How Fast Can Dogs Run? Fastest Dog Breeds

Have you ever found yourself wondering how fast dogs can run? The average speed of all dog breeds combined is between 15 and 20 mph but which is the fastest dog breed, and how fast can that breed run?

Keep reading to learn about all factors that influence a dog's natural running abilities, including age, size, and body composition. This guide will talk you through the optimal body shape that makes dogs faster,  and we’ll also list the top 15 fastest dog breeds globally! And just in case you were curious as to which dog breed is the slowest, don’t worry! We’ll tell you below which breed would need a HUGE head start in the race.

Everything You Need To Know About A Dog's Speed

Along with the dog's size, many other factors can affect the top speed of a dog. . For instance, if a dog has respiratory problems, this will affect how quickly and for how long it can run. This is because a dog's lung capacity directly influences the efficiency of getting oxygen into the bloodstream and into the working muscles. It’s important to know which factors may affect your dog’s running ability when participating in running activities.

If you are planning on participating in Canicross (canine cross country), bikejoring (where one or two dogs run in front of a bike and pull), or you’re simply running with your dog, it's a good idea to understand how fast your dog can run. It’s also important for you to invest in the right equipment to keep you and your dog comfortable and safe. If you're looking for dog running and pulling gear, check out the products available at We offer a range of accessories, from our no-pull harness to our tug line with bungee.

What Is The Average Speed At Which A Dog Can Run?

The speed of a dog is highly dependent on its physical characteristics. Size has a lot to do with how fast a dog can run, so the short and stout Shih Tzu can run only 6 miles per hour on average, making it the slowest dog breed in the world. The greyhound can run up to 45 miles per hour on average, making it the fastest dog breed globally, but not without some close competitors. The average speed for all dog breeds combined is between 15 and 20 miles per hour.

Why Can Dogs Run Fast? Facts That Will Surprise You

A dog's body structure varies from breed to breed. However, there are certain characteristics shared by most dogs that make them excellent runners. A dog's complex skeletal system is one of the main features that help them run at tremendous speeds. The spine contracts and lengthens with each stride a dog takes, maximizing the distance it can cover. The spine structure of a dog is similar to the cheetah, which is the fastest land animal in the world reaching up to 75mph. These traits evolved in dogs to help them chase down prey in the wild. Dogs do not have collarbones, which allows their shoulders to move more freely and helps them to run more efficiently.

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A Dog's Speed Depends On Age, Size, And Body Composition

Several factors affect how fast a dog can run. Consider these characteristics to gain an accurate understanding of how fast your dog can run and why:

  • Age - if your dog is a puppy, it will not be as fast as an adult dog of their breed. This is because puppies are smaller, and their bodies are still developing. If your dog is more senior, their joints may not be as supple as when they were younger, and they may not have as much energy. This obviously means they won't be able to run as fast as when they were in their prime, just like humans.
  • Size - the size of a dog influences its speed. The larger the dog, the bigger the lung capacity, meaning they will be able to breathe in more oxygen to fuel their muscles while running. The dog's size also influences how long their strides are, making it easier for them to reach higher speeds.
  • Body composition - dog breeds with larger hearts in proportion to their body, like greyhounds, tend to have better cardiac output, which also allows their hearts to beat more slowly with more blood pumping per beat.  Greyhounds, for example, have hearts up to 15% larger than other dogs. Breeds with fast-twitch muscle fibers are faster sprinters, with more dynamic and powerful movements. For faster running, long nails for traction can also help the dog create more friction with the ground. A deep chest, lean body, long legs, and large lung capacity are the factors that can make a dog run faster than other breeds.

The Respiratory And Cardiovascular Systems Determine How Quickly A Dog Can Run

The cardiovascular system is responsible for providing our bodies with the energy they need to perform high-intensity exercise. The cardiovascular system provides muscles in the body with nutrients, oxygen, and energy required to power the muscles and repair the muscles. To oxygenate the blood and give more oxygen to the muscles, a large lung capacity helps increase the speed and power of our actions. The same applies to dogs, meaning those with the largest lung capacity and heart in proportion to their body are likely to be the fastest dog breed.

Health Factors That Affect How Fast A Dog Can Run

Just like humans should consult a physician before beginning a new exercise program, it’s a good idea to consult your veterinarian before starting to run with your dog. There are several health factors that might make your dog an unsuitable running partner. These factors can indicate that your dog might not be able to run very fast and that maybe running with your dog isn't safe or healthy for them:

  • Brachycephalic dogs or short-muzzled breeds like pugs, bulldogs, and other dogs with smushed faces are not well-suited to running. These dogs have a decreased lung capacity, have difficulty breathing, and also tend to overheat easily.
  • Smaller dogs with short legs will be able to keep up for a short distance but might have trouble running for longer distances. You should bear in mind that you cover a lot more ground with each stride than they do.
  • Heavy coats - Saint Bernards and other dogs with thick coats tend to overheat very easily, making them less suitable for running. Size isn't everything, so although these dogs may be large, they aren't ideal for intense running.
  • Age - you should not take puppies below 9 months for lengthy runs as their bodies are still developing. You should also avoid taking senior dogs for extensive runs, as it may cause tissue damage or stress fractures to their aging bodies.

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Top 15 Fastest Dog Breeds In The World

Now we know which factors make dogs run fast, it's time to look at some of the fastest dog breeds in the world and why they are equipped to run at such high speeds.

Greyhound (45 mph)

The Greyhound wins the crown for being the fastest dog breed in the world. Greyhound dogs have participated in racing events since 1919, and continue to race today. Animal rights groups have been very critical of this practice due to many dog injuries and euthanizations, and many reforms have been enacted. Most say the measures do not go far enough to protect the Greyhounds, so opposition is still fierce. Greyhounds have thin and slender bodies with large hearts and lung capacities, perfect for sprinting at fast speeds. Despite the considerable difference in size, a greyhound can keep up with thoroughbred racing horses.

Saluki (42 mph)

The Saluki, also called the Persian Greyhound, is faster than the average dog. It can reach a whopping 42 miles per hour, making it a close second to the Greyhound. The Saluki has long legs and is extremely lean, making him well-equipped to run at high speeds. Middle Eastern kings sought out this highly energetic breed to perform hunts based on their ability to hunt down prey at great speed.

Afghan Hound (40 mph)

Afghan Hounds are characterized by their long, human-like hair and tall and slender bodies. Their lean bodies make them well-suited for running at high speeds, and they can reach around 40 miles per hour. This elegant and ancient breed originated in Afghanistan and is also a powerful runner that can turn on a dime. 

Vizsla (40 mph) 

The Hungarian Vizsla is a hunting dog known for being highly obedient and trainable. The Vizsla is characterized by their golden-red coats and sunset-colored eyes, making them a beautiful breed. The Hungarian Vizsla is one of the fastest dog breeds, reaching 40 miles per hour. They are extremely athletic and thrive on hard exercise, so they make a great running partner!

Jack Russell Terrier (38 mph) 

This breed may be small, but it sure is mighty. The Jack Russell Terrier was originally bred for fox hunting at high speeds. Their tiny bodies also make them well suited to follow game down burrows, holding them until their owner arrives. But, to keep up with quick rabbits, the Jack Russell Terrier must be fast, and they can reach around 38 miles per hour. Considering the size difference between Jack Russell Terriers and Afghan Hounds, they can achieve incredible speed!

Dalmatian (37 mph)

The Dalmatian top speed is 37 miles per hour. This lovable breed is known for its unique black and white spotted coat, which inspired the Disney picture 101 Dalmatians. This spotted dog is lean and tall, well-equipped to reach speeds higher than the average dog. Dalmations were originally bred as a 'coach dog' whose job was to trot alongside a carriage and guard the travelers against would-be assailants or robbers. This means Dalmatians have excellent stamina and would be wonderful running companions or Canicross partners.

Whippet (35 mph)

The Whippet is known for being a smaller version of the Greyhound. Since this breed is smaller than a Greyhound, they are unable to reach the same speeds. The Whippet’s top speed is 35 miles per hour, which is much faster than average dog breeds. They have similar characteristics to the fastest dog, and their high lung capacity and lean bodies serve them well.

Borzoi (35 mph)

The Borzoi is a Russian Wolfhound with roots dating back to the 17th century, and they have been used as hunting dogs for hundreds of years. The Borzoi's top speed is yet to be determined, but the breed has been known to reach 35 miles per hour, making it one of the fastest dog breeds around. They are better sprinters than distance runners but should be able to run five miles with no problem. Their quiet and respectful nature and elongated, curved noses make the Borzoi a lovable and unique breed. If you have a Borzoi, you might want to take them on several shorter walks or one longer walk each day, or even a short run.

Doberman Pinscher (32 mph)

This breed is built for speed and exhibits high intelligence, making them excellent working dogs. The Doberman Pinscher's top speed is 32 miles per hour, making them one of the fastest dogs, with a fearlessness that allows them to run with dynamic and athletic ease. Since these are athletic dogs, it would be good to take them dog racing in a Canicross event and train them in Canicross to stimulate their intelligent minds and powerful bodies. Highly energetic dog breeds like those in this list require plenty of exercise and mental stimulation to stay happy and healthy.

German Shepherd (30 mph)

German Shepherds s are known for being excellent guard dogs and sniffer dogs. Their high intelligence and loyalty make them easily trainable, and their traits are highly valued in law enforcement and the military. . But did you know that the German Shepherd is also one of the fastest dog breeds?

The German Shepherd can reach speeds of around 30 miles per hour. They are better suited to long distances than sprinting, and they could perform well as sled dogs or in dog racing events like Canicross.

Border Collie (30 mph)

The Border Collie is a sheepdog bred to sprint and herd sheep and other farm animals. For this reason, they need to be fast. This is why the Border Collie can reach up to 30 miles per hour. The Border Collie is highly obedient and intelligent, while also making an excellent pet for owners prepared to give them proper exercise and mental stimulation.

Standard Poodle (30 mph)

Poodles were originally bred as hunting dogs, and are extremely athletic and intelligent. The breed comes in three different size varieties, including Standard, Miniature, and Toy. Their sharp nose and fast speed make them excellent companions on a duck hunt. The Poodle is known for its curly hair, which many people find to be hypoallergenic. This makes the Poodle and Poodle mix extremely popular as family pets.

Siberian Husky (30 mph)

The Siberian Husky’s top speed is 30 miles per hour. Huskies were bred as sled dogs, making them excellent long-distance runners and pulling dogs. Consider entering your Siberian Husky in Canicross, bikejoring, skijoring, or dog sledding activities, and you will be blown away by how well they can perform while pulling heavy loads. Always ensure you use a no pull dog harness to ensure your dog's safety and comfort when hauling heavy loads.

Scottish Deerhound (28 mph)

This dog breed was designed with the perfect characteristics for deer hunting. Their shaggy coats give them an adorable shabby look, and they can reach around 28 miles per hour. The Scottish Deerhound's body is similar to the Greyhound, but with a larger and heavier body and that adorable shaggy mane.

Giant Schnauzer (28 mph)

The Giant Schnauzer is an extremely intelligent and obedient breed, not to mention one of the fastest! Tracking, carting, agility, and herding are all in the wheelhouse of this unique dog breed. These are extremely loyal companions and will be able to keep up with rigorous physical exercise. As an added bonus, they do not shed, making them more suitable for people with allergies.