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Longhaired Whippet: Wikis


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Longhaired Whippet
Other names None
Country of origin United States
Weight Male 25-30 pounds
Female 20-25 pounds
Height Male 19 to 22 inches
Female 18 to 21 inches
Coat Long, fine, silky
Color Any
Litter size 6-8 pups
Life span 12-15 years

The Longhaired Whippet is a medium-sized, sighthound. They are a coated variety of the Whippet, carrying the gene modification for longer coat. Although controversy originally focused on the origin of the longer hair, the modified FGF5 gene for longer hair in Greyhounds and Whippets has been scientifically proven, as reported by the College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University, 2215 Biomedical Physical Sciences.





The Longhaired Whippet is a medium-sized, athletic sighthound, identical in build to the Whippet but with a longer silky coat and fringes. The breed standard indicates that the Longhaired Whippet should conform to the general appearance outlined by the Whippet breed standard except, of course, for the longer coat. However, the coat should not prevent the dog from being able to fulfill its function in the field as a running dog.[1] They come in a variety of colors including: solids like red and black, parti-colors such as fawn and white, and various shades of brindle. They range in height from 18-22 inches at the shoulder and usually weigh between 20 and 30 lbs.[2]


Longhaired Whippets have sweet, friendly personalities and enjoy spending time with people and other dogs (especially dogs of their own kind). They are affectionate and loving yet still maintain the typical dignified sighthound demeanor. They tend to be a bit more biddable and eager to please than other sighthounds which makes them well suited to obedience and agility training. They do not make good guard dogs, but will bark a warning to their owners if they feel it necessary. [3]


Longhaired Whippets are capable of reaching speeds of 35 miles per hour, but are not high-strung or hyperactive. They are sprinters and do enjoy being able to run and play, but spend a large amount of their time lounging comfortably at home.

Like all Whippets, they do not have a lot of body fat and are not suitable to be kept outdoors year round, nor for long periods outdoors in the cold or inclement weather.


The history of the Longhaired Whippet did contain some controversy. Over 50 years ago an AKC Whippet breeder named Walter A. Wheeler Jr. was successful in bringing out a recessive long-coat gene in his smooth coated whippets. There are those that believe the coat came from cross-breeding and those that say that Longhaired Whippets are purebred Whippets, exhibiting or carrying the gene for long hair.

Two facts, substantiated by current research support the purity of the Longhaired Whippet;

1. 2006 scientific research has proven the modification for long hair does exist in Greyhounds, the foundation breed for Whippets.

2. Recent genome research has proven regular smooth Whippets to have a multiple breed heritage quite similar in genome structure to many other sighthounds and several herding dogs.

Evidence from paintings and other artwork do depict whippet-like dogs with long coats used for hunting. Evidence like this supports the idea that longhaired Whippets may have once existed at some point in history but then all but disappeared. However, the gene for long hair is recessive and can be carried down through tens of generations of smooth haired dogs, rarely seen, but not gone. [4]

The Longhaired Whippet is often confused with the Silken Windhound due to their similar appearance. The similarities between them have to do with the fact that the Longhaired Whippet is actually one of the founding breeds behind the Silken Windhound. Silken Windhound breed founder, Francie Stull, crossed Longhaired Whippets from Walter Wheeler's breeding kennel with Borzoi to create the breed now known as the Silken Windhound.[5] While the two breeds are related, they have developed in separate directions and are two very different breeds.

The Longhaired Whippet is also mistaken for the “Silken Windsprite”, a nickname originally used by Francie Stull and now used as a breed name in Europe for dogs of similar appearance and nature, but whom are not purebred, as stated by The Silken Windsprite Society, founded in Germany.


The Longhaired Whippet is not currently recognized by any of the major kennel clubs in the English-speaking world. However, there are two national parent clubs set up for the breed: The Longhaired Whippet Association (Incorporated in 1981) who produce only purebred Whippets exhibiting or carrying the long haired gene[6] and the International Longhaired Whippet Club,[7], which breeds both purebreds and mixes of LHWs with other breeds and registers both in their registry. Both clubs offer conformation and performance events for their members.

In addition to the events held by the national parent clubs, the Longhaired Whippet is also eligible to compete in conformation events held by rare breed clubs and minor kennel clubs including the Continental Kennel Club[8], the North American Kennel Club[9] and the International All-Breed Canine Association (IABCA).

Longhaired Whippets, like all Whippets, can excel in dog sports such as agility and obedience, which are open to all dogs through clubs such as the United States Dog Agility Association.[10]


Longhaired Whippets are potential carriers of Mdr1 which makes them sensitive to certain chemicals, particularly the common wormer known as Ivermectin. Carrier status for MDR1 can be established through a simple cheek swab tissue test.[11] The eye disorder choroidal hypoplasia sometimes occurs in this breed and in other types of dogs. A genetic test for this recessive trait is available. [12]


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