A very big thanks to Paul Franklin from Somerset, UK
for sharing his insight into living with his Whippet, Misty
My dog's name is Misty. She's a 7 year old purebred Whippet and we have owned her from 8 weeks old.
We bought her from a UK Kennel Club registered breeder, which gave us peace of mind that she came from a caring place and not from a puppy farm. We visited the breeder on two occasions prior to taking her to see their home and how they cared for their Whippets.
We've found Misty quite easy to house train, but obedience training is another matter!
Misty attended obedience classes once a week for around two months. She was always responsive in class, but outside of school was a different matter!
She's not disobedient but she's just a little stubborn… but she always does what she asked if there's a treat at stake!
At one time we also had a dog whisperer come to our home to help us train her. He told us that Whippets score around 3 out of 10 on the intelligence scale and that they were difficult to train.
As a sighthound, Misty requires a good exercise session of between 45 minutes to an hour each day. Sometimes this might mean a long walk, but the best for her is to run around in an open field.
We live in the south-west of England and have some excellent places near to us where we can let Misty off the lead to chase a ball. This kind of exercise (short bursts of flat out running) is great for her given Whippets are bred to run. It's also quite something to see a Whippet running at full-tilt and it's something I never tire of.
We also tend to play with her and her toys at home to keep her entertained. The rest of the time she spends dozing… contrary to what most people think, Whippets are actually very calm dogs at home and they love to snooze!
Not at all. We wash her perhaps once a month in the summer, maybe even less. However, she loves rolling so she only ever really smells bad if she finds something she likes the smell of and throws herself into it!
In winter when it's mucky we tend to have to shower her down when it gets muddy, but this has nothing to do with her smelling bad.
Honestly we do not even notice her shedding. Whippets are single-coat dogs with short, fine fur so what they shed is not as noticeable as it is with long haired double-coat dogs.
Whippets are known for not barking and this is what we've found. The only time she really barks is if the doorbell rings unexpectedly or if she hears our neighbor's dog barking.
We have never had any complaints about Misty barking and, from other Whippet owners I've met, this seems to be the same for them too.
Misty is okay with other dogs though she is wary of them, and a little anti-social. We find this is especially the case with larger dogs, who she may feel threatened by.
We also have to be careful around smaller dogs though because her sighthound instincts can kick in. Smaller dogs that dart around arouse her chasing instinct and, given she's so fast, she can catch up with almost any dog.
We tend to keep an eye on her when we encounter small dogs and make sure we have her treats to hand as a distraction!
We had a cat called Pixie when Misty first joined the household but we could see from a puppy that we were likely going to have a problem as she got bigger.
Pixie was nonplussed with Misty when she was a little pup so she kept her distance. However we could see that as Misty grew and Pixie got older, there might come a time when Misty would chase and hurt her.
As I mentioned earlier, a Whippet's instinct is to chase small things that suddenly catch their attention. We just could not stop her from reacting whenever she saw our cat and this worried us. Other Whippet owners we know have told us similar stories that they found having smaller pets with a Whippet was difficult.
Sadly we decided to rehome Pixie with friends of ours, but we felt we would never feel comfortable to leave Misty and Pixie alone together.
Misty is great with children. Whippets are a very loving and actually quite a cuddly breed. They love human contact and of course children love to make a fuss of dogs.
Whippets are also very gentle dogs but they do love to go wild in the garden and so little ones might get bumped accidentally during play. As such I'd always recommend never leaving any dog alone with very small children.
Misty will eat any food If she's allowed!
We've used the same dog food (Wellness Core Ocean dry dog food) for many years and she's never tired of it. We sometimes add some cooked meat, fish or wet food to it for a little variety but pretty much she eats the same thing every day.
We do not groom her at all, though people often compliment us on how well we must be grooming her when they visit our home and find no doggy smell or dog hairs!
I'm almost embarrassed to admit it but Misty sleeps with us in our bed. I mentioned before they live to snuggle and really enjoy close contact with their family. This means she wants to be with us even at night!
This probably also has something to do with the fact that Whippets seek out warmth. They do not have a lot of body fat and their coats are not designed for cold… you will often find that Whippets like to burrow under blankets, duvets and even their own bedding.
Sharing your bed with a Whippet is not uncommon though. Many Whippet owners we've met often ask exactly the same question… "Does she sleep in your bed?"
You can of course be firm and train Whippets to sleep in their own beds, especially if you have another dog they can cuddle up to. However, we quite like having an organic hot water bottle… especially in the winter months!
As with getting any dog you need to be certain you can provide them with the kind of life they need. As medium-sized dogs Whippets do not need a lot of room, but they do need around 45 minutes of exercise every day.
Having your own garden no matter how small is a help as it gives them an area to sniff around in.
Perhaps the one thing that makes having a Whippet a challenge is they do not really like being on their own for very long. We do not leave Misty alone in the house for more than a few hours. Most of the time there is always someone at home so it's not a real problem for us, but it's something to bear in mind for anyone that would have to leave a Whippet at home alone all day while they work.
Paul has recently set up an informational blog for Whippet lovers which you can find here . This is a great blog with further information on this breed.
Thanks again to Paul for giving us this detailed insight into life with the lovely Misty! If you want further specific information on owning a Whippet you can contact Paul directly via his Blog .
We always recommend that you do your research before you go to pick out a puppy or visit a shelter. The more you know about a breed, the better prepared you are to live with, care for and train.
We hope this interview with a genuine Whippet owner has given you an insight into the breed and whether it is the right breed for you!
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