Do you want a dog but can’t decide which breed to go for – Italian Greyhound or Whippet? Both are sighthound breeds and while they have a lot in common, they have their differences too.
To find out which breed may be the better choice for you, we have put together this comparison. And even though we might be a little bit biased, we will do our best to keep this article as objective as possible. Let’s get started!
Italian Greyhound vs. Whippet – What Are their Differences and Similarities?
In this article, we will be covering 6 different categories. Appearance, personality, activity level, trainability, maintenance and health.
Italian Greyhound vs Whippet Appearance – Same same but different
Italian Greyhounds and Whippets look very similar. They are like smaller versions of the Greyhound – with Iggies being the miniature version.
- Height – The Italian Greyhound measures 32 to 38 cm (13 to 15 inches) at the highest point of the withers. The Whippet measures 44 to 51 cm (17.5 to 20 inches). In the United States and Canada, both breeds generally tend to be a bit bigger than in Europe.
- Weight – Iggies normally weigh 5 kg max. (11 pounds), Whippets between 6.8 to 19 kg (15 to 42 pounds).
- Coat – They both have a short and smooth coat. While Whippets can often be found in a big variety of colors including brindle markings, the range is a bit smaller for Italian Greyhounds. While you will only find Iggies in all kinds of shades of grey, black and isabella in Europe, as the standard only allows solid colors with white markings on their paws and chest only, other variations with more white are common outside of Europe.
Iggies have almost the same characteristics as Whippets, but are just a lot smaller. Besides, Whippets are generally more muscular while Iggies can be very delicate.
The size is pretty much the only obvious difference. Other than that, they both have
- the typical sighthound body shape
- a long arching back
- long skinny legs
- a swan-like neck
- rose shaped ears
Just perfection 😉
Italian Greyhound vs Whippet Personality – Quirky vs relaxed
In terms of personality, there are more differences.
- Whippets are way more relaxed – There is probably no other breed that sleeps as much inside as Whippets do.
- Iggies are a bit more crazy and quirky – Iggies on the other hand can be quite crazy. They also sleep a lot but they can be very demanding too. They might want to get your full attention, cuddle or have a treat. They will definitely keep you busy if you let them. Italian Greyhounds are very sensitive dogs that can be sometimes timid with people they don’t know.
Both breeds are very affectionate and cuddly. Especially Iggies always want to be close to you. We’ve never met any breed that was anything like it.
Whippets on the other hand are generally more independent. They enjoy their owner’s company, just don’t need to be with them all the time. Therefore, training them to stay home alone is way easier.
Both breeds don’t bark a lot but as always, there are exceptions of course.
Italian Greyhound vs Whippet Activity Level – Crazy outside, calm & cuddly inside
Both dog breeds have about the same activity level. Italian Greyhounds and Whippets are very active breeds who enjoy being challenged. But when they get enough exercise, they are very calm inside.
Whippets might need a little bit more exercise, simply because they are bigger. But for both about 30-60 minutes of exercise each day should be sufficient.
Italian Greyhound vs Whippet Trainability – What’s in it for me?
Whippets are a bit easier to train but they tend to be stubborn.
Italian Greyhounds are super clever and enjoy learning tricks but their attention span isn’t the biggest. You can’t expect to train them like an Australian Shepherd for example. They have their own little mind and will always ask “What’s in it for me?”. If they don’t think it’s worth it, they won’t do it.
You should also know that it can be quite difficult to potty train an Iggy. Whippets on the other hand have no problems with potty training.
Both breeds need good recall training so they can be left off leash. Both are sighthound breeds and therefore enjoy running after everything that moves. Their prey drive isn’t as strong as other Sighthound breeds’ but still you should be careful here.
Italian Greyhound vs Whippet Maintenance – Grooming and Shedding
Both breeds are very low maintenance as they have short and smooth coats.
You won’t have to do much more than
- nail trimming – You can either use a nail clipper or a dremel.
- cleaning their ears – Just use a wet towel.
- brushing their coat – Both breeds don’t shed a lot. Italian Greyhounds are even hypoallergenic!
- giving them a bath – They only need an occasional bath every now and then.
- brush their teeth – Especially Iggies tend to have very bad teeth so brushing them regularly is always a good idea.
Italian Greyhound vs Whippet – Lifespan and overall Health
Both are fairly healthy breeds who can live up to 15 years. However, there are breed specific health issues amongst both breeds.
- Luxating Patella – That’s a condition many small breeds have in which the kneecap moves out of place causing the dog to limp.
- Broken Legs – Unfortunately Italian Greyhounds are prone to leg fractures.
- Bad teeth – If not taken care of properly, many Iggies lose their teeth at an early age.
Common health problems in Whippets are
- Eye problems – For example Progressive Retinal atrophy, which causes gradual loss of sight over a longer period of time.
- Mitral valve disease – It’s a heart condition where the valve is weakened allowing blood to flow back into the heart.
- Auto-immune problems – The body reacts against its own cells causing all kinds of problems.
Both Whippets and Italian Greyhounds can have adverse reactions to anesthesia and can be slow to recover. But experienced vets should know how to handle this safely.
In both breeds, color dilution alopecia (CDA) can occur. It’s a condition that only affects dogs with grey and other diluted colors. It causes hair loss and dry skin and can’t be cured. It’s only an external condition that doesn’t affect their life expectancy at all but yet it’s something everybody who wants to get a grey/blue dog should be aware of.
Italian Greyhound vs Whippet – Overview
Conclusion on Italian Greyhound vs Whippet – The Perfect Companion
Both breeds are amazing dogs. As Italian Greyhounds are smaller it’s easier to take them with you everywhere you go. But they are more sensitive than Whippets and you probably worry about them more.
Hopefully this comparison helped you to find out which breed might be better suited for you. Just ask yourself what you are looking for in a dog and make the decision based on that. But no matter if you go for an Iggy or a Whippet, both dog breeds are an excellent choice!
And remember, you can alway get a second dog. So why choose one when you can have both? 😉