The Whippet's Origins and History Source: Wikipedia. Country/Region of Origin: northern England Original purpose: hunting, racing Name: The word 'whippet' was once used to describe any quick-moving little dog but the term became attached to the breed when it was recognized as a separate one in the late 19th century. Historical notes: This breed was meant to hunt by sight and run at high speed. It was bred by the working-class people by crossing small Greyhounds with other hounds such as the Italian Greyhound and even a now-extinct long-legged terrier. Though meant to bring in food, they also provided sport for their owners on nonworking days by racing each other.