What are the fastest dog breeds?
It may seem that many dogs have advantages over us two-legged humans in natural athleticism. They can leap tall fences in a single bound, detect thousands of scents, and hear things we can’t. But determining which dog breeds are the fastest is not as simple as it sounds. Some of the greatest dog breeds can reach incredible speeds (a Great Dane at 50 mph, for example), and some of the best runners are also the laziest dog breeds. As we all know, running is a great exercise for both humans and dogs, and going for a run with your dog can be a great way to bond.
Many people are wary of high-energy dogs when looking for a pet, but if you’re committed to giving them (and yourself!) the exercise they need to be happy and healthy, dogs who love to run can be a fantastic addition to your family. Some dogs, however, are better suited than others to be running companions, and it’s not necessarily the fastest dogs that make the best jogging companions, but those with the best endurance.
How fast can a dog run?
In general, most dogs can run at a speed of about 15 to 20 miles per hour over a short distance. Lean, long-legged, deep-chested (i.e., large lungs) dogs tend to run the fastest, between 25 and 45 miles per hour. For dogs like greyhounds and collies, the long strides and small mass allow them to move quickly. But small, short-legged breeds of dogs like Shih Tzus or huge breeds like Saint Bernards tend to be slower because of the short gait of the former and the mass of the latter. Other dogs have trouble running fast because they simply can’t breathe well enough to be as athletic.
These are the brachycephalic dogs, flat-faced dogs with short muzzles, such as pugs, bulldogs, and basset hounds. If you like these flat-nosed dogs, an adorable pug mix can help compensate for their genetic problems. The dogs that can run the longest are the Alaskan malamute and the Siberian husky. Both bred as sled dogs, they are strong, have a lot of stamina, and can maintain a good running pace of 10 to 15 mph for hours and hours.
Of course, all dogs benefit from exercise, but it’s best to consider your dog’s fitness and age (as well as the weather) to determine what type of exercise he will enjoy and be comfortable with. Going on hikes, playing games, and having fun with other dogs are all healthy ways for your dog to expend his energy!
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The fastest dog in the world: Greyhound
Maximum speed: 45 mph
Measuring up to 30 inches tall at the shoulder, greyhounds are the fastest dog breed in the world and one of the fastest sprinters on the planet. Like cheetahs, they run at a double-suspension gallop, which means their bodies contract and lengthen as they run, with all four feet leaving the ground with each movement. In fact, when a greyhound runs, its feet only touch the ground 25% of the time! And how fast can a greyhound run? The fastest dog in the world can reach top speed in six strides, up to an impressive 45 mph. However, greyhound owners know that their daily speed is more that of a snorer than a sprinter: They are known to be sloths who sleep as much as cats – about 18 hours a day! Oddly enough, despite their size and speed, greyhounds are ideal house dogs because of their ability to relax. Just take the world’s fastest dog for a daily walk and let him hang out in the park a few times a week, and all should be well!
Second fastest dog: Saluki
Maximum speed: 42 mph
Native to the Fertile Crescent in the Middle East, Salukis are an ancient breed of hunting dog. Kings used them to hunt fast game, such as antelope, and they have retained their sprinting skills. Similar in shape to the Greyhound, with its small size and deep chest, the Saluki is a beautiful dog with long, floppy, feathered ears and a gentle disposition. Like greyhounds, Salukis are sighthounds, meaning they hunt primarily by sight rather than smell. As such, they have a strong propensity to hunt. Salukis have more stamina than Greyhounds and can make better running companions among the faster dog breeds.
The third fastest dog: Vizsla
Maximum speed: 40 mph
Recognizable at first glance by their red and gold coats, Vizslas (pronounced “Veeshla” and also known as Hungarian Pointers) are versatile athletes that also make the list of fastest dog breeds, capable of reaching speeds of 40 mph. Equally adept at hunting, retrieving, swimming and agility sports, Vizslas are highly intelligent and energetic. They tend to bond closely and affectionately with their owners and, with their graceful gait and immense stamina, would make perfect running, hiking or biking companions. Vizsla tails are quite fragile and are therefore often docked by a third to avoid injury, although the need for this is disputed. In any case, the Vizsla is a wonderful companion for outdoor enthusiasts.
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The third fastest dog: Afghan Hound
Maximum speed: 40 mph
Do you perceive a theme among these fastest dog breeds? These long-legged dogs can run! Although Afghans look more like supermodels than sprinters, they’re another ancient breed whose thick, silky coats and big paws help them keep pace and stay warm on the rocky hunting grounds of their Central Asian homeland. If you can commit to a grooming regimen to care for this coat, an Afghan can be a wonderful and sensitive companion. He also makes an excellent running partner! Having been bred for all-day hunts, these dogs have great stamina and can definitely go the distance.
The third fastest dog: Ibiza dog
Top speed: 40 mph
These bat-eared dogs have the long, slender legs and body of the other fastest dog breeds, which explains their top speed of 40 mph. Native to the Catalan region of Spain and France, the Ibizan Hound, or “Beezers” as its owners call it, was bred to hunt small game like rabbits. This red and white dog, with smooth or rough coat, is intelligent and playful. It is a good family dog, provided that it is properly socialized.
Fourth fastest dog: Whippet
If you think the Whippet looks like a smaller Greyhound, you’re right! These medium-sized dogs are descended from Greys; both are racing breeds, which is why Whippets are the fastest dogs of their size, reaching speeds of up to 35 mph. Like the Greyhound, the Whippet is a gentle dog that likes to lounge around and cuddle during all the hours it is not sprinting. It is an excellent house dog, especially because of its aversion to barking. With regular exercise and a few sprints a week, Whippets make lovely family dogs.
Fifth fastest dog: Jack Russell Terrier
Maximum speed: 38 mph
Bred in England to hunt foxes, the Jack Russell Terrier is (like all terriers) stubborn, energetic and a lot of fun. These adorable little guys look like bouncing teddy bears, but they are surprisingly fast, sprinting up the list of fastest dog breeds with a top speed of 38 mph. If you’re looking for a small dog that’s a good running partner, the Jack Russell is a great option: He has a lot of stamina and can run about 10 miles a day! Start slowly, and increase the distance once you know your dog can do it.
Sixth fastest dog: Dalmatian
Top speed: 37 mph
One of the most distinctive-looking dogs, the beautiful spotted Dalmatian is also one of the fastest dog breeds, with a speed of 37 mph. You might picture them riding on the back of a fire truck or carriage, but Dalmatians have the kind of athletic endurance that makes them perfect for hikers, joggers and outdoor enthusiasts. Originally bred as guard dogs, high energy Dalmatians can be aloof with strangers and are protective of their owners. With regular exercise and lots of love, Dalmatians make wonderful companions.
Seventh fastest dog: Borzoi
Top speed: 36 mph
Also known as the Russian wolfhound, the Borzoi is a beautiful, goofy, long-legged dog that enjoys sprinting as well as lounging. Like sighthounds, they are excellent house dogs despite their large size. With a gentle, cheerful personality, the Borzois shows little sign of what it was bred to do: hunt wolves. Their long coat requires regular grooming, but Borzois owners will find themselves with a gracious and rewarding canine companion.
Eighth fastest dog: Weimaraner
Maximum speed: 35 mph
Native to Germany (hence the correct pronunciation of “Vy-ma-rah-na”), the Weimaraner is instantly recognizable by its silver-gray coat, floppy ears and blue or amber eyes. A medium-sized retriever-like dog, the Weimaraner is extremely intelligent and needs plenty of exercise to be happy and healthy. These athletic dogs were bred to be versatile hunting dogs when the Duke of Weimar crossed bloodhounds with French and German hunting dogs. The result is a wonderful family dog that is eager to participate in any adventure.
Ninth fastest dog: German Pinscher
Top speed: 33 mph
The classic pointed ears of the German Pinscher top the head of this sleek and elegant dog. Intelligent and confident, the German Pinscher is both one of the oldest German breeds and one of the fastest. Bred as a hunting dog, the German Pinscher is an excellent working dog, guard dog and family dog. They need plenty of stimulation and exercise to maintain good physical and mental health. He would love to participate in sports such as agility or tracking.
Tenth Fastest dog: Border Collie
Maximum speed: 30 mph
Smart, energetic and fast, the Border Collie is a beloved dog that happens to be one of the fastest dog breeds. And did we mention he’s energetic? If you’re not already a breeder, this breed is especially suited to active, time-rich people who can devote the kind of time the Border Collie needs to satisfy its exercise and mental stimulation needs. Border Collies were originally bred as shepherds, and their skills translate into the sport of agility in non-farming dogs. Border Collies are extremely intelligent and easy to train and would make perfect running companions, especially if you are training for a marathon! With their stamina, they can run all day, and you may be the one trying to keep up with them.