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Difference Between Italian Greyhound and Whippet

dog-whippet-pdItalian Greyhound vs Whippet

For anyone who has ever had a sight hound ‘own them’, have been blessed with an affectionate, playful, elegant and wonderful clown. Among the dozen breeds of sight hounds, two of the smallest of this breed are the Italian Greyhound and the Whippet. This article tells a snippet of their histories, temperament, and the sports in which they participate.


The Italian Greyhound, sometimes called an ‘Iggy’, is the smallest gaze hound; originating over 4000 years ago, with a history tracing back to ancient Egypt, Pompeii, and the Emperor Nero’s court in Rome. They were extremely popular during the Renaissance in Italy, which is from where their name originates. As a miniature breed of Greyhound, they are typically found as a companion in many homes. These wonderful little canines were typically used with falcons to hunt smaller prey.

As with all other gaze hounds, Whippets were also originally bred to hunt; and these canines date back to the Roman Renaissance. This breed is also very popular, in addition to their hunting skills, as home companions.


An Iggy’s behavior is similar to other gaze hounds – loving, agreeable, mischievous, and wonderful for families. They are small, generally from eight to eighteen pounds, and short-haired; making them ideal for families in apartments, and those who don’t want a lot of hair to brush. They are very quick, lively and nimble, and are very happy when running. They need daily exercise. Unfortunately, as sight hounds, they will spot ‘game’ from a distance and bolt after it, so they must be kept on a leash in city neighborhoods.

The nature of the Whippet is also consistent with the gaze hound family. They are gentle and affectionate; a most agreeable dog. They tend to be territorial, like most sight hounds, and become quite attached to the people ‘they own’; or one doesn’t own a sight hound ‘“ the sight hound has the power over their providers. They are great with both the young and old, and have been used frequently in care facilities for the aged.


Since Iggy’s love to run and hunt, they are popular in several sporting events specifically designed for sight hounds, including lure coursing, racing and agility. They are frequent champions in lure coursing; and compete with their larger cousins, the Afghan Hounds, Borzois, Irish Wolfhounds, Whippets, and the other gaze hounds. Competing in both oval and straight tracks, their speed is truly amazing. Agility is another event they can participate in, because of their ‘what’s in it for me’ attitude and the rewards granted to them during the agility trials. They also frequently compete in dog shows, and are known for their elegance and style.

Whippets also love to participate in the same variety of sporting events, including lure coursing, racing and agility. They were recognized by the AKC in 1888 as participants; and they quite frequently won the dog shows.


1. Italian Greyhounds and Whippets are elegant, loving sight hounds that are funny and mischievous, and great for families.

2. Being gazehounds, they love to hunt and run, frequently competing in a variety of sporting events.

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