The Whippet Vs Italian Greyhound Compared: 10 Fascinating Facts

Italian Greyhound Vs Whippet

Have you ever wanted to get yourself a Whippet or Italian Greyhound? What is the difference between the two breeds?

Most layman confuse them and yet there are striking differences. According to experts, these two breeds are very much similar hence very easy to confuse them.

You need to read on if you want to find out which breed will be the most suitable pet for you.

Is there one breed that is fit than the other in terms of health? Can you give a comparison of their personality and size? Which breed is easier to train?

Check out this article for all these differences and much more as we make comparisons between the Italian greyhound and whippet.

1.Whippet Vs Italian Greyhound History

As already highlighted before, both the Whippet and Italian Greyhound look so much alike, according to experts. They are however two very distinct breeds that do share a relatively similar history or origin.

The Origin of the Whippet:

Whippets descended from greyhounds, no wonder they look so much alike. The whippet was also commonly referred to as “the poor man’s racehorse”.

Whippets are said to be originally greyhounds that were considered to be unsuitable for hunting due to their size. They were taken back to their peasant breeders after they were maimed so that they could not be used to hunt anymore.

whippet originWhippet Dogs

All that the Whippets used to do then was to catch rats and hunt small animals like rabbits. In the later years, the whippets became popular because of their racing speed. They were then used as racing dogs and they still are very fast to date. What of the Italian Greyhound?

The Origin of the Italian Greyhound:

This should not be a surprise at all, the Italian Greyhound also descended from the family of greyhounds.

The stature of this breed is a little bit miniature because this breed was reared for different purposes. The greyhound was bred basically for companionship, many centuries ago during the regime of the Romans.

This breed was also used as a connotation of status by the nobleman and the royalty for years. Italian greyhounds were also used for hunting small animals.

Italian Greyhound OriginItalian Greyhound Puppy

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2.Whippet Vs Italian Greyhound appearance, size and weight

Well, in terms of appearance, both of these breeds look similar to some extent. However, the Whippet dog is a bit larger in terms of size than the greyhound counterpart.

The whippet is averagely 18-22 inches tall and weighs about 25 to 40 lbs. with a lean appearance, long-necked and has small ears that tend to fold over.

Whippets also have quite a long tail and eyes that are always alert, together with a muzzle that is long and pointed. The whippet has a fur coat that is short and sleek in 6 different colors. Your whippet can be black, fawn, brindle, white, blue or red.

picture of whippet puppyWhippet Puppy

The Italian greyhound on the other hand also has the same lean body as the whippet. They share the similar features like the short, floppy ears, long tail as well as expressive and alert eyes.

One of the notable differences is the size of the two breeds. The greyhound can be at least 13- 15 inches tall and could weigh at least 7-14 lbs.

Their fur coats are very sleek and short and can be found in 12 different colors namely; blue fawn, black, fawn, chocolate, yellow, red, grey, sable, tan, red fawn, slate grey, red and plain grey.

picture of Italian Greyhound PuppiesItalian Greyhound Puppies

3.Italian Greyhound Vs Greyhound Temperament

Both of these dog breeds are truly sociable especially with kids. They are cheerful companions that you would love to have around your home.

The two breeds also get along fine with other pets as well. These breeds rarely show any signs of aggression and love staying around people. That is why they make good companion dogs.

picture of whippet dog in bedWhippet Dog

Being descendants of the racing greyhound dogs, they are both agile and very intelligent. Therefore before you adopt either the whippet or the greyhound, just beware that these two breeds are prone to some health issues and to have sudden surges of energy, especially when they are outside the house.

Especially whippets tend to be mischievous escape artists and even climbers. Make sure that your backyard is properly fenced for security reasons.

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Training and socialization is an important and very integral part of your dog’s overall development. Timing is everything, I recommend early training sessions for puppies. This will ensure that your puppy, whichever you decide to adopt will grow up with proper manners and happy.

Both the Italian Greyhound and the Whippet can be pretty shy with strangers. Take your dog for a walk at the local dog park often so that he gets used to having other dogs and people around.

Make sure to use positive reinforcement when training your puppy. This will be more effective than most training methods. Dogs just like kids like to be given treats and praises. Treats and praises work wonders when obedience training your dog.

5.Potty training

According to dog experts, potty training your dog if he is a small breed, may turn out to be a little bit challenging.

Small dog breeds have small bladders and might need to empty every now and then. It is also possible that they might have pee accidents which may go unnoticed around the house because the quantity is less than the average dog.

When potty training your Whippet puppy or Italian Greyhound, make sure that the potty is strategically placed where your dog can easily access it when in need.

You can have a daily routine where your dog knows that the first thing he does when he wakes up is go to the potty or outside to release himself. Both of these breeds intelligent and will quickly grasp any routine that you subject them to.

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6.Exercise Requirements

Physical exercise is fundamental for these two breeds that originally descended from the racing dog, the Greyhound.

Kindly don’t be fooled by the fact that whippets can appear to be pretty calm when inside the house. They can literally take off at any time and you will therefore need to properly exercise your Whippet puppy in order to drain that energy. The last thing you want is a hyperactive dog jumping all over your house.


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The Italian Greyhound on the other hand can also be quite a runner. Being much smaller in size the Italian Greyhound might not have a higher exercise need as the Whippet.

However it will be prudent of you to just take your canine friend out for a walk for at least 30 minutes every day. Give them plenty of time to just play and you can also introduce them to various interactive dog toys that will also exercise their minds.

Exercise could mean taking them to a park meant for dogs or you can take them out for a dip in the pool or play a game of fetch.

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7.Health issues

Before adopting your preferred breed, make sure that they go through proper screening for health issues that are likely to affect them in future.

Most reputable breeders use the Embark Dog DNA test to find out the genealogy of the breed and also screen the puppy for any health issues they might encounter.

Some breeders will also avail certificates to prove that the puppy has gone through screening and is therefore fit to take home.

What are therefore some of the health issues that are likely to affect these two breeds?

Health issues likely to affect the Whippet:

The average life expectancy period of the Whippet is approximately 12 to 15 years.

This breed is likely to suffer from deafness, heart diseases, alopecia, retained testicles, demodicosis, eye disorders, blood clotting disorders that is also known as the von Willerbrand’s disease. It is therefore recommended that you take your Whippet puppy for brainstem testing, ophthalmological evaluation and also a cardiac exam.

Health issues likely to affect the Italian Greyhound:

This breed has a longer life expectancy period compared to the Whippet. This breed can live between 14 to 15 years.

Some of the health issues that are likely to affect your Italian Greyhound puppy include autoimmunie issues, the Legg calve perthes disorder, progressive retinal atrophy, dental issues and hypothyroidism.

Experts recommend that you need to take your Italian Greyhound for ophthalmological evaluation, thyroid tests and hip evaluation.

Also make sure that you give your puppy a proper healthy diet. An overweight puppy faces a risk of developing issues with their muscles and skeletal framework.

High quality dog food should be paramount for these breeds to maintain the ideal body weight, physical activity and age.


Good grooming is essential for proper growth and development of your furry friend. Fortunately, both of these breeds are easy to groom. You will only need to brush their short fur coats occasionally. It is also recommended to use high quality dog shampoo to bath your dog. This will help to keep fleas at bay.

You also need to take good care of your dog’s dental hygiene. If your dog can allow you to brush his teeth well and good, otherwise there are plenty of other alternative methods that you can use to clean his teeth.

You can give your dog raw bones to gnaw at, this will also reduce the plaque in their mouth. Coconut oil can also be applied in their mouth to prevent food from sticking on their teeth.

Both breeds don’t shed excessively. They have short fur coats that are not very expensive to groom and maintain. Make sure to also trim their nails regularly. Check their ears and clean them to prevent ear infections that can be as a result of wax overload.

9.Which breed makes the most suitable pet?

Both the Italian greyhound and the Whippet are great family dogs. Originally they were bred for companionship.

If you have a big family with young kids, you might want to adopt the Whippet because it is a bit bigger and more sturdy compared to the greyhound. Whippets are very intelligent as well and energetic. Train your dog all the basic commands so that you have an easy time controlling the dog and the kids.


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Make sure that you also teach your children to be quite gentle when dealing with either breed because both of these breeds can easily break their bones when handled roughly.

Make sure that your Whippet is well contained in your backyard because they are known to be climbers and very energetic dogs. Judging by their warm and sociable personalities, both breeds are great companions to have.

ALSO READ: Border Collie Vs Australian Shepherd Comparison


Perhaps you have fallen in love with both breeds but still need to make a choice as to which one you want to adopt. The health issues being the biggest risk, you might want to consider adopting a puppy from a shelter.

When you adopt either of these breeds when they are already full grown adults from a puppy shelter, it is easier to predict the health status of the puppy. That is one of the glaring benefits.

The price is also way lower because adoption fees are lower than what the original breeder would have charged you if you were to buy the puppy from them.

Adoption fees range between $50-100$ while reputable breeders may charge anywhere between $500-1000 and even more. Purchasing from a reputable breeder is only reliable because most breeders screen their litters of any issues likely to affect their health.


In a nutshell, both of the two breeds are quite amazing to have. They are extremely intelligent and are easy to train.

When training your puppy, make sure to use positive reinforcement as they will respond better and it is very much effective.

Groom your dog well, give them enough physical and mental exercise and make sure to feed them a balanced diet as well for proper growth and development.


Passionate lover of dogs and proud owner of a friendly, mischievous and energetic golden retriever named Beethoven! I’m incredibly excited to share my experiences on how best to care for your beloved pet. The more we know, the happier we and our canine friends will be!

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