Whippet – Dog of the Week

Whippet Design from shepherds-grove.com

Whippets –  gentle, friendly, lively, intelligent, affectionate and quiet.

I had a request for Whippet mug and am very happy to add them to my list of dog breed designs.  Whippets are lithe graceful dogs with a motor that seems at odds with their fragile looks – they are the fastest dogs for their size and can reach speeds of 35 mpg.  I like this quote about Whippets in “Narrow Dog to Carcassonne” by Terry Darlington: “They are very thin.  On top they are velvet and underneath they are bald.  They are warm and smell of buttered toast.  They love every living creature to a rapture unless you are small and furry.”

The Whippet looks similar to the greyhound but is smaller and has different proportioned body and head.  The breed was originally used for catching rabbits and ratting in the mining areas of Northern England, and was not much seen outside that area prior to the Industrial Revolution. Hare coursing was a pastime enjoyed by peasants who owned Whippets.  The breed was also a trusty sidekick for poachers, being adept as they are at catching small furry game.  The Industrial Revolution brought people and their dogs into industrialized areas and thus into the awareness of other people.

In the 1800’s, Exhibiting dogs became popular among the upper classes in the Western world, so new dog breeds were sought after and registered.  Whippets were recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1871 and then three years later by the Kennel Club in England.  By the early 1900’s, showing and racing Whippets was being enjoyed by members of high society in Western Europe and America.  Today Whippets are still raced but they are also very popular companion animals.   They are also at home on the agility course, fly ball course, and the show ring.

Completely unrelated to the dog breed is the song that pops into my head whenever I say the word “Whippet” – Remember the song “Whip it” by Devo, from the 80’s?  Well, I’ve been singing that song to myself all week as I’ve been working on this design.  It was a fun time in my life, so I’ve wholly enjoyed having the song stuck in my head.  And I’m very happy to include this lively breed in my line-up.

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