The Whippet, also known as the Lightening Rag Dog, the Snap Dog, the Poor Man’s Racehorse and the Poor Man’s Greyhound, is a medium-sized sighthound that resembles a smaller version of the Greyhound. Its name is thought to derive from the word “whappet,” which refers to “a small dog that yaps [wapps].” The term “Whippet” was used during the 1600s to describe a “little cur.” The modern Whippet was developed in the 19th century as a rabbit-coursing dog. It was bred for speed and has been used for sport racing for years, capable of reaching bursts of speed up to 35 miles per hour. The Whippet is the fastest domesticated animal for its size and at short distances can outrun a Greyhound. It also is a competent rat- and rabbit-hunter and makes a quiet, affectionate companion dog. As a sighthound, Whippets uniformly chase moving objects and seem impervious to any danger that the chase might entail – such as automobiles or other types of traffic. They require daily exercise in a secure environment or may become bored and destructive. The Whippet was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1888, as a member of its Hound Group.
The mature male Whippet ideally stands 19 to 22 inches at the withers, with bitches being 18 to 21 inches in height. Adults typically weigh about 25 to 30 pounds. The Whippet’s short coat can be any color, without preference given to any one over another under the American breed standard. This is a naturally fastidious dog that requires little grooming and is easy to care for and live with.