Whippet

Man has used dogs to help him hunt for centuries and different types of hounds have evolved to deal with the various prey. Larger, heavier hounds would have been needed to deal with wolves and wild boar, but in areas where small deer, rabbits or hare were hunted, the speedier, more agile Greyhound type of dog would have been more suitable. The more enclosed area meant that a smaller hound would have been preferred over the Greyhound.

At the end of the eighteenth century, the medium-sized running dog appears to have acquired a name of its own - the ‘whippet’ or ‘snap dog’ - and was a popular breed among the working men in the north of the country. These dogs were used for rabbit hunting and later for racing. Whippets became known as ‘the poor man’s Greyhound’ and were highly prized possessions, living curled up by the fire and, it is said, often fed better than members of the family. They were expected to earn their keep at race meetings where betting took place, so a dog that lacked speed would not be considered of any value. Only the best females would be bred from, and only the fastest dogs used at stud, so once more, the Greyhound type of animal predominated and the Whippet quickly reverted to type.

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