Whippet vs Greyhound: What’s The Difference?

whippet vs greyhound

Whippets and greyhounds are often confused for one another, they have similar traits and look almost identical. Both of these dogs have an abundantly rich history which dates back many years.

The first signs of the greyhound popped up in anxiety Egyptian art, as well as being mentioned in the Bible.

But what is the difference between a whippet and a greyhound?

In this post we’re going to go through exactly that, to help you be able to easily identify the two dogs without getting them mixed up, and hopefully learn you a thing or two about these wonderful dogs.

So let’s get to it…

Whippet vs Greyhound: Temperament

Whether you own a whippet or a greyhound you’ll be glad to know that they have a very similar temperament.

Both of these dogs have a need for speed and love to be able to blow off steam through sprinting, which is why they make excellent racing dogs.

Whippets and greyhounds have a reputation for being incredibly high energy dogs because of this love of speed, but this is actually untrue.

Whippet and greyhound owners know that there is nothing their dog loves more than to relax and snuggle up on the sofa with their owner. They are content relaxing most of the day and are actually couch potatoes.

whippet vs greyhound: whats the difference
Image: Image by Herbert Aust from Pixabay

One such similarity between the whippet and the greyhound is that they have a deep-rooted instinct to hunt, they’ll chase most small animals such as rabbits, rats and squirrels.

It’s important to be very careful when taking these dogs for walks in woodland areas as they have a tendency to bolt after prey animals.

These dogs have an incredibly similar temperament, with both dogs being social, loving and loyal to the bone (no pun intended).

If you’re adopting an ex-racing greyhound or whippet then you’ll need to be especially cautious of their hunting instinct as they are used to chasing lures around a track, so be sure to keep your dog on a leash when walking in areas where there could be prey animals.

As a whole, both whippets and greyhounds have a friendly, calm demeanour which many of us have come to love.

These dogs are one of the most loving dog’s I’ve personally ever experienced, which is why I’ve owned so many over the years. 

Whippet vs Greyhound: Appearance

An easy way to distinguish a whippet from a greyhound is to understand that a whippet is essentially a ‘mini version’ of a greyhound.

Whippets are incredibly similar to greyhounds in their appearance, but the easiest way to tell them apart is because of their overall size.

A fully grown adult whippet grows from anywhere between 43 – 56cm, which puts them in the category of a small dog.

Whereas a fully grown greyhound can be anywhere between 68 – 80cm, placing them in the large dog category.

Other than this, the whippet’s appearance is very similar to the greyhound, they both have a long muzzle and large round eyes in the shape of an oval.

These dogs ears are typically folded over, apart from when they are excited or spot something running from them. When these dogs spot something their ears point upwards and stiffen up.

Both of these dogs have a long, thin tail which actually hurts when they get too excited and it whips you. Their tails taper upwards slightly at the end which makes them easy to spot from other dogs.

Other than the main difference in appearance being their size, there isn’t much that differs between a whippet and a Greyhound, they look almost identical but the Greyhound is much larger.

Whippet vs Greyhound: Speed

When it comes to speed, the greyhound is the champion here. This is because greyhounds have larger legs, giving them a larger strider when reaching their maximum speed.

Greyhounds are the fastest dogs on the planet and can run at a jaw-dropping speed of 40 – 45 miles per hour.

This is why these dogs are used as racing dogs as they are incredibly fast and exhilarating to watch. But what about the whippet?

Whippets are also amazingly fast dogs, they can reach speeds of up to 35 miles per hour, which when you take into account their size is incredible.

Although the greyhound is the fastest dog on the planet, the whippet is the fastest in acceleration.

Due to their light body weight and large leg muscles, they are able to catapult themselves off the start line and accelerate at a lightning-fast speed.

Whippet vs Greyhound: Health

Both the greyhound and whippet are generally quite healthy dogs, the life expectancy of a greyhound is around 10 – 12 years.

Whilst the life expectancy of a whippet is around 12 – 15 years, providing they are fed on a healthy, nutritious diet and are getting plenty of exercise each day.

These dogs are quite hardy breeds that don’t tend to suffer from many health conditions, however, whippets may suffer from deafness, eye problems or von Willebrand’s disease, which is a disorder that stops blood from clotting properly.

One thing to note is that both of these dogs can be very sensitive to anaesthesia due to their low body fat, it’s important to always consult your veterinarian before your dog undergoes any surgery.

Both whippets and greyhound can also suffer from poor dental health, so be sure to brush their teeth regularly to keep their pearly whites nice and shiny.

And try to stay away from nasty dog treats that only make the problem worse, check out our post on the best dog treats for whippets for some great recommendations.

Whippet vs Greyhound: Maintenance 

Contrary to what many believe, both of these dogs are actually pretty low maintenance.

It’s widely thought that whippets and greyhounds need tons and tons of physical exercise, but this really isn’t the case.

Ensure that your pet gets around 60 minutes of physical exercise per day and is fed on a high-quality diet for the best health.

Both whippets and greyhound have a short smooth coat which doesn’t shed much at all, so they don’t need much grooming.

whippet vs greyhound
Image: Image by Herbert Aust from Pixabay

I groom my whippet around once a month to keep her smelling nice and in good shape to be around our family home, this keeps her squeaky clean and she loves it.

One thing to be aware of is that because these dogs have very low body fat, they are susceptible to nicks and scrapes, so ensure you thoroughly check your pet over when coming back from a walk to make sure they have not injured themselves.

As whole whippets and greyhounds are very low maintenance dogs, they love to be pampered and relax with their owners.

Whippet vs Greyhound: Training

Whippets and greyhounds are known to be very independent dogs, which really means they can be quite stubborn when they want to be.

This is why neither of these dogs are widely recommend for first time dog owners who have never raised a pup before.

They can be known to pull when they see prey, so be sure that you’ve got the perfect dog harness to keep your dog under control.

If you adopt an ex racing greyhound, this prey drive is even stronger as they’ve been used to chasing a lure for much of their life.

When it comes to training these dogs, they can be a quite stubborn, but that doesn’t mean it’s more difficult than any other dog.

All dogs can be tricky to train, it largely depends on the individual dog and how much time you spend in training.

Be sure to spend lots of time with these dogs to ensure they are trained to a high standard, this will make it much easier when it comes to walks, leaving them at home and socialising with other dogs.

Whippet vs Greyhound: Nutrition

As we know both the whippet and greyhound and runners and have a passion for doing so.

They burn a lot of calories when out on walks as they’re often sprinting around, playing, jumping and chasing other dogs.

But what about their nutrition?

Well, being as though whippets are smallert than greyhounds, they typically need less food. This is because their body doesn’t require quite as much calories as a greyhounds due to their size different.

Both whippets and greyhounds need to be fed on a high-quality, nutritious diet that is full of protein to keep their muscles big and strong.

A dog’s dietary requirements will also depend a lot on the level of exercise they are getting, for example if your dog gets 30 minutes of exercise he will need less than greyhound that is used for racing.

If you’re dog is getting lots of exercise and being used as a racing or working dog then he will be burning much more calories than a dog that isn’t exercising much.

This mean they need more calories to fuel their body, the typical greyhound will eat around 2 to 3 cups of food per day.

Whilst a fully grown whippet will eat around 1 to 2 cups of dog food each day, typically spread out over morning and night feeds.

You also need to be aware that obesity is quite common in both of these dogs, so if they are over-fed then they can quite easily become obese.

The more you feed your dog, the more he will need exercise to burn off those excess calories.

Whippets and greyhounds are not designed to be overweight, they have a frame which is small, and obesity can cause their joints and bones to become brittle.

Whippet vs Greyhound: Price

When it comes to price, these dogs are quite different. A typical greyhound can cost anywhere between £750 – £1500 and a whippet usually costs around £500 – £1000.

However, the price drastically increase if the dog is from a racing heritage or working dog heritage.

A racing greyhound can go for as much as £15,000 as it’s such a popular sport and many gamble on the race.

Greyhound racing is still incredibly popular and many individuals make a lot of money from gambling on it.

The prices I’ve mentioned above are the prices from a reputable breeder which will ensure the puppy has been cared for and looked after correctly.

I wouldn’t advise buying a dog from a puppy mill or low quality breeder, as they are likely to have been kept in poor conditions and could have issues when they grow older.

It’s incredibly sad to see that so many ex-racing greyhounds are in kennels waiting to be rehomed. People abandon greyhounds once they are too old to race, resulting in them being a lot up for adoption.

If you’re not specifically looking for a puppy then I highly recommend checking out your local kennels for a whippet or greyhound, they are amazing dogs that need someone like you to coem and save their life.

On top of this, they are much cheaper, costing around £50 – £200 from a rescue center and you’ll also be a lifesaver!

Similarities Between Whippets And Greyhounds

We’ve looked at the differences between whippets and greyhound, but what about the similarities?

Well, with these dogs having a strong history and being closely related, they have a lot in common.

Here are some similarities between whippets and greyhounds;

  • Incredibly fast dogs
  • Used for hunting 
  • Used for racing
  • Both are amazing pets
  • Both dogs are great with kids and other dogs
  • Love to relax and chill
  • Love to sleep in a comfy bed

Final Thoughts

So what’s the difference between a whippet and a greyhound? Honestly not much at all, they have a very similar appearance, temperament and physical attributes.

The one biggest difference between these two dogs is their size, a whippet is much smaller than a greyhound.

Which is the easiest way to tell these two dogs apart, greyhounds are large dogs that have long powerful legs allowing them to reach lightning-fast speeds.

Where whippets have smaller legs but are still very powerful allowing them to be extremely agile and quick off the mark.

Hopefully, this post has learned you a thing or two about these two amazing breeds, and maybe you now have a clearer idea of which dog to choose from.

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