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Elegant Azawakh dog jogging

With over 200 dog breeds in the world, there’s a pup for every preference when it comes to size. There are multiple slender or skinny dog breeds out there, many of which are sighthounds bred for hunting and sprinting. Some other tall skinny dog breeds like the Great Dane, however, simply appear relatively lean due to their height. Read on to learn more about some of the best tall skinny dog breeds in the canine kingdom.

1. Greyhound

The highly intelligent greyhound (sometimes called English greyhound) has a muscular, lean body, long, thin legs, a deep chest and narrow waist, and a short coat. As one of the skinniest dog breeds, these dogs have a flexible spine that helps them maneuver their bodies with super speed. In fact, the greyhound can reach speeds of up to 45 miles per hour, making it the fastest dog breed in the world.

English Greyhound running

Facts about the greyhound

2. Doberman pinscher

Doberman pinschers, or Dobermans, are beloved for their courage and affection, making them a perfect family dog breed with proper training and socialization. These high energy dogs have long, slender bodies, a long muzzle, and a graceful gait. Originally bred in 1880s Germany as a protection and guard dog, the Doberman is believed to be a descendant of a combination of multiple breeds, including the Rottweiler, Beauceron, German pinscher, and weimaraner.

Doberman pinscher in the woods

Facts about the Doberman pinscher

  • Breed groupWorking Group (AKC)
  • Intelligence — High
  • Barking — When necessary
  • Lifespan — 10-12 years

3. Whippet

The sweet and speedy whippet resembles a smaller greyhound with its long legs and smooth, flat coat. And like the greyhound, this loyal dog is notorious for being extremely fast, reaching speeds of up to 35 miles per hour! These low-shedding medium-sized dogs of average height make wonderful family pets, but due to their short coats and lack of body fat, whippets don’t do well in colder temperatures. Whippets are also known to excel in a variety of dog sports, including dock diving, disc dog , and agility.

White whippet running across grass.

Facts about the whippet

  • Breed groupHound Group (AKC)
  • Intelligence — Average
  • Barking — Infrequent
  • Lifespan — 12-15 years

4. Italian greyhound

Reaching only up to 15 inches in height, the affectionate and sensitive Italian greyhound is the smallest of the sighthounds. Due to their small size and delicate nature, these small dogs may not be the ideal choice for families with young, hyperactive children. But, they can make excellent family pets in the proper setting.

Fun fact – these ancient Mediterranean dogs have a rich past, as it’s believed some have been mummified and buried with pharaohs in Egyptian tombs.

Italian greyhound puppy outside

Facts about the Italian greyhound

  • Breed groupToy Group (AKC)
  • Intelligence — Average
  • Barking — When necessary
  • Lifespan — 14-15 years

5. Afghan hound

Afghan hounds have iconic long, thick, and silky coats that are darker if they originate from Afghanistan’s mountainous regions and lighter if the dogs are from the country’s deserts. As one of nine basal breeds (breeds with DNA deemed closer to ancient dogs than the modern species), Afghan hounds were first used by nomadic tribes across the Middle East to hunt gazelle.

These are tall, large dogs that look quite elegant, but don’t be fooled by their stately appearance. Afghan dogs are considered an aloof and stubborn breed in need of regular maintenance and early training with positive reinforcement.

Afghan hound running

Facts about the Afghan hound

  • Breed groupHound Group (AKC)
  • Intelligence — High
  • Barking — Occasional
  • Lifespan — 12-18 years

6. Saluki

The highly intelligent saluki, an ancient Egyptian breed also known as a gazelle hound, is beloved for being affectionate, friendly, and playful. Like other sighthound breeds, the leggy saluki was originally bred for speed. When it comes to training one of the world’s oldest dog breeds, positive reinforcement and boundaries — plus a lot of patience — are essential to creating a happy and healthy home with your saluki.

Facts about the saluki

  • Breed groupHound Group (AKC)
  • Intelligence — High
  • Barking — Infrequent
  • Lifespan — 10-17 years

7. German shorthaired pointer

The obedient, lean German shorthaired pointer, named for its “pointing” stance, was originally bred to hunt — and as one of the most versatile breeds for high speeds over long distances, they are certainly skilled hunters. Like many other dog breeds on this list, German shorthaired pointers come in various colors, most notably in a brownish hue called liver.

As domestic companions, these highly intelligent and loyal dogs are major people-pleasers and do relatively well in homes with other animals and children. However, GSPs can be wary of strangers and can grow quiet and stoic when defensive.

German shorthaired pointer on leash

Facts about the German shorthaired pointer

  • Breed groupSporting Group (AKC)
  • Intelligence — High
  • Barking — When necessary
  • Lifespan — 12-14 years

8. Great Dane

Sometimes called “the Apollo of dogs”, Great Danes are a majestic dog breed known to be playful, protective and gentle. Though they aren’t as skinny as some other breeds on this list, Great Danes can appear quite lean due to their height, which can reach up to 35 inches tall!

Because these dogs have large, floppy ears, a deep chest, long limbs, a long tail, and a block-like head, they may be more prone to certain health issues like ear infections, hip dysplasia, wobbler syndrome , and happy tail syndrome . As puppies, Great Danes can be both clumsy and energetic, so it’s important to start training early on to set your pup up for success.

A Great Dane in a park.

Facts about the Great Dane

  • Breed groupWorking Group (AKC)
  • Intelligence — Average
  • Barking — Moderately vocal
  • Lifespan — 7-10 years

9. Irish wolfhound

The shaggy Irish wolfhound, commonly referred to as “Irish dogs,” “big dogs of Ireland,” and “great hounds of Ireland” are another large but lean breed. At only six months, these dogs can weigh up to 100 pounds! When it comes to the Irish wolfhound’s temperament, these gentle giants are fairly calm and easygoing, but they’re happiest with tons of space to romp around.

An Irish wolfhound on a leashed walk.

Facts about the Irish wolfhound

  • Breed groupHound Group (AKC)
  • Intelligence — High
  • Barking — When necessary
  • Lifespan — 6-8 years

10. Irish setter

With its silky, long hair and slender frame, the Irish setter is believed to have been bred from a combination of spaniels, pointers, and setters. Though these highly intelligent dogs are known for their playfulness and friendliness, they also have quite the stubborn streak, so training should start as early as possible.

Irish setter in the snow

Facts about the Irish setter

  • Breed groupSporting Group (AKC)
  • Intelligence — High
  • Barking — Often
  • Lifespan — 12-15 years

11. Kanni

The strong-jawed, slim kanni breed is a rare sighthound from the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Believed to have been bred for hunting small game, the kanni dog is considered a symbol of loyalty and purity. In fact, its name in Tamil literally translates to “pure.” Kanni dogs are also lovingly called the “maiden’s beastmaster” for their voracious defense of territory, and because the graceful dogs were often historically gifted as guardians for newlywed brides.

Kanni dogs stood on a hill

Facts about the kanni

  • Breed group —Uncategorized (Kennel Club of India)
  • Intelligence — High
  • Barking — Infrequent
  • Lifespan — 12-16 years

12. Ibizan hound

The friendly, fine-boned Ibizan hound, also called Podenco Ibicenco, has a long and narrow head with a long, pointy muzzle, giving this dog a cone-like head. Ibizan hounds were first bred in Spain’s Balearic Islands with an original purpose to find and hunt rabbits. They eventually became a graceful motif of ancient Egypt. These affectionate, energetic dogs make for great family pets, especially homes with young children and other dogs.

Ibizan hound stood on grass

Facts about the Ibizan hound

  • Breed groupHound Group (AKC)
  • Intelligence — Average
  • Barking — When necessary
  • Lifespan — 11-14 years

13. Pharaoh hound

The noble, intelligent pharaoh hound, also called the Kelb tal-Fenek, is a quick sprinting hound known as the ancient “blushing dog of Malta.” That’s because this unique breed literally blushes when happy or excited, and its nose and ears will turn a rosy pink. The statuesque, affectionate pharaoh hound, believed to have been introduced to the Maltese people by traders from North Africa, is considered to be great with other dogs and can also get along with cats or small children with early socialization and training.

Pharaoh hound stood in snow

Facts about the pharaoh hound

  • Breed groupHound Group (AKC)
  • Intelligence — High
  • Barking — When necessary
  • Lifespan — 12-14 years

14. American English coonhound

The sweet American English coonhound, also referred to as the English coonhound, has a domed skull with a sleek and lean, but muscular, build. Originally bred in the United States, the breed’s ancestry can be traced back to European settlers that brought foxhounds to the U.S. during the 17th and 18th centuries. These dogs have an exceptionally high prey drive, but are relatively mellow.

Though the highly vocal American English coonhounds can make great family pets, it takes a lot of patience to train them — and they need an effective outlet, such as dog sports or hunting, to expend all their high energy.

American English coonhound

Facts about the American English coonhound

  • Breed groupHound Group (AKC)
  • Intelligence — High
  • Barking — Highly vocal
  • Lifespan — 11-12 years

15. Scottish deerhound

The Scottish deerhound, or the “royal dog of Scotland, ” is one of the tallest dog breeds around, appearing quite slender at 30-plus inches tall. Originally bred to hunt red deer, these deerhounds were believed to be descended from old Gaelic hounds like the Irish wolfhound. The quick, silent coursers eventually became sporting animals and today, they’re beloved for being affectionate and good with other dogs — with early training and socialization, of course.

Scottish deerhound leaping on grass

Facts about the Scottish deerhound

  • Breed groupHound Group (AKC)
  • Intelligence — High
  • Barking — Infrequent
  • Lifespan — 8-11 years

16. Azawakh

The skinny Azawakh is named for the Azawagh Valley in West Africa, which includes Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso. These slim dogs, which resemble the saluki, have fine bone structures, muscular builds, and short coats. It’s common to actually see this dog’s bone structure, rib cage, and muscles beneath its thin skin.

Unlike other ancient sighthounds and despite its independent nature, the Azawakh prefers to hunt in packs. Though these rare sighthounds can be gentle and great with other small animals, dogs, children and strangers, proper training is key.

Azawakh dog on leash

Facts about the Azawakh

  • Breed groupHound Group (AKC)
  • Intelligence — High
  • Barking — Infrequent
  • Lifespan — 12-15 years

Frequently asked questions

Are skinny dog breeds generally healthy or do they have any specific health concerns?

Naturally thin dogs can be perfectly healthy, but every dog breed — skinny or not — may be predisposed to certain health conditions. Greyhounds and other deep-chested breeds, for example, are susceptible to bloat and gastric torsion.

Are there any disadvantages to owning a skinny dog breed?

There are a few drawbacks to owning a skinny dog breed, including the fact that many can’t tolerate colder temperatures. Skinny dog breed owners may also need to feed meals more — and chances are, they’ll require relatively more exercise than some other dogs.

Do skinny dog breeds require a specific type of diet?

If you are concerned or confused about how much or what to feed your skinny dog breed, reach out to your veterinarian. In general, skinny dog breeds don’t have particular dietary requirements and will need a nutritious, digestible diet.

Do skinny dogs live longer?

Statistically, smaller and skinnier dog breeds outlive larger breeds. Overweight dogs in particular may live up to 2.5 years less than leaner dogs.

How do I know if my dog, a skinny breed, is too skinny?

For non-skinny dog breeds, it’s alarming to be able to see a dog’s ribs or bones. But for some skinny breeds, such as the Azawakh, it’s actually common and normal to be able to see bone structure and muscles beneath the thin skin. If you have a skinny dog breed, be sure to know what your specific breed’s healthy weight is — and ask your vet for signs to look out for. In general, you’ll want to keep an eye on changes in discernable body fat and loss of muscle mass.