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.
(Known as Coefficient of Inbreeding: 'COI'. It should be as low as possible.)
The UK Kennel Club breed average COI is 9.5% - See 'A Beginners Guide to COI'
Gene Pool Size
(Known as Effective Population Size: 'EPS')
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)
- Glycogen Storage Disease V11 (GSDV11)
- Muscular Hypertrophy
- Multi Drug Resistance 1 (MDR1)
Availability of a DNA test does not mean that it is always necessary or even desirable for breeders to use this test.
Other Breed-Specific Health Screening Schemes
Heart testing for Mitral Valve Insufficiency (Echocardiogram)
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)
- Endocrine diseases
- Various immune mediated diseases. See: http://whippet-health.co.uk/#/immune-disease/4531648503
- Heart disease – eg mitral valve disease, cardiomyopathy
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.
You are strongly advised to buy from a breeder who uses (or is prepared to use) the AWF Puppy Contract and Puppy Information Pack (PIP): www.puppycontract.org.uk
The breeder should also be familiar with the CFSG/DBRG Code of Practice for Dog Breeding