Most people would agree that there is something beautiful about seeing a healthy dog running at full speed, enjoying the freedom and power that their own body provides them. But how fast can a dog run? Not all dog breeds are as fast as each other, and several are notably faster than others. A slow couch potato is an ideal pet for some dog owners, but for others who love to spend time outdoors and stay active, considering one of the fastest dog breeds might be a better fit.
The average dog can run about 15 to 20 miles per hour (mph). This applies to healthy adult dogs running short distances. Of course, breed and body type matter. For example, Basset Hounds, French Bulldogs, and Corgic have short legs and round stocky bodies. They simply are not built to run fast. But some other breeds are quite agile and can run at remarkable speeds. Dogs with lean bodies and long legs run faster. The fastest dog breed is the Greyhound, which can reach 45 mph.
Of course, all dogs enjoy physical activity, and even those who are not as athletic can benefit from a good run around the park. If you are looking for a fast dog, there are a few specific breeds to consider. Let’s jump in and get to know the fastest dog breeds around. Ready, set, go, and good luck keeping up with these speedy breeds (in order of fastest first).
When we say fast and dog in the same sentence, of course, one of the first breeds people think of is the elegant Greyhound. These speedy pups have a long racing history and are truly impressive athletes. Greyhounds can reach speeds of 40 to 45 mph, which is nothing short of extraordinary.
It is often said that this dog is a 45-mile-per-hour couch potato. In fact, Greyhounds can sleep almost 18 hours a day. Because Greys are so mellow, they make amiable apartment dogs. Though extremely fast runners, Greys are not known for liking abundant exercise. As long as they get a walk or two a day and an opportunity to let that speed loose occasionally, they are perfectly content to snuggle up and snooze the afternoon away. Never let your Greyhound outside off leash, as the breed is likely to dash away at incredible speeds, and catching them will be a challenge.
Greyhounds have long been popular pets. They were revered in ancient Egypt and were the favored dogs of the Pharaohs. Greys are independent, gentle, friendly, noble, and never aggressive. They have a sleek, athletic look, with tall, aerodynamic bodies built for speed. These medium to large-sized dogs reach between 50 and 85 pounds and have a 10 to 14 years lifespan.
The Saluki is a rare sighthound that the Guinness Book of world records once listed as the fastest dog. They can reach 42 to almost 43 miles an hour. It is even believed that the Saluki can run faster than the Greyhound over longer distances. These medium-sized pups reach 40 to 65 pounds and have a long lifespan of 10 to 17 years.
The Saluki has a unique look and a kind and gentle personality. They have tall, slender, agile bodies with long limbs. Their skulls are narrow and long, with even longer muzzles and ears. Ears stand out for their long, wavy hair, giving the appearance of a full mane of hair. Their large, round eyes are gentle and in no way aggressive.
Unlike the Greyhound, the Saluki is no lazy bones. This pup is athletic, energetic, and loves nothing more than to run. They make fantastic jogging partners and, at the very least, need daily walking.
The Sloughi is an incredibly rare breed that can reach 42 miles per hour. This large sighthound is an ancient breed, also called the Arabian Greyhound. These are incredibly rare to find in the US and have never become popular worldwide. Most are found in North Africa, including Algeria, Libya, Morocco, and Tunisia.
They get along with children but do not necessarily like them. This pup is high-energy and needs plenty of play time and the opportunity to run. They are often described as floating when they reach top speed due to their agile body and gait.
The Sloughi is medium-sized, reaching 40 to 63 pounds, and lives between 12 and 16 years. Sloughis are leggy animals with sleek, athletic bodies. Like many other fast, large dogs, they need a significant amount of exercise but also enjoy being lazy. It is highly unlikely to come across this guy at the dog park because they are so rare. If you do want to adopt one and can find a puppy, expect to spend at least $2,000.
The Vizsla originated in Hungary and was originally bred to be a hunting companion for nobility. This is a beautiful medium-sized dog that reaches 40 to 60 pounds. They have gorgeous coats of golden, golden rust, or golden red. The Vizsla has high energy but is very affectionate and quite sensitive. They make very good family pets and get along well with both children and other canines.
They can reach an impressive 40 mph when running at full speed, making them one of the fastest dogs in the world. The breed retains very high hunting instincts, so they may not be the best for homes with smaller animals. However, despite high prey drives, the Vizsla is quite affectionate. They need a lot of attention and require spoiling.
The Vizsla stands out for his large, strong head and well-recognizable coat. Vizslas need at least two hours of exercise every day, broken up into shorter sessions. This pup loves long walks, as well as challenging runs. They make a wonderful companion for a highly attentive, active family.
The Afghan Hound can also reach 40 miles per hour. This ancient breed originated in the Afghan mountains and could withstand freezing cold and harsh conditions. Afghan Hounds can also reach 40 miles per hour when running, keeping them right in the lane with the Vizsla.
The Afghan Hound looks like an elegant lady with a gorgeous head of hair due to long ears, angular face, and wavy, fine hair. These hounds are nothing short of regal, though their personality is not at all stuck up. Appearing aloof, the Afghan Hound is sweet, smart, loyal, and quite playful.
These pups are agile and energetic but can be hard to train, so are not a good fit for inexperienced owners. They reach about 50 to 60 pounds and need plenty of room to run around. Though they were once bred as hunters, the Vizsla is now more common as a pet, a show dog, or a racing dog.
This lean-muscled pup is a running machine, reaching 40 miles per hour at top speed. They can also jump a whopping five to six feet in the air, a remarkable sight to see. Ibizan Hounds were originally bred to chase small game in the Balearic Islands in Spain.
Breezers, as they are also called, reach 45 to 50 pounds and live between 11 and 14 years. They have pointy ears and short, wiry coats. They have very affectionate personalities and do great with children. These hounds also tolerate other canines well, so make a great pick for multi-pet homes.
Breezers are extremely energetic and need plenty of exercise. This breed needs both long walks and vigorous, interactive play. He makes an energetic running partner. If given the chance, he will chase after any prey around, so keep him on a leash unless under close supervision.
Jack Russell Terrier
The Jack Russell is a much smaller breed than many others on this list, but do not let that fool you. These perky pups can reach 38 miles per hour. Not too shabby for a dog that reaches just 13 to 17 pounds. Small and speedy Jack Russells love to chase anything that moves and have the agility to outrun them.
They were bred to run alongside mounted hunters to chase and flush out foxes. This breed has retained those running and hunting skills, as well as a loud, contact park and a need to dig. Often called naughty, this breed simply was bred to be this way. These pups are not for everyone but make wonderful pets for the right people.
Though small in stature, the Jack Russell is a muscular, agile pup. They are sturdy and can hold up to a lot more than expected. Russells are white with either black or tan patches. Russells often look like they are smiling and stand tall with pointy, erect tails.
The famous spotted Dalmatian also makes the list of fastest dogs. At 45 to 70 pounds, these pups can reach speeds of 37 miles per hour. Dalmatians are an ancient breed, popular around the world. They also have a reputation as dedicated working dogs. Dalmatians serve as the well-loved mascot of firefighters, a tribute to the breed’s work saving lives. They are famous as the lovable breed featured in the story and movie 101 Dalmatians.
Spots can be black, liver, or brown. They have unpredictable temperaments. Some are mild-mannered, while others can be more aggressive. Dalmatians are extremely high-energy and need a ton of exercise. They are prone to being hyperactive, which worsens if they get bored without physical activity.
As skilled hunters, Dalmatians sometimes retain a high prey drive. They are athletic and love to accompany their owners on hikes and runs, and they even like to swim. These guys are fantastic at fetch, frisbee, and running long distances. They can even keep up with horses, a pretty astonishing feat.
This Russian breed has a pretty face as well as an agile body. Borzois can reach 36 to 40 miles per hour. This speed makes them amazing hunters, known for chasing small prey and even wolves. Due to their skill as hunters and incredible speed, this breed is also referred to as the Russian Wolfhound.
The Borzoi is a well-balanced pup with an agreeable and calm disposition. These dogs are peaceful, laid back, and rarely act out or get silly. Though they are incredible hunters and very speedy, they are not good as guard dogs. They are reluctant barkers and have no response to strangers. Though they might be shy toward someone they do not know, they will not stop them nor alert you to a stranger’s presence.
Borzois get quite large, ranging from 60 to 105 pounds when fully grown. They also stand quite tall, about 26 inches. They have small pointy ears and thick, muscular bodies. Though they are laid-back and somewhat lazy, this breed needs about 45 minutes to an hour of exercise daily. Lease training is important, as with other sighthounds. This breed has a remarkably high prey drive and will take off after any small animal that crosses their path.
Whippets reach an impressive speed of 30 mph, and this breed has always been bred to be fast. They have a unique running style called a double suspension gait. They use their hind legs to push themselves into the air, and their front legs push them forward. These pups only reach between 25 and 40 pounds, making them medium-sized but very muscular dogs. Whippets are called the fastest dog in some places due to their weight-to-speed ratio.
Their body shape helps make them so aerodynamic. This breed needs at least 30 to 60 minutes of exercise every day to keep them in good physical and mental shape. He also has a high prey drive, so this is not a breed to let off leash or leave outside unsupervised. They will chase anything that moves. Because of his need for speed, he makes a fantastic running companion.
Along with needing regular exercise and the opportunity to stretch out those long legs, the Whippet gets very attached and does not like being left alone. In fact, he can only handle it for about three or four hours at a time, something to keep in mind if you are considering this speedy breed.
Weimaraners are versatile dogs that are born runners. They have long, muscular limbs which help them reach speeds of around 35 miles an hour. Because of their long legs, they do great in long-distance running. They are a German breed long loved by the nobility, especially for their hunting skill. Historically this quick breed helped chase big game, including bears, wolves, and deer. Today, the breed retains that speed, loyalty, intelligence, and courage.
Along with his hunting skill, the mariner has a fantastic personality. They are very eager to please and are often said to have a heart of gold. They are also quite friendly with other dogs as well as children. The breed does have a stubborn streak and can be hard to train. They need owners who are very dedicated to giving them lots of exercise. They do not need a busy schedule. In fact, this breed does better in a calmer environment. However, they do need at least two hours a day at a minimum of exercise. They enjoy long walks and a solid run if the opportunity is available.
Along with being incredibly fast, this pup is also very smart. This intelligence gives them a stubborn streak, making them hard to train. These dogs need a lot of room and attention, so owners must be dedicated to giving these pups everything they need. They can get quite large, reaching 55 to 90 pounds when fully grown. With an average lifespan of 10 to 13 years, the elegant Weimaraner will keep you company for a long time to come.
Bred and named after a tax collector, the Doberman Pinscher is a formidable dog known for his guarding abilities. Dobermans are incredibly athletic and skilled runners reaching up to 32 mph speeds. This breed also has incredible stamina and can cover between three and five miles without trouble.
Though they sometimes get a bad reputation, the Doberman, also called the Dobie, is a friendly dog who gets along well with other dogs and children. Dobies need a lot of exercise as well as interactive playtime with their people every day. The Doberman has a lot of mental and physical energy, something to keep in mind. He is known for having an intense personality and becoming very attached. Reaching between 60 and 100 pounds when fully grown is one heck of a canine shadow to have following you around all day.
He needs at least an hour of exercise every day, and a quick walk around the block will not cut it. This breed needs vigorous exercise and enjoys running. He enjoys playing fetch, free running, and going to the dog park. Because of his size and reputation, owners need to start training a Dobie early to make sure he is accepted and well-behaved everywhere he goes.
The Pharaoh Hound is an incredibly rare dog that many people have not heard of. This breed is thought to be one of the oldest domesticated canines on the planet. This pup is a scent and sighthound, making them an incredibly effective hunting dog. The elusive Pharaoh Hound can reach 35 miles an hour at full speed and has long-lasting stamina.
They also have a very unique characteristic, the ability to blush. When a Pharaoh Hound is happy, excited, or hyper, their flesh-colored noses and the insides of their ears turn a light pink color. This breed has no black pigment, which makes this change of color possible. They also have a wide, toothy grin.
One thing to note about this pup is that they are incredibly rare and very pricey. The average cost for a purebred pup is between $1,500 and $5,000.
German Shepherds are renowned for their physical skills and are often employed in the military, police, and rescue work. They are highly trainable and can run short distances incredibly quickly. They can reach up to 35 miles an hour without much effort. Along with their speed, the German Shepherd is a loyal, affectionate, courageous dog beloved by many.
The GS is renowned for their physical skill and natural guardian abilities. This breed is known for unwavering loyalty and will gladly put themselves in between their owners and danger without hesitation. This loyalty and guarding ability have garnered the German Shepherd a reputation for being tough, but these dogs are big sweethearts at heart.
The German Shepherd is a perfect pick for an active family because he needs a lot of exercise. At least an hour of exercise daily is recommended. And these dogs need more than just a walk around the block. At least one of their play sessions every day should involve high physical activity, like playing fetch, hiking, or jogging.
The Border Collie is a medium-sized pup who has a love for speed. This breed can be traced back to the days of the Vikings when they were bred to be herders. Border Collies reach an impressive 30 mph and are hailed by many as the best herding dogs in the world. They are known for having enormous energy, as well as high intelligence.
Border Collies are extremely easy to train, which has made them the preferred choice of many famous people. The adaptable Border Collie is also a popular choice for films and television. In fact, their intelligence has earned this little pup the title of the most intelligent dog breed on the planet. That intelligence means he has a very intense personality.
Owners need to be aware that this pup needs a minimum of 60 to 90 minutes of vigorous exercise every single day. This is not a walk-around-the-block kind of dog. He must run and release some of that enormous, explosive energy. Rain or shine, this pup is happy to scurry after balls, accompany owners on hikes, and, if well-exercised, cuddle up on the couch.
Great Danes are giant dogs with very athletic bodies. Even though they get quite large, they can reach top speeds of 30 mph. However, this giant breed does not do well running for a long time. They have great speed for short distances. The Great Dane can be traced to Germany and ancient Egyptian cultures. The breed we know today started in Germany and was bred to hunt and protect.
These big sweethearts are incredibly sweet dogs who are highly affectionate and known to be lazy. Even though they can reach high speeds, they need serious motivation to do so. Along with being so large, this pup can become very attached and has no concept of personal space. While most Velcro dogs are thought to be small breeds, the Great Dane should top the list.
Great Danes can reach between 110 and 175 pounds when fully grown. Their size alone is quite impressive. Even though they get quite large, these pups are very sensitive and scare easily. In fact, they sometimes are described as fearing their own shadows. Make sure to get a Great Dane outside for about 45 minutes to an hour of physical activity every day. Even though he can run fast, he doesn’t want to do this every day. He is more than happy to take a leisurely stroll around the block or lope after a ball in the park.
Poodles are not necessarily thought of as athletic and fast. However, this fuzzy pup is both of those. Poodles come in three different sizes, Standard, Miniature, and Toy. Standard Poodles reach significant sizes and are known to be quite speedy. In fact, they can reach up to 30 mph. Standard Poodles reach a medium size, around 55 pounds or so, when fully grown. Though they often are associated with France, Poodles actually originate from Germany. They were bred to be water retrievers, so running and speed is in their DNA.
Though Poodles are non-sporting dogs, they have an athletic build. Poodles of all sizes are popular pets around the world because these dogs are incredibly intelligent and very affectionate. In fact, with the right motivation and a determined owner, Poodles can be taught to do almost anything. They get along well with children, dogs, and cats, making them a perfect choice for family pets.
Poodles need about an hour and a half of exercise every day. This needs to be more than a quick walk around the park. These dogs are high-energy, meaning they need to move. As water retrievers, they love swimming and will happily splash about and retrieve balls or sticks from the water. In fact, they love to jump in the water, which can be a favorite pastime and a fantastic way to burn off steam.
A breed born to race, the Siberian Husky can reach around 30 miles an hour with full effort. These dogs have long been trained as sled dogs, pulling a heavy load and navigating icy, frigid terrain. Along with their skill as runners and racers, Siberian Huskies are famous for their gorgeous appearance and striking blue eyes.
Watching a Siberian Husky run at full speed is an absolutely beautiful sight, and owners of this breed will want to ensure they get plenty of physical activity every day. The husky is built to run and has always been bred for sled pulling. Covering long distances is the Husky’s specialty, and even those who do not work as sled dogs love nothing more than the opportunity for a long run or brisk walk.
The Alaskan Husky can also reach speeds of around 30 miles an hour. Alaskan Huskies are slightly larger than Siberians but have a less friendly temperament than Siberians. Both are born to run and will happily leave their humans behind in the dust.
What Makes A Dog Fast?
There are certain physical characteristics that make a canine a good runner. These characteristics are more predominant for some breeds, making them run faster.
- The first thing that makes a dog a talented runner is that they have paw pads and claws that grip the ground and give them traction. These features also help them turn, stop, and change direction on a hair’s notice.
- Unlike humans, canines do not have collarbones and have disconnected shoulder bones. This allows for their stride forward to be large and their bodies to be more flexible. Because of this, they can cover great distances at high speeds.
- Another skeletal feature canines have is a flexible spine which allows the fluid movement of running. Along with that, they have incredibly powerful abdominal muscles, which help them push their bodies to the limit.
- Many of the world’s fastest dogs run using the double-suspension gallop, which allows them to reach higher speeds and cover larger distances.
- Breeding plays a significant role. Sometimes it is just in a dog’s DNA. Those with history and genetics selected for generations to be fast and sleek have better running abilities. Dogs that have been trained or bred to be hunters and herders also tend to be faster. Some breeds also have genetic mutations or larger muscle mass, which can contribute to enhanced speed.
When considering adopting one of these fastest dog breeds, owners may want to consider GPS tracking devices for their pets. When one of these quick-witted and fleece-footed pups escapes, catching them can be nearly impossible. A GPS tracker, as well as making sure your pet is microchipped, may just save the day. Any of these breeds need to be leash trained from a young age and always closely supervised when outside. Only ever let your dog off leash if it is an area you are familiar with, is safe, and you are confident your dog cannot escape. Much of this will be due to training and your dog’s independent and individual personality.
Dogs are amazing physical creatures. Their bodies are built to be athletic, agile, and in some cases, incredibly fast. While all dogs love to run, not all dogs can run as fast as the ones we have discussed. Regardless of breed, remember that all dogs need regular physical exercise, interactive play, top-quality nutrition, and plenty of mental stimulation. Try to give your dog plenty of options for playtime, including options to run, fetch, and let those natural speedy instincts out.