greyhound vs whippet

Greyhound Vs Whippet – What’s The Difference?

You may have had this question for a very long time now since both these dogs look very similar. Even if you hadn’t dared to pose the question, we’re here with the answer anyway.

Before we delve into it, know that regardless of their differences, they both make happy and amazing pets. However, just so if you are curious, let us tell you Greyhounds and Whippets do not only share the same breed, they are also from the same family!

Whippets are direct successors of the ancient Greyhound. Both these elegant dogs are naturally-born racers – well, we would say that they have a dire need for speed.

Of course, even you must have read somewhere that Greyhounds are the fastest four-legged creature on earth and Whippets are not too far behind either. But don’t get too disconcerted by their racing histories because with their speed comes friendliness and laidback character.

These were just some of the similarities. But as you scroll, you will discover some fascinating differences between these two unique breeds.

History of The Greyhound and Whippet

Dogs having a rich history is something you won’t read every day. In fact, almost all dogs have an interesting historical background if you cared enough to look.

Surprisingly enough, the breeds are the first ones to appear in the history books of North Africa and the Middle East and to be depicted in the ancient art of Egypt. On top of that, they are the only breed of dogs who have been mentioned in the Bible as well – now that’s some severe fame we have here for them to claim!

Paving their way across central Europe, Greyhounds got introduced to the United Kingdom in the 5th AD as sight sounds. They quickly became very popular for their incredible racing and revolutionary hunting skills.

After a brief period, they were bought to America by the British and Spanish colonists, who were known to use the Greyhounds to chase their coyotes and jackrabbits. Soon enough in 1886, they were used as racing dogs. The sport had quickly become controversial because issues had been raised regarding the welfare of the dogs. However, this then led to their welfare charity, and thus there had been a growth in the adoption of this breed.

Speaking of Whippets, there is a good reason as to why they resemble Greyhounds so much. As we’ve mentioned that they are the successors of the Greyhounds and later in the 1700s, they were bred with the fast, long-legged Terriers. That’s when they inherited much of the Greyhounds as well as the Terriers. So, you see, the Whippet is a younger breed and only about a few hundred years old.

Unlike the Greyhounds, the Whippets gained their popularity in Northern England by hunting small animals like rabbits for the colonists. Interestingly enough, they have then nicknamed “the poor man’s racehorse”.

You may also like our article on Dog Food for Greyhounds.

Greyhound vs Whipped – Who is Faster?

To begin with the differences, both of them are extremely fast. The Greyhound is the fastest of all and can reach a speed of 40 – 45 miles per hour, whereas the Whippets are a little bit slower. By comparison, the Whippets reaching speed is 35 miles per hour. Not bad, eh?

But do take note that Greyhounds might be the fastest breed in the world, Whippets are not far behind. Whippets are in fact, the fastest accelerating dog on earth.

The Temperament Differences 

Now, you might assume that both Greyhounds and Whippets have high levels of energy just because of their high-speed antics, but in reality, this is not at all the case. Know that they are great sprinters, not actually long-distance runners. They would be happy to cuddle up with you on your sofa on Sunday evening just as much as you would enjoy it.

For those apartment dwellers, the good news for you is, both Greyhounds and Whippets make amazing apartment pet dogs and are quite couch potatoes. They are definitely full of energy and would love to play around with you, but their energy levels persist for a concise time.

Be careful about when you take your pet Greyhound and Whippets out for walks. Their strong instincts to chase and hunt smaller, furry animals put them into the mood for shooting at any time of the day. It’s best to avoid places where they have chances to sniff out for rabbits. Also, do try to keep them in a fenced area for they might run out to chase animals whom they see as their prey. And you might not even be able to catch up with them once they start running!

Whippets and Greyhounds are both sociable and amiable creatures, there’s no doubt about that. Best of all, they comfortably suit in a multi-dog household very quickly, which is excellent news for those who are looking for an additional pooch member in their family.

Again, remember that if they find small animals, they will chase out to catch them. So, if you have a cat or a rabbit, perhaps it’s better not to add them to your family.

Typically, greyhounds are very loving with a calm demeanor. They are great with children and make loving pets for a closely-knit family. At the same time, their nature could sometimes even resemble a cat. What we mean by this is that they are highly intelligent and independent. They might also act up aloof among strangers. So, before you take your Greyhound to a different surrounding, make sure that they are aware of the place and the people just so they do not become timid. Much like a cat, right?

Likewise, Whippets have almost the same disposition as Greyhounds. They are gentle, friendly, amiable, and quiet four-legged creatures. As for socialization, they have the same needs as the Greyhound. If not, the Whippet might become too timid. Remember that Whippets quite sensitive to touch. In any case, if they start acting up while petting, know that they are receptive.

It is noteworthy that neither the Greyhound nor the Whippet is good as guard dogs. They like to remain silent, and their bark isn’t very known. Hence, in case of burglary, they will, in turn, greet the burglar than protect your home.


The Appearance – How to Distinguish Whippet from a Greyhound

Whippets are literally the mini version of Greyhounds. They are in fact a smaller version of the Greyhound. Both of them have long, narrow heads that become wider towards their ears. Their muzzles are seen to be extended with large, rounded, or oval-shaped eyes that shine like a diamond!

You will notice that the Greyhound’s ear is likely to stay folded unless they get very excited and stand on an end. Whereas, the whippets have rose-colored ears that are smaller compared to the Greyhound’s ears. The Whippet’s ears are more delicate in texture, and they are likely to fold up their ear when they become more lively and cheerful.

Nonetheless, both of them have long, thin and narrow tails. They are slightly curved in an upwards direction.

Size and Coloring

Greyhounds are incredibly lean and sleek in shape. Never will you ever see a fat Greyhound. Their aerodynamic build along with their narrow head, muscular rear ends, and long legs make them look like a stunner.

There are mainly two types of Greyhounds: Show Greyhounds and Racing Greyhounds. While the Racing Greyhounds are about 64cm – 76cm tall, the Show Greyhounds are approximately 66 – 76cm in height. The male Greyhounds carry a weight of no more than 29 – 39 – kilograms, whereas the females weigh only 23 – 29 kilograms.

As you already know, Whippets are a mini version of the Greyhounds. So, they are quite small. Although they might be smaller than a Greyhound, they are actually bigger than an Italian Greyhound. Male Whippets are about 48cm – 56cm tall with weighing at an average of 34 pounds. Female Whippets, on the other hand, are 45cm – 53cm tall and about 28 pounds in weight.

And about their color, Greyhounds can be of any color; fawn, black, grey, and red with brindle or white markings. It is not unusual for them to have a striped pattern of one or multi-colors.

Whippets are also of different colors like white, black, fawn, red, and cream. However, Whippets come in a combination of blazes, spots, or patches which are of different colors.

Who are the Italian Greyhounds?

Simply put, Italian Greyhounds are the cuter versions of the Greyhounds. All Greyhounds are cute, but by this what we mean to imply is that the Italian Greyhounds belong to more of the Toy Dog Group. They are slender, smaller, and lighter than an average Greyhound. They are only about 33cm – 38cm tall, weighing only about 3 – 8 kilograms.

Their small size is an excellent match for those who badly want a dog but worried about their living space is small. Italian Greyhounds are graceful and share the same peaceful, loveable and amiable temperament as their Greyhound brothers and sisters.

greyhound puppy

Greyhound and Whippet Grooming

The reason why many people prefer to pet a Greyhound is that of their fairly low maintenance when it comes to grooming. The short, smooth coat is relatively easier to maintain. Although they also do regularly shed if their coat is not brushed regularly. The short coat also means that they are likely to shiver under cold and chilly conditions. So, you better take a warm jacket for your Greyhound if you plan on taking them for walks when it’s snowing or raining outside.

Check out some of our dog clothes guides, such as Dog Winter Coats, Dog Raincoats, and Dog Sweaters.

Whippets also do have short and smooth coats and are also very easygoing in terms of their grooming needs. However, Whippets need to be brushed more often than the Greyhounds, otherwise, they might shed more than the Greyhound.

And the best part is that both these dogs do not need to be bathed very frequently unless they have rolled themselves in mud or something stinky. But do bathe them whenever you feel it’s necessary.

Read here our reviews of the Best Shedding Brushes for Dogs and Best Brushes for Short Hair Dogs.

Both the Greyhound and the Whippet have thin skin. This exposes them to nicks and scrapes. This is when you should be really attentive and take them for vet inspection whenever necessary, particularly after a run or a walk through the woodland. And of course, there shouldn’t be any compromise on a warm jacket for the Whippet.

What About Greyhound and Whippet Health? 

The average life expectancy of a Greyhound is about 10 – 12 years while a Whippet lives a happy and healthy between 12 – 15 years. Whippets usually are very healthy breeds, but in some cases, they might suffer from eye conditions, von Willebrand’s Disease (a term that stops the clotting of the blood), or even deafness.

Greyhounds are also very healthy breeds but tend to get diagnosed with hypothyroidism (a hormonal problem that causes hair loss and lethargy), hip dysplasia, and osteosarcoma (bone cancer). Both Greyhounds and Whippets have sensitivity towards anesthesia, so before you get them done with any surgery, make sure to get them diagnosed by your holistic vet. They are also prone to suffer from poor dental health for which you need to take charge of keeping their teeth clean and sparkling pearly white.

Take a look at our articles on the Best Dog Toothbrush and Best Dog Toothpaste.

Bottom Line

The Greyhound and the Whippet might be two different dog breeds, they still do have many similarities and some little differences as well. Them belonging to the same origin perhaps could be one of the reasons for them being so similar.

If you’re really keen to know more about these two breeds, you’re welcome to research more about these amazing furballs. Just don’t mistake them for being the same because they both have their own beautiful personality traits!

With both the dogs being adorably cute, let us know in the comments section which one you like better and why.


  1. Whippet – PetMD
  2. Greyhound – PetMD
MyPetNeedsThat Staff

  1. Shelly
    Aug 14, 2021

    I think I would go with an Italian Greyhound or a Whippet. I would like a female because of their size and weight my house is not overly roomy.
    This is a great site, easy to understand & very knowledgeable

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