Whippet vs Greyhound: Amazing Breed Similarities and Differences

whippet vs greyhound

Both are skinny dogs. Both are fast. Both are completely adorable. It’s easy to see why many people get confused between a Whippet vs Greyhound. And that’s before we’ve even put an Italian Greyhound in the mix.

So how can you tell the difference between these amazing breeds? And which would be the best fit for your family and lifestyle? Here’s everything you need to know about these two wonderful dogs so you can choose!

Overview – Whippet vs Greyhound

Although they could be twins, there are a couple of notable differences between these two dog breeds. Greyhounds are larger than Whippets and can grow to be 28 to 30 inches tall. Whippets, however, measure 19 to 22 inches. Greyhounds also weigh more and are more muscular. In terms of temperament, both breeds are similar and adorable!

History of Whippets and Greyhounds

History of the Whippet

The Whippet dog breed dates back to Victorian England. Coal miners in the North of the country liked dog racing but didn’t have the space to exercise Greyhounds nor the budget to feed them. Their response was to breed their own dogs that were smaller! They used short Greyhounds and long-legged terriers (amongst others) to create this smaller breed.

As well as racing, these dogs were brilliant site hounds and became very popular hunting dogs across the country.

In the early 1900s, workers from the North of England emigrated to America. Not only did they bring their expertise and accents, but they also brought their small, cute, and adoring dogs.

The AKC registered the first Whippet in 1888 and they continue to be a popular breed on both sides of the pond.

whippet dog breed

History of the Greyhound

Greyhounds are very regal and elegant dogs. They’ve long stood by the side of important people throughout history. In fact, these pups date back to Egyptian times (more than 5000 years ago)!

The modern Greyhound is very similar to those seen in ancient artwork. They’ve been used throughout history as racing pups and hunters. Whilst popular amongst royalty (Queen Victoria’s husband had a Greyhound named Eos), they weren’t always as popular as they are now.

With the surge in charity work and awareness around adopting older race dogs, these pups became family favorites. If you can, it’s always a great idea to adopt a former racing Greyhound.

black and white greyhound

Whippet vs Greyhound – Appearance

Both the Whippet and the Greyhound are very similar in appearance. They’re both slender, have small heads, large ears, and adoring eyes.


One of the biggest differences between these amazing racing dogs is their size.

Whippet: between 19 and 22 inches tall. Will weigh between 25 and 40 pounds.

Greyhound: between 28 and 30 inches tall. Will weigh between 65 and 70 pounds.

Coat Color

Both of these dog breeds can be many different colors. According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), a Whippet can be 18 different standard colors and a Greyhound 15. These colors include black, blue fawn, red, and white. They can also both be brindle dogs.


Temperament Greyhound vs Whippet

These dogs are very similar when it comes to personality. Both Whippets and Greyhounds are very sweet and gentle souls. They can be nervous and slightly timid around people they don’t know though. They’re likely to jump at loud noises and won’t enjoy being touched unexpectedly.

Although skittish around strangers, both Whippets and Greyhounds are very lovey-dovey with their families and loved ones. They’re kind dogs that get on well with children and are very sweet-natured. They rarely show any aggression and are happy relaxing for much of the day.

Training and Socialization

Traning Whippets and Greyhounds shouldn’t be too difficult, although it does help to understand their history. Both breeds were bred to hunt or race (chasing after something that looks like prey). Unlike other hunting breeds, they use their sight and not their sense of smell.

Whilst on a hunt, they’re usually more independent, which means they don’t always love being told what to do. This can make training hard.

The best thing is to keep training sessions short. Both breeds can get bored easily if the sessions go on for too long. Because of their sensitive natures, Whippets and Greyhounds don’t respond well to harsh words. In fact, this could make them become even more anxious and less engaged in training sessions.

Positive reinforcement is your best option. Praise them when they do something well and give them a healthy treat such as a piece of cucumber, some shrimp, or some broccoli!

As with all pups, early socialization is very important for both breeds. They need to be exposed to many new sounds, sights and smells from an early age. This will help them understand the world around them and (hopefully) be less anxious.

Do They Get on with Other Dogs?

Both Greyhounds and Whippets are very calm pooches and get on well with other dogs. They like to play and socialize with dogs they know.

But, because these pups are sighthounds, care should be taken with smaller dogs. Likewise, it’s not recommended to adopt Whippets or Greyhounds, especially old racing Greyhounds, if you have other smaller pets in the house. They may see them as prey and chase and potentially injure them.

Whippets vs Greyhounds: Who Barks More?

Both dogs are usually quiet – which is great news for neighbors and those living in apartments. It does, however, mean that they don’t make very good guard dogs. Pups that haven’t been well-trained and socialized may tend to bark and whine more.

back greyhound in garden

Greyhounds and Whippets in Weather

Because both of these breeds are so thin with short and smooth coats it’s important you protect them in winter. Getting them a good dog coat will help to keep them cozy so they can still get out for some exercise.

It’s also important to protect them in warm weather. They may be prone to sunburn, so a good quality suncream, keeping them in the shade, and plenty of cool water will help.

Greyhounds vs Whippets: Exercise

These are two of the fastest dog breeds in the world – so it’s understandable if you think they’re high-energy dogs. But actually, both these breeds don’t need nearly as much exercise as you might think.

That’s because they’re sprinters (unlike the Border Collie and Australian Shepherd, for example). These pups need to run very fast just a couple of times a day and not for a very long time. A short walk or two a day will keep them happy, as well as a run around in a fenced-in area.

And fenced-in is really the word. Whippets and Greyhounds are known in the dog world for their high prey drive. This means that they run off the second they see something fun – like a squirrel or bird. Even if your dog is well-trained and returns when you call them, it’s not worth taking the risk.

You should also keep both breeds on a leash when you’re not in a fenced-in area. Getting them one of the best retractable dog leashes can be a happy medium. You can keep control whilst also letting them have a little freedom.

Mental Stimulation

As well as ensuring they have a good run around, these pups also need a lot of mental stimulation. Getting them a good puzzle toy can help to keep them engaged and stop them from getting bored.

Whippet vs Greyhound

Living Requirements for Whippets and Greyhounds

Although Greyhounds are large dogs, they’re quite adaptable. Their relaxed natures and easy exercise requirements mean they’re an OK choice for apartment dwellers. Just so long as they’re taken out for a good run or a walk a couple of times a day.

Whichever breed you go for, you’ll have a great family dog that will be happy sprinting around enclosed areas and snuggling on the couch in equal measures!

Dietary Requirements for Whippets and Greyhounds

Both of these dogs need high-quality food to keep them as healthy as possible. A good option is going for one of the best fresh dog food brands available. They use fresh, quality ingredients and are formulated by canine nutritionists. Many of them also pre-portion the meals which helps with overfeeding so your dog can maintain a healthy weight.

Where possible, avoid overly-processed treats that can be packed full of additives and extra calories. Check out BarkingTalk’s food page for some healthy treat ideas.

racing greyhound

Health of a Whippet vs Greyhound


According to the American Whippet Club, Whippets are among the healthier breeds of purebred dogs. They can, however, suffer from some health conditions. These include:

Eye conditions


Von Willebrand’s disease

Anesthesia Sensitivity


Because Greyhounds are larger than Whippets, they can suffer from a few other conditions. These are:


Osteosarcoma (an aggressive bone cancer)

Gastric Torsion

Anesthesia Sensitivity

When adopting your pooch, it’s really important you get them from a reputable breeder who breeds healthy dogs. They should provide you will all the health certificates required and both parent dogs should have clearances from the Canine Eye Registry.

Regular visits to the vet as well as feeding them good-quality dog food will help to keep them as healthy as possible.

Grooming a Greyhound vs Whippet

One of the things that makes these pups more popular than other breeds is their low maintenance. They have short and smooth coats which require very little grooming.

They’re not, however, considered to be a hypoallergenic dog breed. Both will shed moderately and weekly brushing will help to stop excess hair from ending up on your couch or clothes.

Neither of these breeds is known for their doggy odor, so it’s best to wash them every couple of months or whenever they roll in something stinky.

It’s also important to trim your Whippet or Greyhound’s nails whenever they get too long and brush their teeth. Talk to your vet or a local groomer if you’re unsure how to do this.

whippet puppies
Whippet puppies

Price of a Whippet or Greyhound Puppy

The price of a Whippet and a Greyhound can differ quite a lot. It also depends a lot on the specific dog you buy.

A Greyhound puppy may cost you anywhere between $1400 and $2000.

A Whippet, however, will cost a little less at $800 to $1600.

Of course, you can expect to pay much more for a dog from a famous racing lineage. They can cost tens of thousands!

In our opinion, the best thing you can do if you’re looking for a Greyhound is to adopt. Once a dog gets too old to race (when they’re still pretty young) they’re often killed. There are plenty of charities and shelters across the country saving these beautiful dogs. It’s much cheaper and you could be saving a life.

If you decide to get a pooch from a breeder, do your research so you know they’re reliable. Avoid puppy farms at all costs – the dogs are often mistreated and they may be suffering from health issues.

So, Whippet vs Greyhound – Which Is Better for You?

These dogs are very similar in many ways. They’re both fast, adoring, and gentle, and make wonderful family pets. They get on well which children and people they know but care should be taken around small pets. Both still have a strong prey drive and may injure small animals.

Neither of them requires huge amounts of exercise (just a good run around in an enclosed area) and they’re both easy to groom.

Whippets and Greyhounds are sensitive dogs and can be skittish around loud sounds, new people, and other things they’re not sure about. With those they love, they’re playful, and relaxed and make amazing furry companions.

If you’re thinking of adopting an ex-racing dog, check out the charities and shelters in your local area. This is the best way to give a loveable pooch a new life and they’ll reward you with lots of cuddles and affection!