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); Primary lens luxation (PLL)
Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) : No EBVs are currently available for this breed
DNA Tests Available
DogWellNet and IPFD Harmonisation of Genetic Testing for Dogs (HGTD)
- Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA CH)
- Degenerative Myleopathy (DM)
- Glycogen Storage Disease V11
- Muscular Hypertrophy
- Colour Coat Dilution Alopecia
Availability of a DNA test does not mean that it is always necessary or even desirable for breeders to use this test. Good breeders will have followed the recommendations of the appropriate breed clubs, Kennel Club and/or other qualified experts.
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)
- Heart: Mitral valve disease (MVD)
- Multiple drug sensitivity
- Phosphofructokinase deficiency (PFK)
- Multi Drug Resistance (MDR 1)
- Cancer: Canine cutaneous histiocytoma; Haemangiosarcoma
- Primary Lens Luxation (PLL)
- Hydroxyglutaric Aciduria (L-2-HGA)
- Hyperuricosuria (HUU)
- Various immune mediated diseases. See: http://whippet-health.co.uk/#/immune-disease/4531648503
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: