13 of the Fastest Dog Breeds in the World
Looking for a pooch to keep up on your bike rides or trail runs? We've found the fastest dog in the world (as well as the other fastest dog breeds).
What are the fastest dog breeds?
It may seem that many dogs have some advantages over us two-legged humans when it comes to natural athleticism. They can jump high fences in a single bound, detect thousands of smells, and hear things we can’t. But figuring out which are the fastest dog breeds isn’t as simple as it appears. Some of the biggest dog breeds can reach incredible speeds (30 mph Great Dane, anyone?), and some of the best runners are also the most lazy dog breeds around. As we all know, running is great exercise for both humans and dogs, and going running with your dog can be a great way to bond together. Many people stay away from a high-energy dog when they’re looking for a pet, but if you’re committed to giving them (and you!) the exercise they need to be happy and healthy, dogs that love to run can be a fantastic addition to your family. Some dogs are definitely better suited to be running buddies than others, though, and it isn’t necessarily the fastest dogs that make the best jogging companions but the dogs with the best endurance.
How fast can a dog run?
In general, most dogs can run about 15 to 20 miles per hour for a short distance. Lean, long-legged dogs with deep chests (meaning big lungs) tend to be able to run the fastest, from 25 to 45 miles per hour. For dogs like sighthounds and collies, long strides and small mass keep them moving forward quickly. But small dog breeds with short legs like Shih Tzus or huge breeds like St. Bernards tend to be slower because of the former’s short gait and the latter’s mass. Other dogs have trouble running fast because they simply can’t breathe well enough to be that athletic. Those are brachycephalic, or flat-faced dogs with a short snout, like pugs, bulldogs, and Basset Hounds. If you love these squishy-faced pooches, getting an adorable pug mix can help even out their genetic issues. The dogs that can run the longest are the Alaskan Malamute and Siberian Husky. Both bred as sled dogs, they are strong, with plenty of stamina, and can maintain a good running pace of 10 to 15 mph for hours and hours.
Every dog benefits from exercise, of course, but it’s best to look at the shape and age of your dog (as well as the weather) to determine what sort of exercise they’ll enjoy and what will be right for them. Hiking, playing games, and romping with other dogs are all healthy ways for your dog to use up their energy!
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Fastest dog in the world: Greyhound
Top speed: 45 mph
Standing up to 30 inches high at the shoulder, Greyhounds are the fastest dog breed in the world, and among the fastest sprinters on the planet. Like cheetahs, they run in a double suspension gallop, meaning that their bodies contract and extend as they run, with all four feet leaving the ground in each movement. In fact, when a Greyhound runs, its feet are touching the ground only 25% of the time! And how fast can a Greyhound run? The fastest dog in the world can reach top speed within six strides, up to a whopping 45 mph. However, owners of Greys know that their day-to-day speed is more snoozer than sprinter: They’re known as 45 mph couch potatoes who sleep as much as cats—about 18 hours a day! Weirdly, despite their size and speed, Greyhounds are ideal apartment dogs because of this massive capacity to just chill out. Just take the fastest dog in the world out on a daily walk and let them tear around the park a couple of times a week, and they should be good!
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Second fastest dog: Saluki
Top speed: 42 mph
Hailing from the Fertile Crescent in the Middle East, Salukis are an ancient breed of hunting dog. They were used by kings to hunt down speedy game like antelope, and they’ve retained their sprinting skills today. Roughly the same shape as a Greyhound, with the recognizable small waist and deep chest, Salukis are very beautiful dogs with long, feathered, floppy ears and gentle dispositions. Like Greyhounds, Salukis are sighthounds—dogs that hunt primarily by sight rather than smell. As such, they have high prey drive. Salukis have more endurance than Greyhounds and may make better running companions among the fastest dog breeds.
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Third-equal fastest dog: Vizsla
Top speed: 40 mph
Instantly recognizable by their bright, reddish-gold coats, Vizslas (pronounced “Veeshla,” and also known as Hungarian Pointers) are all-around athletes that also make the list of fastest dog breeds, able to reach speeds of 40 mph. Equally proficient in hunting, retrieving, swimming, and agility sports, Vizslas are super smart and energetic. They tend to bond closely and affectionately to their owners, and with their graceful gait and immense stamina, they’d be perfect running, hiking, or cycling companions. Vizslas’ tails are quite brittle, and are therefore often docked a third of the way down to prevent injury, although the necessity of this operation is contested. Either way, the Vizsla makes a wonderful companion for an outdoorsy type.
Third-equal fastest dog: Afghan Hound
Top speed: 40 mph
Sensing a theme among these fastest dog breeds? These long-legged hounds sure can run! Although Afghans look more like supermodels than sprinters, they’re another old breed whose thick, silky coats and large paws allow them to keep up and keep warm on the rocky hunting grounds of their Central Asian homeland. If you can commit to a grooming regimen to take care of that coat, an Afghan can be a wonderful, sensitive companion. They also make a great running partner! Having been bred for all-day hunts, these hounds have tons of stamina and can definitely keep up on the miles.
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Third-equal fastest dog: Ibizan Hound
Top speed: 40 mph
These bat-eared sweeties have the long, slim legs and bodies we’ve seen on the other fastest dog breeds, which explains their top speed of 40 mph. Hailing from the Catalan region of Spain and France, Ibizan Hounds, or “Beezers,” as they’re known by their owners, were bred to hunt smaller game like rabbits. The smooth- or wire-coated red and white hounds are smart and playful, making good family dogs as long as they are properly socialized.
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Fourth fastest dog: Whippet
Top speed: 34 mph
If you think the sleek Whippet resembles a smaller Greyhound, you’re right! These medium-sized dogs are descended from Greys; they’re both racing dog breeds, which is why Whippets are the fastest dog of their size, reaching speeds of up to 35 mph. Also like the Greyhound, Whippets are gentle dogs who love to lounge and cuddle for all the hours when they’re not sprinting. They’re great apartment dogs, especially given their aversion to barking. With regular exercise and a few sprints a week, Whippets make sweet family dogs.
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Fifth fastest dog: Jack Russell Terrier
Top speed: 38 mph
First bred in England for fox hunting, Jack Russell Terriers are (like all terriers) stubborn, energetic, and lots of fun. These sweet little guys may look like bouncing teddy bears, but they’re surprisingly quick, sprinting onto the list of fastest dog breeds with a top speed of 38 mph. If you’re looking for a small dog that makes a good running partner, the Jack Russell is a great option: They have a lot of stamina and can run about ten miles per day! Just start small, and increase the distance once you know your pooch can handle it.
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Sixth fastest dog: Dalmatian
Top speed: 37 mph
One of the most distinctive-looking dogs, the gorgeous spotted Dalmatian is also one of the fastest dog breeds, clocking in at 37 mph. You may picture them on the back of a fire truck or carriage, but Dalmatians have the kind of athleticism stamina that makes them perfect for hikers, joggers, and outdoors enthusiasts. Originally bred as guard dogs, high-energy Dalmatians can be aloof with strangers and are protective of their humans. With regular exercise and lots of love, Dals make wonderful companions.
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Seventh fastest dog: Borzoi
Top speed: 36 mph
Also known as Russian Wolfhounds, the Borzoi is a gorgeous, goofy, leggy hound with a love of both sprinting and lounging. Like Greyhounds, they’re great apartment dogs despite their large size. With gentle and happy-go-lucky personalities, Borzois show little sign of what they were bred for: hunting wolves. Their long coats need regular grooming, but Borzoi owners will find themselves with a graceful and rewarding dog companion.
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Eighth fastest dog: Weimaraner
Top speed: 35 mph
Originating in Germany (hence the proper pronunciation of “Vy-ma-rah-na”), a Weimaraner is instantly recognizable by its silvery-gray coat, floppy ears, and blue or amber eyes. A medium-sized, retriever-esque dog, the Weimaraner is extremely intelligent and needs a lot of exercise to be happy and healthy. These athletic pooches were bred to be all-round 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 join in with any adventure.
Ninth fastest dog: German Pinscher
Top speed: 33 mph
Those classically pointy Pinscher ears top the head of these smooth, sleek dogs. Intelligent and confident, German Pinschers are both one of Germany’s oldest breeds and one of the fastest dog breeds. Bred as ratters, German Pinschers make excellent working and guard dogs and loving family dogs. They need plenty of stimulation and exercise to maintain good physical and mental health and would love to be involved in sports like agility or tracking.
Tenth fastest dog: Border Collie
Top speed: 30 mph
Intelligent, energetic, and speedy, the Border Collie is a beloved dog that also happens to be one of the fastest dog breeds. And did we mention energetic? If you’re not a farmer already, this breed is particularly suited to the time-rich and active, who can dedicate the sort of time the Border Collie needs to fulfilling its exercise and mental stimulation needs. They were originally bred as herders, and their skills translate into the sport of agility in non-farm dogs. Border Collies are extremely smart and trainable and would make perfect running companions, especially if you’re training for a marathon! Their endurance means they can run all day, and you may be the one trying to keep up.
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Eleventh fastest dog: Siberian Husky
Top speed: 28 mph
Although they’re definitely one of the fastest dog breeds (that can reach speeds of up to 28 mph), where the Siberian Husky really shines is in its endurance. This ancient breed’s ancestors were originally bred in northeastern Asia by the Chukchi people and were kept as family dogs, as well as sled dogs. Huskies can maintain a speed of 10 to 12 mph all. day. long. That’s what makes them ideal running companions (as long as you don’t take them out in the heat!). Huskies are known to be smart, friendly, and reasonably trainable, and as a plus, they’re pretty clean, with little doggy odor. They do need a lot of exercise and engagement to be happy, otherwise they may pull a Houdini and escape from your yard in search of fun. Huskies’ wolf-like faces and pretty blue eyes have earned them fans all over the world.
- Rover.com: “How Fast Can a Dog Run?”
- AKC.org: “Greyhound”
- AKC.org: “Saluki”
- AKC.org: “Vizsla”
- AKC.org: “Afghan Hound”
- AKC.org: “Ibizan Hound”
- AKC.org: “Whippet”
- AKC.org: “Jack Russell Terrier”
- AKC.org: “Dalmatian”
- AKC.org: “Borzoi”
- AKC.org: “Weimaraner”
- AKC.org: “German Pinscher”
- AKC.org: “Border Collie”
- AKC.org: “Siberian Husky”