Though the Whippet was originally bred for hunting small game and racing, this breed has always been raised indoors as part of the family. Known for their quiet, affectionate and friendly nature, Whippets are a pleasure to live with and are superb companion animals.
When considering a particular breed, most people often wonder about shedding. Many dog breeds, like the Golden Retriever, are heavy shedders which require frequent, intensive grooming. Other breeds, such as the Poodle, shed very little. So, what about the Whippet?
Do Whippets Shed? Yes. Whippets do shed, though not nearly as much as heavier coated dogs. They’ll shed lightly during the year and undergo two seasonal sheds as well – once in the spring to lose the winter coat and a lighter shed in the fall to shed the summer coat.
Compared to some other breeds, Whippets are super easy to care for.
But you might be surprised by what some actual owners have to say about their Whippet’s shedding. That’s at the end!
Do Whippets Need Grooming?
Whippets truly are easy to care for. Minimal grooming is all it takes to keep this breed looking its best. If you are looking for a dog who will only need a few minutes of grooming per week, the Whippet may be a perfect choice.
Why Grooming is Important
If the Whippet is so easy to care for, why is grooming necessary at all? Well, grooming, however minimal, is important for several reasons.
Regular brushing removes loose hairs from the coat. The more hair removed by brushing, the less hair will accumulate throughout your home. Unless you really enjoy sweeping and vacuuming, routine brushing is the way to go to minimize the amount of dog hair on your clothes, furniture, and floors.
Whippets are lean dogs with very little body fat for cushioning. For this reason, they love to relax on comfy couches, plush chairs, and soft beds. Brushing them will help keep your furniture from developing a coat of its own.
A dog’s skin has naturally-occurring, protective oils that help to keep the skin moisturized and give the coat a glossy appearance. Regular brushing evenly distributes these oils and keeps the skin and coat healthy. The slight pressure applied while grooming also improves blood circulation, which is always a good thing.
Issues that might have otherwise gone undetected are often discovered during grooming. Cuts, scrapes, hotspots, swellings, fleas, and ticks are typically only noticed when time is intentionally spent on the coat.
A Whippet’s thin coat does not offer very much protection from injuries, so they tend to be more prone to getting a bit banged up.
Whippets are very people-oriented and soak up attention. Grooming provides the perfect opportunity to spend some one-on-one quality time with your dog and develop a deeper bond with him. While grooming your Whippet, tell him how handsome he is and how much you love him. He may not understand every word, but he will definitely appreciate the loving tone of your voice.
What Does Grooming A Whippet Involve?
Grooming should involve more than simply brushing. Think of grooming as a combination of a health checkup and spa day for your Whippet.
During grooming, a Whippet’s eyes should be checked for any signs of infection, injury, or dullness. Look especially for discharge, squinting, and redness, any of which could indicate a problem and should be checked by a veterinarian. Healthy eyes should appear bright and clear.
Whippets are not usually prone to developing ear infections, but regular inspection of the ears should take place nonetheless. Check for waxy buildup, bad odors (a classic sign of infection), and any dirt (could be a sign of ear mites). If necessary, clean the ears with an ear cleaning solution designed for dogs. Just place a few drops in the ear, gently massage the base of the ear, and wipe dry with a soft cloth.
Once or twice per month, a Whippet should be treated to a pedicure. Many dogs don’t like their feet being handled and may not view this as luxurious treatment, but it is important for their foot health. Trim the nails with dog nail clippers or a pet nail grinder. Just be mindful not to nip the nail quick by mistake. Be sure to check the footpads as well for any cracking or cuts.
One aspect of grooming which is often neglected is tooth care. Brushing your Whippet’s teeth two or three times per week will help to prevent the build-up of tartar and plaque which can lead to future problems. Always use toothpaste for dogs, as ingredients found in many human toothpastes are toxic to canines.
What Tools Should You Keep on Hand for Grooming?
Whippets really are quite easy to groom and won’t need an expensive array of special tools. Of course, you’ll want a device to trim their nails and a toothbrush for their oral care. An ear cleaning solution is great to have on hand too.
A soft-bristled brush will be fine to use on your Whippet to remove loose hair and dirt from the coat. Remember that a Whippet has a thin coat and skin, so be gentle when brushing.
A rubber curry brush or a Zoom Groom is ideal for Whippets. The rubber gets the job done without being too harsh. Grooming gloves are easy to use – just slip them on and pet your dog to remove dirt and hair.
Coat Care and Maintenance
Under normal circumstances, a Whippet will only need to be brushed once a week or so. During seasonal shedding, daily brushing might be better to help keep the mess to a minimum.
Surprisingly, some Whippet owners don’t use a brush at all but prefer to use a damp cloth or a baby wipe in lieu of brushing. A chamois can also be used and leaves the coat smooth and shiny. In fact, Whippets in the show circuit are often wiped with a chamois just before entering the ring. The results are that good!
When you brush or wipe a Whippet, always work in the direction of hair growth and check him carefully for any wounds before you begin.
Whippets won’t need a bath very often – the fewer, the better. Frequent shampoos strip the skin’s oils leaving it itchy and dry, so avoid unnecessary baths. Even if your Whippet comes home covered in dried mud, try brushing before resorting to a bath.
When bathing is necessary, use a gentle shampoo (not one for people), preferably one containing oatmeal and/or aloe, like this one. Many people claim wonderful results with Mane ‘n Tail Shampoo and Conditioner, even though it’s technically for horses.
If your Whippet does wind up with dry, itchy, or flaky skin, try adding omega fatty acids (especially omega 3s) to their diet in the form of supplements or oily fish to nourish the skin from the inside out. Skin & coat chewable supplements like these popular ones may help too. Applying coconut oil to the skin or Boo Boo Butter can work wonders as well.
Here are several homemade treatments that you can pour over, spray, or sponge on to combat dry skin.
- Vinegar – Mix 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar with 1 gallon of warm water.
- Green tea – Make a 50/50 solution of green tea and water.
- Listerine – Use 1 part Listerine (the original) with 3 parts water.
Do Whippets Shed More Than Greyhounds?
Greyhounds were actually used to create the Whippet breed, so their shedding tendencies are typically very similar. The amount of shedding can vary from dog to dog in both breeds, but many claim that Whippets shed slightly less, on average than Greyhounds, possibly due to the occasional addition of Terrier blood in the Whippet’s early days.
Are Whippets Clean Dogs? Do They Smell?
Whippets are typically very clean. They generally avoid getting dirty but are fairly good at self-grooming when the inevitable happens.
The Whippet’s short coat does not tend to trap dirt or odors, so that unmistakable “doggy smell” is not an issue. Many owners claim that their Whippets are more like cats than dogs in terms of keeping themselves clean and neat.
What Owners Are Saying About Shedding…
“Very little. Hard to find any shed hairs. That’s why I got a whippet, so he can jump up and lie on my bed when he wants and I don’t have to worry about mess, like other dogs.”
“Quite a bit! I always laugh at the lie of whippets being low-shedding. But seriously, way less than some other breeds, like my friend’s pug.”
“Shedding? Oh my god. The low shed is technically true but is such a lie. If you see a rando whippet at the dog park and pet its head and say hi, you’ll have no or minimal hair on you. If its yours and its laid out shoulder to knee and its expecting its daily massage, you’re gonna be covered. The couch or bed is gonna be covered. The room next to it is gonna have tumble weaves. But you won’t itch or sneeze. It’s a very clean mess”