How Fast Can a Dog Run? – The Fastest Dog Breeds

Ever seen a dog sprint by you and thought. ‘Boy, that dog can really run?’ How fast a dog can run depends on several factors like breed, age, body composition, etc. So, if you’re a dog parent trying to figure out how fast your loveable pooch can move – you’ve come to the right place.

Dog owners are always interested in finding out stuff about their furry companions. And, one question we often hear about is how fast can a dog run? That’s why we’ve put together this comprehensive guide on all your canine sprinting queries. From why dogs can dash at incredible speeds to some of the fastest dog breeds in the world – we’ve got it all.

how fast can a dog run

6 of the Fastest Dogs in the World

If you’re looking to adopt a fur baby, and you want a breed that can keep up with you as you go running – here’s the list you never knew you needed.

We’ve rounded up six of the fastest dog breeds in the world for your viewing pleasure. And, what’s more, most if not all these dogs make extra-special pets.

1. Greyhound

With top speeds of up to 45 miles per hour – it shouldn’t surprise you that Greyhounds are the fastest canines on the face of the planet. If you’re partial to Greyhounds, then you don’t have to worry about your doggo being able to keep up with you.

Although, you may have to run to keep up with your furry friend. And, the best part is, Greyhounds are super-easy to take care of and friendly to boot.

2. Saluki

Although Salukis may not be as popular as some others, they’re still one of the world’s oldest canine breeds. And do they love to run!

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Salukis are also pretty maintenance as far as grooming is concerned, and they love to chase most things that move. They’re not at all aggressive, but they do require proper training. A Saluki can reach speeds of 42 miles per hour approximately and weigh around 30 to 70 pounds.

3. Vizsla

Vizslas come in at number three on our list because they’re fast, they’re great family dogs, and they’re effortless to train. Vizslas hail from Hungary, and they can achieve speeds of up to 40 miles per hour.

Additionally, these sleek little canines are a ball of energy, so you can be sure they’re always going to be up for fun games like fetch. As adults, you can expect a Vizsla to clock in anywhere between 45 to 60 pounds in weight.

4. Afghan Hound

Would you like your canine to look like a supermodel but run like a sprinter? If yes, then you’re going to love Afghan Hounds. Aside from all that, watching an Afghan Hound run is almost like watching poetry in motion.

These hounds were bred for hunting in the deserts of Afghanistan, which accounts for their 40 miles per hour speed. However, it’s important to note that Afghan Hounds are not very easy to train, but they’re delightfully good-natured.

5. Jack Russell Terrier (JRT)

Do you remember Milo – the dog from the 90s hit ‘The Mask’? We’re asking because if you fell in love with Milo (the way we did), then you’re going Jack Russells.

Even though JRTs aren’t precisely tall, you’d be surprised at how fast they can move. These little pups can achieve 38 miles per hour without much effort – which explains why they were bred for hunting foxes in England 200 years ago. Not to mention, Jack Russells are great with small children, and they’re very friendly.

6. Dalmatian

Who doesn’t love spotty, adorable looking Dalmatians? We know we do. And, it might surprise you to learn that these little guys can run at speeds of 37 miles per hour.

Apart from that, Dalmatians make the perfect family dog because of their easy-going behavior and friendliness. You can expect full-grown Dalmatians to weigh around 40 to 75 pounds.

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how fast can a dog run

Have Canines Always Been to Sprint at Top Speeds?

Doggy history is rather well-documented. Canines were not only the first species to be domesticated by humans, but they’ve also one of the few species to have been bred over thousands of years for their capabilities and behaviors.

For instance, German Shepherds were bred to help with herding sheep – now their name makes a lot more sense, doesn’t it? However, there’s not much on how dog racing came about. We’re sure you’re aware of Greyhound racing (as doggy enthusiasts), but Greyhounds weren’t bred to race; instead, they were reared to hunt.

Although, it certainly makes sense that out of all the canine breeds worldwide – only Greyhound racing became popular. On average, Greyhounds are able to reach speeds of up to 45 miles per hour. That’s about two-thirds as fast as a Cheetah.

And, if you’re the proud parent of a Greyhound, you’ll be happy to know that your canine companion is 20 miles per hour faster than Usain Bolt – the fastest human ever recorded!

Greyhound racing was at its peak in the U.S during the 90s. The industry itself dates back to the 1900s when O.P.Smith came up with the invention of a mechanical hare. In 1919, Smith ended up opening the first-ever professional dog racing track in California. However, Greyhound racing has steadily lost popularity over the years.

Still, one type of canine racing remains pretty prevalent even now – Weiner dog racing. You read that right, no need to look twice. Daschund racing first appeared in Australia in the 70s. Now, Dachshund racing events are held worldwide purely as a fun sport and are more often than not used to raise money for charitable causes.

How Are Dogs Able to Run Fast?

Typically, most dogs can run as fast as 15 to 20 miles per hour. However, not all doggies are created equal, and that’s why some breeds are faster than others. Here are some factors that can play a part in your doggo’s super-sonic speed:

  • Streamlined Body-type

Some of the world’s fastest dogs can attain speeds of up to 45 miles per hour. That’s because these breeds have aerodynamic bodies. While that may sound all technical – it merely means that their bodies have just the right shape to cut through the air literally.

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Believe it or not, wind resistance and wind speed make a huge difference when there’s running involved. That’s why most racers wear clothing that helps them keep the effects of wind resistance to a minimum.

Most of the time, dogs that can run really fast have small heads, streamlined bodies, long legs, and a flat rib cage – all of which help them beat wind resistance to achieve quick speeds.

  • Movement

A dog’s gait can be described as the way it moves. For instance, how the legs move and how often they lift from the ground can signify a dog’s different gaits.

When a dog walks, the pattern involves three legs that are supporting its body at all times. And, each foot lifts from the ground in sequence, but always one at a time.

While trotting, the feet at diagonal ends of the canine’s body strike the ground simultaneously. For example, the right front leg moves in tandem with the left hind leg, and the left front leg moves in sync with the right hind leg.

Dogs tend to canter when they’re covering long distances – because the movement helps them conserve energy. A canter is defined as a three-beat and asymmetrical gait. While cantering, a canine will either use the front right leg or front left leg to lead.

However, it’s the gallop that dogs use when they’re running fastest. This movement is quite similar to a horse’s gallop, where all four legs are in suspension (off the ground).

Breeds like Whippets can utilize the double-suspension gait – where the first suspension occurs when the canine’s front legs extend forward wholly. The second suspension occurs when the dog’s hind legs contract and almost reach under its shoulders. The combination of extension and contraction is what maximizes your furry friend’s speed.

  • Feet

The structure of a dog’s paws is also another factor that helps them run fast. The pads covering the feet are thick and offer a firm grip no matter the surface type. Not to mention, toenails also provide additional traction while sprinting at fast speeds.

  • Cardio & Lung Capacity

Ask any runner why they can’t maintain their running speed indefinitely, and they’ll tell one thing – the human body can only endure so much.

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Did you know that specific dog breeds (like Sighthounds) have big hearts that help them maintain their running speeds? Pretty cool, huh? What’s more, some doggies also have powerful lungs and larger nostrils than others that enhance air intake.

Long story short, dogs that can run super-fast have a robust cardiovascular and respiratory system to help them maintain their speed over long distances.

How to Tell If Your Doggy Is a Fast One?

There are quite a few ways to tell if your dog is fast. For example, observing your pup while playing fetch is generally a pretty accurate method. If your canine brings you the stick you threw in a matter of seconds – then you’ve got a fast one on your hands.

Watching your canine make its escape after having done something naughty is another good technique. But, if you’re looking for accurate results, the best way to check your furball’s running speed is to take it to your nearest racing track.

You’ll also need a handy stopwatch to time your canine’s racing time.  But, keep in mind that you’re going to have to perform some math at the end to get a good approximation of your canine’s speed.

A great way to tell if your canine is actually running rather than just having a good time at the track is to observe its body language. When hounds are in full race-mode, their erect ears will push down to help them minimize wind resistance. On the other hand, dogs with floppy ears will push them back further.

Another sure-shot sign of your dog running its heart out is when its front legs move in sync along with the hind legs working simultaneously. When canine’s gallop, their gait changes to make room for longer strides via suspension.

Why Some Dogs Aren’t Runners

If you have the sneaking suspicion that your furry pal isn’t exactly the fastest dog in the universe – don’t worry. Some canines aren’t meant to run fast because that’s the way nature made them. Here are some of the top reasons why some dogs aren’t able to move too quickly:

  • Small-sized Breeds

Small-sized dogs like the Chihuahua or Dachshund aren’t able to move too rapidly due to their size and body type. Canines belonging to the small-breed category have small legs – which means they can’t take long strides to achieve top speeds.

  • Brachycephalic Breeds

Brachycephalic is just another term for a short or shortened head. This term is usually applied to breeds like Pugs, Shih Tzus, Bull Mastiffs, etc.

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Most Brachy breeds have a flat-type of face, a small upper jaw, and bigger interior tissues than the jaw itself. This formation causes airway issues, making brachycephalic breeds unsuitable for strenuous types of exercise – like running.

  • Extra-large Breeds

Canines that belong in the extra-large size classification have a lot of body mass to contend with. These types of dogs cannot run for long periods because of their muscle mass. So, you shouldn’t expect a dog the size of St.Bernard to be a very diligent runner.

Conclusion

Some canines are fast because they’re made for running, while others aren’t brilliant at it – but that doesn’t make them any less unique. How fast a dog can run depends on details like build, breed, age, and even heart and lung capacity.

As long as your furball is healthy and happy, you shouldn’t be too worried about running speeds. Not to mention, speed is a relative thing. What may not be too fast, according to canine standards, maybe overwhelming according to human standards. If you can keep up with your energetic ball of fur on the best of days – count yourself lucky!

How fast can a dog run? Well, the result varies for each dog breed.

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