Photo Courtesy of Roxy Rifkin

 snips greyhounds & whippets

what's the diff?...  
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Average Size
Whippets: 25 to 35#
Greyhounds: 55 to 85#

Activity Level
Whippets: Moderate to High
Greyhounds: Low to Moderate

Life Span
Both tend to be relatively long lived, and it isn't uncommon for either of them to live 12 - 14+ years.

Health Issues
Both greyhounds and whippets are generally healthy dogs, with few breed related problems. Greyhounds do seem to be more prone to bloat than whippets. Greyhounds also tend to have a bit more problems with their teeth than whippets, but both breeds do best with frequent brushing. Heart murmurs are somewhat common to both breeds, often without consequence. Due to low body fat ratio, both breeds are sensitive to anesthesia, and should never be anaesthetized with a fat soluble compound.

An old axiom about whippets:
Head of a snake,
Neck of a drake,
Feet of a cat,
Tail of a rat.

The Price axiom:
"The whippet looks like a sea horse crossed with a rat. But in a cute way."

About Greyhounds:
Swift as a ray of light, graceful as a swallow, and wise as Solomon.

The first knowledge of the greyhound comes from the Tomb of Amten, in the Valley of the Nile, regarded by Egyptologists as belonging to the fourth dynasty, which in modern chronology would be between 2900 and 2751 BC.

Various theories on the origin of the name "greyhound" include that it is derived from the word "Graius," meaning Grecian, because the dog was held in high regard by that society. Another theory is that it comes from the old British "grech" or "greg," meaning a dog. It is even possible that the name comes from the color gray, which was once the most prevalent color in the breed.
From the 17th Edition of The Complete Dog Book, an official publication of the AKC.

    I've always loved sighthounds. My first whippet joined the family in 1974, a brindle and white male named Dress Circle Just a Gigolo. We called him Justin. He got a lot of looks back then, when not too many people were familiar with the breed. We heard "Stay away from that dog. He looks sick," alot. We even got reported to the local humane society once for keeping our dog so skinny. (Thankfully, they were familiar with the breed, and we didn't get thrown into the pokey.)

   Nowadays, most everyone is familiar with whippets and their larger cousin, the greyhound. Since I've been lucky enough to live with both, I've come to notice certain subtle, and not so subtle, differences between the two. Of course, you've got to take into account that each dog is an individual, but overall, some traits hold true.

    Greyhounds tend to be a bit quieter than whippets. Whippets are a little like baby greyhounds on speed. And whippets jump over things like fences, sofas, and baby gates. Greyhounds don't. They both like to run, but whippets seem to have a bit more stamina. Our greys like to go out for a good romp, but then they're done. The whippets will run circles around them, and the greys will just stand there nonchalantly gazing off into the distance.

    Greyhounds are renowned "leaners," and tend to stand close by your side, eventually supporting most of their weight against your leg. There is no whippet equivalent to this.

    Greyhounds are also known for their smiles, accomplished by pulling their top lips tight above their front teeth. They grin and look up at you with those gorgeous oval eyes, and some unenlightened people perceive this as a threatening gesture. In actuality, it is the highest compliment a greyhound can give.

    Many greyhounds are not comfortable sitting, as if it's just not something that their bodies were built to do. Whippets are comfortable in just about any position, as long as they're on something nice and cushy. Wyllow, our little whippet demon, will often lay down by walking her front feet forward while her back feet stay in place, laying flat on her tummy with her hind legs stretched out behind her. The greys just aren't supple enough to do that. Greyhounds are famous for cockroaching, which is a somewhat obscene position that they seem to enjoy. They lay on their backs, curled into a little "c," four paws up in the air. One forepaw is generally folded back on the chest, and the hind legs are spread wide. This seems to be the trademark of a retired racing greyhound who is happy in his/her new status as king/queen of a household.

    Greyhound tails are lethal. Called "happy tails," they feel like a whip lashing across your thighs. Our other dogs stand around squinting when the greyhounds get happy, especially those whose faces are exactly at tail level. A whippet's tail spends most of its time curled harmlessly between the hind legs.

    A retired greyhound may never, ever be off leash in an unenclosed area. Instincts and training are just too strong to overcome, and even a grey who seems velcroed to the hip of his human can not be trusted. Whippets do not seem to have as strong an instinct to run/chase, and we have had several who were absolutely reliable to come immediately when called. (No dog who is not 100% reliable on recall should ever be allowed off leash in an unenclosed area.)

    Both breeds are uncommonly fond of upholstered furniture, and will expect to share your bed. (My husband's advice is that if you have a choice, it's better to have a whippet sleeping on your face.) Greyhounds are often affectionately referred to as the "45 mile an hour couch potato." Whippets are also championship loungers, and tend to be the cuddlier of the two. Our whippets also expect to be under the covers, nestled between the two of us. (See snips house rules.)

    In outline, each breed has that characteristic underline that makes them so recognizable. The whippet seems to be a bit less angular, with smoother, more flowing curves. Greyhounds exude a sense of elegant power and graceful strength; whippets are like lithe little sprites, with an air of mischief.

    Even when they're at their silliest, both greyhounds and whippets maintain a certain gentle, soulful essence that's different from other dogs. There is an air of reserve that is often mistaken for aloofness, when in fact it is more the quality of an "old soul," an understanding of the contract between human and dog that goes back to the time when we first forged this amazing bond.



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