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How Fast Can Dogs Run: A Comprehensive Guide to Canine Speed - PawSafe
Dog Behavior

How Fast Can Dogs Run: A Comprehensive Guide to Canine Speed

Photo of Tamsin De La Harpe

Written by Tamsin De La Harpe

how fast can dogs run

Dogs are known for their incredible speed and agility, and many people wonder just how fast can dogs run. The answer to this question varies depending on several factors, including the breed of the dog, its size, and its level of fitness.

Dogs can run, and owners whose canines have escaped their harnesses or collars can attest to that. It’s important to note that individual dogs within each breed may vary in terms of their speed and athleticism.

You may want to learn if your dog can accompany you for morning runs or want to enroll your fast dog for competition. With expert sources like Bryan Barrerra’s Guide to Running with Your Dog and Taylor’s Running Dog Maintenance, let’s get into canine need for speed.

The answer varies depending on the breed, size, health, and age. Generally, larger dogs with longer legs can run faster than smaller dogs. Those with excessively short snouts are immediately disqualified from this running conversation for obvious purposes (they won’t be able to breathe).

Still, one thing is sure, and that’s dogs have us beat when it comes to running fast. Even a healthy-sized, measly Chihuahua can take off at 8 to 15m/ph for short distances, and admit it, most humans you know can’t compete with that. You don’t believe us? See for yourself.

So now you know why you can’t catch your dog when they escape as soon as you open the door.

It’s important to note that not all dogs are trained or bred for running, and some may not be able to sustain high speeds for long periods. Additionally, a dog’s physical condition and overall health can also impact their running ability.

Also, these are just estimates, and individual dogs may run faster or slower than these averages. Additionally, a dog’s running speed can vary due to environmental factors such as terrain and weather conditions.

Below is a table listing a few popular breeds and their estimated running speeds.

BreedAverage Speed (mph)Average Speed (km/h)
Greyhound4572.4
Saluki4267.6
Borzoi3657.9
Whippet3556.3
Golden Retriever20-2532-40.2
German Shepherd20-3032-48.3
German ShortHaired Pointer20-3032-48.3
Labrador Retriever20-2532-40.2
Border Collie20-3032-48.3
Doberman Pinscher25-3040.2-48.3
Chihuahua10-1516.1-24.1
Pug5-108-16.1
English Bulldog1524.1
Pitbull25-3040.2-48.3
Cocker Spaniel20-2532-40.2

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How Fast Can a Regular Dog Run?

Dogs are known for their speed and agility. They are natural runners and can reach impressive speeds when they are in full stride. The speed of a dog can vary depending on several factors, including breed, size, and age. Generally, a regular dog can run at a speed of 15-20 miles per hour for a short distance. 

Size is a factor when it comes to a dog’s speed. Larger, skinnier dogs tend to be faster than smaller dogs. This is because they stride longer, allowing them to cover more ground in less time. They also have more endurance and can run longer without getting tired.

Age is another factor that can affect a dog’s speed. Younger dogs are generally faster than older dogs. This is because they have more energy and are less likely to have joint problems or other health issues that can slow them down.

Fun Fact: Studies show that dogs experience a runner’s high, just like humans

What is the Fastest Dog Breed?

Several dog breeds are known for their incredible speed. When determining the fastest dog breed, it is crucial to consider the breed’s size, weight, and physical abilities. Here are some of the fastest dog breeds in the world:

Greyhound

The Greyhound is widely considered the fastest dog breed in the world. These sleek and athletic dogs can reach up to 45 miles per hour (72 km/h).

To put a Greyhound’s speed into perspective, they are so fast that a group of scientists made them compete with cheetahs. They didn’t win. But, the fact that a study set out to do this in the first place proves their insane speed. 

Greyhounds have a lean and muscular build, allowing them to run at high speeds for extended periods. They also have fast twitch muscles, a large heart, and a flexible spine.

The incredibly fast and loyal Greyhounds can easily end up in shelters after their racing career. You can rescue retired Greyhounds to give them a second chance at a happy life after their hard work by contacting organizations like American Greyhound.

This Greyhound isn’t running; he’s flying:

Saluki

The Saluki is another breed that is known for its impressive speed. These elegant and graceful dogs can reach up to 42 miles per hour (68 km/h). Salukis have a long and slender build, which helps to reduce drag and increase their speed, and they have a slight resemblance to Taigan dogs with their long, feathered ears.

Afghan Hounds

Considered one of the least intelligent breeds, their brains may not be fast, but their feet are. These dogs will leave a gush of wind when at their top speeds, thanks to their long-flowing coats.

Whippet

The Whippet is a smaller breed that is often compared to the Greyhound. These dogs are incredibly fast and can reach up to 35 miles per hour (56 km/h).

Whippets have a lean and muscular build, which allows them to run at high speeds for short distances. They are commonly used for racing and lure coursing competitions.

Vizsla

A versatile breed, Vizslas are not only excellent hunters but can also reach 30-40 mph speeds due to their athletic nature.

Dalmatian

Known for their distinctive spots, Dalmatians can hit speeds of around 30-35 mph, making them agile and quick runners.

Jack Russell Terrier

You may not have expected a small breed to make it to the list. Jack Russell Terriers can run at 25-30 mph, thanks to their high energy levels and determination.

Border Collie

The Border Collie is not typically considered a fast breed, but they are actually quite speedy. These intelligent and agile dogs can reach up to 30 miles per hour (48 km/h). 

Border Collies have a lean and athletic build, allowing them to run at high speeds while also changing direction quickly. They are often used for agility competitions and herding.

Check out these turbo-charged Border Collies; the best video you’ll find on the internet.

Understanding How Dogs Run

One of the most important factors in a dog’s speed is their size and shape. Smaller dogs, such as Chihuahuas, have shorter legs and a smaller stride length compared to larger dogs, like Greyhounds, which have long legs and a more elongated body shape. This allows Greyhounds to cover more ground with each stride and reach higher speeds.

Dogs have feet that firmly grip the ground and flexible spines, allowing for lots of forward drive. They also have a double-suspension gallop, meaning a four-beat gait. Studies show most dogs run in a pattern of right front, left front, right hind, left leg. 

Another important factor is muscle mass and composition. Dogs with a higher percentage of fast-twitch muscle fibers, responsible for short bursts of speed, can run faster than those with more slow-twitch muscle fibers, better suited for endurance activities.

Breeds such as the Greyhound, Whippet, and Saluki have a high percentage of fast-twitch muscle fibers, making them some of the fastest dogs in the world. They also have a long muzzle, allowing them to cool off faster than short muzzle breeds. Sighthounds also have an extremely flexible spine, sleek build, and thin, long paws like a kangaroo.

The cardiovascular system also plays a crucial role in a dog’s speed. The heart, lungs, and circulatory system work together to deliver oxygen and nutrients to the muscles, allowing them to perform at their best. Breeds with a larger heart and lung capacity, such as the Greyhound, have an advantage regarding endurance and speed. They can also pump more blood than any other breed.

However, sighthounds, like Greyhounds, are built for comparatively short bursts of high speed. When it comes to long distance endurance, Huskies and sled dogs have the ability to adjust their metabolism to run the furthest. 

This means that Husky-type dogs are the dog of choice for long distance sled races in cold climates. But for shorter race, the Alaskan Husky has been mixed with the German Short haired Pointer to create the Eurohound, a dog ideal for high speed but shorter distances. For even shorter races, mushers cross their dogs with Greyhounds to create the Greyster.

Greysters excel in sports like Scootering and Bikejoring.

Factors Influencing a Dog’s Speed

Several factors can influence a dog’s running speed. These factors can vary depending on the dog’s breed, size, age, and overall health. Here are some of the most common factors that can affect a dog’s speed:

Breed

Different dog breeds have different physical characteristics that can affect their running speed. For instance, Greyhounds are known for their incredible speed and can run up to 45 miles per hour. Other breeds, such as Bulldogs, Dachshunds, and Frenchies, are slower runners.

Size

A dog’s size can also play a role in their running speed. Generally, smaller dogs tend to be faster than larger dogs. This is because smaller dogs have lighter bodies, making it easier to move quickly.

Age

A dog’s age can also affect its running speed. Younger dogs tend to be faster than older dogs because they are more energetic and physically fit. As dogs age, their muscles may weaken, and they may not be able to run as fast as they once did.

Health

A dog’s overall health can also impact running speed. Dogs that are overweight or have health conditions that affect their mobility may not be able to run as fast as healthy dogs. Additionally, dogs that are in pain or discomfort may not be able to run at all.

What is the slowest dog in the world?

When it comes to speed, some dog breeds are faster than others. However, not all dogs are built for speed. In fact, some dog breeds are pretty slow. The slowest dog in the world is the Bulldog.

Other slow dogs include:

  • Pugs
  • Basset Hounds
  • Dachshunds
  • Shi Tzus 
  • Chow Chows

Speed Range of Different Breeds

Here are some more estimated maximum running speeds for popular dog breeds:

  • Afghan Hound: 40 mph
  • Vizsla: 40 mph
  • Jack Russell Terrier: 38 mph
  • Dalmatian: 37 mph
  • Siberian Husky: 28 mph
  • Bulldog: 7 mph

Impact of Age and Health on Speed

Age and health are significant factors that can impact a dog’s speed. Just like humans, dogs experience a decline in physical abilities as they age. Certain health conditions can also affect a dog’s speed, agility, and overall performance.

For example, arthritis and joint problems can significantly impact a dog’s speed and mobility. Dogs with these conditions may experience pain and stiffness, making it difficult to move quickly. Similarly, respiratory issues, such as asthma, can affect a dog’s ability to breathe and impact speed and stamina.

How To Train Dogs to Run Faster

Training dogs to run faster involves a combination of physical and mental conditioning. Here are a few tips to help improve your dog’s speed:

Start with a warm-up

Just like humans, dogs need to warm up before exercise. Take your dog for a short walk or jog to warm up its muscles before beginning any speed training.

Use positive reinforcement

Dogs respond well to positive reinforcement. Reward your dog with treats or praise when they run faster or complete a training session.

Incorporate interval training

Interval training involves alternating periods of high-intensity exercise with rest or low-intensity exercise periods. This type of training can help improve your dog’s speed and endurance.

Vary the terrain

Running on different types of terrain can help improve your dog’s agility and speed. Try running on grass, sand, hills, or other surfaces to keep your dog challenged.

Consider agility training

Agility training teaching your dog to navigate obstacles such as jumps, tunnels, and weave poles. This training can help improve your dog’s speed, coordination, and overall fitness.

Remember, working with your dog’s abilities and limitations is essential. Always consult with a veterinarian before beginning any new exercise program.

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Safety Precautions When Running Dogs

When running dogs, it is essential to take safety precautions to ensure the safety of both the dog and the runner. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind:

  • Always start with a warm-up walk before beginning to run with your dog. This will help prevent injury to both you and your dog.
  • Always keep your dog on a leash to avoid running off or chasing after other animals.
  • Use a harness instead of a collar to prevent choking and injury to your dog’s neck.
  • Bring water for your dog to drink during and after the run to prevent dehydration.
  • Avoid running in extreme weather conditions such as extreme heat or cold. Dogs are more susceptible to heat stroke and hypothermia than humans.
  • Be aware of your dog’s physical limitations and adjust the pace and distance accordingly. Older dogs and puppies may not be able to run as far or as fast as younger dogs.
  • Watch out for signs of fatigue or injury in your dog, such as excessive panting, limping, or reluctance to run.
  • Always pick up after your dog and dispose of waste properly.

By following these safety precautions, runners can enjoy a safe and enjoyable run with their furry friends.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the top 10 fastest dog breeds?

The top 10 fastest dog breeds include Greyhound, Whippet, Saluki, Afghan Hound, Vizsla, Weimaraner, Borzoi, Dalmatian, Doberman Pinscher, and Border Collie. These breeds are known for their speed and agility, making them great for activities such as racing and agility competitions.

How fast can a pug run?

Pugs are not known for their speed and are considered one of the slower dog breeds. On average, a pug can run at around 6-8 miles per hour.

How fast can a Border Collie run?

Border Collies are known for their speed and agility. They can run at an average speed of 30 miles per hour, making them one of the fastest dog breeds.

How fast can a dog run 100 meters?

The speed at which a dog can run 100 meters varies depending on the breed. On average, a dog can run 100 meters in around 12-15 seconds.

How fast can a Chihuahua run?

Chihuahuas are small dogs and are not known for their speed. They can run at an average speed of around 6-15 miles per hour.

How fast can a dog run a mile?

The speed at which a dog can run a mile varies depending on the breed. On average, a dog can run a mile in around 7-14 minutes.

How fast can a Greyhound run?

Greyhounds are known for their speed and agility. They can run at an average speed of 45 miles per hour, making them one of the fastest dog breeds.

Final Thoughts

When considering how fast a dog can run, it’s essential to consider factors such as breed, size, age, and physical condition. While some breeds, like Grey Hounds, are known for their speed and agility, others, like Bulldogs and Pugs, may not be able to run as fast due to their size or physical limitations.

Meet Your Experts

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Tamsin De La Harpe

Author

Tamsin de la Harpe has nearly two decades of experience with dogs in rescue, training, and behavior modification with fearful and aggressive dogs. She has worked closely with veterinarians and various kennels, building up extensive medical knowledge and an understanding of canine health and physiology. She also spent two years in the animal sciences as a canine nutrition researcher, focusing on longevity and holistic healthcare for our four-legged companions. Tamsin currently keeps a busy homestead with an assortment of rescue dogs and three Bullmastiffs.

Tamsin de la Harpe has nearly two decades of experience with dogs in rescue, training, and behavior modification with fearful and aggressive dogs. She has worked closely with veterinarians and various kennels, building up extensive medical knowledge and an understanding of canine health and physiology. She also spent two years in the animal sciences as a canine nutrition researcher, focusing on longevity and holistic healthcare for our four-legged companions. Tamsin currently keeps a busy homestead with an assortment of rescue dogs and three Bullmastiffs.