A bullwhip is arguably the most popular type of whip in North America. This might be because of its roles in films such as the Indiana Jones series, The Legend of Zorro, and Catwoman.
Bullwhips often have a short handle (between 8” and 12") and are usually heavier than other whips. They typically have an overlay that covers the entire handle and continues to the end of the thong. Because of this, bullwhips are measured from the butt of the handle to the beginning of the fall. Bullwhips are useful for throws, flicks, and most basic cracking combinations.
Indiana Jones Style
The Indiana Jones style bullwhip is what most people think of when they hear the word whip. The actual whips used in the movies were made by David Morgan. They varied slightly from one episode to the next, and multiple whips where used in each of the movies so there's no exact specifications but in general an "Indy" whip is built around an 8" spike, has a thong varying from 6 to 16 feet, and a wrist strap. Fans of the series can be quite particular about the specifications, even picking apart the differences between whips used in the different movies. The Indiana Jones wiki has additional information on them.
A stockwhip is the most popular type of whip in Australia, and was originally used to herd cattle while on horseback. The main characteristic of a stockwhip is the keeper: a knot that attaches the thong to the end of the handle.
Stockwhips typically have a long handle (18” – 24”) and are light compared to other types of whips. This makes them useful for multiple cracking patterns and routines that involve quick changes in direction like the volley. Stockwhips are measured by thong length.
A Performance Hybrid (PH) whip is a combination of a bullwhip and a stockwhip. They are widely considered to be one of the best types of whips for beginners because they are versatile and inexpensive.
PH whips have a medium length handle (14”-18”) that is most commonly made out of CPVC piping. The thong sits in a coupling at the end of the handle and is usually attached by two strands that are pulled through holes in the CPVC. PH whips are almost exclusively made out of nylon, and are typically measured by thong length.
A snake whip is a whip that has no handle and instead only has a heel knot at the beginning of the thong. Snake whips are typically quite heavy to make up for the lack of leverage that a handle would provide. Because of this, snake whips are best for flick type cracks where the whip does not change direction. Snake whips are useful for travel, because the lack of handle makes them easy to fit into a backpack, suitcase, or even a pocket. They are measured from the beginning of the whip to the end of the thong.
Also called the "Florida Cow Whip" this is a two piece bullwhip with a wooden handle. The top of the handle is hollowed out allowing the thong to be set inside it. Although, traditional cow whips were made form leather, most modern cow whips are made of paracord.
The bullock whip is a long thong (8ft or more) attached to a long handle (4ft or more) with a keeper. This kind of whip was used by the "bullocky" (bullock driver) who walked alongside the bullock team. This whip is used almost exclusively with two hands.