Are Whippets Good Service Dogs?


Many people with disabilities get dogs because they are great companions and because they make fantastic service pets. But not all dogs have the skill and capacity necessary to become service dogs. The whippet is one of the best companion dog breeds because it is affectionate and quite intelligent, but whether a whippet would be a good service dog is another story.

As a general rule, whippets can be trained to be service dogs. Not only are whippets affectionate companions, but they are intelligent and obedient, which are two essential traits that a service dog must have. On top of that, whippets are physically capable enough to handle the rigors of being a service dog.

A whippet isn’t only a fantastic companion to have around the house but can also work as a great service dog, assuming you can train him properly.

Whippets as Service Dogs

Service dogs are pets that can train to help people with disabilities, such as guiding those who are blind and helping out other types of people who are disabled and cannot care for themselves whenever they are in public. 

This means a service dog must be strong enough and intelligent enough to help the disabled when it comes to different physical activities that may be too difficult.

Even though whippets may seem lean, they are pretty athletic and physically capable enough to handle the physical demands of being a service dog. Whippets are known to be great sporting dogs because they are energetic and agile enough to handle the different types of athletic feats they need to do when competing in various sporting events. They can even run at speeds of up to 35 mph as they are just smaller versions of the greyhound (the fastest dog breed in the world). So, if a whippet has those physical capabilities, it goes without saying that it can handle the various physical demands of being a service dog.

You also have to consider that service dogs must be obedient and intelligent enough to be trained and understand certain situations that require them to make quick on-the-spot decisions that can help keep their owners safe.

As for intelligence, whippets are one of the brightest. They were initially bred to be greyhound-like dogs because, in the past, people needed dogs that were smaller than greyhounds to make it easier for them to afford a living space for their dog. As such, whippets are very intelligent and can be trained to do all sorts of different tasks.

Of course, service dogs have to be obedient. That’s because obedience is a trait that allows a service dog to be trainable and do all sorts of different commands at any given moment, considering that people with disabilities need their service dogs to do specific commands that only they can do.

Given the fact that whippets were originally bred to be similar to greyhounds, they are also just as obedient as well. They are obedient enough to handle basic training for service dogs and advanced training for sporting events. So, if the whippet is obedient and intelligent enough to handle different commands for sporting competitions, they are pretty much capable of going through basic service dog training.

On top of all of that, service dogs must be affectionate, compassionate, and caring for their owners. They need to be able to put the needs of their owners first because they are the eyes, ears, and legs of those who are disabled.

So, with that, the whippet breed is highly affectionate and caring. These dogs are naturally attached to people and are more likely to be happiest when there are people around. They are even nice enough to lick strangers that they feel aren’t a threat to them or their owners. Of course, because service dogs need to be caring enough to know their owners’ needs and show the kind of affection that a disabled person needs, a whippet fits the bill just right.

Aside from that, other traits make a whippet a great service dog and maybe even more unique than other breeds qualified to be good service dogs.

The fact that whippet is generally mild-mannered and not aggressive makes it a great dog for a disabled person to have whenever he is in public as he knows that the dog won’t just suddenly attack a person out of nowhere.

As mild-mannered and as affectionate as they are, Whippets can also act as a watchdog for a disabled person, especially when the disabled are in public and the whippet senses that its owner is in danger. The good thing about the whippet as a service dog that can also act as a watchdog is that it generally doesn’t bark. Also, the fact that a whippet doesn’t bark makes it an excellent choice for disabled people who live in the city or apartments as the neighbors won’t see that as nuisances that make a lot of noise.

When you factor in all of those traits, you can be sure that the whippet can become a great service dog that is more than capable of handling the needs of anyone disabled. They are physically talented, intelligent, obedient, and caring enough dogs that they will certainly do well as service pets. 

Training a Whippet

As intelligent and as obedient as a whippet must be, the fact of the matter is that it still boils down to how it was trained for how well it performs as a service dog. Though capable physically and mentally, the whippet still needs to be trained well if you want it to act as a service dog appropriately.

Whippets need to be socialized as early as possible so that they get used to people early on. Whippets are known to be people dogs and are supposed to be great around people. But if they are not socialized early, it would be challenging to have them undergo basic service dog training because they probably won’t do well around trainers, who will undoubtedly be strangers to these dogs.

Also, physically, a whippet is naturally inclined to be lean and athletic, but it still needs some physical activities from time to time to stay fit and in shape. Being physically capable and robust will allow the whippet to perform well when trained as a service dog. 

That’s why, if you own a whippet and you want it to undergo basic service dog training, you must provide it with regular exercise time. You can do so by playing with the whippet yourself (they are incredibly playful), going on regular walks with it, or by getting another dog to play with the whippet. There is no need for you to train your whippet to be an athlete if you want it to stay fit and in shape.

As long as you are doing your part in taking care of the whippet as its owner while also providing the unique needs of this breed, you are already doing well to prepare it for the rigors of service dog training.

What to Watch Out For

Even though the whippet is generally good as a service dog because it fits the basic requirements, you still need to watch out for things.

For one, whippets aren’t the largest dogs as they were bred to be smaller greyhounds. They are moderately-sized dogs that probably won’t handle more difficult physical tasks or carry a lot of weight.

Also, even though whippets are generally not aggressive, there are still some male whippets that might show aggression due to how they were nurtured or maybe because of a genetic trait that they carry. In that regard, it can be challenging for people to have an aggressive whippet as a service pet because it may try to show aggression towards other animals or even to people while it is in service.

At the same time, whippets can also be too friendly to people. This can be a problem because they may not tell apart friend from foe and will probably act playful and friendly towards certain people who may have bad intentions.

However, all of the previously mentioned problems and issues tend to be minor. As long as the dog is adequately trained and has the traits and characteristics that will allow it to do well as a service dog, you won’t have many issues with this dog breed at all.

Some Other Things Whippets are Good For

Aside from being service dogs, whippets also do great as therapy dogs because they are pretty affectionate and caring towards people who need their affection and care. They can be great to have by the side of hospital patients because they can give plenty of love and affection. Whippets can even play with kids in a children’s hospital.

While they don’t make excellent guard dogs, whippets can still do well enough as watchdogs. And the best part about them as watchdogs is that they do not bark as often as other breeds do. This makes them ideal for city living and those living in apartments as they are moderately quiet.

Of course, whippets are great athletes that can easily stand out in sporting events. They are fast runners and high leapers that have the intelligence to learn specific commands and the obedience needed for basic training.

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