The Whippet is a small, slender dog originally bred to catch rabbits and hares. He is typically gentle and affectionate, loves human company and suits virtually any types of home environment. He has been selected to run with tremendous speed over short distances and should be given plenty of opportunity to do this. The Whippet’s coat is short and fine and relatively easy to keep clean. Average lifespan 10 years.
Inbreeding Coefficient - COI
(Should be as low as possible)
The UK Kennel Club breed average COI is 9.5% - see 'A Beginners Guide to COI'
Effective Population Size - EPS56.43
EPS is a measure of how many individuals are contributing genetically to a breed population. It is a measure of the size of the gene pool in a breed. Lower than 100 is considered critical by conservationists and below 50 brings a breed close to extinction. For more information see the Kennel Club article.
Health and Welfare Problems due to Conformation
(Body shape and physical characteristics)
The Whippet’s fine limbs and ability to reach high speeds make him more prone to fractures.
- Eye Disease: Hereditary Cataract (HC) (annual testing); Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) (annual testing) (gradual loss of vision).
Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) are now available for Hip Dysplasia and Elbow Dysplasia:
DNA Tests Available
- Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA) / Choroidal hypoplasia (CH)
- Multi Drug Resistance (MDR 1)
- Myostatin Deficiency (double muscling)
- Primary Lens Luxation (PLL)
- Hydroxyglutaric Aciduria (L-2-HGA)
- Hyperuricosuria (HUU)
Unofficial (Breed Club) Schemes
Heart testing recommended for Mitral Valve Insufficiency.
Breed health information here:
Ask the breeder to show you the certificates for the above tests/screening for both parents. If any of the above tests have not been considered necessary by the breeder (and there may be good reasons), ask her to explain why.
Other Diseases Reported
(For which there are currently no genetic or screening tests for sire or dam)
- Cancer: Canine cutaneous histiocytoma
- Cervical disc disease (ruptured discs in the neck, causing extreme pain)
- Double muscling (very pronounced muscles) (racing Whippets only)
- Cushings Disease (excess production of corticol hormones, causes increased appetite and thirst, weight gain, increased lethargy and other symptoms)
- Phosphofructokinase deficiency (PFK) (prevents the metabolism of glucose into energy, causing exercise intolerance and muscle disease – also destroys red blood cells)
- Various immune mediated diseases. See: http://whippet-health.co.uk/#/immune-disease/4531648503
- Megaeosophagus (eosophagus unable to pass food into the stomach normally – affected dogs may regurgitate or inhale food, causing aspiration pneumonia
- A special anaesthetic needed (when necessary in veterinary treatment)
Ask the breeder about the medical history of the parents, grandparents and great grandparents. Consider carefully whether to purchase a puppy if some of these or other diseases are in the family line.
Ask about the breeder’s policy in cases of serious genetic diseases occurring to your puppy in later life. Good breeders will request to be informed of such events in order to improve future breeding decisions. Some breeders will also agree to contribute towards medical costs or refund purchase price.
You are strongly advised to buy from a breeder who uses (or is prepared to use) the RSPCA / BVA AWF Puppy Contract and Puppy Information Pack (PIP): www.puppycontract.org.uk
You are also advised to buy from a breeder who follows the Dog Breeding Reform Group’s (DBRG) Standard for Dog Breeding: