The Whippet Club Inc

Breed Standard

The Whippet

Lifespan:12 - 15 Years
Very Low
Watchdog Ability:
Protection Ability:
Very Low
Area of Origin:
Date of Origin:
Other Names:
Original Function:
Racing, Rabbit Coursing


The Whippet as we know it today was developed in Britain. However, what is less certain is the Whippet's ancestry. Some feel the breed was a mix between the Italian Greyhound and the Terrier, while others firmly believe the breed is related to the ancient Pharaoh hound found in England since 55 BC and that it descends from selective breeding of small Greyhounds. The Whippet, however, has most likely existed since the fourteenth century and was often depicted in works of art, sculptures and paintings. The Whippet made its way to New England in North America when textile mill workers from Northern England brought the breed and the sport of racing with them in the early 1 900's. Since that time, the Whippet's endearing personality has made it a favourite family pet, one that adapts well to city or country living. It loves human companionship and a good run every now and then.

Intelligent and laid back, Whippets are calm indoors and considerably sweet and docile. Whippets are independent and can never be fully trained. They require gentle training as they are sensitive both mentally and physically Whippets will thrive when training involves games with running. Whippets have been known to chase down and kill cats, but will be okay with a cat that they have grown up with in the house or if the cat is dominant.

Upkeep: The Whippet can make a good apartment dog if it is taken for a long walk or run daily. Grooming is minimal. The Whippet must have a warm, soft bed. It dislikes cold weather intensely and cannot be expected to live outside. The Whippet can play and run in snow and cold weather but should spend inactive times in warmer temperatures. The hair is extremely short and fine, and the Whippet is virtually free of `doggy odor "

NZKC Whippet Official Breed Standard:

Should convey an impression of beautifully balanced muscular power and strength, combined with great elegance and grace of outline. Symmetry of outline, muscular development and powerful gait are the main considerations, the dog being built for speed and work all forms of exaggeration should be avoided. The dog should possess great freedom of action, the forelegs should be thrown forward and low over the ground like a thoroughbred horse not in a Hackney‑like action. Hind legs should come well under the body giving great propelling power, general movement not to look stilted, high stepping or in a short or mincing manner

Long and lean, flat on top tapering to the muzzle, rather wide between the eyes, the jaws powerful and clean cut, nose black, in Blues a bluish colour is permitted and in livers a nose of the same colour and in whites or parti‑colour a butterfly nose is permissible.

Bright, expression very alert.  

Rose‑shaped, small and fine in texture.

Level. The teeth in the top jaw fitting closely over the teeth in lower jaw.

Long and muscular, elegantly arched.

Shoulders oblique and muscular the blades carried up to the spine closely set together at the top. Forelegs straight and upright, front not too wide, pasterns strong with slight spring, elbows well set under the body.

Chest very deep with plenty of heart‑room, brisket deep and well defined, back broad, firm, somewhat long and showing definite arch over the loin but not humped, loin giving the impression of strength and power, ribs well sprung, well‑muscled on back.

Strong and broad across thighs, stifles well bent, hocks well let down, second thighs strong, the dog then being able to stand over a lot of ground and show great driving power.

Very neat, well split up between the toes, knuckles highly arched, pads thick and strong.

No feathering. Long, tapering, when in action carried in a delicate curve upward but not over the back.

Fine, short, as close as possible in texture.

Any colour or mixture of colours.

The ideal height for dogs is 47 cm (18.5 in) and for bitches 44 cm (17.5 in). Judges should use their discretion and not unduly penalise an otherwise good specimen.

Front and Shoulders - Weak, sloping or too straight pasterns, pigeon toes, tied elbows, loaded or bossy shoulders wide on top and straight shoulder‑blades, flat sides. An exaggerated narrow front not to be encouraged. 

Head and Skulls
Apple‑skull, short foreface or down‑face.

Pricked or tulip.

Over or undershot.

Throatiness at the join of neck and jaw, and at base of neck.

Body and Hindquarters:
A short coupled or cramped stance, also an exaggerated arch, a Camel or Humped back (the arch starting behind the shoulder‑blades), a too short or overlong loin. Straight stifles, poor muscular development of thighs and second thighs. 

Splayed, flat or open.

Gay, ringed or twisted, short or docked. 

Wire or broken coated., a coarse or woolly coat, coarse thick skin.

Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.