a resource for whippet owners & breeders
Your Growing Puppy
Believe it or not the way we feed our dogs is a controversial subject, with some owners believing that you must feed raw and natural food only while others stick to a complete commercial diet. Your dog can have a happy healthy life on either, it is your choice but feed the best quality that you can whichever diet you choose.
Your puppy will need lots of good quality food while it is growing. Remember to increase the amount you give as he or she grows. Adults are normally fed twice a day. It is personal choice but you may think that it is unfair for your dog to have an empty hungry feeling all day waiting for a meal in the evening.
Your breeder should give you a feeding regime when you collect your puppy.
It is best not to spay or castrate your puppy until he or she has matured, preferably after a year old, they will then have had a chance to develop as nature intended. The puberty hormones help to develop your puppy, if you neuter early then puberty won’t happen and your dog will look immature.
Whippets need a regular chance to run even as puppies but until around 7 months they don’t need formal exercise. Their bones are growing and hardening until about 12 months. Let them play in the garden and give gentle walks while they are growing and your puppy will develop into a healthy adult with a healthy skeleton less prone to arthritis.
There are as many opinions on vaccinations as there are on feeding, many breeders advise waiting until around 12 or even 16 weeks to start the vaccination programme by which time a puppy will be stronger physically and their immune system will have had a good chance to develop. Very rarely a whippet may react badly to a vaccine. It is now not necessary to boost every year as UK vets have a new protocol. Take the advice of your vet and the breeder of your puppy. The current vaccination protocol is available in the link on the left of this section. If your vet wants to vaccinate in a different way to the protocol we suggest that you print the link and take it to show your vet. It is endorsed by the world small animal veterinary association.
The crate should NEVER be considered as a place of daily confinement but training your puppy to sleep in a crate can be very useful as it means that you can easily take your dog on trips to friends and hotels which may not welcome loose dogs in the rooms. Your dog will always have their special “home from home” with them and feel settled and happy. It is also a good way to transport your dog in a vehicle. When you first shut your puppy up in the cage he will probably cry and fuss. If you ignore him he will eventually tire of his fruitless singing and will go to sleep or lie quietly. When he has been quiet and peaceful for a while open the door. He will soon learn that making a noise in his cage is useless and gets him nowhere. You cannot leave your dog in a crate all day while you are out at work unless you want a sad, frustrated, bored dog.
Whippets are sighthounds, bred to hunt without commands from the hunter. While generally not stubborn, they're independent and not the easiest breed to train. Don't let that discourage you: They are very intelligent and all can learn house manners easily, like sit, down, and stay. Some do well with more advanced obedience, including obedience competition. Most enjoy lure coursing (chasing a plastic bag pulled by a string) and racing and are also good in agility and flyball competition.
A whippet's desire to be clean makes him one of the easier breeds to housetrain. They will use newspaper that you put by the backdoor when they are little. Using a crate will make your job much easier but you can‘t expect a little puppy to be dry overnight until around 12~16 weeks although some are good from the very beginning. A new home can be stressful at first so even a housetrained adult can make mistakes early on. Some males may 'mark' (lift a leg on) walls, furniture, etc., indoors. This is true of any breed -- it's not a whippet characteristic -- and usually happens only if there are other males in the household.