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Greyhound versus Whippet

There are no other dog breeds more commonly confused than the Greyhound and the Whippet, as they have similar traits and look almost identical. Even seasoned professionals have difficulty telling them apart at younger ages. Both of these breeds have an abundantly rich history which dates back many years. Let’s take a closer look at the ways they are similar and the ways they are different.



For many years, Greyhounds were believed to be descended from ancient Egyptian or Persian dog breeds, but modern DNA analyses have rejected those suppositions. Although the Greyhound is mentioned in the Bible (KJV Proverbs 30:31), it is now thought that varied sighthound breeds contributed to what we now know as the English Greyhound.

Whippets are known as both English whippet and snap dog, and their bloodline traces back through the English Greyhound. So it is not a surprise that the present-day Whippet highly resembles the Greyhound. The Whippet was first produced by crossbreeding Greyhounds with long-legged Terriers of the 18th century. They originated out of Northern England where they were used to hunt small game such as rabbit. Kennel clubs started to treat these dogs as a separate breed around 1890, including The Kennel Club and the American Kennel Club.

Both dogs belong to a group of breeds known as sighthounds. Sighthounds are long, slender hounds that use their explosive power and lean frames to race for small prey or for sport. These are among the fastest dog breeds on earth, with the Greyhound taking the top spot. A Greyhound can reach speeds up to 40-45 miles per hour in a quick sprint, and the Whippet tops out at 35 mph.



  • Grooming needs: Low maintenance but need nail trims, easy to groom, no doggy odor
  • Coat: Thin, skin prone to scratches. Need protection from cold.
  • Color: AKC breed standard= any color allowed for both breeds
  • Family-friendly: Yes, both have a gentle, quiet temperament, but supervise young children.
  • Dog-friendly: Yes, but caution is advised with smaller dogs and cats.
  • High Prey Drive: ALWAYS keep them on a leash outdoors
  • Health: Generally healthy, but both are sensitive to anesthesia due to their low body fat. They also suffer from dental disease, so regular teeth brushing is recommended.
  • Trainability: Stubborn, often difficult to train, independent. They respond to positive reinforcement but can become even more head strong with harsh methods.
  • Exercise: Outdoors, a backyard romp or a good long walk will suffice. Indoors, both breeds love to curl up and snuggle with their people.



  • The Greyhound is larger and heavier than a Whippet. Greyhounds are typically 28-30 inches in height and weigh around 60-70 pounds. Whippets are commonly 18-22 inches high and weigh 25-40 pounds.
  • Lifespan is approximately 10-13 years for Greyhounds, and about 12-15 years for Whippets. Both are generally healthy.
  • Greyhounds are friendly with owners as well as with others, but Whippets are friendly with owners and more reserved with others.


So you can see that there is really not that much difference at all; they have a very similar appearance, temperament and physical attributes. The way to tell them apart is their size: a Whippet is much smaller than a Greyhound.

Oh, I almost forgot, another way they are similar is they both LOVE to sleep in a comfy bed!


  • Wonderful article…asking for my greys were whippets…
    Now that I have Iggies, I am still asked if they are whippets…on is a large iggie and does not have the typical iggie demeanor.

  • Brilliant! Love pointy nosed skinny dogs whether it be greys or whippets.

    Sally Sherwin

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