July 4th is mostly known in the States for being America’s birthday. Among our canine companions, however, it’s important for another reason. It’s Whippet Day! A vet discusses these ‘pawesome’ pups below.
Whippets are closely related to Greyhounds. In fact, they look like a smaller version of the famous race dogs. They are categorized in the Hound Group and, like Greyhounds, are specifically listed as sighthounds. Like many other sighthounds, they have small heads, long legs, deep chests, and narrow waists. As one might suspect, these guys are extremely fast runners. Fido can run up to 35mph! He’s also known for being able to make very fast turns.
This branch of Fido’s family tree has been around for quite a while: dogs with similar appearances were depicted in Ancient Egyptian art. The Whippet was still charming people by the Victorian age, when they became renowned for their talents in coursing competitions and catching rabbits. This helped earn them the title ‘Poor Man’s Racehorse.’ In fact, the breed’s name is derived from the 17th-century word ‘whippet’ which means ‘to move fast’ or ‘to move quickly.’ (Whips probably had something to do with the original meaning, but that’s another topic.) Whippet racing became very popular in 19th-century England, particularly in Wales and in north England. The Kennel Club officially welcomed the breed into their ranks in 1891.
These sweet, lovable pups are very, very good at melting hearts. They are gentle, loyal, and affectionate. They can make wonderful family pets: they are good with children, and cohabitate well with other dogs and also with cats. Whippets also tend to be quite cuddly, and often enjoy being lap dogs. (It’s worth pointing out that they are so sweet that they are pretty much useless at being guard dogs.) One might think that these pups are extremely active, but they aren’t always set to ‘Full Speed/Go.’ While they do need vigorous runs and play sessions every day, they actually turn into adorable couch potatoes between these workout sessions. A few other things to love about Whippets? They don’t bark or drool much, and need only light grooming. That said, like any other breed, they do have some specific care needs. For example, they get cold very easily. Ask your vet for specific care advice!
Do you have questions about your canine pal’s health or care? Contact us, your local animal clinic in North Miami Beach, FL!