It is generally agreed that the Whippet as we know it today developed in Northern England during the mid to late 19th century.
Greyhounds were crossed with small terriers, (including possibly the Bedlington Terrier), to produce a small, swift hound capable of hunting rabbits and other small game. During this era, the whippet belonged mainly to the working class people of England. These were factory and mine workers in Northern towns near Manchester and Liverpool, who worked hard and lived simple lives.
Because of this, the whippet became known as the "poor man's greyhound," or the "poor man's race horse." During non-working days, owners raced their whippets in fields and on town roads. These races became known as "rag races," probably because a piece of cloth was used as a lure. The dogs typically ran a straight 200 yard track.The Whippet was first recognized as a registerable breed in England in 1891, when it was recognized by the Kennel Club of England. Whippets are the most popular of the hound breeds at dog shows. Their size, short coat, and agreeable temperament make them the perfect family pet. Organized activities for Whippets and their families can be found in most areas, and include lure coursing, straight racing, flyball, agility matches, and of course, obedience training. Whippets are independent thinkers, and many of them find obedience training to be somewhat beneath them.
General Appearance Balanced combination of muscular power and strength with elegance and grace of outline. Built for speed and work. All forms of exaggeration should be avoided.
Characteristics An ideal companion. Highly adaptable in domestic and sporting surroundings.
Temperament Gentle, affectionate, even disposition.
Head and Skull Long and lean, flat on top, tapering to muzzle with slight stop, rather wide between the eyes, jaws powerful and clean-cut, nose black, in blues a bluish colour permitted, liver nose in creams and other dilute colours, in whites or parti-colour a butterfly nose permissible.
Eyes Oval, bright, expression very alert.
Ears Rose shaped, small, fine in texture.
Mouth Jaws strong with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws.
Neck Long, muscular, elegantly arched.
Forequarters Shoulders well laid back with flat muscles. Moderate space between the shoulder blades at the withers. The upper arm is approximately of equal length to the shoulder, placed so that the elbow falls directly under the withers when viewed in profile. Forearms straight and upright with moderate bladed bone. Front not too wide. Pasterns strong with slight spring.
Body Chest very deep with plenty of heart room. Well filled in front. Brisket deep. Broad, well muscled back, firm, somewhat long, showing graceful arch over the loin but not humped. Ribs well sprung. Loin giving impression of strength and power. Definite tuck up.
Hindquarters Strong, broad across thighs, with well developed second thighs. Stifles well bent without exaggeration with hocks well let down. Able to stand naturally over a lot of ground.
Feet Oval, well split up between toes, knuckles well arched, pads thick, nails strong.
Tail No feathering. Long, tapering, reaching at least to the hock. When in action carried in a delicate curve not higher than the back.
Gait/Movement Should possess great freedom of action. In profile should move with a long, easy stride whist holding topline. The forelegs should be thrown forward and low over the ground. Hind legs should come well under the body giving greater propelling power. General movement not to look stilted, high stepping, short or mincing. True coming and going.
Coat Fine, short, close in texture.
Colour Any colour or mixture of colours.
Size Desirable height: dogs: 47-51 cms (181/2-20 ins); bitches: 44-47 cms (171/2-181/2 ins).
Faults Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog.
Note Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.