When do whippets calm down?
Did you know that the most searched question about whippets on Google is ‘When do whippets calm down?’
Most likely typed in by new owners who’re wondering why their sweet, angelic little pup isn’t the chill and mellow character that whippets are notorious for being. Trust us, we’ve been there!
Online sources say whippets start to calm down around the 18-month mark, others say much older. So, we’ve conducted research of our own, speaking with a vet, a behaviourist and whippet-owners of the internet to get a more accurate answer about these curious creatures.
We asked 297 whippet-owners
We put it to a vote, asking the whippet-owning people of Instagram what age their hounds started to mellow out. The results were far more varied than we’d expected.
Out of the 297 people who cast their vote, the majority (41%) said that their whippets calmed down between the ages of 1-2 years old. A further 34% said that their’s mellowed out between 2-3 years old, with 17% saying older than 3. A small selection (8%) voted for less than 1 year - perhaps they’re the lucky ones.
1 year 8% | 1-2 years 41% | 2-3 years 34% | 3 years + 17%
A much bigger split than we’d anticipated. Perhaps the idea of a calm dog varies from owner to owner? And bearing in mind each dog's personality will be different too, just like their human counterparts.
As humans, our expectation of ‘calm’ varies. Here, we are exploring the changes in temperament from adolescence to adulthood. There will undoubtedly be things that excite a whippet throughout their life (like chasing squirrels) but at what point do they transition from manic pup to demure dog?
A vet's perspective
We spoke to Maxime, a whippet-owning vet from Lurgan, Northern Ireland. She told us that, on average, most whippets tend to calm down around 1.5 - 2 years old, also stating that they mellow earlier than a lot of other breeds.
'Every dog has the capability to be calm at any age'
‘To be honest, I think whippets are the most chill breed and that there’s never an issue with them calming down. They have their moments, but it’s never a daily issue. And especially from a veterinary standpoint they are very easy to work with. Mine is just over a year now and I got him as a rescue at 5 months and at that stage he was doing the typical puppy things (chewing stuff etc) but even then he was really laid back, as long as he got some type of exercise daily. But they’re certainly a great first pet because of their demeanour and love for sleeping!’.
‘I think it should be emphasised that every dog has the capability to be calm at any age, as long as you know how to direct their energy rather than accepting they are bonkers! I think people get a Springer Spaniel thinking it will be a good house dog because it has been raised in a house from a pup but their natural instincts are as working dogs and they will always have that drive to be exercised and stimulated. And if they can’t be chill then they’re not being challenged enough.’
~ Maxime, The Town Vet
Although whippets are known to be one of the calmest breeds in terms of temperament, some assistance in teaching them how to be calm, and settle, is important in early development. So, how can this be done?
A behaviourist’s suggestions
We asked Ella from Kirby Dog Training. Here’s her practical advice and tips for whippet owners.
'Help them learn to switch off and relax'
‘Make sure all of their needs have been met first; for example, a nice big sniffy walk with free running, mental enrichment, like a short training session or enrichment toys. Make sure they aren’t hungry or need the toilet and then set them up with a nice cosey space to relax and nest. You can also practice a ‘settle’ exercise with them to help them learn to switch off and relax.’
~ Ella, Kirby Dog Training
You can find Ella’s tips in a helpful reel here.
To conclude, whippets are known for their calm reputation but your dog will be shaped by the guidance you provide, the atmosphere you create and making sure their basic needs are met on a daily basis.
There is no magic age that a whippet will settle down, so don’t panic if you’re still waiting for your 3, 4, 5 year old hound to mellow out. There are practical tips and resources available to help with a pup that needs a bit of encouragement.
We recommend this book by Louise Glazebrook 'The Book Your Dog Wishes You Would Read'.
Stay tuned for our next instalment, and don’t forget to sign up to get early access.