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The Standard of Perfection of the Longhaired Whippet
Text, illustrations and commentaries by Walter A.Wheeler Jr.

Copyright 1986 - 2010 The Longhaired Whippet Association, Inc.


The Longhaired Whippet Association does not recognize, nor recommend dogs that are referred to as any "Percentage" of Longhaired Whippet. The LWA does not recognize, or endorse any Whippets of a longhaired variety called by any other name than Longhaired Whippet. Only purebred Whippets exhibiting the recessive longhaired gene may be called Longhaired Whippets. Any persons breeding dogs with a mixed breed background and calling them Longhaired Whippets or registering them in alternate registries under the breed name "Longhaired Whippet" is falsely representing the breed.


Beneath it's protective, yet decorative coat, the Longhaired Whippet is identical to the smooth Whippet, except that its skin has greater substance and suppleness to support the longer hair. This small, very athletic and graceful sighthound expresses its competitive spirit in its alert demeanor, and can race, course and hunt in a wide variety of terrain and weather because of its size and coat.  Never aggressive with its own kind, it also should display a love for and devotion to its human associates. An aloof, undemonstrative temperament is not typical.

Soft, silky in texture, the long hair has only sufficient undercoat for warmth and protection, but not so much as to make the coat bulky. Guard hairs may be slightly wavy or even curly provided that feathering along the back of forelegs, from the brisket, breech and tail is long enough to enhance the beauty of the flowing whippet movement. The distinctive collar of hair that frames the face adds to the dog's expression.

Hair on muzzle, feet, front of forelegs and on hocks should be short. Although some discreet thinning and tidying of coat may be necessary to reveal the whippet outline beneath, any obvious trimming or major barbering must be strictly penalized in the show ring. Nothing is trimmed on the head or ears. Excessive coat that could impede the animal while running or working in the field must be penalized in the conformation ring.

The uniquely graceful outline of an excellent whippet is its hallmark, whether it be smooth or longhaired. The elegant head and reachy, arched neck start the flowing line over the back of the gentle loin arch.  Beneath is the dramatic plunge of the deep brisket and the extreme tuck-up.   Top and bottom lines are balanced by the long, angulated hindquarters and graceful sweep of the tail.

Moderately long in head, the Whippet has a fairly wide back skull which, when viewed from above tapers gradually without any suggestion of coarseness through a full muzzle to the nose. When viewed from the side, the top plane of the muzzle is lower but parallel to the plane of the flat skull with a subtle stop between. The nose in black pigmented colors is entirely black; in dilutes, the darkest solid color possible.

The muzzle should be strong and in good balance to the skull. Teeth should be large for a dog of this modest size.  Only a scissors bite is allowed.

Very large, with a bright, questioning expression, the eyes must be as close to black as possible, and pigmentation around them must be complete and of a dark color.  Dilute Longhaired Whippets, even the blues, have dark eyes. This characteristic must not be allowed to degenerate into a lighter brown eye.

A "rose" is the only acceptable ear. All other types - prick, semi-prick ("tulip"), button, hound etc. are not allowed.  The "rose" ear is a very soft, folded ear with a stiffer base or cup.  When the dog is at attention a pleat fold just above the cup permits the upper ear to fall gracefully over the side of the head, not forward.  In repose, the "rose" ear folds back tightly against the side of the neck.

The neck is of great reach. It is lean and muscular without excess flesh or skin at the throat. It has a definite crest of an arch just behind the head and widens gradually and gracefully into the shoulder.

For speed and drive the Whippet depends upon its back, which jackknifes open and shut. Therefore, the back must be wide, powerfully muscled, flexible and long. The arch over the loin, the firm abdominal muscles and the deep brisket of the Whippet creates its dramatic tuck-up.  While running at full extension during maximum effort, the Whippet reaches forward and sways its back, then folds together at the tuck-up while the hindlegs reach in front of the forequarters.

The most graceful topline is smooth, with no dips or bulges, and starts at the withers with a scarcely perceptible arch that gradually reaches its apex over the beginning of the loin and then gently falls off over the long croup. A flat back with steep croup is not a loin arch.

Of good substance and straight, when viewed from the front, the forelegs should appear as wide in bone above and below as the pastern joint itself. Elbows and toes should turn neither in nor out.  When viewed from the side, front legs should suggest both power and flexibility through the pasterns, which, while the dog stands quietly, should not bend noticeably.

Shoulder blades should be long and smooth with flat muscle. Width between the blades at the withers must be commensurate with other body proportions: i.e., an animal with somewhat greater spring of ribs will need a wider space between blade ends than one with less spring. The shoulder blades of a well laid back assembly will form an approximate ninety degree angle with the upper arms, which may be somewhat longer than the blades to allow for the dramatic depth of brisket typical of a beautiful Whippet. When the upper arm is shorter than the shoulder blade, a modest or shallow brisket will reach the elbow and appear adequate.

The shape of the extremely deep brisket is of utmost importance to the outline of the Whippet.  From the "wasp waist" tuck-up at the loin, the line of the rearmost part of the brisket should suddenly fall in a graceful convex curve toward the elbow, reaching its greatest depth just behind the elbow and continuing at the same depth forward past the elbow before swinging up to form a deep, well filled forechest between the upper arms. This forechest should stay even with the front line of the forelegs and not make any protrusion in front of the joining of the upper arm and shoulder blade.

Well angulated, of good length and muscle, when viewed from the side the hindquarters must express the power from which comes the dog's great speed. Well developed thighs and hocks bent close to the ground balance the large rib cage and long neck. Viewed from the rear, the hindquarters should be wide, well muscled, and should be without any suggestion of cowhocks.

Feet should be well knuckled with tough pads and well curved nails of moderate length and great strength for clawing into the ground. Both the hare foot, with its longer middle toes, and the cat foot, with its shorter middle toes, are acceptable.

Long and flexible, the tail reaches at least to the hipbone when drawn forward between the legs, with feathering or plume reaching well beyond. The tail is carried low when the dog moves, and the forward threequarters does not go above the level of the top line. A graceful swirl, but not a tight curl, at the end of the tail is typical of many.

The Whippet moves with a relaxed and level gait which has great reach in the forward motion, and great drive in the backward motion of both the front and rear quarters. Constricted or excessive up and down movement of the legs when viewed from the side are faulty. When viewed from the front or rear, legs must move back and forth with pendulum freeness and without any side or inward motions.  Feet seek a center of gravity beneath the animal. Too narrow, or too wide movement and crossing, interfering feet are faults.

The accepted measurements for smooth Whippets of 19 to 22 inches for males, and 18 to 21 inches for females, with a grace interval of one-half inch above and below the extremes, applies to the longhaired variety as well. However, allowance must be made for the thickness of coat at the withers when measuring.

Any color and marking is allowed, however, neither is immaterial. Each should enhance the beauty of the total dog, complementing its conformation and coat.

Dogs with any current disqualifications for the variety are not acceptable in the International Registry of the Longhaired Whippet Association, Inc., therefore, show ring disqualifications are unnecessary.

Comments on the Standard with Illustrations, by Walter A. Wheeler Jr.

Although the Longhaired Whippet should be presented in the show ring looking as natural and unbarbered as possible, some dogs grow the most profuse coat in the areas where the least coat is needed to reveal the Whippet contours beneath.

Figure 1

Figure 1 is an exact tracing of a smooth show dog's outline. Figure 2 superimposes on that outline the natural, freshly shampooed coat of a male that has grown excessively long or profuse hair over the withers, croup and under the loin, thus hiding the graceful topline of the Whippet and the unique tuck-up.

Figure 2                                           Figure 3

Figure 3 is exactly the same as Figure 2, but without the smooth Whippet outline inside.  Many experienced breeders and exhibitors, and even some judges, when shown Figure 3 without first seeing Figures 1 and 2, have said dogmatically, "Figure 3 is not a Whippet!"  Unfortunately, many fanciers cannot visualize the anatomy beneath the coat of a longhaired dog. Therefore, some Longhaired Whippets, especially males in the winter months, will require discreet "shaping", to show their structure to those incapable of seeing it under a natural coat.

For this tidying up, use scissors to remove ragged hair on feet and back of hocks, only. Elsewhere, the only item needed is a pair of thinning shears. Over the withers and croup, lift the hair with a comb or fingers of one hand and with the thinning shears, cut INTO and BENEATH the lifted top guard hairs. This will assure no cut hair ends appearing on the surface of the coat. The excessively long hair that hides the tuck-up even on modestly coated Longhaired Whippets should also be shortened and thinned only with thinning shears, never with scissors. An abrupt, cut edge of hair here would be too obvious. From beneath with thinning shears, cut up and out, shortening only a small amount at a time, until the desired tuck-up is revealed.

Nothing is trimmed on the head or the ears.  Vibrissae are left in tact.

Figure 4                                     Figure 5

Figure 4 shows the same smooth Whippet outline with a slightly thinned and trimmed coat.  Figure 5 shows the identical sketch without the smooth Whippet beneath the coat.

It is reasonable to expect the silky coated Longhaired Whippet to suggest a Borzoi in miniature, however the unique Whippet head must be retained. Breeders should not try to ape the Borzoi with an extremely long head, narrow back skull and fill-in of the stop.

If the judge finds two excellent specimens very close in quality in the conformation ring, the flexibility of the back may well be the deciding factor. This can be tested by asking the handler to pull the animal up on its hind feet with forepaws held above its head leaning comfortably against the handler. The judge may then gently ascertain the readiness of the back to go into a definite sway.  An inflexible roach is a serious fault in any racing animal.

The outline of a coated animal is obviously larger than that of a smooth one of identical weight and body proportions. Since any measurement taken in the show ring will include coat, breeders must realize that the Longhaired Whippet, in order to look the same size as any given smooth, must be slightly smaller of build beneath its coat than that smooth.

"Collie markings", though seen often in smooth Whippets, detract from the graceful Longhaired Whippet outline, and confuse even knowledgeable exhibitors of other breeds. Therefore that type of marking is not desirable for show ring display.

Large areas of white on colored animals, and the shape and placement of spots on white animals can influence the appearance of conformation. When judges have such markings in a class of Longhaired Whippets, all animals in that class should be compared facing both to the left and also to the right for the benefit of the spectators.

Breeds using blind registrations in public stud books require show ring disqualifications to prevent deterioration of quality. Registration in the LWA Stud Book is an endorsement of quality by a representative of the International Registry when the dog is six months to a year of age (or older), at which time dogs with disqualifications are denied acceptance.

Altered animals of either sex can be registered and should be eligible for all activities of the breed. They should be permitted to win Non-Breeding Championships (NB CH.)