It’s often easy to confuse a whippet and an Italian greyhound, particularly for individuals interacting with them for the first time.
Whippets and Italian Greyhounds don’t only resemble each other, but they’re closely related family.
Whippets have a direct bloodline connection with Italian greyhounds. Both Italian greyhounds and whippets are racing dogs and have slim and elegant bodies.
But are there any major features and traits that can distinguish a whippet vs an Italian greyhound?
Yes, whippets and Italian greyhounds have unique differences and similarities too. This article compares these two dog breeds extensively to help you decide which is a better choice for you. Please read on to learn more about whippet vs Italian greyhound.
The Main Differences Between A Whippet & Italian Greyhound
Most of the main similarities between whippets and Italian greyhounds come from their larger ancestors, the greyhounds.
Their long legs and light-frame bodies make them suitable racers, with greyhounds being the fastest as whippets follow up closely.
It’s normally easy to confuse these two dog breeds and assume they have grumpy and jumpy behaviour, but you’ll be surprised how calm, affectionate, friendly, and loving they can be.
Besides, these canine breeds have their differences too, and they include;
Appearance of Whippet vs Italian Greyhound
Both Italian greyhounds and whippets greatly resemble the greyhounds, but they lack the towering stature.
Their legs are deer-like, with a swan-like neck and a long curving back.
Both the whippet and Italian greyhound have short fur and an elegant coat, slightly folded ears, big lovely eyes, and rat-looking-like tail.
Whippets and Italian greyhounds are cousins. Both originate from the ancient sighthounds, which are believed to be in existence for over 1000 years.
As much as whippets and Italian greyhounds resemble, they do differ in one thing, size. This size difference probably arises due to their initial intended usages. Initially, the Italian greyhound was bred to provide company, a state symbol, and be the occasional hunter. Maybe that’s why it has such a small body.
On the other hand, whippets were bred to mainly be hunters and a source of entertainment through racing.
They’re usually a bit taller than the Italian greyhounds.
Whippet vs Italian Greyhound Temperament
Since both whippets and Italian greyhounds are from the sighthound bloodline, it common for them to have a strong desire to chase after prey.
In simple terms, they both have a high prey drive. Therefore, whether you own a whippet or an Italian greyhound, you should not leave it to roam freely without supervision and proper training.
Luckily, both of these dog breeds are generally friendly, mild-mannered, and trainable.
You can teach them to behave the way you want, but it takes a lot of patience, proper approach, and commitment to training to be successful.
Italian greyhounds love cuddling and snuggling most of the time. Whippets can be great working and house dogs, which is why they’re referred to as the best ‘all-purpose dogs’. Whippets trained as working dogs usually help their owners hunt rabbits for food.
Both of these dog breeds aren’t so loud either. They are both usually calm, friendly, affectionate, willing to please, and lazy.
Whippet vs Italian Greyhound Size
Whippets and Italian greyhounds resemble greyhounds, but they have smaller bodies than greyhounds.
This is why they are very famous and most preferable pet dogs for most individuals.
These two canine breeds also differ in size. Whippets are a bit bigger in size than the Italian greyhounds.
Italian greyhounds belong to the toy group of dogs; hence they are great lap dogs. They weigh averagely 7-14 pounds, standing bout 13-15 inches tall.
On the other hand, whippets belong to the hound dog group. Therefore, they are big enough to hunt effectively. An average whippet weighs about 25-40 pounds with a height of approximately 18-22 inches.
Female whippets tend to be smaller than male whippets. Sometimes, a whippet can be heavily muscled, stronger, and faster if it is affected by the myostatin gene.
Such whippets can sometimes not look like real whippets, and they’re well known as bully whippets.
Now, which of these two do you prefer? If you want a cute lightweight lap dog, the Italian greyhound is the perfect choice for you.
But if you prefer a pooch you can snuggle within a couch and still sport with; a whippet won’t disappoint you.
Whippet vs Italian Greyhound Coat
Whippets and Italian greyhounds have short fur. Therefore they don’t require more grooming like the highly-furry canines.
They all come in different shades, ranging from brindle to bright and solid colours.
Due to their short-furred bodies, these two dog types require extreme care and warmth. They cannot withstand extremely hot and cold environments.
Therefore, it’s essential to find the appropriate warm clothing and bedding for comfortable and healthy living.
The Shedding and Grooming of Italian Greyhounds & Whippets
All these two dog breeds in the discussion don’t require much grooming since they have short fur and shed less than most other dogs. Once in a while, you’ll have to wash them when they get mad or get dirty.
Its also recommended for owners of any of these two breeds to ensure they trim their dog’s nails for easy walking and elimination of long nail discomfort.
Italian greyhounds are prone to teeth problems; therefore, you should brush their teeth more often.
Whippet vs Italian Greyhound Health Conditions
Whippets and Italian greyhounds are more susceptible to genetic health-related problems mainly because they’re pure breeds.
If exposed to too much cold, both of these two breeds are more likely to suffer from frostbite and hypothermia because they have short far.
If you’re from a snowy or highly freezing region, you can procure dog booties for your pooch to prevent its paws from catching a cold while walking on the frozen ground.
These breeds are also prone to allergies and skin infections. Whippets are more likely to suffer from eye ailments, blood clotting problems, and heart-related issues. Whippets don’t respond well to anaesthesia too.
On the other hand, an Italian greyhound can suffer mostly from gum and teeth problems if you don’t clean them frequently.
This condition can worsen if given foods with high sugar content. Besides dental problems, Italian greyhounds are also susceptible to loss of vision, hypothyroidism, joint problems, leg and tail wounds/ fractures, epilepsy, and don’t respond so well to anaesthesia.
The life expectancy of whippets and Italian greyhounds doesn’t vary much. Whippets’ average lifespan is 11-15 years, while Italian greyhounds’ is 13-15 years.
Whippet vs Italian Greyhound Intelligence
Both of the dog breeds in the discussion have high prey drives. Therefore, they’re always ready to chase anything that’s food or prey. They are also not easy to train.
Both of them are stubborn and agile. Such factors make these canine breeds inappropriate choices for first-time dog owners.
Italian greyhounds tend to be jumpy when around strange people, which is a common trait to most toy pooches.
Therefore it’s crucial to ensure you train and socialise your pup to relate well with other pets and people and adjust well to new stimuli.
You should avoid punishing these dog breeds during training. It’ll only the pooch fear you instead of obeying you.
Dogs thrive more on reinforcements and repeated routines; therefore, you might want to get some treats and rewards for dog training to be successful and effective.
Whippet vs Italian Greyhound Price
Italian greyhounds are usually cheaper than whippets. The cheapest Italian greyhound from a reputable breeder is about £500, while whippets start from £800. It can cost you more if you want pups from specific bloodlines, for example, racers.
If your budget is limited, you can go for those pooches from rescue dogs. They are usually cheaper compared to those acquired from breeders.
However, you should check their background and behaviour to see if it can fit your home.
Whippet vs Italian Greyhound Popularity
Whippets are more popular than Italian greyhounds. In the American Kennel Club records, whippets take the 61st position in popularity while Italian greyhounds are number seventy-two. Greyhounds take the 151st position in terms of popularity.
Whippet vs Italian Greyhound Training & Exercising
It’s difficult to train both these breeds since they are all independent thinkers and get distracted easily. They both prefer relaxing and napping to being outside doing tasks.
Therefore, you must ensure to make good use of any chance you get to train them.
Since they’re sprinters, these dogs are the best options for individuals looking for marathon/distant running dogs. Whippets can be great working or show dogs.
Working whippets are highly enduring and can withstand strenuous tasks than house whippets.
You should also ensure to make the training sessions short, highly engaging, and brief for them to be effective. Consistency is critical too when dealing with dogs.
These dogs are highly timid too. Therefore, it’s crucial to teach them good socialisation behaviours early to enable them to grow up comfortably around people and other domesticated animals.
Positive reinforcement is also pivotal when training a desired trait in dogs. It keeps them motivated and eager for upcoming lessons.
Whippets usually require more exercise than Italian greyhounds since they’re bigger in size than Italian greyhounds.
A healthy whippet requires about 30-60 minutes of exercise daily, while an Italian greyhound will need about 20-30 minutes.
Lack of exercise can significantly affect your dog’s personality and wellbeing. Dogs that get more exercise are more well-adjusted and less destructive compared to those who don’t exercise.
It can also cause your puppy to become obese and become more susceptible to more doggy-related problems and ailments.
It’s not good to overwork your dog; the exercises and training should be moderate and reasonable. Working dogs require more training and food compared to house whippets.
Whippet and Italian Greyhound History
Italian greyhounds and whippets have in existence for more than 2000 years.
There are shreds of evidence showing ancient portraits, statues, drawings, and artifacts with images of a miniature greyhound version in today’s Greece and Turkey that resemble a small greyhound.
They were both created for specific purposes. Although their original goal faded in history, they’re still best-hunting dogs because it’s in their blood. Whippets were developed mainly to hunt and entertain people through competitions.
Today most people keep these dogs primarily as pets and not working dogs. During the middles ages, these canine breeds were used as a state symbol by most aristocrats, particularly the Italian greyhounds.
The Italians loved the Italian greyhound very much. It even acquired its name from there.
Italian greyhounds arrived in Europe during the 1600s, where they were embraced and used by most nobility, for example, Princess Anne of Denmark and Queen of Scots.
Whippets are believed to have originated from N. England during the 18th and 19th centuries when most people couldn’t afford better jobs.
Most people were farmers, coal miners, or mill workers. Well-off individuals had estates and kept dogs, including whippets.
Miners bred the terriers and English greyhound to produce whippets, which were later crossbred with Italian greyhounds for a soft and sleek coat.
Whippets competed in games like the snap-dog coursing and rag racing, which lead to whippets nicknamed ‘snap dogs’ and ‘the poor man’s greyhound,’ respectively.
Italian greyhounds were registered by the America Kennel Club earlier than whippets. Whippets were first registered to the AKCs studbook in 1890, while Italian greyhounds were in 1886.
Whippet and Italian Greyhound Nutrition
Generally, all dogs require a complete and balanced diet to be healthy and live comfortably.
The amount of food a dog consumes may vary depending on its size, age, activity level, and schedule. Whippets eat one and a half more cups of food compared to Italian greyhounds.
Usually, Italian greyhounds need about 0.5-1 cup of food daily. It’s best to watch the food amount and frequency a dog gets to ensure he is not overfed or malnourished.
Therefore, it’s best to know the precise food amount and quality your dog should get if you’re not sure, it’s best to ask your vet.
Whippets and Italian greyhounds are very similar, mainly because they share a bloodline.
However, they have features that separate them into two different dogs. For example, whippets are bigger in size compared to Italian greyhounds.
Which of these dog breeds you’d prefer entirely depends on your preference. Whippets are great sports companions and lovely couch potatoes.
Italian greyhounds are a bit smaller; hence they’re good lapdogs. With the above differences, selecting the most appropriate choice won’t be hard.
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Hello. I’m Luke- the founder of WhippetCentral. I’m somewhat of a whippet nut and have been for most of my life. In that time, I’ve owned and raised numerous whippets. Bonnie is my latest girl; she is currently eight years old and keeps me very busy! Understanding the need for whippet-specific content, I decided to create this blog to share what I have learned and to share my expertise regarding owning and raising whippets – the right way!