Longhaired Whippets are talented and versatile dogs, and excel in any number of activities. They epitomize beauty, grace, speed, intelligence, and elegance. These are just some of the things one can enjoy with a Longhaired Whippet. . .
When most people hear the words "Dog Show" they think of conformation competition, the beauty pageant of the dog world. The dogs are judged standing and trotting (also called stacking and gaiting) in comparison to the 'ideal' of structure, movement, fitness, and soundness as described in the written breed standard. The best dogs go on to earn their championship title. Although the American Kennel Club (AKC) does not currently recognize Longhaired Whippets, they can be shown at ILWC Specialty shows, some Rare Breed Shows, and are a recognized breed in some European countries.
Lure Coursing and Racing
These dogs were born to run! Longhaired Whippets are sighthounds, dogs originally bred to chase down small game for the stewpot, with little or no direction from the handler. While we don't need them to hunt for us anymore, the instinct to chase has never left them. In the sport of lure coursing, the traditional rabbit has been replaced by a lure (usually a white plastic bag!) attached to a line on a motorized pulley system and driven at speeds up to 40 mph! At the call of "Tally Ho" the lure is started and the handlers release their dogs, who chase the lure around a twisty course designed to resemble the running pattern of a rabbit. The coursing dogs are judged on speed, enthusiasm, stamina, and how well they follow the lure.
The ILWC also holds straight races, where the dogs chase a lure on a 200 yard long straight course. The dogs run in several heats of 4 dogs each, and speed is the deciding factor.
Both lure coursing and racing are tremendous fun for the dogs, and are breathtaking to watch.
If there was ever a sport made for the Longhaired Whippet, this is it! Agility is a fast-paced sport in which the handler directs the dogs through an obstacle course, which includes, jumps, tunnels, see-saws, dog walks, weave poles, A-Frame, and other obstacles. Teamwork is essential, and speed and accuracy are vital. Quite a few Longhaired Whippets have been very successful at the highest levels of agility competition. Agility, whether competitive or just for fun, is great excercise for both dog and handler, is loads of fun, and is a wonderful bonding experience.
Obedience and Rally
Intelligent and eager to learn, Longhaired Whippets can excel at these sports. In obedience competition, dogs are asked to perform basic behaviors such as sit, down, stay, heel, and come, with precision and enthusiasm. As they advance to higher levels, it gets more fun and challenging with behaviours like directed retrieves and scent discrimination.
Rally is somewhat similar to Obedience, this time with handler and dog navigating through a series of exercises directed by instructional signs. Rally is less formal than obedience, and is more upbeat and fast-paced, with a wider variety of exercises.
Whether aiming for competiton or simply learning basic obedience commands and good manners, obedience and rally training are great for developing and strengthening the handler/dog bond.
Flyball is an exciting, high speed sport in which dogs race over a series of hurdles, press a spring-loaded box with their paws, catch a tennis ball that flies out of the box, and return back over the jumps. Flyball is a relay race, wtih teams composed of four dogs each. The fastest team to run all four dogs with no penalties wins. The speed, athleticism, and enthusiasm of Longhaired Whippets make them very successful and well suited for flyball.
Nosework and Tracking
Longhaired Whippets may be sighthounds, but they still have extraordinary noses, and can be very accomplished at nosework and/or tracking.
The activity and sport of Canine Nosework is designed to develop a dogs natural scenting abilities, by using food and toys to teach a dog to find and alert to specific odors. It is great fun, builds confidence, and burns mental and physical energy.
Tracking is an activity that demonstrates a dogs natural ability to recognize and follow a scent, and is the foundation for canine search and rescue work. Unlike agility or obedience trials where the dogs must follow the commands of the handler, in tracking the dog is totally in charge, as only he knows how to use his nose to find and follow a scent.
Whoever said that sighthounds can't be water dogs? Many Longhaired Whippets love going down to the lake, pool, stream, or seashore for a dip, and some have been known to give retrievers serious competition in retrieving toys tossed in the water. Their quiet nature and small size also make them ideal kayak or canoe buddies.
Walking, Jogging, Hiking, Skiing
Anyone who has ever owned a Longhaired Whippet knows how much they love the outdoors. The athletic Longhaired Whippet makes a great companion for walking, jogging, hiking, cross-country skiing, or even backpacking. These dogs are often more reliable off-leash than their smooth cousins, though your Longhaired Whippet needs to have a very strong and well-practiced recall and should be well away from any roads before you consider letting them loose. (Some dogs should be on-leash or in a fenced area all the time - know how your dog will behave before you let them off-leash!) On-leash or off, Longhaired Whippets will be ecstatic to accompany you on your outdoor travels.
Yes, there are some Longhaired Whippets that are very enthusiastic and accomplished herding dogs! Longhaired Whippets really can do just about anything!
Despite their sophisticated, refined, and elegant appearance, Longhaired Whippets can be - and often are - playful, silly ... even goofy. As long as they are well socialized, they are very outgoing with people and other dogs and love to play. A good game of fetch, or a fit of zoomies around the yard or a field is great fun. Smart and easy to teach, they also love to learn (and show off) a variety of tricks.
Being With People
Longhaired Whippets are definitely "people dogs". They are incredibly sweet and loving, and they like nothing better than playing, cuddling, being petted, or simply being with their family and friends. Devoted companions, Longhaired Whippets are strongly attached to their families, but are generally very friendly and affectionate to strangers as well. Many are excellent therapy dogs, brightening the lives of children, the ill, and the elderly.
And especially - Lounging, Snuggling, and Napping
We're still puzzled at the misconception that Longhaired Whippets are hyper and high-strung! Yes, they are fast, playful, and driven, but they have a fantastic on/off switch! They are creatures of comfort, and are quite content to nap the day away in their favorite, most comfortable spots in the house (preferably with pillows!), or taking a relaxing sun bath. They are great lap dogs - whenever you sit down, chances are good that your Longhaired Whippet will be there for a cuddle. You might try to keep them off the bed, but you are likely to find them snoozing under the covers.