Whippet Colors

The AKC Whippet Breed Standard states that the Whippet is "Color Immaterial", whereas the standards current in the UK, Canada, and the FCI (the standard of excellence for the rest of the world where Whippets are registered, bred, and shown), state that the Whippet can be "any color or mixture of colors". That is largely true. The Whippet comes in a very wide variety of color and marking patterns.  Base colors include fawn, red, orange, tan, cream, black, and blue.  Markings include brindle with black stripes, brindle with blueish stripes, black mask, blue mask, watermarking, sabling, and varying amounts of white from entirely white to just the tips of toes and tail.  White markings may display "ticking", which is a sprinkling of black or fawn/red flecks within the white marked areas, but these should never have the appearance of Dalmatian-style "spots". Much more rarely, a black or blue saddle blanket over a base of fawn or brindle (with or without white) appears giving a bicolor or tricolor impression.  All of these historically-documented color and marking patterns are considered equally correct from a standpoint of judging the Whippet and from a standpoint of qualifying them to compete in events as purebred Whippets.  While some colors or patterns are "rare" from a numerical standpoint, none of these colors or patterns are any more "desirable" or "valuable" than any other.  To breed solely for "rare" colors to be sold at higher prices than the going rate for more common colors is a red flag that may differentiate profit-driven breeders from those whose breeding decisions are guided by sincere desire to improve their stock and maintain a high standard of quality and health--goals which typically cost the breeder far more than they ever will make selling puppies.  

--(Shelley Juden photo)


What does NOT appear in any PUREBRED Whippet is Merle (red or blue), a true Tricolor or black and tan with the characteristic red spots over the eyes and on the cheeks such as is seen in the Doberman and Bernese Mountain Dog, true "liver" as is seen in the Chocolate Labrador, Dalmatian Spotting, or the Harlequin Pattern as seen in Great Danes.  In recent years, more and more unscrupulous breeders who want to produce pet puppies purely for profit are crossing Merle-colored breeds into breeds that do not display the color Merle in order to get higher prices and profit from breeding pets and passing them off as "rare" Merle puppies of that breed. While the AWC is currently not aware of this being done in the USA with Whippets, we are concerned this will not long remain the case due to the existence of similar infiltrations of Merle breed ancestry into breeds that do not carry Merle.  So, if a website or breeder is offering Merle "Whippets", those are not purebred Whippets. 


Secondarily, the Whippet has proven a desirable cross for breeders seeking to get ultimate flyball and agility dogs and a popular cross is between Whippets and Border Collies or Australian Shepherds.  Some of these dogs have a Merle parent on the Herding breed side and are therefore Merle, but they are not to be AKC registered as a member of either breed.  These dogs are no doubt excellent at the purpose for which they are bred but they will not display the breed type or breed temperament of the purebred Whippet, instead being a blend between two quite dissimilarly temperamented breeds bred for a particular competition purpose.  


Finally, the AWC and our recognized purebred Whippet Rescue group Whippet Rescue and Placement are aware that many dogs marketed by other rescue organizations as "Whippet Mixes" are in fact Pit Bull mixes.  Just because a dog is brindle and white with a waistline and rose ears does not make it a Whippet mix, and true Whippet mixes not bred purposefully for flyball/agility are currently very rare in the USA.  Rescue groups using the reputation of the relatively non-aggressive, non-reactive "Whippet" breed as a marketing tool to tag non-Whippet mixes comprised of very different mixtures of very different breed personalities are misrepresenting the dogs they are attempting to place to the public. 

For helpful photos of examples of crossbreds mislabeled (whether intentional or not on the part of the rescue organizations) as "Whippet Mixes", please visit the Whippet Rescue and Placement website, which has a very good page devoted to this subject. 


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