Dogs come in all shapes and sizes. Big dogs, small dogs, long-haired, short-haired, the list goes on and on; just like in the last blog, we discussed how Scottish deerhounds and Irish wolfhounds look similar. In this blog, we’ll discuss how the whippet and Italian greyhound are alike and different. These two breeds look very similar at first glance, but once you get to know them, you’ll see the differences.
A Brief History
The whippet’s past is a bit of a mystery. Some historians believe their ancestry can be traced back to ancient pharaohs, while others believe their heritage is Greek. To make things even more unclear, the first recorded word whippet as a dog descriptor was about a greyhound-spaniel mix unrelated to the modern-day whippet. So, where do they come from? Some experts believe today’s whippet is likely from miniature greyhounds bred in England to catch rats and hunt rabbits. They believe the runts from litters were taken to create a smaller version of the dog.
Unlike the whippet, there’s more evidence to trace ancestry for the Italian greyhound. Egyptian artifacts dating back 2,000 years have depictions of pint-sized sighthounds. Proof of these little dogs can be found from Egypt to Rome. Some believe these pint-sized dogs reached Rome around the fifth century. They were companion dogs and were adored for their small structure and playful nature.
At a glance, these two breeds look almost identical. Upon closer inspection, though, the whippet is nearly double the weight of an Italian greyhound. Whippets’ weight ranges between 25-40 pounds. Italian greyhounds’ weight ranges between 8-11 pounds. The whippet is also taller than the Italian greyhound. Whippets’ height ranges from 18-22 inches for males and 17-21 inches for females. Italian greyhounds' height ranges from 12-15 inches in both males and females.
Their temperament also differs. Since Italian Greyhounds are smaller than whippets, they are generally kept from other breeds and children. Because of this, they usually don’t take well to other dogs. However, they can be socialized toward other dogs in a positive manner. Whippets are easy-going, adaptable, and gentle. They are capable of high intensity when running. They are naturally provoked to chase after anything that runs from them.
The coat types also differ. Whippets come in two varieties of coat types: smooth coat and long coat. The smooth coat variety is uniformly short, smooth, and close to the body throughout. The texture is also firm-to-harsh and glossy with no undercoat. The long coat variety is short on the face, forehead, and front forelimbs, and hindlimbs. The coat is longer on the neck, ears, and rear of forelimbs and hindlimbs. Undercoats may or may not be present. Italian greyhounds have short, fine, soft, silky, and satin-like coats.
At a glance, these look a lot alike. Their similarities include their eyes, cheeks, expression, and many other attributes. Their eyes are both moderate in size and are round to oval in shape. Although, the Italian greyhound can also have eyes that appear almond in shape. Their ears are small to medium in size. Their cheeks are smoothly muscled and are never chiseled or coarse. Their expressions are both keen. Here at CKC, they both fall under the Sighthound Breed Group.
Side by side, these two breeds look very similar. One major difference between them is the Whippet is a bigger breed when compared to the Italian greyhound. They have similar faces and are even classified in the same breed group. Take a closer look next time you see a whippet or Italian greyhound and try to spot the difference between these two amazing breeds.
Click here for the Whippets full breed standard.
Click here for the Italian Greyhound full breed standard.