Many people believe that Whippets are lazy. It’s not at all uncommon to hear them labelled as couch potatoes that love nothing more than snuggling under covers to grab some shuteye. But do they really nap as much as people say, and if so, why do Whippets sleep so much?
In this post I’m going to talk about Whippets and sleep. I hope to identify for you why Whippets are big sleepers and determine what’s normal and healthy.
Table of Contents
- Whippets & Physical Activity
- How Much Sleep Do Whippets Need?
- Why Do Whippets Sleep So Much?
Whippets & Physical Activity
The Whippet breed was historically bred for it’s speed, which made it a useful working dog for catching small animals like rats and rabbits. Its ability to run at speeds of up to 35mph (56kph) also made it a popular racing dog.
Like sprint athletes, Whippets are built for explosive speed and are not endurance dogs. Hence, Whippets need exercise of up to an hour a day off the lead. This doesn’t mean that Whippets will sprint solidly for an hour, but instead will likely walk around with the occasional burst of sprinting.
Because they’re small to medium sized dogs, Whippets have a fast metabolism, which means they burn energy quickly.
How Much Sleep Do Dogs Need?
Unlike us humans who tend to sleep in one block at night (monophasic sleep) dogs tend to sleep throughout the day (and night) in multiple blocks (polyphasic sleep).
These canine sleeping blocks may follow a similar pattern each day. However, they’ll probably not be fixed, most likely due to the daily routines of everyone else living in the house.
Additionally, dogs will sleep if there’s nothing to stimulate them: if they get bored, they’ll take a snooze break!
Most adult dog breeds generally sleep for 12 to 14 hours a day while puppies may sleep for up to 18 hours.
Of course some breeds may sleep more than this.
Why Do Whippets Sleep So Much?
Some Whippet owners claim their Whippets sleep up to 18 hours a day. Indeed I’d definitely say that my Whippet Misty sleeps more than the 12 to 14 hours I referenced above.
However, most of this is not likely not due to necessity.
We always walk Misty up to an hour each day, within which we give her ample opportunity to sprint, either with a Chuckit! or by letting her play with other dogs.
Exercise is important for mental and physical health. It’s also necessary if you have to leave a Whippet alone for periods during the day.
However, exercise is also important for Whippets to burn off excess energy.
My feeling is that being sighthounds, the visual realm and the things moving within it stimulate Whippets. So if there’s not much going on, they’re happy to flick into couch potato mode and fall asleep!
I can sit at home all day working on my computer, and Misty will happily snooze in an armchair until someone knocks the door or a neighbour’s dog barks, at which point she’s instantly alert and ready to chase something!
For me, assuming she’s had exercise, if there’s nothing interesting for her to do she’ll simply fall asleep in a warm and comfy spot.
She’ll of course wake up to have food or if she needs the bathroom, but other than that she’ll count sheep!
I’m not sure there’s a reason why Whippets sleep so much, other than the fact they’re sighthounds and maybe have a lower boredom threshold than some other dog breeds.
Do you know a biological reason why Whippets sleep so much? Perhaps a veterinary specialist can provide me with a definitive answer in the comments below?
- Do Whippets Make Good Family Pets?
- Whippet Life Expectancy
- Are Whippets Intelligent?
- Can You Walk Whippets Off Lead?
- Are Whippets an Aggressive Breed?