Behavior

How Fast Can A Dog Run? Average Dog Speed, Fastest Breeds & More

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Last Updated: March 13, 2023 | 3 min read | 2 Comments

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dog running fast on the sand

Have you noticed how fast or slow your dog is compared to other canines when they sprint off together at the dog park? Sometimes it’s like the Tortoise and the Hare playing out before your eyes. What makes some dogs turbo-charged runners while others, well, not so much? Breed, body composition, age, and health all affect their ability to run at such different speeds. But how fast can dogs run? Most canines certainly have humans beat. We give you average dog speeds, a list of marathon breeds, and more.

How Fast Can The Average Dog Run?

As with most things canine related, a dog’s breed is the major factor in how fast he can run. As you might imagine, there’s a wide range of dogs’ top speeds. But the average dog speed is roughly 15-20 miles per hour (for healthy adult pups) at short distances.

Of course, dogs with short legs and stocky bodies, like French Bulldogs and Basset Hounds, are much slower than this general average, while long-legged, sleek-bodied canines, such as Greyhounds and Whippets, are much speedier.

How Fast Can A Greyhound Run?

When we think of speedy dogs, the Greyhound naturally comes to mind due to their long history of racing. Greyhounds clock in at impressive speeds of 40-45 miles per hour. But even before the rise of racing, Greyhounds were bred for hunting and coursing, a hunting technique that involves sighthounds chasing and capturing game by sight rather than by scent.

Their incredible speed and agility made them excellent at this sport which was popular among England’s nobility. First introduced in 1876 in England, Greyhound track racing took off in the U.S. in 1919. So began the breeding (and often overbreeding) of Greyhounds as racing dogs.

15 Fastest Dog Breeds

It’s not surprising that Greyhounds are the fastest dog breed, given their history, but some other breeds give them a run for their money. Here’s a list of the fastest dog breeds along with their top-recorded sprinting speeds.

  1. Greyhound: 45 mph
  2. Saluki: 42 mph
  3. Afghan Hound: 40 mph
  4. Vizla: 40 mph
  5. Ibizan Hound: 40 mph
  6. Jack Russell Terrier: 38 mph
  7. Dalmatian: 37 mph
  8. Borzoi: 36 mph
  9. Whippet: 35 mph
  10. Weimaraner: 35 mph
  11. Doberman Pinscher: 32 mph
  12. Border Collie: 30 mph
  13. German Shepherd: 30 mph
  14. Great Dane: 30 mph
  15. Poodle: 30 mph

Dogs With Speed & Endurance

While the list above reflects the fastest sprinters, some breeds excel at maintaining good speeds over longer distances. Again, Greyhounds are among the best endurance runners. They can run at speeds around 30-35 miles per hour over several miles. Others aren’t quite as fast but have excellent stamina. Some of these breeds include Siberian Huskies, German Shorthaired Pointers, English Setters, Rhodesian Ridgebacks, and Weimaraners. 

10 Slowest Dog Breeds

Discovering which breeds are the fastest runners made us curious about the other end of the speed spectrum. Although many of the following breeds may not come as a huge shock, it’s still fun to see if your pup isn’t a gifted runner (but they make up for it with their adorable personalities). Here’s a list of some of the slowest dog breeds, who range from 5-10 miles per hour.

  1. Basset Hound
  2. Bulldog
  3. Chihuahua
  4. Dachshund
  5. Japanese Chin
  6. Pekingese
  7. Pembroke Welsh Corgi
  8. Pomeranian
  9. Pug
  10. Shih Tzu

What Makes Dogs Such Good Sprinters & Runners?

Sure, having four legs instead of two gives dogs a speed advantage over humans, but there’s more going on with canine anatomy that makes many fantastic sprinters.

  • Their paw pads grip the ground well, and their claws give them better traction — these also give dogs the ability to change directions quickly.
  • Dogs have disconnected shoulder bones (and lack a collar bone), allowing for a greater stride length and more flexibility.
  • Dogs also have flexible spines and strong abdominal muscles, which gives them a better ability to push their bodies forward faster.
  • While all dogs have a single-suspension gallop (when all four legs are suspended in the air as they run), sighthounds, such as the Greyhound and Whippet, have a double-suspension gallop, which produces even more speed and distance covered as they run.
  • One study found a genetic mutation in some Whippets that increases muscle mass, enhancing their speed and racing performance (a condition called Bully Whippet Syndrome).

See How Dogs Run In Slow-Motion (Video)

This brief video by the popular online dog trainer Doggy Dan shows you some of the reasons dogs can run so fast in slow-motion action.

Is Your Pup A Speed Runner & Escape Artist?

The combination of a Houdini hound and one who bolts at full speed once he’s unconfined can be a recipe for disaster. If you’re worried about your pup getting out of your yard, you may want to have a way to find him as soon as possible. The best GPS dog trackers can be your savior in these situations. And some can even monitor your dog’s daily activities and serve as training collars.

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