Whippets are very athletic dogs and do require a minimum of walking and playing every day. In the best cases, Whippets will have access to a safely enclosed backyard with lots of room to run and play, but those owners that are willing to make the time to go to a local park or other safe area will find that this will be sufficient for their pets. Whippets are well known for their love of being couch potatoes for the majority of the day, but do require a way to use up their stored energy every day. In this article, we'll take a look at the best places to exercise your Whippet and some suggested activities to keep your Whippet in good shape.
Not only do Whippets need a large area in which to play, but it is essential that any area where they are allowed to be off their leash is very safe. A large, sturdy fence will be necessary to help keep Whippets safe. They are not especially known as diggers but are very lithe and could slip under a fence. Whippets are also able to jump very high, clearing fences as high as five or six feet. Because of their history as hunters of small furry animals, this instinct is still very much intact and a Whippet in an unsecured area would easily be tempted to chase after a little squirrel with little provocation. If you don't have a backyard that would be suitable for a Whippet to play in, some fanciers suggest a local tennis court or an enclosed dog park.
Going on a brisk walk is another solution for keeping a Whippet in shape. It really isn't recommended to take a Whippet for runs or along bike rides, as Whippets are traditionally sprinters and won't do well running for extended periods. Most Whippets behave very well when leashed and love to walk and explore, so this is a great substitute for those that don't have large backyards.
Whippets are very versatile dogs and enjoy a wide variety of activities. Because of their running and jumping prowess, Whippets are great companions for playing Frisbee. Slightly slower than their cousins the Greyhounds, Whippets also excel in a number of racing events. Lure coursing is meant to simulate the act of rabbit hunting in an open field. The lure is often a white plastic bag that is attached to a line that is pulled through a pulley machine. Groups of Whippets race two or three at a time and dogs run two heats, after which they are ranked by their cumulative score. Straight or oval Whippet racing is also very popular. This is the same principle as Greyhound racing, except that gambling on Whippets is never allowed. Whippets also do well in events such as Obedience and Agility, and are a great way for handlers and dogs to work together as a team.