Five Skinny Dog Breeds

Updated on January 8, 2018
DrMark1961 profile image

Dr. Mark is a veterinarian. He has been working with dogs for more than 40 years.

An Italian Greyhound out running.
An Italian Greyhound out running. | Source

The most popular dog breed in America, for several years running, also happens to be the most prone to obesity. (I won´t mention any names here, but we all know who we´re talking about, right? If you don’t own one you´ve seen them wobbling around the neighborhood, dumpster diving.) What is it about the US and the scales? These dogs don’t even have the ability to go out and buy cheap fast food.

The group of dogs listed here may not fit all the requirements for most popular dog, and they certainly are not among the top ten most intelligent, nor are they ferocious, but they are all skinny. Really skinny. No dog can be too skinny or too rich. Didn’t someone say that?

So what are the five skinniest breeds of dog?

Italian Greyhound

This tiny sighthound is most famous for its svelte look and delicate walk. These little dogs make good companions, but their long bones have all the strength of a sparrow leg so they are prone to injuries. In fact, they are so fragile that they have to be kept leashed all the time so that they don’t run after something and get injured in the process.

These skinny dogs may bark at strangers, unlike some of their more mellow skinny brethren, but they will probably turn tail and run from an actual home invasion. Italian Greyhound´s have short hair and are fairly easy to take care of but like all small dogs need their teeth brushed daily. They may have genetic diseases, may die of an accident, or may just run off on you while chasing a rabbit.

They are skinny, though.

Whippets at the beach.
Whippets at the beach. | Source


This medium-sized British sighthound is a skinny slacker. They can run really fast when they want too but will spend most of the day reclining on the Lay-Z-Boy. Whippets are famous for their ability to hold down the couch while their home is being invaded. They are never sold as watchdogs.

They have been recommended as a great apartment dog since they don’t bark much and spend so much time on the couch. (They still need to get out and run around as often as possible.) Whippets are great at agility sports, racing, and lure coursing. They have been clocked running 36 mph and can manage a 200-yard sprint in less than 12 seconds.

Whippets have a genetic mutation that allows them to be skinny and good athletes. Some dogs have too much of this gene and end up being heavily muscled, and not skinny. That’s not the kind of Whippet I would want—he wouldn´t even make this list.

An Afghan Hound running.
An Afghan Hound running. | Source

Afghan Hound

Most people don’t think of this as a skinny dog since they are covered in a thick coat. Anyone who has ever tried to find a vein in one of the nearly fatless legs will tell you different. The Afghan really deserves to be classed among the “see-through” dogs.

The Afghan is also a great slacker dog. The breed has that trait so common is sighthounds: they like to laze around until it is time to get up and kill something. Maybe it has something to do with their background: the Afghan Hound is one of the dog breeds most closely related to the wolf.

According to the book The Intelligence of Dogs, Afghans rate at the bottom. That may have to do with their lack of interest though, and not their lack of intelligence.

They are almost as tall as a Greyhound but not nearly as skinny.

A Saluki looks fast even standing still.
A Saluki looks fast even standing still. | Source


This is another middle eastern breed, maybe related to the Afghan hound. They may have originally been bred to hunt gazelle, so there is part of the reason for being so skinny. What kind of sheikh would want a fat dog chasing a thin animal like that?

Though they were brought back to Europe at the time of the crusades, the British did not admit them to their kennel club until 1923. They are a little shorter than Greyhounds, a little slower on the track, but they are famous for running long distances. The Saluki is the marathon runner of the canine world.

The Saluki is one of the most expensive breeds of dog; they are also very healthy.

And besides that they are skinny. Really skinny!

The Greyhound may be the fastest dog breed.
The Greyhound may be the fastest dog breed. | Source


This breed of dog is not usually grey but they are the champions of tall and skinny, being about 30 inches tall and having only 13% body fat. The Greyhound does not have an undercoat like most dogs so they really need a warm house and a soft couch to rest upon. They are also well known in the dog world because they don't bark much, even at strangers.

Most of the Greyhounds available for adoption are retired racing dogs so they are used to being kept in a crate up to twenty hours a day. If you are interested in finding a dog willing to accept incarceration (and taxation without representation?) then this is the dog for you. This is also one of the reasons that they are great at apartment life. They do have a high prey drive and are attracted to small dogs and cats, but not in a good way!

If you need a dog that can go up to 43 mph but sleeps most of the day, this should be your choice.

And did I mention they were really skinny?

Did you see any dog breeds listed here that you want to take home and cuddle? Any dog breeds that deserve a special diet of organic dog food? I just want to take them all home and put some weight on their bones!


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      Mike C 22 months ago

      The video about Greyhounds is wrong about one thing. Greyhounds do not suffer from bloat. I talked to a vet from Ohio State who work exclusively with greyhounds and said he's never experienced a greyhound with bloat. Dogs 101 assumes this is a medical concerns of all large dog breeds which is not true.

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 5 years ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

      I loved that comment! Finding a fat whippet (or whippet cross, for that matter) is about as hard as finding a skinny Labrador Retriever. I wonder if a Whippet/Lab cross would spend all her days on the couch, talking to her therapist about fears of weight gain. "See, Doc, I want to eat, but you know, I just don´t want to eat."

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      Allison 5 years ago

      I think my dog is part whippet, and sometimes I worry that I am not feeding her enough because she stays so slim. But she seems healthy and happy, so for now I will just assume it is because of her skinny-dog genetics.

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 5 years ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

      Thanks for coming by, and thanks for the vote!

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      Joe Njenga 5 years ago from Nairobi Kenya

      Very interesting Hub. I voted up

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 5 years ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

      And I always thought you were a Pit Bull dude!

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      DoItForHer 5 years ago

      I can relate to these dogs as I am quite the narrow dude myself. Currently 145# but 130# of pure terror if at an ideal weight. All this in a 5 foot 8 inch (173 cm) frame.

      I should get a whippet, lose a few pounds, and enter owner look-alike contests.

    • lrc7815 profile image

      Linda Crist 5 years ago from Central Virginia

      lol DrMark, I already did. She loved them. I leave Animal Planet on the TV for her whenever I go out. The things we do for these critters.

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 5 years ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

      Thanks for the comments. I´m really glad you liked it lrc7815; you should play the videos for your Iggy. (My dog prefers the Siberian videos we find on Youtube because that breed is so vocal.)

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      Linda Crist 5 years ago from Central Virginia

      Great job Mark. Your article reminded me of why I fell in love with sighthounds in the first place. Sighthounds = love.

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      wetnosedogs 5 years ago from Alabama

      I want to take them home and fatten them up too. Of course, Jenny would probably keep them skinny cause she's the greedy one. If they don't eat all their food, she will! Jenny needs to join the skinny group, her girlish figure is outrageous!(Not that bad really).

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