Back in the day, lean, fast, coursing hounds of all sizes were used for hunting rabbits. It did not matter to those early hunters if the dog was 17" or 26" inches tall at the shoulder as long as it could chase down the prey. It was only when dog shows came into vogue that the Whippet and Greyhound were defined, and subsequently bred, as separate dog breeds. The smaller cousin, the Italian Greyhound, was bred as a companion dog with the look of the bigger sighthounds and moved into the toy breed category.
The American Whippet Club has a fascinating article on the history of Whippets, if you want to know more. Check it out here. Opens in new page, we don't want to lose you.
While I may show my age, I admit that every time I say, or type, Whippet, the phrase "Whip It, Whip It Good," flickers through my mind. Thank you, DEVO, for searing that phrase into our minds for eternity. Want a flash back moment? Click on DEVO.
Whippet was defined by The Oxford Dictionary of English in 1550 as “a lively young woman; a light wench.” It also was used to refer to a “nimble, diminutive or puny person.” Then, by 1610, for “a small breed of dog,” and up until the mid 1800s the term Whippet described “a dog bred betwixt a greyhound and a spaniel.”
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