Close this search box.

Italian Greyhound vs Whippet – Can You Tell The Difference?

Enter your email below to get the FREE "7 Day Happy Dog Challenge" eBook

Table of Contents

If you put Italian Greyhound and Whippet side by side, you might not be able to notice the difference. Yes, they are a completely different dog breed. But both of these adorable dogs look like Greyhounds. But the size tells it instantly they are not the English Greyhound. They are quite smaller. Some would even put the Italian Greyhound in the small dog breed group.

Today, we will talk more about the similarities and differences between the Italian Greyhound versus Whippet debate.

They are similar in terms of disposition, and they are calm, gentle, and affectionate puppies. These two dogs are full of love, so let’s check them out.

General Overview

These two puppies share runway looks and blazing speed. That is why it is easy to think they are simply different sizes of the same dog breed. Yet, that is not the case.

They do share one particular quality. That is that they are part of the sighthound family. They hunt by sight rather than by scent and smell.

Whippet Overview


Whippets have a sporty nature. The handsome Whippet puppy knows how to behave in any situation. And they excel in dog sports and agility competitions.

And when they are at home, they are instantly ready for a cuddling session. Whippets love when all the family members return home and they can enjoy their company.

Italian Greyhound Overview


You can say the Italian Greyhound puppy is the tiniest gazehound. Some call it miniature greyhound, others Italian Sighthound.

Their lineage dates back to the Romans. This pint-sized dog has a lively curiosity and sweet charm that will make you fall in love with it.

According to the Italian Greyhound Club, the canine has been part of royal courts and artists’ salons in Greece, Turkey, Europe, and Asia for centuries.

They are a great companion dog for new parents, apartment dwellers, and seniors.

Breed History

The confusion between Italian Greyhound vs Whippet is amazing nowadays. And a huge part of it is the breed history. People often confuse the smaller breeds with the English Greyhound or the original Greyhound.

Back in the 1970s and 1980s, people often said, “I thought greyhounds were bigger”. But now with more information online, and debates like Whippet vs Italian Greyhound, more and more people know about these lovely dog breeds.

But there is a blurry background to the history of these two breeds. There have been Greyhound-shaped dogs for thousands of years. You can find them in Egyptian tomb paintings and Middle Age tapestries.

But exactly when they distinguished themselves? They were bred to hunt in the open field, where speed was needed to catch the prey.

And unlike scent hounds, dogs of the sighthound family track their prey by eye. They are valued for their ability to run swiftly and catch their quarry.

The Whippet was developed as a hunting dog for sure. But there is confusion, even in the Italian Greyhound Club, whether the Italian Greyhound, as a smaller dog, was bred as a hunting dog or a pet and companion.

Do not worry, the American Kennel Club recognizes both breeds nowadays for their distinctive personality, appearance, and history.

Both Are Racing Dogs

italian grayhound2

We said they have a sighthound heritage, and that is why they also share a lot of physical characteristics. For example, they are clean dogs with a short coat that is easy to maintain.

Elegant and energetic, these two puppies love to be outdoors and participate in activities like running, playing, and hiking.

Both dogs are equally athletic. Some owners and experts describe them as having a face that will melt your heart and convince you to give them the moon.

Appearance Breed Comparison

The Italian Greyhound puppy has a more artistic appearance. It is also the smaller dog of the two. They weigh between 7 and 14 pounds, which is a lot less than the Whippet, which can weigh between 25 and 40 pounds.

They do look similar. And they are both smaller versions of the Greyhound. The Italian dog can fall into the toy group.

With that in mind, Italian Greyhound measures 13 to 15 inches at the highest point, while the Whippet measures between 18 and 20 inches. They are generally taller and bigger in the United States compared to European dogs.

As for their coat, they have short and smooth coats. Whippets come in a variety of colors like brindle markings. The range of colors and markings is smaller for the Italian Greyhound. The breed standard set by the American Kennel Club allows only white markings on their paws and chest.

Health Issues

There is one thing you have to understand if you have a sighthound dog breed. They are sensitive to the cold. You have to keep their bodies warm. Because they have so little body fat, these dogs can get quite cold during the winter months.

As for their health conditions, Whippets are susceptible to heart disease called mitral valve disease. Greyhounds, on the other hand, are susceptible to conditions like gastric torsion, bloating, and more. And because the Italian Greyhound has a fine bone structure, it is quite susceptible to bone fractures.

We also have to note that these two breeds can have adverse reactions to anesthesia. They are also slow to recover from anesthesia, so do not panic if they do not get back to their normal self within the first two to three hours. Make sure to take them to a reputable and experienced vet.

Speaking of their lifespan, their life expectancy is up to 15 years. They are fairly healthy breeds.

Temperament and Personality

italian grayhound1

When we talk about the Whippet vs Italian Greyhound comparison, there are a lot of differences in their temperament.

After size, temperament is the next area of comparison with lots of differences.

In that regard, whippets are more relaxed. They can sleep the whole day inside, almost like you have a French Bulldog at home.

Italian greyhounds, on the other hand, are a bit more crazy and quirky. They can sleep a lot as well, but they are more demanding. They will want to get your full attention. But you can expect that from a toy breed.

At the same time, both of these are very affectionate and cuddly. That applies even more to dogs from the toy group like the IG. Whippets are more independent in this regard. They will enjoy the company of their dog owner, but they will not stay at his side all the time.

When we talk about temperament comparison, they are quite timid with those they do not know. If touched unexpectedly, they are known to jump. But do not worry, both dog breeds are kind and affectionate. And they are great with children, making them lovely family pets.

These dogs rarely bark, so you do not have to worry about that problem. Whippets and greyhounds are amazing and friendly with other animals. But they can chase small pets and animals if not trained and socialized properly. After all, they are hound breeds.

We have to mention one more thing as well. They have a tendency to whine if they want something from you. They are quite needy. And while whippets are independent, both breeds do not handle being left alone for a long period. So make sure to crate

train them to avoid separation anxiety problems.

Exercise Needs

When you talk about the Italian Greyhound vs Whippet debate, one thing is certain, both need quite a lot of exercise.

They have the same activity level. Whippets are bigger and require a bit more exercise. Yet, some 60 minutes of exercise per day will satisfy your puppies.

A lot of people make the wrong assumption that these dogs are high-energy and hyper-activity dogs. But they are sprinters, not distance runners. Because of that, they have short bursts of energy.

They will also appreciate some form of mental stimulation like interactive games.

In the end, they enjoy being couch potatoes. If you have a yard, these dogs will enjoy a good sprint. But be careful, if they catch the scent of an animal and start chasing that animal, they will not settle until they get it.

You often hear high prey drive associated with these puppies, so do not be fooled by their innocent look.



You can train a Whippet in any form and shape of dog training, from obedience, agility, dock diving, coursing, and anything in between. They love training.

Both of these breeds are independent, with the Whippet being the more stubborn of the two. Independent is just another polite word we use for stubborn animals.

Early obedience training is a must with these two to ensure they are likely to listen when they are older. And because of their timid personality, we recommend you socialize them early on with people, not just dogs.

Which Is The Right For You?

So, which of these two racing and sighthound breeds is the perfect companion for you? We cannot tell you per se. Hopefully, our comparison can help you make an educated decision. They are both amazing dogs. Greyhounds have one advantage, they are small dogs and it is easier to take them with you.

Yet, they are more sensitive than whippets and you will have to worry more about them.

You Might Also Like:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *