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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Whippy- The- Whipador
Barked: Fri Jun 12, '09 4:56pm PST 
Byron, but that's your opinion. If some people can happily and SAFELY allow their sighthounds off lead why is it a big deal to you?

In other words your telling all us Sighthound owners who allow our dogs off lead that we shouldn't own one or that we're risking our dogs safety? thinking

Small dogs can- have BIG jobs!
Barked: Fri Jun 12, '09 11:45pm PST 
Yes, it's my opinion. It is also the opinion of the vast majority of sighthound experts.

Shall I name a few big names? Lilian Barber: major IG breeder who literally wrote the book on the IG, Arthur Beaman who wrote Lure Coursing won't let his salukies off lead in unenclosed areas, IGCA and IGCA rescue, GCA rescue, Afghan rescue, and WCA to name just a few.

EVERY sighthound club has a disclaimer about exercising a sighthound off lead. Each and every one.

My opinion is by no means a minority. It is in fact the PREDOMINANT view in this group. It is considered by many to be THE TENANT of sighthound ownership. It is one of the first pieces of advice a breeder or rescue rep gives to a new owner.

And WHY do I care? Why am I posting this massive post? Why do I speak out when ANYONE posts that exercising a sighthound offlead in an unenclosed area is okay? I care and I post and I warn because I CARE ABOUT DOGS! In particular, I CARE ABOUT SIGHTHOUNDS! Allowing a sighthound to exercise off lead in an unenclosed area is DANGEROUS!

But don't take my word for it. Listen to the experts:

"This is a sighthound breed - a breed that hunts by sight instead of by scent. They can spy a rabbit, squirrel, another dog or a child a half-mile away and are gone in a split second to chase that 'game' or to make an acquaintance or investigate something interesting. Most Whippets are very curious and are not at all street-wise. They have no respect for cars. In fact, it is almost as if they don't even see cars because they so intensely focused on their destination. Therefore, Whippets cannot be safely trusted to run loose or stay in any unfenced area." http://www.americanwhippetclub.net/whquiz2.html

"The Afghan Hound is so fast that he can be in the next county before you even begin to give chase. ALWAYS HAVE YOUR AFGHAN HOUND UNDER CONTROL and never turn him loose unless he is within a fenced area. The fence must be of sufficient height because Afghan Hounds seem to have springs in their legs and can jump very high even from a standing start. "http://clubs.akc.org/ahca/Questionsandanswers.htm


"Since the Borzoi is a Sighthound, (using its eyes to find quarry) it is very alert to movement and may run off unexpectedly after what it perceives as "game" (a cat, squirrels, blowing leaves, etc...). For this reason, your Borzoi must ALWAYS be kept on a leash when not in a fenced area." http://www.nbrf.info/index.php?p=6

"Irish Wolfhounds need a secure, above-ground fence. They are sighthounds, fast and strong, and accounts involving dogs going through invisible fences with tragic results are heard all too often. A sighthound looks across the horizon to see its boundaries: they should see their fence." http://www.iwclubofamerica.org/faq.htm#fence

"Can I take a greyhound on walks without a leash?
For the safety of the dog we insist that Greyhounds NEVER be walked without a leash in an unfenced area. This is because their attention may be drawn to a squirrel or other object and then their instincts take over without regard to cars, etc. Additionally the greyhound may run for a couple of minutes and find itself lost far from home. Remember, it's 45 miles per hour!" http://www.friendsofgreyhounds.org/faq.html

"PLEASE, do not consider getting a Saluki unless you are prepared to give it a chance to run and stretch its legs in a secure place. Get a Sheltie or a Dachshund, and hang a picture of a Saluki on your wall instead. The # 1 cause of death in Salukis is being hit by a moving vehicle!"

I can go on and on and on and on.

Do I think that by letting your sighthound offlead you are being irresponsible in the husbandry of your dog? Yes, yes I do. I am not trying to be mean or nasty or anything of the like. I am thinking of the safety of your dog. Because I care about dogs. Do I think that people who want an offlead dog should own a sighthound? No, I do not believe that a person who must have their dog off lead should have a sighthound. Just like I believe that couch potatoes shouldn't own Border Collies or overly meek people shouldn't own GSDs, or people who want to jog with their dog shouldn't own pugs. If you are unwilling to follow the major tenants of a breed's husbandry, you should look for a breed that meets your needs.

I cannot make you stop risking your dog's safety, because he is your dog not mine. And if you want to continue to think that the vast majority of sighthound experts are wrong and you know better than them, fine. As a good friend always used to tell me: I personally like to spit downwind.

Edited by author Fri Jun 12, '09 11:52pm PST


Small dogs can- have BIG jobs!
Barked: Fri Jun 12, '09 11:47pm PST 
By the way, I wrote (and have always written) it is dangerous to let a sighthound off lead in an UNENCLOSED area.


Whippy- The- Whipador
Barked: Sat Jun 13, '09 8:07am PST 
Yeah and i guess that's why i'm finding it hard to know where anyone has said any different then you Byron. From what i've put certainly i've always mentioned that it should be a safe and enclosed area where you let your sighthound off.

Like i said before i'd never advocate letting any sighthound off leash where it's not deemed safe or secure.

And i have agreed with you too, there certainly are alot of Sighthounds that HAVE to be kept on lead...even muzzled. But there's also a fair few who can and do succesfully allow their sighthounds off lead. I have worked with Greyhounds both Racers and Ex Racers and worked at a Rescue where many Greyhounds in particular where rehomed with smaller animals.

I also on a daily basis see a Lurcher female who up until recently hadn't been coming off lead much due to her " Unreliable recall" ( words of her owner there ) I don't know whether they've attended obediance recently or what but now this young Lucher is allowed off leash exercise and she has a steady recall. Again the same goes for a Greyhound owner i know of. Her dog is allowed off leash too with no problems experienced.

I just don't think it's fair to label everydog the same when some people have had success with allowing their sighthounds off leash. If these people can safely allow their dogs off and their dogs have no problems then why should they be denied that off leash exercise?

And BTW, i'm not writing this in a argumentative way so please don't feel i'm trying to. On the whole i agree with you wink

Small dogs can- have BIG jobs!
Barked: Sat Jun 13, '09 6:47pm PST 
Tyler, I just don't know what to say to you. I have always stated all along that sighthounds should not be allowed off lead in unenclosed areas. I have never once said that a sighthound can never be off lead ever. I have only said not off lead in unenclosed areas (enclosed means that there is a physical fence, wall etc... gapped fencing for small breeds and electrical fencing for any breed is not included in my definition of enclosed). My very own dog is off lead in the fenced dog park, in fenced backyards, in fenced coursing fields and fenced racing tracks. However, as I previously stated, never off lead in an unenclosed area.

From your previous posts, you have said that I am wrong and that sighthounds can indeed be off lead. You have gone on to only say that they must be made "safe". As I have stated before, "safe" for a sighthound is different than safe for most other breeds. While a hunt trained lab may be considered safe in an unfenced field or forest or unfenced dog park, a sighthound would not be considered safe there. I know of several who met thier ends that way.

You seem to think that because you know of some people who have thus so far done off lead "safe" then that is perfectly okay for them. I believe differently and the vast majority of the sighthound fancy beleives the same way that I do on this topic. I would have to say that it only takes a second and there is no stopping that dog.

Since you have given some examples, let me give you one. I know of a sighthound that each and every time she got out of the car in a gap railed parking garage at home, she always ran to the elevator with her owner and then went to thier condo. She did this every day for 7 years of her life. Then one day she got out of the car as usual and saw some leaves flit past her and her sighthound instincts took over and she chased the leaves. As most sighthounds do, when she ran her brain "shut off." Regretfully, she chased those leaves through the gap railing, out of the parking garage and fell several stories to her death. All because her owner had become complacent and had long ago decided that he didn't need to leash her to get out of the car anymore as she was "reliable" and had been to obedience classes. Afterall, what dog would jump from such a height?

I will tell you that there are a lot of stories just like this in the sighthound community. In place of the parking garage, maybe it is a second story window or deck, or a cliff, or a front yard, or the parkinglot at the dog park, etc etc etc.

That is why the majority of the sighthound community believes that sighthounds should never be off lead in unenclosed areas.

I posted the above links to show you that it is not just "me." I'm not the only one who thinks this. In fact, YOU are in the minority on this issue. If you are okay with putting your dog at risk, then fine. That is your choice.

I can tell you that with a sighthound who can be recalled mid chase, can be called off a stopped lure across a coursing field and will actually dart around catchers to obtain his heel position at my side, who has been trained to stick in a close heel should I ever accidentally drop his lead and is trained to then pick up his lead in his mouth and hand it to me when I stop, who has been desensitized to crowds and strange occurances to the point that he was able to cross a stage to a live band and applause in a crowded auditorium and retain his focus, who can go through a zoo filled with odd scents and sights and not loose focus, who can retain focus while visiting emotionally disturbed patients in a psych ward, who has completed hundreds of hours of training... all those things considered, I STILL believe that my sighthound should never be off lead in an unenclosed area. Let me tell you, Byron has had a whole lot more training than the average dog. I have a level of trust in him that is far and above which I have ever had for another dog, as I must rely on him to assist me.

However, I still recognize that he is a sighthound. He is a dog that has been bred for centuries to run run run with no thought. Despite all of his training, I have seen his briain literally "shut off" in persuit of a lure. I have seen him and other dogs run without thought to injury... only in running until the thing that they chase is caught. I know, should that instinct kick in at an inopportune moment, there will be nothing that I can do and no voice that will stop him. I care too much for my dog to allow that to happen. So I keep him safely leashed in unenclosed areas. It is easy enough to seek out enclosed exercise places for him to exercise in, if I get creative. I love him enough to do that. I love him enough to recognize his shortcomings and seek out ways to ensure his safety... even when it is not convienant to me. That is what being a responsible owner is all about.

Edited by author Sat Jun 13, '09 6:51pm PST


Whippy- The- Whipador
Barked: Sun Jun 14, '09 6:56pm PST 
I have always stated all along that sighthounds should not be allowed off lead in unenclosed areas

So have I, as above where i posted the area should be enclosed.

I guess we can't keep carrying on this whole debate but i do find it offensive when you claim to think i'm not a responsible owner or that i don't love my dog enough to keep him on leash! That's just ridiculous. We're all here on this website because we LOVE our dogs and have their best interests at heart.

I've never once stated that i think your irresponsible or that you don't love your dog enough to let him off leash. And although you didn't directly make that statement to me your last post clearly made that clear in a round about way.

It's truly sad what happened to that Lurcher and i would never ever dream of having ANY dog off lead in a place with great heights such as apartment buildings. That to me is lack of common sense. Whatever breed i had i would be extremely cautious about allowing it off lead in the situation you described.

Safe is safe regardless of the context you seem to think others may read it as. In my posts i have always said Enclosed and safe areas in the same sentence. I would hope that anyone reading that sentence would understand what i mean.

But at the end of the day we'll carry on doing what we do, i haven't made judgemental comments in this thread at all. I'm happy with the level of training Tyler has and that's all that matters to me at the end of the day.

Small dogs can- have BIG jobs!
Barked: Mon Jun 15, '09 12:50am PST 
Let my try this one last time and attempt to make my position as clear as possible: I have said and have always said that sighthounds should never be off lead in unenclosed areas. I have never said once that sighthounds should never be off lead (meaning sighthounds can indeed be off lead in enclosed areas). I would hazard to say that ALL sighthounds can be safely exercised off lead in enclosed areas. Of course, for hounds with high prey drive or other issues, one may have to ensure that the fence is stout and high enough and that the yard is not shared with other animals. But I imagine it can be done for pretty much every sighthound out there. My point has never been that a sighthound should never be off of a leash. That is silly and frankly would be terribly inconvienant to any owner.

I have replied in reference to several posts here and in other threads that mentioned that sighthounds can be off lead in unenclosed or marginally safe areas or posts that do not clarify how the dogs in question are specifically being exercised off lead... especially posts that can be accidentally misread by someone who is new to the breed.

In many years of teaching responsible sighthound stewardship, I have found through my experience that people often come to very different conclusions when they do not have the specifics of "safe" off lead exercise spelled out to them. I have done the above to CLARIFY to people who are new to sighthounds who are reading this post so that they will know that in the sighthound world, it is the overwhelming opinion of the vast majority of fanciers that sighthounds should not be off lead in unenclosed areas.

For instance, one of the last posts I replied to was this:

"Unlike a lot of IGs, ours does often go leash free." This post was accompanied by a pic of an IG obviously off lead on a beach.

IF anyone who is reading this personally exercises his or her sighthound off lead in enclosed areas, then fine. That is a wonderful thing and I thank you for thinking of your dog's safety. I wish more owners would do that. If you are following the tenant of never off lead in unenclosed areas, then that is absolutey fantastic.

If anyone posts stories about having their sighthound off lead and working on recall etc in enclosed areas, but overlooked including infomation about how that was done in an enclosed area for safety, then okay. You had your heart in the right place. I would only say to ensure that next time you include that vital piece of information on how the off lead exercises were performed... knowing that safe can often mean something completely different to people than enclosed. It is best to talk about off lead in specifics, otherwise new people get confused.

Enclosed is a very specific word. Safe is debatable. That is why so many people in the sighthound community no longer use the word "safe" to describe conditions in which a sighthound should be exercised. They use "enclosed," as it better clarifies the issue. Remember what it was like to be new to sighthounds. When people first start out, they need to have things spelled out very clearly or they may make assumptions that can be dangerous to thier dog. Like "chemical sensitive" means ensure that your vet uses sighthound safe anesthesia. Or "cat safe" means that your dog will probably be okay with a cat inside, but if a cat runs across his field of vision when he is running outside in your yard, all bets are off. Or "safe" means your dog can't accompany you off lead around your neighborhood on walks. I post what I do to eliminate confusion in the minds of people who are new to sighthounds.

Now Tyler specifically: I am sorry if I have "misread" your posts or assumed that you exercise your dog off lead in unenclosed areas if you actually excercise off lead in enclosed areas. I am sorry if I assumed that your friends that you spoke of are exercising their dogs offlead in unenclosed areas and they are in fact exercising them in enclosed areas. However, as I read the posts, they were open to interpretation and if I made the incorrect one then I appologise. You seemed to me to imply that dogs who were considered "reliable" off lead could be off lead in unenclosed areas, but others should be in enclosed areas for safety. This could give a new person the mistaken belief that "some" sighthounds can be safely exercised off lead in unenclosed areas. I feel that this is a potentially dangerous grey area. I'm sure you didn't mean to imply it, but there it is.

You never stated that the dogs that you cited were off lead in enclosed areas... just "safely" off lead. In my experience, that is usually code for "I exercise my dog in unenclosed areas because my dog is different from all those other sighthounds." That has regretfully been my experience and the experience of those in the fancy who taught me. If you in fact always exercise your dog in enclosed areas and your friends always exercise their dogs in enclosed areas, I commend you all. That is truly wonderful and I am proud of you. If you do not, well then, I disagree with your choices. We shall leave it at that.

Lady Killer
Barked: Thu Jun 18, '09 9:28pm PST 
It sort of irritates me the way people pin point sighthounds when it comes to off lead and running away....but I don't think this rule is just for sighthounds....but for any dog really. Any dog is capable of taking off after a rat or the neighbor's cat. Any dog. Any body who lets their dog off (no matter what breed) the lead in the middle of the city or on the unfenced front yard is taking a risky chance.....

I have a borzoi and I successfully let him off lead 100% of the time when out in the boonies, on hikes, and what not. He is extremely good off leash and even stops dead in his tracks when chasing a rabbit (I test it out every so often to see if it works and it does)
But, that is just his temperament.
I had to deal with my sister's corgi running away down the road when she slipped her collar or managed to escape the door. We spent hours tracking her down and trying to get her back when she decided to chase a cat outside or what not when she slipped her collar. Never did I once have to go through that sort of heck with Vladimir. And trust me....when I thought about getting a sighthound I was worried I could never let the thing off! But it turned out the opposite way. The dog that everyone thinks should be obedient and listen to your every command is the one who runs off while the dog whom everyone thinks would bolt off after the next moving thing is the one that behaves and comes back when called off lead.
I think it all depends on temperament and training.

If I had too, Vladimir (my borzoi) would behave and walk perfectly beside me off leash in the middle of the city in a crowd of people....but I don't because it is a major risk. Despite how good a dog is...they can always run off....no matter what breed.

A german shepherd can easily run off after a cat or rabbit just as much as a greyhound.

Edited by author Thu Jun 18, '09 9:32pm PST


As if I could- get cuter!
Barked: Fri Jun 19, '09 3:33pm PST 
thankyou vladmir for standing up for sighthounds. My experience is mainly greys and lurchers, some whippets and salukis. But in my experience any dog is at risk of running into a road. A sight is just as likely to have a perfect recall as any other dog.
The only time dogs should be off lead is in an enclosed area, or about 100 ft from a busy road. In England, Australia, and part of America, this is common.

Lady Killer
Barked: Fri Jun 19, '09 7:24pm PST 
Of course, Toby.
I forgot to mention about "cat safe" as well. That is really just basic temperament. Just like recall and off lead behavior, any breed of dog is prone to chasing a cat. I have a siamese cat in the same household as Vladimir as well as my sister's corgi dog as well as guinea pigs and birds. Vladimir is great with all of them inside or outside. The corgi is the one getting corrected for wanted to terrorize the animals outside. Vladimir is actually afraid of the cat! Never does he bother her outside or inside. It's actually a bit funny when you see a hundred pound dog trying to find ever which way to go around the cat who is just sleeping in the middle of the hallway.

I sometimes take my cat up to Red Rock Canyon (yes, cats can walk with you too.) here in Nevada and Vladimir is perfectly content on ignoring her and doing his running and what not elsewhere while she runs around and climbs the rocks and perches high to survey all that is hers.

I think it's basically temperament and training....but that's just my opinion. wave

PS: How the heck do you think the breeds of sighthound still exist? The hunters back in the past (and even now!) have to get -SOME- of their dogs back after a hunt.........you see what I'm saying?
Well, whatever....I think it all depends on their training. In my personal opinion, I think other non-sighthound breeds have more trouble coming back when called than most sighthounds....or so I've seen.............

Edited by author Fri Jun 19, '09 7:39pm PST

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