Rescue

For an application please visit Whippet Rescue and Placement (WRAP). The completed applications will be sent to Whippet Rescue and Placement and kept on file. When a dog comes into rescue the applications will be evaluated to determine the most suitable home for that dog, a home visit will be made and the family interviewed prior to placement.

Truth about sighthound puppies

By Sharyn Hutchens of Timbreblue Whippets

Someone asked about (the energy levels or activity levels of) sighthound puppies. They are bad. Many are very, very bad. Because they are so agile, they can get into things that other puppies don't even think about. At five weeks, our Whippet puppies are racing up and down the stairs. At six months they can leap onto your kitchen counters. At nine months they can leap from behind the sofa and land on the floor in front of it. They have energy to spare and if you don't get them proper exercise, you'll have a coiled spring in your house ready to BOING as soon as it gets a chance. They don't like being alone and will get in more trouble in five minutes than, say, a Collie puppy will get in all day. On the plus side, they are endlessly entertaining, very affectionate, and way more fun than any dog I've ever had.

We don't sell Whippet puppies to homes in which no one is home for most of the day. Leaving a Whippet pup alone for more than a couple of hours is a recipe for a problem dog. Some folks get away with it, but every Whippet with behavior problems we have ever taken into rescue came from a home where no one was there during the day. Around three years old, magic occurs and the Whippet turns into a perfect dog. Before then, you need to be ever-watchful, ever-patient, and ready to replace furniture when necessary.

We know of young Whippets who have:

Obviously we adore these dogs or we wouldn't have so many of them, and as I said, after three years old, they're pretty much perfect. But as puppies, they are demon spawn!

Aloofness is very unusual in the ones I've known. Ours all suffer from EGD (Excessive Greeting Disorder) and that applies to me, Walt, the mailman, the UPS guy, and I'm sure to burglars. They love *everybody.* We've had a few rescues through here who weren't accustomed to much affection from humans and so were less exuberant than our own, but after a few weeks or months living in a proper Whippet home, they always come out of their shells and learn to totally overwhelm anyone coming through the door. Let's put it this way. When people come over to meet the dogs or see puppies, we warn them to wear old clothes and be prepared for excessive greeting. After five minutes, the Whippets settle down and curl up in the stranger's lap, but that first five minutes is quite an experience for most people.

"What's the Truth About Sighthound Puppies?" Copyright © 2005 Sharyn Hutchens.

All Rights Reserved. Reprinted by permission.

Reasons NOT to adopt a whippet

If you want a dog to be an OUTDOOR ONLY DOG, don't get a whippet. Whippets have very little body fat and don't have an "all weather" coat. Even with adequate shelter, whippets do poorly in that type of environment. They are very attached to people and are miserable if they don't have a lot of quality time with their family!

If you want a dog to be a GUARD DOG, don't get a whippet. Whippets do not have the size or temperament to be a "guardian". Like most dogs they will probably alert you to the presence of strangers.

If you have visions of sitting in your easy chair with a dog quietly at your feet, think again! Most whippets are affectionate and enjoy close physical contact with their people. They are more likely to be in your lap than at your feet. Similarly, if the idea of a dog on the furniture gives you hives, you should probably look at another breed. While I'm sure a whippet could eventually be taught to stay off the furniture, they would be quite unhappy about it.

If you have cats (especially indoor/outdoor cats) and/or other small furry pets, you might want to reconsider whippets. Whippets generally have a lot of prey drive. Even dogs who are fine with the family cat indoors may view the same cat in a different light in the yard. Especially if the cat runs! If your neighbors have outdoor cats, how would they (and you) feel if your dog killed them? I do know people who have cats and whippets that peacefully coexist, and I also know people who had the combination end badly. This is an issue to consider carefully, and I would never leave the two loose, unattended.

If you are looking for a dog to accompany you off leash in various settings, I implore you to think carefully about getting a whippet or any sighthound. Sighthounds tend to have very high prey drive, and will take off after small furry creatures. During the chase they go "deaf" and won't even hear you calling them. Many whippets and other sighthounds have been hit by cars and lost because their owners trusted that they would not run off. The refrain is all too common, "But he was so attached to me I never thought he would leave my side..."; or "I had done it a million times and he never did anything like that before!" Some sighthound owners (myself included) successfully engage in off leash activities with their dogs, but only after intense recall training and in controlled areas.

As a companion to the above, if you are planning to use an invisible fence, please reconsider. Sighthounds are so fast, they can be through the containment system before they even realize they have been shocked. It just isn't enough of a deterrent in the face of great temptation (a squirrel, the neighbor's cat, etc.) Not to mention the fact that whippets are medium-sized dogs, and could be at the mercy of larger animals that wander into the yard. Even if the invisible fence keeps your whippet *in*, it doesn't keep the neighbor's 110 lb mutt *out*. I do know a few IG/whippet owners who successfully use invisible fences, but they are extremely dedicated owners and only use the system when they are outside WITH the dog.

***Contrary to what many of the breed selector websites say, whippets DO SHED!***

Some whippets have issues with moderate to severe carsickness. Many outgrow it by the time they are around a year old, but some don't.

Some whippets engage in copraphagia (eating feces) which is a complete gross out to some people. If you have a cat, you should make sure the dog doesn't have access to the box. There are products on the market designed to discourage a dog from eating dog feces, but they have limited success. The only foolproof method of dealing with the problem is picking up waste immediately.

Some whippets have issues with claustrophobia, severe crate anxiety and/or separation anxiety. Though I wouldn't call it "common", it does bear mentioning and can be very difficult to deal with.

Finally, if you expect perfect, automatic obedience, don't get a whippet! While whippets learn quickly with positive training methods and can be wonderfully well-behaved house dogs, they do not obey like a mindless automaton. People who want top obedience competitors choose breeds that don't mind lots of repetition and can be trained to a high level of precision. While a Golden Retriever might practice the same exercise 50 times in a single session, a whippet will do it twice and then look at you as if to say "Haven't you had your fun? Let's do something else already!"

If you have read all the way to this point, you may be wondering why anyone would want a whippet if all these things are true. Whippets are sweet and affectionate, as well as being beautiful and athletic. They have a dry mouth and require minimal grooming with little or no "doggy odor". They get along with most dogs and well-behaved children. They are generally clean and housetrain much more easily than their smaller brethren (IGs). They can be superb housedogs! It is also important to remember that all dogs are individuals, and you may find whippets that exhibit all (or none) of these traits.

Dog buyer's guide

A PUPPY IS A LIVING, THINKING, and FEELING CREATURE that needs to be loved and cared for. This does not mean a bowl of cheap kibble once a day and a cursory pat on the head. It means a well balanced diet of top quality food, vaccinations and regular veterinary care, brushing, toenail clipping, ear cleaning, adequate exercise, shelter from the elements, house training, socialization, obedience training, and, oh, yes -- lots and lots of patience and love; whether it turns out to be more than you hoped for in your wildest dreams or falls seriously short of even your minimum expectations.

A PUPPY IS A LIFETIME COMMITMENT -- for its entire lifetime.

Common mistakes

A PUPPY IS NOT A TOY, to amuse your children for a few weeks until the novelty wears off. A puppy is a child itself that requires a great deal of attention and training to become a pleasant companion in future years. If your children are toddlers, they can inflict unintended tortures on a puppy that may permanently scar its personality and behavior.

A PUPPY IS NOT A TEACHING AID, guaranteed to instill a sense of responsibility in older children. It is unfair to your puppy to put its entire well being into a child's hands. The child-dog relationship's greatest value lies in the camaraderie and unconditional love that exists between them. You will end up doing the chores and the dog will be ignored and unhappy.

A PUPPY IS NOT A BURGLAR ALARM, to chain in your yard to bark at all hours of the day and night. It is not a crime deterrent; it is a public nuisance that will at least make you very unpopular with your neighbors and may result in costly fines and civil penalties. Even worse, a dog on a chain is at the mercy of teasing children and vicious strays. This can make your dog turn mean, and what happens when he breaks his chain can land you in court. Your puppy is entitled to an escape-proof yard or dog run for his safety and your peace of mind.

A PUPPY IS NOT A GIFT, unless the giver is very sure that a puppy is wanted and the recipient is able to care for it. This can still be a mistake if the giver chooses a puppy that is poorly suited to the recipient's personality or life-style. Most recipients appreciate the opportunity to personally select the companion they will be responsible for nurturing for the rest of its life.

PUPPY IS NOT A FAD like a pet rock or a lava lamp. It will still be there when the breed is no longer “en vogue” and it will still need to be fed, cared for and picked up after.

A PUPPY IS NOT UNBREAKABLE and any “repairs” will be costly. Puppyhood diseases such as Parvovirus require hospitalization and intensive care. Swallowed objects and broken bones can require major surgery. If you are going to balk at spending several hundred dollars in the event of an emergency don't get a puppy!

A PUPPY IS NOT AN INVESTMENT to breed to “pay you back”. Breeding a litter is a tremendous responsibility. Experienced breeders consider themselves lucky to “break even” on a litter. Chances are your amateur attempt will jeopardize your pocketbook and the life and health of your companion dog.