The Whippet is the smallest member of the sight hunting family of dogs but despite his lack of inches, is without peer in the hunting of small game, rabbits, hares and the like.
He is built on typical Greyhound lines but is daintier and more elegant throughout. Discriminating fanciers consider the Whippet the most graceful of all breeds.
These apparently fragile, timid little dogs are vicious killers in the field and will run a Greyhound off his legs in a rabbit-infested paddock.
With this amazing speed for their size, they can turn almost in their own length, and pick up a bunny while the larger dogs are floundering after their game.
The introduction of myxomatosis has decreased rabbit numbers considerably, but the odd ones which do escape the disease are despatched very quickly by a good Whippet. Sad to relate, many people who contract to clear properties of rabbits by other means, often leave a few odd ones behind, so that their “services” will be required again in the not so distant future.
Here again, a couple of good Whippets are worth much more than their keep. The “leftovers” are killed very promptly, and paddocks soon become “rabbit free.”
So keen is the Whippet on hunting small game that most country breeders of these dogs have to go to neighboring properties to break their young stock in because their own properties are rabbit-free.
While the rabbit is the true game for whippets, hares and foxes are kept under control, when a few of these little fellows are around.
Some argue that scars are detrimental to the dog, but breeders have realized that unless the dog possesses the requisite spirit for hunting, he is not a true Whippet, and most proudly point to honorable “battle marks,” and tell a real story of how they were gained.
The Whippet has been called the multi-purpose dog. Apart from his hunting ability — they are considered the fastest dogs on earth for their size — they are dainty, affectionate, sharp and easily controlled in the home.
Their fine, smooth coat gives them no protection whatever from the chill winter winds, and while a hardy dog in normal circumstances, they must be kept warm during the cold weather.
They were bred originally by north country miners for rabbit coursing because only the wealthy could afford to keep Greyhounds for coursing hares. With the establishment of rabbit coursing as a sport, Whippets rapidly became the poor man’s racehorse.
Modern Whippets breed very true to type and have probably won more best in show awards than any other breed for the number registered.