Italian greyhound vs. Whippet vs. Greyhound

If you are wondering what is the right dog for you, this is the place to be. In this introductory forum we talk about topics such as breed vs. mix, size, age, grooming, breeders, shelters, rescues as well as requirements for exercise, space and care. No question is too silly here. This particular forum is for getting and giving helpful, nice advice. It is definitely not a forum for criticizing someone else's opinion, knowledge or advice. This forum is all about tail wagging and learning.

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Monty - My Angel- June'09

The big beast :)
Barked: Sat May 16, '09 9:23am PST 
What is the difference?
I work at a vet clinic and have recently seen greyhounds coming in and I must say, they are such amazing dogs! Gentle giants for sure. They are mellow and cuddley and oh so sweet. Plus their short coat doesn't cause me hives as some coarse short haired dogs can.

I love the greyhound and I also know a client with an italian greyhound. The Italian greyhound I know isn't very well socialized and I have never seen it touch the ground so it isn't a great example of the breed.

Anyways...I have been thinking of getting a dog and was going to adopt one, but it fell through since the owner decided to give her to a rescue instead. So the search for the right breed continues. I love the temperment of the Italian greyhound and greyhounds..

So first...what is the difference between the three breeds (other than size) AND what the are pros and cons regarding them smile

Thanks in advance pups smile

I am looking for getting one maybe in the fall...at the latest by Christmas smile

Small dogs can- have BIG jobs!
Barked: Sat May 16, '09 2:29pm PST 
All three are EXTREMELY different in temperment, behavior and special handling.

I'll speak mainly about IGs, as that is what I have.

For additional info, I highly recommend looking at the following websites:
http://www.italiangreyhound.org/pages/200about_igs.html#r ight
www.igg yplanet.com

IGs are wonderful little dogs: beautiful, affectionate and goofy. They are small, but not too small. They have large voices, not the yip yip of other toy breeds. They are fast and athletic. They are true velcro dogs and prefer to be with you 24/7. They make admirable bedwarmers, as they claim every right to your furniture and are convinced the bed is for them and they share it with you. They sleep under the covers. They don't have a strong doggy smell. Due to their short single coat, they tend not to shed as noticably (they still shed) as other dogs and some people with dog allergies can live comfortably with them (but not all). Many compare them to cats, as they have unique qualities that are very different from your average dog: they like to soak up the sun from the backs of couches etc. They are independent thinkers. They keep themselves clean and will groom themselves like a cat.

However, there is a dark side to IGs. wink People often extoll the best qualities of the breeds they recommend on Dogster, but I'm not like that. The good... you can get that anywhere. But the bad... well, those bad things tend to be deal breakers that land a dog in rescue.

So here goes: IGs can be EVIL little dogs. laugh out loud

POTTY TRAINING! EEEK! IGs can be notoriously hard to potty train reliably. Some never quite figure it out. Most hate the cold and getting wet, so if it is cold, rainy or windy outside, many refuse to potty outside. Then promply leave you a deposit on your rugs... which many view as really plush high class potty pads. Because of this, many people choose to pad train or litter train their igs. Some do well with this. Whatever the case, potty training takes consistancy and patience.

IGs can NEVER EVER EVER EVER (and I mean NEVER) be off leash in an unenclosed area. It doesn't matter how well trained the dog is or how great the recall is. Just NO... wait wait... NO! Really and truly NO! That means no walking to the car without the leash. No romps at the unfenced park. No beach romps without the leash. No walks in the woods with no leash. No romping in a yard enclosed on three side. No going out in the front yard for a quick potty with no leash. No invisible electric fence etc. (By the way, this goes for ALL sighthounds, including greyhounds and whippets). Most rescues and responsible breeders have leash clauses in their contracts, meaning that the dog can be immediately seized if allowed to recreate off leash in an unenclosed area. So just don't do it!

Let's talk a little about that lovely IG physique. Because of thier thin skin and low body fat, IGs are NEVER OUTDOOR dogs. They are indoor dogs that like to visit the outdoors to play while supervised... then come back inside. Also, they often require sweaters, jammies or t shirts to keep warm while it is cold and to shield them from sunburn. Because they are sighthounds and thier heads are smaller than their necks, IGs require properly fitted martingale style collars (or the equivalent). Martingale collars tighten when a dog backs up. Buckle collars are NEVER appropriate for walking an IG. They are too easy to slip out of. This is the same with all sighthounds (including whippets and greyts). Because of their deep chest, harnesses never fit quite right. Many an IG has slipped a harness and run off to the horror of their owners.

IGs think they can fly... but they can't. They will bravely (and stupidly) jump off of high counters, desks etc that they somehow manage to clamber up onto if you do not IGGY PROOF your home. This can lead to one of the biggest problem for poorly bred igs (and occassionally some well bred ones too): LEG BREAKS. Part of thier beauty lies in those elegant gams that go all the way up. However, those chopstick legs can break. And when they do, it is never an easy process. Good Ig owners keep an extra bankroll of cash set aside with the number of the best orthopedic vet surgeon near them... just in case. Most vets (even ortho vets) do not have the experience needed to properly set and care for iggy breaks. They will tell you they do... but that is mute when your dog requires an amputation because improper sized fixation was used or it wasn't set quite right. I know people who have travelled several hours to find the appropriate vet... and such treatment is expensive. We like to say leg breaks will set you back $1000... but that number can go up and down. One friend of mine had a dog with a leg break and she is now at $6000!

This fragility also means that play with larger dogs or children is usually out. Both can accidentally injure an IG. IGs are not rough and tumble dogs.

Another health problem: SIEZURES. They are especially common in poorly bred igs, but can also happen to better bred IGs too. IGs are also susceptable to PRA, low thryroid, luxating patellas, vWB, and juvenile cataracts. All the more reason to go to a RESPONSIBLE breeder or rescue.

You will NEVER be ALONE again! Some people have an issue with this. That means no more alone time in the bathroom or with a special friend in the bedroom or when you are on the computer (guess who is laying next to me right now) etc.

IGs are sighthounds, so that means that they are INDEPENDENT THINKERS. That means, they will never react to training like a lab. They are not subservient. They need positive, up beat, fun training. Harsh corrections and physical punishment are NEVER appropriate for an IG. They are soft dogs and will wilt or shut down. All sighthounds are touch sensitive and harsh correction can be very scary for them. No ecollars (they will scream), no hitting or tapping (they will never trust you again), and no loud voices or harsh tones (they will cower). Now that is not to be said that IGs are not smart. They are highly intelligent. But like cats, they are always thinking "what is in this for me?" You just have to be creative enough to design a training program that peaks thier interest. Food is often a plus, as is play. Byron is very highly trained. It took creativity, positive reinforcement and patience. Lots and lots of patience. wink By the way, don't expect a sighthound to sit or down on a cold hard floor. That's what mats are for. Many IGs will actually stare at you and quickly back up until they run into a rug etc to sit on if you ask them to sit on tile etc.

IGs need committed dental care. That means daily teeth brushing... unless of course, you want a toothless dog.

IGs and all sighthounds are sensitive to chemicals; that includes anesthesia and flea meds. I prefer not to use flea meds on my dog. Instead I do visual inspection and remove fleas by hand.

IG puppies are VERY active and bounce off of the walls... literally. Be prepared for the zoomies. As they get older, most IGs settle down a bit (usually around 3 years). However, they still need regular exercise and will still play quite activly in your home.

Since IGs can be touch and noise sensitive, some can be very timid in public. I imagine that is the trouble with the IG at your vet's office. Therefore, they need to be well socialized from a young age. However, some will never be outgoing. This also means that thier home must be free of loud noises and angry voices. If you live in a very boisterous home, an IG may not be for you.

Finally, there are a lot of puppy mills and backyard breeders out there that breed IGs. So be careful. If you want to purchase an IG, go to the IGCA and request a breeder referral. Then CAREFULLY review the breeder to ensure that s/he is responsible. If you have a breeder in mind, I'd be happy to review the breeder for you. PM me privately. A good IG breeder will never let a dog go at 8 weeks, as is commonly done with other breeds. IGs need extra time with thier litter. A good age for going to a new home is between 10-14 weeks. Some even keep them longer. This will not affect the bonding expereince you will have with your dog. If a breeder tries to send you home with a dog under 8 weeks... RUN! No responsible IG breeders ship to new members of the fancy. They also do not make transactions over the internet or by credit card. Most require cash. This is not a blanket statement. I know the responsible breeders in the IG fancy and none of them do the above things. Finally, NEVER buy from a puppy mill... unless you want a dog with poor socialization, separation anxiety, pra, poor bone density, lp, and seizures.

IG rescue is also a wonderful way to get an IG. There are so many in rescue right now. I'm an IGCA rescue volunteer in Florida. So if you are in Florida, please feel free to pm me. Or you can ask for the contact in your state.

That being said, I love the breed and would not trade my IG for the world. cloud 9

One last thing, IGs should generally not be kept with greyhounds. It is dangerous. Some people are able to do it successfully, but those people have a heck of a lot of sighthound experience and practice segregation in thier home and in the yard.

Small dogs can- have BIG jobs!
Barked: Sat May 16, '09 2:53pm PST 
Two other things:

1. IGs (and all sighthounds) should be kept slim. Most people misunderstand this and think that lab proportions are fine. They are not. Generally an IG that shows no bone is a FAT IG. In fact, most pet igs I meet are overweight. naughty A proper weight IG usuall will show some rib, hip bones and 3-5 vertebrae. Of course, every IG is built differently.

2. You will become public property if you get an IG. That means WHENEVER you are out with your dog, you will be stopped by people who want to admire your dog and ask you questions. Some of those questions are silly. Some are sweet. Some are downright mean. I'm fine with the questions, but some people are disturbed by the extra attention. So just be prepared. You will also learn that you do not own an IG. You apparently own a: whippet, miniature greyhound, baby greyhound, baby great dane, baby deer or even a kangaroo. laugh out loud

Oh and to answer your other question: IGs are more hyper (especially in the house) than greyts and whippets. They are also more sensitive and breakable. However, they also live longer.

Monty - My Angel- June'09

The big beast :)
Barked: Sat May 16, '09 8:47pm PST 
Wow thank you for all the information!

I am thinking of getting an Italian Greyhound and all that information is VERY helpful!

Anyone able to tell me more about the Whippet? I am thinking Greyhound is a bit too big for me...money and care and such is usually more with a larger dog wink

The Greyhounds that I have seen recently at the vet clinic have broken limbs in their back legs from taking corners too fast...two in one day surprisingly, but sweet sweet dogs
Monty - My Angel- June'09

The big beast :)
Barked: Sat May 16, '09 9:21pm PST 
What about litter training? Is it a better idea to do that than house training?...I would assume their bladders are teeny...

My sheltie once lasted 10 hours, although I felt pretty bad for him frown

Small dogs can- have BIG jobs!
Barked: Sat May 16, '09 9:47pm PST 
It depends on your own personal situation and the dog itself. I would never expect an IG to hold it much longer than 8 hours at the most. Some people are fine with just using pads. Others litter train. I happen to have a Porch Potty with artificial grass.

No problem about the info. It is hard to STOP talking when the subject is IGs. wink
Monty - My Angel- June'09

The big beast :)
Barked: Sat May 16, '09 10:10pm PST 
8 hours isn't bad at all!

Umm would litter training work? I would be up for that rather than puppy pads, but ya never know.

I loved all the information you gave it was so helpful and surprisingly didn't turn me off of the breed. I was talking to a friend at work tonight and she was like 'I don't see you with an Italian Greyhound..' but then again we started talking about another staff member who has a Rotti and is getting a poodle and she doesn't seem like a poodle person BOL.

how does this breeder look? I do have time to search around for a breeder since I am wanting to save up before I get one so I can get one for...I am thinking between $1500-$2000 and then get some clothes for him wink


The page seems a bit much but the guy seems to know his stuff... or I dont know... I have never looked unto breeders since my Sheltie was adopted from the vet clinic so this whole thing is new smile

Small dogs can- have BIG jobs!
Barked: Sat May 16, '09 11:50pm PST 
Let me preface this by stating that I am stating my OWN personal opinion that you have requested by posting that link.

NONONONONONONONONO!!!!!!!!!!!!! RUN FAR AND FAST! VERY FAST FROM THAT BREEDER! He talks a good game, but if you dig deeper you find a lot of red flags... like ages of his bitches at time of first litter and amount of litters. Also his show records, not as impressive if you know the stats... like amount of other dogs entered in the class. Also have a look at the IG standard and then have another look at his pics. Also the health stats, not so great when you consider that he does patellas and cerf on puppies... which is useless. Also, pied dogs are not "rare." If you check the lines on some of his dogs, they have what I and many other in the fancy consider to be IG internet miller dogs in them. Finally, I would never trust a breeder who took a picture of IG puppies standing on top of a wire crate... can we say potential leg break? Shiver! If it were me, I would not personally support his lines by purchasing a dog or buying product (like clothes) from him. I don't support people whom I consider to be irresponsible breeders. But that is my personal belief.

Litter training can work just fine. Many do it. smile

Black dogs rock!
Barked: Sun May 17, '09 3:48am PST 
Admittedly I just did a very cursory check into the Whippet , but I know anybody who asks about breeds on here will be doing their own thorough researchwink That being said, from the bit I read, Whippets seem to have more Greyhound charateristics, but need more excercise than a Greyhound. Also, having being bred using terriers I would guess they are not the easiest to train. Interestingly enough, they have piqued my interest as well.( Of course, almost every breed does bol)

Edited by author Sun May 17, '09 3:49am PST


Whippy- The- Whipador
Barked: Mon May 18, '09 11:03am PST 
Well my Ty is half Whippet and although his other heritage is Labrador he's much more alike to the Whippet in personality.

Whippets are extremely sensitive and any harsh punishement can be counter prouductive, they don't like raised voices or being shouted at. They typically carry there tails between there legs as do Greyhounds and IG's...a trait of many of the sighthounds. This doesn't mean they are scared, it's just a breed trait. They are quiet, clean and very laid back in nature. Tyler will sleep for the majority of the day, you hardly know he's there. Although they enjoy exercise they are not the breed of choice for someone who leads a very busy life or enjoys hiking. They are at there happiest with a couple of good walks a day, just enough time for them to have a good sprint, and when you see these dogs in full flight, it's beautiful.

A lot of people say you can't ever have sighthounds off lead etc, however each dog is different and i can quite happily have my boy off lead. He does have a pretty high prey drive, he has caught a couple of rabbits before but if you have a nice enclosed field to let your Whippet off then it's not a problem.

Tyler was housetrained within 3 weeks but it could have had a lot to do with the fact that his breeders had been allowing the puppies to use there private fields from the age of 6/7 weeks.

Height wise they are perfect for family life and even apartment life. I live in a flat and my boy is just the perfect size. They are pretty low maintenance in terms of feeding and grooming. They do have very thin skin, which means if they are off lead and they run through a hedgerow for instance, they can rip there skin pretty quick. They also feel the cold in winter and would be happy with a water proof jacket. Keep there bed from any drafts andsupply some blankets for your Whippet to snuggle into.

Whippets are sun worshippers and enjoy both heat and comfort. They quickly attach themselves to their owners and are great with Children too. Although Children would have to be taught not to be rough with the Whippet or scream and shout around to it as it could become nervous.

The Whippet has the most amazing looking body, sleek, muscular and fast looking. They are described as "A peice of canine Art"
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