How Fast Can a Dog Run – Are Dogs Really Fast?

During playtime with your dog, there was probably a point when you decided to find out who is faster. After all, where’s the harm in a bit of competition, right?

The chances are – the first thing you’ve spotted is sudden explosiveness. They just go off so fast! So naturally, almost every dog owner has wondered where their dog gets so much speed.

In this article, we will find out the answer to a simple question:

How fast can a dog run?

Not only that, we will take a look at some other things you may be wondering about:

  • What makes dogs so fast?
  • How fast can the fastest dog in the world run?
  • Can you outrun a dog?
  • etc.

We bet you will be surprised by the information we have prepared for you.

Let’s get started!

What is the speed a dog can reach?

In a conversation about fast dogs, we are sure that Greyhounds are the first breed that pops into your mind. They are skinny, athletic dogs that almost always appear on TV screens as racing dogs.

Now, that is for a reason. Greyhounds are the fastest dog breed out there. There are several categories that we need to consider here:

  • speedy dog breeds built for running,
  • average dogs and their maximum speed,
  • and yes – the slowest dog breed in the world! How slow can they go?

Now, this brings us to our big question:

How fast can the fastest dog in the world run?

The speed that a Greyhound (the fastest breed in the world) can reach is 45 mph. An interesting fact is that greyhound legs spend a quarter of the time in the air. Their way of galloping is close to a cheetah!

Just take a look at this awesome video comparing the two:

But sure, Greyhounds are not the only sprinters in the canine world.

What are the fastest dog breeds?

You are probably interested to see some of the favorites. According to WagWalking.com, the ten fastest dog breeds in the world are:

  1. Greyhound (45mph);
  2. Saluki (42mph);
  3. Afghan Hound (40mph);
  4. Vizsla (40mph);
  5. Whippet (40mph);
  6. Jack Russel Terrier (38mph);
  7. Dalmatian (37mph);
  8. Borzoi (36mph)
  9. Doberman Pinscher (32mph);
  10. Border Collie (30mph).

Let’s take a brief look at some of the most popular among these breeds, which you probably had a chance to run into in your dog park:

English Greyhound

Greyhound - the world's fastest dog breeds

This is the dog cheetah. With their aerodynamic constitution, greyhounds rank at the top of every list of the fastest dogs in the world.

They reach an incredible speed of 45 mph! Their weight ranges from 25 to 40 kg, depending on whether the dog is male or female.

Because they are natural runners, they require exceptional levels of physical activity and a well-established training regime.

Greyhound training can be a nightmare for inexperienced owners, especially if you consider that they can be lazy!

Nevertheless, it is essential to meet their daily physical needs. Otherwise, health issues may arise.

Related: How to Discipline a Dog – 5 Reliable Steps to Follow Today

Saluki

Saluki - the world's fastest dog breeds

Saluki is a subspecies of the Greyhound. That is why there are remarkable similarities between these two.

They are slightly slower than the Greyhound reaching a speed of 42 mph. Their weight is from 18 to 27 kg.

The temperament may resemble a greyhound. Saluki dogs can also be destructive if left alone for long periods at a time. Their brains need stimulation, so buy creative toys to avoid chaos.

Regular exercise is a priority! Salukis will enjoy relatively short runs and can spend the whole day with calm heads.

Unlike greyhounds, they have longer hair, which can be a challenge for owners who don’t prefer regular hair brushing.

Vizsla

Vizsla - the world's fastest dog breeds

Vizsla is a dog that is a bred hunter. They have a recognizable brown color.

Depending on the gender, they can weigh from 18 to 30 kg. The top speed they reach is 40 mph.

Vizslas are very friendly, and they will love to complete various tasks. However, they can be manipulative and require a lot of attention! They love their parents very much and sometimes could suffer from separation anxiety.

They will need at least 1 hour of daily running. However, according to the American Kennel Club, Vizslas under 18 months should not be exposed to intensive training.

Dalmatian

Dalmatian - the world's fastest dog breeds

Dalmatians are characterized by their black spots and white coat. They are a dog breed originally from Balkan.

The maximum speed they can reach is 37 mph. Males can weigh 15-32 kg and females 16-24 kg.

They have a very cheerful character and are often happy! They are brilliant dogs and will quickly learn new things.

Once again, up to 2 years of age, intense physical training is not recommended due to your dog’s bone strengthening and healthy growth and development.

German Shepherd

German Shepherd - the world's fastest dog breeds

The German Shepherd is the dog we most often relate to police forces. It proves its explosiveness with a top speed of 30 mph. They are pretty large and can weigh up to 40 kg if the dog is a male.

The main characteristic of this dog is loyalty. They will build an unbreakable bond with their parents very soon.

Regarding their activity levels, the German Shepherds require great care and a lot of physical activity. Therefore, initially introduce gentle walks and gradually add more intense training sessions.

It is important to note that most fast dogs can’t maintain their incredible speed over long distances. However, some dogs can keep up a moderate pace (still quite fast!) for hours.

What about our regular dog who isn’t a track athlete?

Average healthy dogs reach speeds of up to approximately 20 mph. The vast majority of dog breed belongs in this category. The characteristics of these dogs are often:

  • a larger mass,
  • a characteristic shape of the head,
  • and shorter legs.

We are also sure you are wondering about our next question as well:

What is the slowest dog breed in the world?

This glorious title goes to the one and only – Shih Tzu!

Shih Tzu - the slowest dog breed in the world

Believe it or not, these little balls of fur can reach only 6 mph! You won’t see a Shih Tzu in a rush to be anywhere, as they sure like to take things slow.

How fast can a Samoyed run?

We cannot end this section without mentioning our favorite clouds! Here is the answer:

Samoyeds can run at 30mph (48kph)!

How fast can a Samoyed run?

Even though they are quite big and fluffy, they are a working breed after all. Samoyeds have been pulling sleds and hunting for a very long time, and their physical abilities reflect that.

Characteristics That Affect the Speed

The primary reason dogs accelerate better than their humans is simple – they have another pair of legs! With this additional help, the dogs have better stability and can reach higher speeds with ease.

However, many other important factors contribute to their speed:

Physical constitution

Physical constitution is perhaps one of the most critical factors determining how speedy a particular dog breed is.

It all starts from the head, its shape, and how it affects the dog’s ability to withstand great efforts. For example, dogs like the French Bulldog or Pug find it challenging to tolerate long runs because the shape of their head makes it difficult for them to breathe.

Fast dogs also have strong skeletons. Their spine is so strong that it supports high contractions. As a result, dogs like Greyhounds can double gallop. In other words, the front and back legs are in the air at some point. This is why running a Greyhound resembles a cheetah, thanks to its strong spine!

Leg length also plays a role. Dogs with longer legs have a higher gallop and thus cross greater distances in the same interval than dogs with shorter legs.

Another element of the physical constitution is body mass. Racing dogs are usually slim. This makes their bodies easier to move, creates less pressure on the bones, and reduces air resistance when running.

Heart & Lungs

The capacities of the vital organs (heart and respiratory organs) play an essential role in our ability to perform physical activities. They give the dog more endurance and better speed.

Fast dogs like greyhounds have swift blood circulation. In 30 seconds, the greyhound blood circulates up to 4 times throughout the whole body! This, of course, improves their explosiveness and endurance, allowing them to reach incredible speeds.

Age

This factor is undoubtedly familiar to you from everyday life. It is pretty rare to come across an older person who can run longer and faster than when they were young.

The same philosophy applies to dogs. As they get older, vital organs slowly lose their earlier efficiency.

That is why dogs get tired faster at later stadiums of their life. Likewise, older dogs are susceptible to some diseases that further limit their ability to run.

A perfectly coordinated heart work allows fast dogs to push their bodies so hard and achieve these remarkable speeds. Also, a greater effort will lead to a greater need for oxygen. For the dog’s body to provide the necessary amounts, a higher-capacity respiratory system is required. All of these requirements present a big issue for older dogs.

Conclusion

You have seen that specific characteristics, primarily physical, give a significant advantage to certain dog breeds. However, regardless of the breed we are talking about, every dog requires adequate care and training to run and enjoy their walks!

Now, let’s hear your opinion.

Which of the following dogs do you think is the best runner and why? Please write your opinion in the comments below!

As always, stay with us and see you in the next post!

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