’re very clean dogs.
As I say, Whippets make great family dogs. We took Misty from a puppy when our daughters were young (around 4 and 7). Given I had no prior experience of dog ownership, my feeling is that Whippets are ideal dogs for first time owners.
Because Whippets are extremely fast runners, you might think they are high-energy dogs that require hours of exercise and multiple walks each day. This really isn’t the case, since Whippets need up to an hour of exercise daily.
A Whippet that’s exercised properly will be quite content to lounge around at home. Indeed, their exceptional ability to snooze has contributed to the view that Whippets are lazy couch potatoes!
Of course, an hour a day is still a commitment, but some dog breeds require much more. If you have an hour a day to spare for a dog walk, a Whippet might be good for you as a first time owner.
Find out more about how much exercise Whippets need.
Whippet Care for First Time Owners
Whippets are a very clean dog breed with short hair. As a consequence, they need very little grooming. Thicker coated dogs with longer fur tend to require far more effort to keep their coats healthy and clean. Some other breeds also shed at a far higher rate than Whippets.
That said, all dogs shed and no breed is 100% hypoallergenic.
A weekly brush will help to remove fur and dander. You might use a grooming mitt or brush to keep shed fur to a minimum… some people even vacuum their dog!
Furthermore, unless they roll in something mucky, you’ll only need to wash a Whippet around once every 4 to 6 weeks.
Find out how to groom short haired dogs.
You’ll need to commit to veterinary visits for checkups, but in general Whippets are a healthy breed. As with any dog breed though, Whippet can be predisposed to certain health problems.
Additionally, they have a very strong prey drive so Whippets can cut and graze their skin easily, especially since they have short coats and very little body fat to protect them. The prey drive is a characteristic of all Sighthounds and it does mean that you need to keep them on a lead or Whippet harness when road walking or taking them to places that are not enclosed.
Whippets and Cats
Since I’ve discussed the Sighthound prey drive, I should mention that some Whippet owners find it hard to mix them with other smaller pets such as cats. Sadly, this was our experience.
Whippets will chase anything that seems like it might be good to chase… and cats seem to make the ideal quarry for them.
Some Whippet owners are able to train them to live alongside cats, however the prey drive can be difficult for Whippets to overcome. For me, I would never leave a Whippet and cat alone with one another.
Find out more about Whippets and cats living together.
What About Whippet Mixes?
Some people find that mixed dog breeds can be a good option for first time owners. The idea is that mixes retain the characteristics of both parent breeds and this may result in a dog that has a more “middle of the road” character.
However, this is a generalisation of course. Some Whippet crosses, such as the Whippet Greyhound mix, will likely not result in a diminishment of the Sighthound personality. In fact, this particular mix will probably result in a bigger and faster version of a Whippet!
Find out more about Whippet mix dogs.
Why Whippets Are Good Dogs For First Time Owners
In my experience, Whippets are ideal for first time owners. They’re clean, affectionate and loving dogs that are generally not even remotely aggressive, though care should be taken if you have other smaller pets, since Whippets love to chase.
They’re great dogs in a family setting, though they may bump smaller children if they get excited or over-playful. This is the case with most dog breeds and of course you should always keep an eye on very young children and your dog when they’re together.
Exercise of around an hour each day makes Whippet by no means the most demanding of dogs, but an hour a day is still a commitment you’d need to make. Any dog that doesn’t get a suitable amount of exercise is likely to become ill-behaved, unhappy or overweight.
Owning a dog is ever going to come completely free of responsibility, however in my experience Whippets are great for first time owners.
Are Whippets good for first time owners? What has been your experience? Please let others know in the comments section at the foot of this page.
- Whippet Information
- What Were Whippets Bred For?
- Can Whippets Get Fat?
- How Fast Can a Whippet Run?
- Are Whippets Affectionate?
- Why Do Whippets Shake?
- Are Whippets Good Apartment Dogs?
- Can Whippets Be Left Alone?
Sheilah Kennedy says
We are on our third whippet and all have had lovely characters. They can be anxious but correct socialising and consideration can overcome this. They do not like to be left completely alone so make sure they have a companion if left (but only for short periods of time). Another dog is fine.