How Long Do Whippets Live? Vet Reviewed Average Lifespan, Data & Care


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The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.


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Whippets are often mistaken as Greyhounds, but this dog breed is uniquely its own. As some of the fastest dogs in the world, these pups are highly athletic. However, they’re also pretty lazy, laidback, and incredibly gentle, making them wonderful pets.

If you’re considering adopting one of these lightning-quick canines, though, you’ll need a good idea of the breed’s average lifespan to help determine how much owning one will cost.

So, how long do Whippets live? Whippets live 12–15 years on average, but certain factors, including genetics, diet, and more, can affect how long their lives are. Here’s a closer look at why some Whippets live longer than others and how you can enable yours to live their longest life.

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Whippet Average Lifespan

Whippets can live anywhere between 12 and 15 years of age. However, a 2013 study by The Kennel Club and the British Small Animal Veterinary Association Scientific Committee found that the median lifespan for a Whippet was 12 years and 10 months.1 The top cause of death found in this study was old age, so it may be rarer for Whippets to live to see 15 years, but with proper care, yours can have a long, happy life.

whippet in field
Image Credit: Dora Zett, Shutterstock

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How to Care for Your Whippet for a Long Lifespan?

How can you care for your Whippet so it has a longer lifespan? With proper care, your dog might just make it to 15 years, but you need to know what that care involves. Here are some factors that can affect your pet’s lifespan.

Environment

The happier your dog is, the healthier they’ll be because they aren’t experiencing anxiety or stress, which can shorten lives. That’s why making sure your pet has the most Whippet-friendly environment is critical. For the Whippet, this means being an inside dog, as they love companionship and always want to be around their family. If you leave this pup in the backyard, you’ll have an unhappy Whippet on your hands.

You’ll also have a miserable dog if you leave your Whippet alone for long periods, as they are prone to separation anxiety. These dogs do best in homes where someone is there with them the majority of the time.

Surprisingly, considering their need for speed at times, Whippets can do well in urban settings and as apartment dwellers. However, they have a high prey drive, so they generally need to be kept leashed when outside the home, for their safety. If a Whippet catches sight of something it considers prey, it will dash after it, and these dogs are difficult to catch. However, your Whippet should have regular opportunities to have a good run and play off-lead in secure fenced areas.

Fawn and white Whippet dog standing in grass
Image Credit: Eudyptula, Shutterstock

Feeding & Diet

The lifespan of your Whippet can be increased if they receive the proper nutrition required to stay healthy suitable for their life stage. This means feeding your pet high-quality dog food high in protein, omega fatty acids, and all the minerals and vitamins your pet needs. As to how much you should feed your Whippet, it’s best to talk with your dog’s vet to see what they recommend. Whippets are naturally very long and lean, and they should stay that way, so you want to ensure you aren’t overfeeding them.

Breeding History

If you decide to get a Whippet from a breeder, be sure you’re using a reputable breeder. Reputable breeders will use bloodlines that haven’t tested positive for common health concerns, make sure puppies are raised in a clean environment, and answer any questions you might have freely.

They’ll also willingly hand over any health information you ask for regarding the parents of your puppy.

One good question to ask any breeder is if a puppy’s parents are related and, if so, how closely, as the inbreeding of dogs is a factor that can lessen lifespan. It is also a good idea to know about the medical history of the parents and grandparents, so you are aware of health conditions evident in the family line. 

whippet dog hold by owner
Image Credit: Natallia Miranchuk, Shutterstock

Healthcare

A dog’s health is one of the most significant factors that can affect how long they live. The Whippet is a relatively healthy dog, so they don’t deal with many health issues. But as with all breeds there are some health conditions they may be more prone to.

Here are a few of these problems that may impact how long they live:

  • Heart conditions: Whippets can be prone to heart disease, in particular mitral valve disease, a heart condition where the mitral valve is weakened. In fact, the study previously mentioned concerning the median lifespan of the Whippet found that cardiac conditions were the number two cause of death for this breed after old age.
  • Deafness: Heritable deafness has been found in some Whippet family lines (though not all Whippets will be deaf). Some are born deaf, while others lose their hearing as they get older. Deafness can be dangerous for dogs, as they aren’t able to hear approaching cars when outside. If your Whippet is deaf, it’s vital to always keep them on a leash or in a fenced-in area.
  • Bloat: Bloat is most often associated with large breed dogs, but even though they are a medium-sized breed, the Whippet has a deep chest (also associated with bloat). This means there is a chance your Whippet could develop bloat, which is an emergency. Gastric dilatation and volvulus (GDV) is quickly life threatening, this is when the bloated stomach twists on itself.

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The 3 Life Stages of a Whippet

1. Puppy: 0–12 months

The end of puppyhood can be anywhere between 8 and 12 months for a Whippet, as this is when they should reach their adult size. The puppy years are crucial for dogs; this is when training and socialization must be done for the best results (which will keep your Whippet safer in the long run). These months are also the time to ensure your pet begins eating a quality diet suitable for their age, that will help them grow as they should.


2. Adult: 12 months to 7 years

Most whippets will have reached the weight and height standard for the breed by 12 months, but a few may continue growing until 18 months. This is the period of your dog’s life where you can keep them healthiest by making sure they get to all their vet visits, eat nutritious food, and get all the physical and mental stimulation they need.

whippet dog standing in the woods
Image Credit: Nadja Huebner, Shutterstock

3. Senior: 7+ years

The senior years are the point in your dog’s life when keeping a closer eye on their health is essential. At this point, your dog may be showing signs of deafness (if they weren’t born deaf) or mitral valve disease. Making routine vet visits is more important than ever during the senior years, as doing this can help you catch health problems sooner rather than later.

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How to Tell Your Whippet’s Age

There are some clues you can look for to help determine your dog’s age but it can be difficult to accurately determine age in adulthood. For puppies- you can look at their teeth. Dogs less than 3/4 weeks old won’t have any, but those in the 1- to 2-month-old range will have tiny, extra sharp baby teeth. From about 3 months of age permanent adult incisors start coming through, and adult canines are visible from 4-6 months of age. All baby teeth will be lost by about 6 months of age and your Whippet will have permanent adult teeth that are pearly white.

After this, the build up of dental tartar, wearing of the teeth and periodontal disease increases with age but this is variable with genetics and lifestyle playing a part. Whippets are a breed that is more prone to dental disease, so dental care is an important part of keeping them healthy.

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Conclusion

If you’re the parent of a Whippet, you can expect yours to live between 12 and 15 years; however, the average age of this breed will be about 12 years and 10 months. There are ways to ensure your dog has a longer life, though! By making sure your pup is eating a healthy, quality diet, has a safe environment to play in, and goes to all vet visits, you can help your dog live their longest, healthiest, and happiest life.


Featured Image Credit: Fotomaha, Shutterstock





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