Deciding what breed of dog to get really depends on your lifestyle and what traits you want them to have. Some owners love lap dogs that will snuggle up in front of the TV with them, some want dogs with superior intelligence that they can have fun training, and others are looking for a sports companion that enjoys running.
When it comes to the fastest dog breeds, they generally fall into three categories – hounds, hunting dogs, and sporting/racing pups. Some of the breeds have been bred over years to run incredibly fast for a number of different reasons, resulting in great pets that are happiest when chasing a ball or beating you to the finish line. So, how fast can dogs run and what is the fastest breed?
Of course, the Greyhound has to be first on the list. Anyone who has been to the races knows that this breed must be the fastest dog in the world.
Likewise, any Greyhound owner knows the risk you take if you let your dog off the leash, they seem to be able to disappear right before your eyes as they run after a ball or another dog. Although they can reach speeds of up to 45 mph, they’re really more sprinters than long-distance runners and are quite happy spending the rest of their time curled up on the couch.
They make wonderful pets that are gentle, caring, loyal, and love spending time with their family. If you can, try to adopt a retired racing dog.
Apart from having one of the most beautiful breed names, these mid-sized dogs are very fast sighthounds. Salukis were originally bred to chase and hunt fast prey, but today they’re favored racings dogs in many parts of the world.
Built in a fairly similar way to the Greyhound, they also have very elegant, hairy ears which set them apart. They can reach speeds of up to 45 mph and are slightly better endurance runners than the Greyhound. They also have more energy, so are best suited to a home with a large outdoor area to run around in.
If supermodels were dogs they’d be the Afghan Hound. Incredibly elegant with one of the most recognizable, sleek coats, they’re also one of the fastest dog breeds out there. These sighthounds were originally bred to chase fast prey in the Afghan mountains, meaning they’re very agile and can easily run distances in difficult terrain.
Underneath their warm coats is a very strong and streamlined body which makes them very fast – they can reach speeds of up to 40 mph. They can be a little aloof and independent as a breed, so consistent training and regular exercise are necessary.
This Hungarian breed’s name quite literally translates as ‘tracker’, presumably because they were bred to be amazing pointers and retrievers. As well as being intelligent pups, they’re also very fast and can run up to 40 mph.
Vizslas have a lot of energy and need a good amount of regular exercise. They like to spend time with their family and can suffer from separation anxiety if left alone.
There’s a reason these dogs are so popular amongst dog owners. German Shepherds are very intelligent, love spending time with their family, are incredibly loyal, and very fast.
Their trainability makes them perfect dogs to be used in military and police forces, as does their ability to cross short distances in very little time – they can run up to 30 mph. Whilst some are wary of them because of their slightly fierce look, they actually make wonderful and loving pets.
They do need lots of exercise and space to roam in though.
Originally bred to hunt wolves in Russia, the Borzoi is one of the fastest dogs. They’re quite similar in appearance to the Greyhound and the Afghan Hound and are nearly as fast.
Like the Greyhound, they don’t actually have that much energy and are quite happy napping after sprinting. They love being with their family and don’t like to be left alone.
These spotty black and white dogs are also very fast runners. Unlike some of the others on this list, they don’t mind running longer distances, so make perfect sporting companions for those super fit owners. Dalmatians are very intelligent, active, and alert, which is a great mix for the right family. They can occasionally get a little overexcited and clumsy, so good training is needed.
Jack Russel Terrier
Jack Russels are one of the smaller pups on the list, but they are one of the fastest breeds of dogs. They were originally bred to hunt foxes, so needed to be able to keep up with much larger horses.
Although smaller, these dogs can be feisty and need a lot of training. They’re very intelligent but if they’re allowed to become bored they can be destructive.
Their name is almost onomatopoeic as they run really fast by you. Just like their Greyhound cousins, the slightly smaller Whippet is very streamlined and can run up to 36 mph.
They were bred to hunt rabbits and still have a very strong prey drive, meaning that even well-trained dogs can sprint off after a smaller animal at any moment.
With that in mind, it’s not recommended they’re in a house with cats or smaller pets. They’re gentle and very loving to their family.
Probably one of the best-known guard dogs, Doberman Pinschers are also very fast runners – which comes in handy when chasing off thieves and intruders.
They’re a really athletic breed that can run up to 35 mph. As well as being strong, they’re highly intelligent and need lots of training, brain games, and exercise.
How fast can a Great Dane run? You just have to look at their enormous legs and their huge floppy ears to think that Great Danes are too big to be able to run quickly.
They’re hardly as streamlined as the Greyhound but they can definitely run. Fast. This big breed is one of the fastest dogs, reaching speeds of 30 mph. Despite their size, these dogs are very gentle and loving, but they do need space to play in so they can use up all their energy.
These fluffy pups love water and were first bred to retrieve waterfowl. As well as being good swimmers, they can run up to 30 mph. Under their fancy, tight curls, there’s a very athletic and strong body that needs a lot of exercise.
Poodles are the happiest running around a dog park, chasing a ball, or running with their owner. They’re very intelligent and get bored easily, so make sure they’re entertained to keep them from becoming destructive.
When we think of herding dogs, we quite often think of Border Collies. They’re always running around after sheep, a ball, or with their family and quite often very quickly.
A Border Collie’s top speed can reach 30 mph – that’s luckily much quicker than the sheep trying to get away. These dogs are very intelligent and need a lot of mental and physical exercise.
These very rare, mid-sized sighthounds are originally from Northern Africa and are an ancient breed. Sometimes named the ‘Arabian Greyhound’, they are one of the fastest dogs in the world and can run up to 43 mph. Sloughis are very lean and sporty and quite timid in nature, so respond much better to positive reinforcement than other forms of training.
Weimaraners are big dogs but they don’t let their size slow them down. These strong, very athletic pups were originally bred to hunt large game, such as deer and boar, so they needed to be able to run quickly.
They have a high prey drive and love to explore, so they’re not suitable for small pet apartments. They need lots of exercise, mental stimulation, and toys to play with, but with those and good training, they’ll make amazing pets.
When it comes to speed, specific breeds have generally been developed with a purpose in mind, whether that’s hunting, for sports, or guarding. What kind of dog do you have? Can they run quickly?
I’m Charlotte, a content and copywriter from the North of England and currently living in Berlin. Animals have always been a huge part of my life, so writing about dogs is a total pleasure! I love all kinds of dogs and their cheeky personalities, but I’d have to say Weimaraners are my favourite!