Italian Greyhound vs Whippet – Which Breed is Better Suited for Me? The Ultimate Comparison

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 fit for you and to give you the best overview of both breeds, we will cover 6 different categories: Appearance, personality, activity level, trainability, maintenance and health. In the end, you should be able to pick a favorite. Let’s get started!

Italian Greyhound vs Whippet Appearance – What Are the Differences and Similarities?

Italian Greyhounds and Whippets look very similar. They are both smaller versions of the Greyhound – with Iggies being the smallest breed of the sighthound group. 

Size comparison: Greyhound, Italian Greyhound and Whippet
  • 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 color range is a bit smaller for Italian Greyhounds. In Europe, you will mostly find Iggies in all kinds of shades of grey, black and isabella, as the FCI standard only allows solid colors with white markings on the paws and chest. Other variations with more white are common outside of Europe.

Italian Greyhounds 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 Personality – Whippets are usually very laidback dogs who are typically way more relaxed than Italian Greyhounds. There is probably no other breed that sleeps as much as Whippets do. 
  • Italian Greyhound Personality – Italian Greyhounds on the other hand tend to be a bit more crazy and quirky. Once they are out of the puppy stage, they usually also sleep a lot but they can be very demanding too. They want to get your full attention at all times and be close to you and cuddle. They will definitely keep you busy if you let them. Italian Greyhounds are very sensitive dogs that are often timid around people they don’t know.

Both breeds are very affectionate and cuddly. But especially Iggies sometimes act like they are glued to you – no wonder people often call them “velcro dogs”. 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 and separation anxiety is not such a big issue as it is with Italian Greyhounds.

Both breeds don’t bark a lot but as always, there are exceptions of course. 

Both Whippets and Iggies make great models!

Italian Greyhound vs Whippet Activity Level – Crazy Outdoors, Calm & Cuddly Indoors

Both Whippets and Italian Greyhounds have about the same activity level. Italian Greyhounds and Whippets are very active breeds who enjoy being challenged. They love running off leash. When they get enough exercise, they are lovely and very calm dogs at home.

Whippets might need a little bit more exercise, simply because they are bigger. But for both about 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 minds 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 are usually easier to potty train.

Both breeds need good recall training so they can be trusted off leashBoth are sighthound breeds and therefore enjoy chasing after everything that moves. Their prey drive isn’t as strong as other Sighthound breeds’ but it’s something you should always keep in mind when owning a Whippet or Italian Greyhound.

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.

  • Nail Trimming – To trim their nails, you can either use a nail clipper or a dremel. Doing this about once per week should be enough for most dogs.
  • Ear Cleaning – Depending on the age, you may need to clean their ears up to about once a week with a wet towel.
  • Brushing their Coat – Both breeds don’t shed a lot. Italian Greyhounds are even considered hypoallergenic, which means many people who are allergic to dogs don’t react to them. In spring and fall they may shed a bit more than usual. You can brush their coat to assist the seasonal change of fur.
  • Bathing – They may need an occasional bath every now and then. Usually it’s enough to clean their paws after a walk with a wet towel.
  • Teeth Brushing  – Especially Iggies tend to have very bad teeth so brushing them regularly is recommended to avoid dental problems.
Can you resist those eyes?

Italian Greyhound vs Whippet – Lifespan and Overall Health 

Both are fairly healthy breeds who can live up to 15 years and more. However, there are breed specific health issues amongst both breeds.

Which Health Conditions Often Occur in Italian Greyhounds?

  • Luxating Patella – Iggies often have luxating patellas. That’s a condition that’s common for many small breeds in which the kneecap moves out of place causing the dog to limp.
  • Broken Legs – Unfortunately due to their delicate bones Italian Greyhounds are prone to leg fractures.
  • Bad Teeth – If not taken care of properly,Italian Greyhounds sometimes lose their teeth at an early age.

Find out more about Italian Greyhound health in our blog post.

Which Health Conditions Often Occur in Whippets?

  • Eye Problems – Whippets often suffer from various eye diseases, for example Progressive Retinal atrophy, which causes gradual loss of sight over a longer period of time.
  • Mitral Valve Disease – Another common issue amongst Whippets is Mitral Valve Disease, a heart condition where the valve is weakened allowing blood to flow back into the heart.
  • Auto-immune Problems – With an auto-immune disease, 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. This doesn’t mean they can’t be put under – experienced vets usually 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 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 companions. 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? 😉