What’s the difference between greyhound and whippet? Find out which one is the right breed for you.
Both whippet and greyhound are members of the same family of dogs, the sighthounds, fast canines that hunt independently by sight.
The mighty greyhound was favored by nobility and actually in Medieval England commoners were forbidden to own a greyhound to keep them off hunting in the royal hunting preserves.
Smaller greyhounds and cross breeds became the hunting companions of the lower classes, helping to keep at bay vermin and hunting for the pot more than amusement.
In the nineteenth century small greyhounds and mixed breeds became popular for betting sports like ratting and dog racing.
When rural workers moved to the cities they brought with them their little dogs that were more adaptable to the city life but could still be competitive in betting contests.
The whippet can be considered a miniaturized version of the greyhound in fact the first obvious difference between greyhound and whippet is the size.
Greyhounds are large dogs, males can get to 29-39 kg. (65-85 pounds) and females 23-29 kg. (50-65 pounds).
A whippet on another hand is a medium sized dog, a large male doesn’t get heavier than 15-16 kg. (35 pounds) and small female can be as light as 9 kg. (20 pounds).
When choosing between these breeds you must ask yourself if you can handle and lift, if necessary, a dog as heavy as a greyhound.
You must also consider that a big dog requires more general expenses, a larger quantity of food, a larger car, more space to exercise and more poop scooping willingness.
Below you can see the size difference between a greyhound, a whippet and an Italian greyhound.
Another factor in choosing between these two dog breeds is the temperament.
Whippets are very popular among sighthounds because they are the most obedient among a type of dogs that are well known for being very independent.
Whippets are also blessed with a very steady personality.
If you are considering to acquire an adult dog, you have better chances to find a grown up greyhound than a whippet.
Many greyhounds are retired racers, they are still young, already crate trained and can make wonderful pets.
Many organizations can help you find an adult greyhound to adopt while whippets generally start their lives as pets and are seldom given up for adoption.
Whippet do not run in professionally organized running contests so there are not retired whippet racers.
Both breeds are fairly healthy but the greyhound is, like most large breeds, more prone to gastric torsion or bloat.
Greyhounds may require some extra attention at feeding time like giving many smaller meals instead of a large one or moisten the food.
Some greyhounds are prone to hyperthyroidism that shows as bald thigh syndrome.
These dogs tend to lose hair on the outer thighs but this syndrome is more an aesthetic problem than a life threatening disease and can be treated with a hormone supplements.
In conclusion both breeds make wonderful pets with, I would say, a little advantage to the whippet for his moderate size and obedient temperament.
On another hand if you are looking to rescue and adult dog, probably you’ll have an easier time finding a retired racing greyhound than a pet whippet given for adoption.