Among the world of dogs, there are a variety of colorful terms used and some dog breeds are known by their nicknames, have you ever heard about a dog breed nicknamed "the poor man's race horse?
As the nickname implies, this dog breed must have been fast to earn the title of race horse, so one must imagine that it must be some sort of sight hound, but which one will it be?
What Dog Breed is Nicknamed "the Poor Man's Race Horse?
The dog breed in question is the whippet. As many other sight hounds, the whippet was selectively bred for coursing, the pursuit of game animals such as hares, rabbits and foxes.
Sight hounds are known for catching their prey by speed, primarily using their powerful eyesight rather than scent as seen in the scent hounds.
Coursing was a hunting technique often employed by the nobles and the wealthy in their vast lands protected by land use rights.
Poachers, impoverished peasants, were attracted to these lands as they needed to hunt game for food, but poaching was perceived as a crime back then as it went against the hunting privileges of the nobles and was therefore often punished severely.
There is belief that the whippet was originally created by poachers in Lancashire and Yorkshire, Northern England the late 1700s by crossing greyhounds with long-legged terriers.
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Whippets were also used to entertain workers after hours who were betting on whose whippet could kill the most rabbits or rats within a certain time.
Origins of The Poor Man's Race Horse
When the land laws of England were revoked, it was then discovered how these "miniature greyhounds" were eager to chase a rag or piece of cloth, and soon the sport of racing came to life.
The racing contests were known as "rag races" and the whippet was given the nickname as "the poor man's race horse." Compared to greyhounds, whippets excelled in running short distances and making fast twists and turns.
Capable of speeds of up to 35mph (56km/h) and with amazing acceleration powers, whippets made wonderful racers, with races being held anywhere space permitted these dogs to sprint a couple of hundred yards.
English mill workers were the first to introduce the whippet to Massachusetts which became the capital of whippet racing, until when it spread to the Baltimore area.
Did you know? Like other sighthounds, Whippets are predisposed to reacting poorly to certain surgical anesthetics, therefore owners should discuss this with their vets.