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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Marty McFly

Love to Run
Barked: Mon Aug 3, '09 2:27pm PST 
Okay. I wanted to post a little information about my experience with the Italian Greyhound. I think we have the leash issue resolved, or at least covered. I got my Italian Greyhound at around 9ish weeks from a breeder. This was my first experience with a little dog, a puppy, and training my first animal on my own. (Cats are not trainable!) As far as the potty training goes...I trained my dog to first use a litter box. I had a round box I had used with my cats (so it had the smell of urine) and Marty took to it very easily.

After he was a few years old I moved in with a roommate who had two Irish Setters. I used the litter box for a few weeks while he learned to go outside. (My fear was that he might need to go and not have the ease of a box). He did just fine. I know a lot of folks have mentioned how hard they are to train, but Marty has always been easy.

The biggest health related issue I have had with him revolves around his thin skin. I have to be extra careful not to let his ears get too cold and keep the ends of them moist in the winter because they have split during the cold months. I don't live in a really cold climate, but have learned to keep his ears covered with a 'snood' and lube his ears with lanolin in the winter. I never thought I would have an animal I had to dress, but they do get very cold. So bare that in mind when thinking about these thin skinned little guys.

I love my Italian Greyhound, he is a great companion animal and gets along famously with my three cats.

Good luck in your search for the best dog!
Marty McFly

Love to Run
Barked: Mon Aug 3, '09 2:31pm PST 
I did forget one thing...I have always needed to leash my dog and walk him because I didn't have a 'yard' to let him run. This allowed me to know when he had finished his business and we could return to the house.

Marty didn't know what to do when my friend was doggie sitting and just let him out in the back yard. He would just wait by the back door and then potty on the floor when let back into the house.

But as soon as he started going outside with Marty, the business was complete and no accidents would take place. I guess the 'Italians' just like being with people...

mario "snuggle- pumpkin"
Barked: Mon Sep 5, '11 9:24am PST 
Just read some of the comments from Byron and will have to disagree. I have an Italian Greyhound, live in London and he is fine in open spaces off the lead. It completely depends on your Dog. Mine hasn't got a very strong hunting instinct so in the five years I have had him there has never been a problem. He is good I hardly need a lead for him. He will trot along the pavement with me no problem.

I find the more neurotic the owner the more neurotic the dog. I have also got whippets who are lovely dogs but in my opinion don't have the character that Italians do. Hope this help


Barked: Mon Sep 5, '11 2:01pm PST 
I love the whippet, was around them alot at lure coursing and fell in love with them. They are sweet and gentle but also silly and goofy. Try hanging around some and see how great they are. wink
Layla - CGC, Therapy- Dog

I will get that- squirrel one- day...
Barked: Tue Sep 13, '11 5:37pm PST 
I just have to add to this thread...I LOVE GREYHOUNDS!!! lol

Anyway, I do not own one but I want one real bad. About two years ago I went in search to rescue one and I came home with a Whippet mix instead. I love her and she is the best, but I still want my Greyhound. smile In fact, I have even been in touch with a local rescue to start inquiring for a couple of years down the road (much to the dismay of my SO)

The thing that I like most about Greyhounds are their personality. They are laid back, great family dogs. Despite their size they are mellow and easy to have around for a larger dog. There are also small Greyhounds out there that are around 50 pounds, so if you don't want a really big one they do have them on the small size.

As far as the Whippet is concerned, I love them too. But they do tend to be a little more high energy then the Greys.

I do not know much about IG's but other on here have added quite a bit so I don't feel bad not contributing here

Good luck on making your choice! If you go with a greyhound look at the ex-racers...they are goodies smile

Barked: Tue May 22, '12 3:58pm PST 
Just thought I would add my experiences of the sighthound breed types smile
Right, I myself do not own any of these breeds, so my input may not be that useful, but hey.

I have a very close friend who has a Lurcher - a Saluki Greyhound. He's the sweetest animal I know, and although he doesn't see me a huge amount, would be perfectly happy to come for a cuddle (unfortunately, he never succeeds as my rather Schnauzer has a go at him, the grumpy bugger). Tippy (the lurcher) is let off the lead in a fenced field where my friend keeps his horses, and he loves chasing all the rabbits there, catching quite a few. They have had problems with his recall - in the fenced field he's fine, however, I've heard stories of his running off / jumping out the car boot as soon as it's opened and not returning for a while. However, he always comes back, and isn't in any immediate danger.

My other experience is of some whippet lurchers down at my local RSPCA, where I volunteer. There is a certain lurcher there names Athos, who I would undoubtedly take home tomorrow. He absolutely adores cuddles - I take him to a little bench, and he's up in your lap before you sit down properly. He also adores running in the fun run, which is a beautiful sight to see. In the fun run, he comes rather well when I call (with an outstretched treat, mind), however a funrun with no immediate distractions is a little different to a large field with rabbits, so I can be pretty sure when I say that he would need work on his recalls, and I would definitely not let him off up at, for example, the local park, where there is large entrances leading onto a busy road each end.

So, overall, greyhound and whippet lurchers - affectionate, playful, graceful, beautiful, loving, loyal, but be I wouldn't recommend letting off-lead around unenclosed areas (as, I can see, has been rather obviously laid down beforehand, a little too much might I add). Obviously, with this, every dog is different, and I can believe it when I hear of success stories)!

Member Since
Barked: Thu May 24, '12 6:42am PST 
I have always loved coated sighthounds- the silken windhound is a relatively new breed and they're gorgeous. If I wasn't such a herding dog fanatic, I'd really consider getting a long haired whippet.

I love Borzoi, too, but should I ever get a sighthound that large, I'd probably end up with a retired greyhound or an afghan hound.

Then again, I live in a place with really harsh winters and probably only 3-4 months of true summer, so that's usually why I gravitate towards coated breeds.

I am the Sock- Bandit!!!
Barked: Thu May 24, '12 7:58am PST 
I was employed in my youth by a few top notch performance kennels, know greys well from cradle to grave. You really couldn't ask for a more sweeter temperament on average. The term 'laid back' comes up a lot because it describes most greys well. They're one of the few breeds that is even-tempered enough to safely recommend to the novice dog owner. Most mistakes made involve improper vet care, anesthesia etc. by handlers and vets who aren't familiar with them. Greys are easy keepers, do well in a family setting, thrive with positive training and even tempered handlers. Rescued greys make excellent companion dogs because with just a bit of transition training, they prove to adjust very well to homelife.

They may seem large, but indooors they tuck up those long legs and mostly nap all day, so they really don't take up as much space as one might expect.

I would own one myself except that what I do with dogs, hiking in extreme terrain and in all weather, would not suit a grey at all.

IGs are very fragile. I've found them to be very needy typically and an owner needs to make a lot of adjustments to keep them well. They should come with a 'handle with care' label, they are that prone to injury from even the smallest mishaps. Get a good e-vet on speed dial and consider buying insurance on the dog because high injury bills are not a small possibility. Even though they are an old breed, they were bred strictly to be companion animals. They are supposed to be clingy and seek to be near or on their handlers constantly. These are not sport dogs bred to hunt or course like the whippet and the grey. That said, I do know some that are successful as disk dogs and they're quite flashy. They are also well-known for housetraining issues, it's really a feat of perseverance to get them to be reliable indoors.

I don't have much whippet experience...my other in-depth sighthound knowlege is in wolfhounds, and as you've indicated wanting a smaller dog, I won't bother extolling their virtues here. big grin Good luck with your sighthound decision.

Wanna race?
Barked: Mon May 28, '12 5:13pm PST 
I have experience with all three - I've fostered some of each and have shown whippets and IGs. I own two longhaired whippets (which are a separate breed, but that's beside the point).

As others have said, IGs are very different from their larger counterparts. They might look like tiny greyhounds, but they were never really bred to be working hounds. There are some similarities - like greyhounds, they are quiet, sweet, very attached to their people, and have a good off-switch. Unlike greyhounds, they are quite high-energy, and very playful and bouncy. They are also very needy and want to be as close to their people as possible (preferably touching them). IGs are very intelligent but often stubborn (though the right dog can make a great agility competitor), and the housetraining thing is an issue. Yes, they are fragile, especially as puppies, and that's definitely something to keep in mind. Leg breaks are common, though the risk can be minimized by keeping your dog in good condition. IGs are so much fun, but not for everyone - the IGCA has an excellent article called "IGs: The Good, The Bad and the Downright Ugly" that I'd recommend reading.

Greyhounds really are gentle giants. In general you couldn't ask for a sweeter, gentler, mellower dog - I won't go into too much detail because I think they've already been described well here. I do want to say, however, that not every greyhound is a total couch potato. Jenn of Never Say Never Greyhounds does agility, obedience, dock diving and more with her greys:

I have to say whippets are my favorite of the three, but I'm pretty biased. Whippets tend to be more active than greyhounds, but not as hyper as IGs; they still have that wonderful sighthound off-switch but require a bit more exercise than a grey. They'll do crazy zoomies for twenty minutes, then come in and cuddle and lounge around. They are very sweet dogs, silly and playful without being goofy. Most tend to be quite outgoing. In my opinion, they're the most trainable of the three breeds, especially the field or dual purpose lines.

I'd definitely spend some time with each breed, because they are all quite different and appeal to different types of owners. Good luck with your decision! One tip - if you're looking at getting a puppy this year, you're going to need to start contacting breeders very soon. Waiting lists fill up quickly.

In response to sighthounds "never ever" being off-leash, it totally depends on the dog. Cricket is almost always off-leash, and I know that I can trust her. She has a very high prey drive - she's a wonderful lure courser and has actually won a Best In Field. She also has an excellent recall, and I frequently call her off rabbits or deer with no problems. My younger dog, Journey, still needs some training but she's getting there as well.

Member Since
Barked: Wed Dec 19, '12 1:33pm PST 
I have a IG & she was extremely easy to potty train (I'd say under 2 weeks max) she plays w/our Pitbull & can out run our pitbull & is extremely though. In fact our vet says b/c of all the exercise she gets she is all muscle & so to say that IG's do not get along well w/other dogs seems silly. She does require much attention but if you are active & ready for a beautiful dog who will always want to be with you than get an IG! I honestly think that she gets along with other dogs at the park as well!! It is specific to the actual dog not the "breed" that is just like people who think Pitbulls are scary mean dogs when they are not.
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