The Thoroughbred and the Whippet


It can be amusing to observe certain physical and behavioral characteristics seem to transcend species—particularly dogs and horses. There’s no doubt that these two animals are very different. There are great differences in size, teeth, and feet—not to mention that one is carnivore while the other is a herbivore. Nevertheless, we sometimes notice humorous similarities. Here’s an example I’ve discovered in my own world with a canine and equine that have a few attributes in common.

Whippet and Thoroughbred

Meet the characters:


First off, Gracie and Summer share a basic body shape. If you try to imagine what a Thoroughbred would look like if it were a dog, you would likely come up with something that looks a lot like Gracie: trim, fit, and athletic, with a deep chest, narrow body, and long legs and neck. Whippets are generally recognized as one of the most athletic dog breeds, and since Gracie has the build of a racing Whippet, she appears even more Thoroughbred-like. Summer, of course, with her half-Thoroughbred heritage, also shares this look.

Fun-loving couch potatoes

Even though Gracie and Summer don’t spend time together, they seem to have developed the same philosophy about life: do whatever it is you need to do, then rest.

Summer is a playful horse—she’s always the one in the pasture trying to stir up excitement and asking her friends to run with her. “Let’s go up and down the fenceline three more times! Faster! Go, go, go!” Gracie is the same way—when it’s time to play, it’s time to “PLAY HARD! Run! Jump! Spin around! Be crazy!”

But in both cases, they know when to stop and how to chill. When the game’s over (after only a few minutes, really), Gracie curls up on the couch for the rest of the afternoon, and Summer goes back to grazing. It’s as though a light switch has been shut off. Most of the time, you’d hardly know there was a rambunctious side in there, just waiting to go wild.

Timid souls

Both Gracie and Summer love their people, but they do both have a timid side. Neither particularly appreciates sudden movements or noises, and neither of them likes having to visit the vet (or in the case of Summer, having the vet visit her.) Anything new or unusual—even something as simple as an object moved to a new place—requires cautious investigation.

Sun seekers

After playtime, both Gracie and Summer like to seek out the sunshine. When the low winter clouds drift apart and the sun breaks through, you can find Summer happily standing in the pasture with one leg resting, enjoying the warmth. Gracie, too, is a dedicated sun-searcher, dutifully looking for a sunny spot to stretch out in on the floor, sometimes pulling her favorite blankie along with her.

All in all, Gracie and Summer are a lot alike! Do your animals share any quirks or traits? Share in the comments!

Daniel Johnson is a freelance writer and professional photographer. He’s the author of several books, including How to Raise Horses: Everything You Need to Know, (Voyageur Press, 2014). Dan’s barn is home to Summer, a Welsh/TB cross, Orion, a Welsh Cob, and Mati and Amos, two Welsh Mountain Ponies. Follow him at


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