Online banking

All about your Whippet

Dainty and graceful, loving nothing more than human company.

Elegant, gentle and lightning fast, a Whippet can’t resist the thrill of the chase. Learn more about this affectionate, friendly and undemanding dog, from his grooming and exercise needs, to the things you can do to keep him happy and healthy.

Black Whippet Beginning Its Run

Breed information & advice

The Whippet belongs to the hound group, and is not a miniature Greyhound as some might suspect. Curvaceous and slender, he is suited to living indoors with his family and despite his reputation for speed and agility; he is quiet and low energy when at home.

  • The Whippet is a great companion dog, who loves nothing more than taking his place by the fire – he will need a jacket when outdoors in colder conditions.
  • Because his short coat is light and thin, he won’t need brushing more than once a week – and sheds very little.
  • Typically he will weigh between 8kg and 22kg, when fully grown.
  • A healthy Whippet will usually live for 12 to 15 years.

Typical size of a Whippet

Medium: 46cm-56cm

Your Whippet will be off like greased lightning when you’re on one of your walks together – but don’t worry about keeping up, as that burst of energy doesn’t tend to last. Up to one hour of exercise a day will keep him in shape, and unless you are in a fenced or secure area, you may want to keep him on a leash as he will be hard to retrieve if he picks up a scent.

Feed him twice a day with good quality food, adapting the amount to his size, age and exercise – he will need smaller portions when not exercising, as he has low energy levels when indoors. Check his food packets for portion recommendations.

Up to one hour of exercise per day

Take your Whippet out once or twice a day for up to one hour of exercise, and he’ll thank you for the chance to burn off some energy.

Whippet Running In A Field
Standing Whippet Dog Looking Straight Ahead

Common health problems & illnesses

Whippets are generally healthy dogs but they’ll need regular check-ups and vaccinations to stay in good shape. There are some conditions that this breed may be more prone to, and it’s worth being aware of the main symptoms, so you know what to watch out for.

1. Cuts, scrapes and wounds

Due to his thin coat, the Whippet’s skin is less protected against the elements than many other breeds. It is little wonder then that when outside and racing around at top speed, he might catch or cut his body. Minor scrapes can be cleaned using salt water, and should be kept dry until they heal. Take your dog to a vet if the tear is large and bleeding a lot, as he could need stitches.

11% of Tesco Pet Insurance claims for this breed in 2015 were for wounds.

2. Foot conditions

Whippets are prone to problems with their feet, and are one of only two dog breeds known to get corns: hardened and thickened patches of skin that make it painful to walk, and could cause your dog to limp. The black, protective outer layer of his foot pads are also prone to cuts and grazes, while grass seed can get trapped in between his toes, and if left could cause pain and infection. As part of your dog’s daily walk, it’s a good idea to check his feet once you get home. Keep an eye out for him licking his paws and looking uncomfortable. Your vet may be needed to extract the seed using long tweezers.

3. Lethargy

There’s nothing faster than the Whippet when it’s time for his walk – which is why it can be surprising to see him acting sluggishly. There are many potential causes for lethargy, from obesity to infections like parvovirus or distemper – some of which can be avoided if your dog is vaccinated. If it persists it is always worth taking your dog to see a vet.

4. Warts and growths

Bumps and lumps will be more pronounced on the Whippet due to his short, fine coat, and you will be able to look out for growths such as warts or fatty benign tumours, during his weekly grooming session. Unless they are stopping his movement, some skin growths can be harmless, however if you are concerned they could be contagious or something more serious, your vet can investigate.

5. Lameness

While he’s still growing, the Whippet can hurt himself through sheer excitement and overexertion that can lead to injury. When you are walking your puppy, it’s important not to place too much pressure on him during daily exercise – a good rule of thumb is five minutes’ exercise for every month of his age. Check for signs of lameness such as a limp or walking hesitantly.

Dog name popularity

If you’re struggling to think of a name for your new Whippet, take a look at the most popular ones at Tesco Pet Insurance for inspiration.

Dog name popularity

Average treatment costs

Wondering whether pet insurance for your Whippet is worth it? We’ve put together the top five conditions claimed for by Tesco Pet Insurance customers in 2015, and the average cost of treatment.

ConditionAverage treatment cost
Dog bite injuries£415.72
Foot condition£311.24
Back and spinal conditions£768.91

Tesco Pet Insurance claims data from paid treatments including excesses from 01/01/15 to 31/12/15.

Considering Whippet insurance?

We know your dog is an important member of the family, so give them the protection they deserve with Tesco Pet Insurance.

Tesco Bank Pet Insurance is arranged, administered and underwritten by Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance plc.

Grooming advice

Your Whippet’s short and shiny coat won’t need brushing very often - once a week will be enough. During this time you can also give your pet a look over to check for scratches and cuts. It’s a good chance to pamper him and enjoy bonding.

You won’t need to give him a bath very often either, as your Whippet’s short coat doesn’t usually get too dirty. The general rule is once every three months, but be careful to use a specialised shampoo as this breed tends to have sensitive skin.

Your dog’s nails should wear down naturally, but if you hear his feet clicking when he is walking or running on hard surfaces, you know it’s time to clip them. Being a more sensitive soul, he’ll need a lot of encouragement to build up his nerve when you start, and it’s very important not to cut to the quick as this can be painful.

Fun & interesting facts

  • Whippets were first bred in Yorkshire and Lancashire during the late 1700s, to help hunters catch their prey.
  • The breed competes in many sports including track racing, agility and flyball, while they also make perfect therapy dogs.
  • A Whippet does not make a good watch dog as he is quiet, polite and usually very friendly towards strangers.
  • You’ll have a hard time trying to keep him off your furniture as there’s nothing he loves more than snuggling on the sofa.
  • The Whippet has many famous owners, including Alex James from the band Blur and author Sebastian Faulks.

Important information


The content on this page aims to offer an informative introduction to pet breeds, but does not constitute expert veterinary advice. If your dog or cat falls ill or has an injury, contact your vet immediately. Tesco Bank Pet Insurance has a partnership with vetfone™ which means that as a customer, you can benefit from their advice as part of your policy.

Tesco Bank Pet Insurance is arranged, administered and underwritten by Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance plc. The vetfone™ service is provided by Vetsdirect Ltd.

All facts and figures were correct at date of publication and were compiled using a range of sources.


Vetfone™ is a 24/7 helpline that provides expert advice from nurses qualified with the RCVS (Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons). If your pet has a medical emergency, or you need reassurance on grooming, feeding or general advice, vetfone™ is there to help.

As a Tesco Pet Insurance customer, you can access expert veterinary advice provided by RCVS registered vet nurses as a standard benefit with your policy, and the service is provided at no additional cost. A quick call could answer any questions you have about your pet, give you peace of mind and could even save you an expensive trip to the vet.

Tesco Bank Pet Insurance is arranged, administered and underwritten by Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance plc. The vetfone™ service is provided by Vetsdirect Ltd.

Discover more breeds

Browse our other cat and dog guides to learn about some of the UK’s most popular breeds.