Starting Your Search for a Whippet
My sincere hope is that you are reading this BEFORE you ever get a dog. Hopefully, you are a potential first time dog owner and you read this and save yourself a lot of time, heartache, and money. Getting a dog is an investment of money and the next decade (AT LEAST) of your life. It is a decision that should NEVER be made based solely on the aesthetics of the dog. Dogs, just like they have been bred to look a certain way, have been bred to behave a certain way. Getting a dog WITHOUT knowing the breed characteristics, can be a recipe for disaster. We hope you continue to read and learn the way to finding the dog of your dreams.
Dogs have been selectively bred for millennia for various behaviors, sensory capabilities, and physical attributes. They were the first animals domesticated by man. There are over 340 dog breeds known throughout the world and the American Kennel Club (AKC) recognizes 192 breeds, each one distinct and separate from the other.
Each of the AKC registered dog breeds are assigned to one of seven groups representing characteristics and functions the breeds were originally bred for. Dog breeds within these groups usually share a behavior type based on the purpose for which they were bred. These behaviors, and their general temperaments, should be a big consideration in your search for the right breed for you. Coat and size are another big factor that should be considered when narrowing your list of potential future pets. For example, if you do not have time for grooming or are averse to a lot of shedding hair, perhaps a long coated breed is not for you, despite how much you may love the "look" of that breed.
The AKC is a great resource for looking into what breed will fit your lifestyle best.
I had always loved greyhounds. Growing up in Miami, I lived right across the street from Biscayne Kennel Club. It was a large greyhound race track built in 1962. I remember being able to hear the sounds of the crowd cheering on their picks. Once a year, at the beginning of the race season, children were allowed inside and I would walk along side the dogs as they were led to the starting box. Then I would go home to my little mutt from the pound and sew him racing blankets and pretend he was a greyhound in all his 10 pounds of glory.
Alas, when I first started looking into my first dog, my first choice was a greyhound. But at that time I lived in a community with a HOA that had a weight and size restriction. I was heartbroken. Other than the size, they were a great match for me. So, I started my search. I had loved Lassie as a child...perhaps a collie was a good choice...still too big. Shelties are smaller however. Hmmmm, but all that coat. I really didn,t want to deal with that. I had enough trouble with my OWN hair.
So, I then started from scratch. I researched many breeds and looked at size, temperament, breed characteristics, how they were with children, did they bark a lot, what about prey drive, and energy level. Eventually, when it was decided that a whippet would be my perfect breed, I started the search for a whippet breeder. Mind you, this was before the days of Google. The internet was in its infancy. An aol search on the most basic thing would yield like 3 results and take about 20 minutes (Thank you Dial Up internet) of waiting. My search took many months of looking through newspapers (which yielded nothing, but that was how we did it back then) but eventually, I was able to find a breeder that had a litter of 3 puppies. I had to wait a couple of months for my first whippet to come home with me, but he was the perfect match and thus my journey began.
Your journey is so much easier in some ways and much more treacherous in others. It's so easy to find a puppy now a days that you can find yourself with a puppy before you had time to really research what breed would be best for you. And also very easy to find money driven breeders that are not health testing their breeding stock. Visit the AKC.org website. Learn what breed is right for you. Read, research, Google, and keep an open mind. Once you know what breed you want, be patient. Don't be too eager and jump at the first litter of pups you see, however cute they are. Find several breeders and research them, their accomplishments, what they do with their dogs. Ask questions. Do they health test? How are the puppies raised?
Once you know what breed you want, start your search for a RESPONSIBLE breeder. Read our page ON BREEDERS to learn what to look for in a breeder so that you find the perfect puppy.
If you are interested in a whippet puppy, go to our CONTACT US page to fill out an application. We do not breed often, so if we do not have pupies, we will be happy to try to put you in contact with someone who does. Be watchful, keep learning, and good luck!
Purebred or Not
What if you're not even sure if you should get a purebred dog? Maybe, you really want a purebred dog, perhaps even a whippet but everyone is saying Adopt. What should you do? After researching all these breeds, is there a mutt you can get from a shelter that will be just as perfect for you?
The answer to that is, MAYBE. Maybe not.
When you get a dog from a shelter, even if it is a puppy, you do not know the background of that dog. You may know what the mom looks like, but you're not sure her pedigree either. The shelter folk will be happy to tell you what their experts have determined that their canine charges are. They will tell you what 1 or 2 breeds are "IN" your dog, but these guesses are notoriously unreliable and are just that...a GUESS. A peer reviewed scientific study has shown that the breed labels assigned to shelter dogs by staff members were wrong at least 75% of the time. And all of those breeds come with their own distinct personalities and characteristics. Add to that, that mixed breed dogs can vary greatly in size, temperament, and appearance even within ONE litter. What you get will be a...surprise.
A purebred dog can vary in appearance and temperament within a specific breed but generally they will be very similar.
Which dog you get should ultimately be your choice. Those that rigidly tout "Adopt don,t Shop" seek to deny YOU of that freedom of choice. The freedom to make the best decision for you and your family. A decision that we hope is based on facts not guilt, information not manipulation. A decision made out of a desire for specific breed characteristics that fit your life is not an unreasonable expectation. For more info on purebred dogs versus retail rescue, please read our articles under the ABOUT RESCUES tab and the page SHOP OR ADOPT