Is A Whippet A Greyhound?

Whippets and Greyhounds are an incredibly similar breed and often get confused with each other.

The amount of times a fellow dog walker has asked about my Greyhound is unreal, even though I own a whippet.

Whippets and greyhounds are commonly mistaken for one another, as they look very similar in appearance.

These two dogs both make amazing pets, they share similar characteristics and both have a need for speed!

In fact, the Greyhound is the fastest dog on the planet, being able to run at speeds of up to 45mph.

The whippet is not far behind, with speeds of up to 35mph, it’s clear to see that both of these dogs and incredibly fast.

Both of these dogs are used in dog racing today around the world today, and it’s clear to see why.

So is a whippet a greyhound?

Let’s find out…

Whippet & Greyhound Appearance

When comparing a whippet’s appearance to a greyhound, it’s hard to spot much that’s different, apart from one thing.

Whippets are a smaller version of the greyhound; they look almost identical apart from their height.

Both the whippet and the greyhound have a slim, muscly build with long muzzles and large eyes.

Whippets and greyhounds both have tails that are slim, tapered and have a slight curve upwards.

is a whippet a greyhound?
Photo by Derek Story on Unsplash

As well as this, they have ears that fold over, except for when they are excited, and then they stand up.

Both of these dogs have an aerodynamic build and a narrow head which helps them run at lightning-fast speeds, they have muscly back legs which shoot them forward and make them ideal working dogs.

The whippet stands at around 56cm tall whilst the greyhound stands at roughly 76cm tall.

Male whippets and greyhound weigh slightly more than females too, with females weighing anywhere between 23-29kg and males at around 29-39kg.

The only main difference in appearance between these two dogs is the fact that whippets are smaller, you’ll usually be able to tell if it’s a greyhound as it’ll be quite a large dog, where whippets are considered small dogs.

Whippet & Greyhound History

When asking is a whippet a greyhound, it’s important to look back at the history.

The history of the Greyhound is rich and super interesting, the first breed pops up in the history books in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as being depicted in ancient Egyptian art and is the only breed to be mentioned in the Bible.

The Greyhound has been around a very, very long time, they were owned by many Egyptian rulers thousands of years ago.

Paving there way across to central Europe, and introduced to the UK in the 5th or 6th century AD as sighthounds.

They soon became incredibly popular here in the UK because of their ability to hunt, as well as their racing skills.

They were then brought to America by the British and Spanish colonists, who were known to use Greyhounds to chase jackrabbits and cayotes.

The Greyhound was first used as a racing dog in 1886, however, the sport became controversial because issues had been raised regarding the welfare of the dogs.

This led to their welfare charity in which the growth of adoption for this breed began.

There’s a good reason why whippets closely resemble greyhounds because they are related.

Whippets are descendants of the greyhound as they were bred with the fast long-legged terrier in the 1700s.

This means that the whippet is closely related to the greyhound, which is why the look so similar.

By comparison, the whippet is a fairly young breed and is only a few hundred years old.

The whippet first gained popularity in Northern England, where they were used to hunt rabbits, rats and other small game.

This is where the picked up the nickname “the poor man’s racehorse”, as a whippet was much more affordable than a thoroughbred racehorse.

The working class would race their whippets to gamble, and find out who’s was fastest or who’s could catch more rabbits.

Whippet & Greyhound Differences

Aside from the fact that whippets are essentially a smaller version of the greyhound, what other differences are there between the two?

Life expectancy

The average life expectancy of the greyhound is around 10 – 12 years, whereas the whippet is expected to live from anywhere between 12 – 15 years.

Whippets usually incredibly healthy breeds, providing they are fed a healthy nutritious diet, and get the daily exercise they need.

However, whippets can have trouble with their eyes and ears, and sometimes develop deafness or become blind at an earlier age.

Both the whippet and greyhound are known for having poor dental health, so doing what you can do keep their teeth clean is a good idea.


Both the greyhound and whippet are incredibly fast; it’s breathtaking when you see either of these dogs running at full speed.

That being said the greyhound is the faster of the two, being capable of running up to speeds of 45 miles per hours.

In fact, the greyhound is the fastest breed of dog in the world, with whippets not far behind being capable of running at up to 35mph.


Typically, depending on genetics and other variables the greyhound is more expensive than a whippet.

Greyhounds are larger dogs and often used for racing, if they come from a racing heritage then you can expect to pay a hefty price for a greyhound.

Whippets can also be expensive, especially if the dog comes from a working dog heritage, but as a whole, greyhounds are the more expensive of the two.

Whippet & Greyhound Temperament

Whippets and greyhounds have a very similar temperament too, both being gentle, timid and incredibly affectionate.

Both of these breeds make excellent pets, they’re great with kids and are social breeds, they love to play with other dogs too.

Whippets and greyhounds are a nervous breed and are known to get nervous shakes and even jump if touched unexpectedly.

Because of their soft, gentle nature, whippets rarely bark or cause a fuss, making them great for those living in an apartment or attached housing.

That being said, they don’t make very good guard dogs and would be more likely to lick an intruder than strike.

These breeds love to affectionate and loved by their owner, they love nothing more than to be curled up on the couch cuddled into you.

Untrained puppies of both greyhounds and whippets do have a tendency to whine when left alone, they can develop separation anxiety, which can result in extreme behaviour changes.

It’s not recommended that you leave either of these breeds alone for long periods, especially if they are young pups.

You’ll also find that because of their slim build, they get cold very easily.

So investing in a nice thick bed for them is a good idea, you’ll be able to tell, as their teeth will chatter together.

Whippets and greyhounds are known for their love of running, but believe it or not, they actually don’t need much more exercise than a regular dog.

A 60-minute walk and the opportunity to run will keep them happy as Larry, but you’ll need to be careful as they both have an incredibly strong hunting instinct and will chase small prey such as rabbits and rats.

As a whole the temperament of whippets and greyhounds is amazing, they are loving, affectionate and incredibly chilled out dogs.

They love to be relaxed in their own space or curled up on the couch with their owner.

Final Thoughts

Is a whippet a greyhound?

No, but they are family. Whippets and greyhounds are very similar, with one of the only main differences being their height and size.

They also have a similar temperament, which makes them ideal pets, they get along with children, pets and love to be social.

Whippets are related to greyhounds, which is why they have similar traits and appearance.

Greyhounds are commonly used as racing dogs as they can run incredibly fast, whilst whippets are more known for their hunting ability, as they have a strong prey drive and will chase small game.

Both of these breeds are stunning in appearance, they have a slim, muscly build and short smooth fur.

Greyhounds are typically more expensive than whippets, usually because of there racing heritage, but whippets can be pricey too.

Both are generally healthy dogs, although whippets have a longer life expectancy by around 3 years.

Hopefully, you now know some differences between a whippet and a greyhound, and you’ll be able to distinguish one from the other a little easier in the future.

Other Popular Posts