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The doghouse

Whippets-The good and the bad please

12 replies

miserablemoo · 22/10/2013 23:04


After over a year of pestering, my DH has finally agreed to us getting a dog. A whippet has always been at the top of the list but wanted to hear from people that own them what their good points are and the bad. Can they live ok with cats? Do they have to stay on a lead on walks and do they all have sensitive tummies? I know they need a nice warm coat for winter, like to have a settee to themselves and are quite sensitive. Do they bark much? I have never seen one that is not calm.

Anyway any advice is much appreciated. Even is it's to tell me what I thought I knew about them is wrong!

Thank you.

OP posts:

PinkFairyArmadillo · 22/10/2013 23:30

Good points:

Gentle (mostly Wink)
Elegant (usually)
Surprisingly trainable
Breathtaking at full speed
Fold up small
Lovely short, easy clean coats

Bad points:

They think poking you with their very pointy noses is an acceptable form of communication
They steal your seat as soon as you stand up


They're wonderful little dogs. We got our first just over two years ago. Whippet number three is hopefully joining us late December/early January Blush

They can live with cats, especially if brought up with them from puppies but I wouldn't expect them to ever be trustworthy with cats that aren't "theirs".

They can be let off lead, both of ours go off lead for most of their walks. We keep them on lead around strange dogs (whippets, like most sighthounds, play in a way that isn't always appreciated by other types of dog) and anywhere near livestock. Their recall is great though, it's the single thing we put the most effort into when they're puppies and we constantly reinforce it.

Neither of ours have sensitive stomachs and none of their breeders' dogs do either. I think that's more an individual dog thing rather than a breed thing, at least in whippets.

They're not generally very barky (ours will sometimes alert bark if there's someone at the door but only really if they can be bothered Hmm) but some can be quite whingey. One of ours is a whinger and will whine whenever he wants something or thinks something isn't quite right.

They need a surprisingly little exercise. Ours get between 30 and 60 minutes most days with a couple of longer walks each week. As long as they get a good run off lead they're more than happy with that and will snooze for the rest of the day. They hate rain and if it's raining really heavily we don't bother forcing them out as they'll mope along shivering regardless of how many layers they're wearing. Cold is acceptable as long as they're wrapped up nice and warm though we keep walks in the snow short as their feet get very cold.

As you can tell from little essay I'm a bit evangelical about whippets Blush Seriously though, fab little dogs and I honestly think they're ideal for such a wide range of people.


miserablemoo · 23/10/2013 10:04


Thank you for your reply (I don't know how to do a smiley face!). My main concern is my cats to be honest. One is very confident but the other is not and I don't know if I am expecting too much. Where I live the majority of whippets are working dogs and I am worried that by bringing in a sighthound I am talking a huge risk. Plus most of our walks are in forests and I worry to let it off the lead and it wont come back!

I have wanted a dog and done endless research and now that DH has finally agreed all I can do is find reasons not to have one and full of "what if's"

Other than my above reservations they sound ideal for us. How are they for chewing? Are they calm even as puppies?

Good luck on your whippet number 3. You must love the breed and your post has been really helpful. I am thinking we might have to wait until we are cat free until we think of getting one which could be a while!

Thank you.

OP posts:

PinkFairyArmadillo · 23/10/2013 13:17

Loads of people do have both whippets and cats. The breeder of our boys have ferrets which the dogs are all fine with. It does take vigilance, I don't think you could ever be complacent with both in the house but equally it's not an absolute no go either.

I wouldn't say they're calm as puppies but they tend to be sprinters even when they're small. Lots of short but very energetic bursts of activity then they conk out for a while. Sprinting round the house is quite a common activity, they need all the practise they can get to master those legs whilst they're growing Grin Neither chewed too badly, there was a tiny bit of gnawing on some furniture and one of them shredded a book but that's not bad going really. They're quite fastidious so not too hard to house train although we found that it's better to have a bit of garden sectioned off for them to toilet in otherwise they'd be doing laps as soon as they got outside Hmm

Our youngest is just short of a year old and he's really acting like a proper whippet these days. As I type he's sprawled out on the floor in the sun. Our other whippet (just over two years old) is snoozing away in a little ball on a beanbag Grin I find them very relaxing dogs, there's something very soothing about having them draped over the furniture in an evening!!


chocolateorangeyum · 23/10/2013 14:26

We've just got a whippet pup whose 10 weeks old and completely adorable. She's had a lot of attention so far when out and about. She is very affectionate and cuddly, but also quite nervous when she's doing something new.

She is very calm most of the time but does get excited around the children and just spends a lot of time sleeping. She hardly chews at all and is incredibly quiet. I don't think she has even tried to woof yet just whines a bit when she is not happy about something. She's very fast already amazing to watch but I know I'm going to have to train well to come back when called. We are first time dog owners and the vet said it was a good breed for a first dog.

I've done a bit of training so far and she seems to be picking it up really quickly despite what you read about whippets being difficult to train.


MagratGarlik · 23/10/2013 18:39

We have a 3 year old whippet and an old (unknown age) whippet x greyhound. One of mine would absolutely not be trustworthy with cats because we think she was worked in the past. The other is probably cat trainable.

Neither bark much, unless they see cats and they are very easy to look after. Whippets generally won't do hours of playing and are sensitive dogs, so possibly not suitable for 'shouty' households or if you want a dog which is always on the go. Our whippy is very feline. He has slaves (us) and he can more more aloof than some other breeds.

On the plus side, they are very easy to look after, don't need constant attention and don't need hours of walks per day. They are short haired, which is easy to look after and they don't 'do' weather, so they try to back into the house if a walk in the rain is on offer. They also don't do puddles, ponds, rivers or the sea, which can make cleaning the house easier. Ours are very gentle too, though whippy is the more excitable of our two.

Don't discount rescue whippys just because you've got a cat. There are plenty of people on the pointy dog thread with all kinds of sighthounds and cats, most of which are rescue dogs. Scruples are very good and use foster homes, so can reliably cat test the dogs. Take a look at their fb page.


EddieVeddersfoxymop · 27/10/2013 16:59

miserablemoo I could have written your post to the letter! We are on the waiting list for a whippet puppy after christmas, having thought about it for over a year.

We have two cats, and I'm worried! We plan to crate the pup when we're not around for safety. I desperately want this to work, wish I had a crystal ball!!!!!!


CMOTDibbler · 27/10/2013 18:32

Evesham Greyhound and Lurcher rescue have a couple of whippet cross puppies in at the moment, and I can see that one of them is def being fostered in a home with cats (because its the same one ours was at). Look on their facebook page.

Our lurcher (who may be whippet x, but who knows!, small and smooth coated) was adopted at 6 months old, cat friendly, goes off lead, and is generally lovely. Right now he's sharing a sofa with dh, ds, and a cat. He can curl up very small when he feels the need!


EddieVeddersfoxymop · 27/10/2013 19:22

Sadly a little too far for us...we are in NE scotland!!! We're all desperate to get a dog, but yet worried about the cats. Sigh, it's so hard!!!


MrsBennetsEldest · 27/10/2013 19:49

I have cats, I have whippets. The whippets are cat food thieves but are not a problem otherwise, in fact they are terrified of one of the cats.
Pinkfairy was spot on with her post. I have had whippets for the past 20 years and have never had one with any real health problems. My 8 year old girl sometimes gets tummy ache which the vet puts down to trapped wind. They eat anything I give them and anything they can steal.
Think breathing hot water bottle, I love how they like to sleep on you with their head tucked under your chin.
Mine hate the rain, they look out of the dog flap, if it's raining they will not go out.
They are wonderful family dogs, I promise you will not regret being owned by one.


miserablemoo · 28/10/2013 22:35

Hi everyone and thank you.

I am not on fb so can't look there and Evesham is too far away from us as well. Thank you for the suggestions though.

My main problem is from what I have read on the internet it is best to get them as a puppy so they see the cats as part of the family. I am not too keen on getting a puppy to be honest. We would prefer an older dog but finding an older dog that will be ok with our cats might be too big a challenge.

EddieV it is a bit spooky how similar our situation is! One cat I know will be fine. He is not very scared of dogs and one of his best friends is a dog. My other cat is a bit older and not as confident. I don't know if a dog (especially an excitable puppy) would just be too much for her.

So after nearly 2 years of me wanting a dog and me oining my husband for one and he says yes. I just cant take that final step to get one as I worry too much it would be the wrong thing for the cats.

Thanks for your input everyone.

OP posts:

miserablemoo · 28/10/2013 22:36

EddieV if you get your puppy next year let me know how you get on. Good luck!

OP posts:

EddieVeddersfoxymop · 29/10/2013 09:38

Miserable, we have decided just to go for it! I don't mind the work of a puppy, and I spoke to a friend who has just done exactly the same thing, except her dog is a lab x collie. She said that her cats were shell shocked to start with, but have reached acceptance in a couple of months - she sent me a picture of them eating in the same room which is all we could hope for ha ha!!

We were homechecked by a local greyhound rescue, who brought a very large and not at all cat safe hound with them. My two cats were interested and didnt scarper upstairs - the braver cat wanted a closer look but we couldn't let them due to the hound desperately trying to eat her. The rescue were of the opinion that an older, cat safe hound was possible to find - but we've decided on a pup just because we can train it our way from day one, so to speak.

My friend that I mentioned earlier also said that at puppy classes they were recommended to use a crate and a long line in the house to start with, just so the puppy learns the boundaries. We'd already decided to use a crate and have just ordered one in anticipation.

We can't really predict how it is going to go, but we're going to give it our best shot! We introduced a new cat to our eldest one and all hell broke loose for a month or two, but as the greyhound rescue said, feline relations are more complex than canine so we should have a better chance of getting it all to work.

We're on a few breeders waiting lists for pups after christmas, we are just waiting to confirm that the bitches are pregnant and then we can start getting excited!

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