How Fast Can Dogs Run? 13 Fastest (& 10 Slowest!) Breeds

Fast dogs are known for their sleek, aerodynamic bodies, and slower dogs often have stockier bodies with shorter legs.

Published June 12, 2023
Young man jogging with his dog

Dogs love to run, but some breeds are faster than others. When your dog has the zoomies, you have probably watched them fly by as they run at full speed through the yard. But your Border Collie looks like a tasmanian devil swirling in their circles when you compare them to the Shih Tzu casually trotting along next door. There are several factors that contribute to your dog's speed and endurance.

How Fast Can Dogs Run?

The average dog can run a short sprint at between 15 to 20 miles per hour (mph). This is a general average of breeds, however, and your dog may be slower than this or significantly faster, especially running short distances. There are several factors that contribute to your dog's speed, or lack of.

Fast Fact

An Australian Greyhound is unofficially known as the fastest dog in the world, clocking in at 50.5 miles per hour.

What Contributes to Their Speed?

A dog's speed varies based on their breed, age and health, and body composition. Dog breeds that are known to be good runners have several characteristics in common, including:

  • Breed function: Dogs were selectively bred for specific tasks, which is a significant determining factor in their speed. Breeds developed for hunting or herding are often faster because of their historical need to chase prey or control livestock.
  • Physical traits: Muscle composition, nails that provide traction, paws that grip the ground well, a flexible spine, and strong abdominal muscles.
  • Size and Build: Dogs with longer legs and slender bodies are built for speed. Their physique allows them to take larger strides and maintain a balanced center of gravity.
  • Age and Health: A dog's age and overall health greatly influence their speed. Younger, healthy dogs tend to run faster than older dogs or dogs with health issues.
  • Training and Conditioning: Like us, dogs can improve their speed and endurance with proper training and conditioning.

The Fastest Breeds

There are a lot of breeds that clock in well over the average 15 to 20 miles per hour. The first breed the jumps to mind for almost everyone is the Greyhound, but several other breeds can get up and move, too. The speeds listed below represent a rough average for the listed breeds. Your dog may be faster or slower.

Saluki dog running on beach
  • Afghan Hound: 40 mph
  • Border Collie: 30 mph
  • Borzoi: 36 mph
  • Dalmatian: 37 mph
  • Doberman Pinscher: 32 mph
  • German Shepherd: 30 mph
  • Great Dane: 30 mph
  • Greyhound: 45 mph
  • Jack Russell Terrier: 38 mph
  • Saluki: 42 mph
  • Vizla: 40 mph
  • Whippet: 35 mph
  • Weimaraner: 35 mph
Need to Know

The breeds that are known for their speed perform at this level over the distance of a sprint - around 250 to 300 yards. They can't maintain these speeds during long distance running.

Long-Distance Runners

If you're looking for a dog to jog around the local state park with, or even for your daily run, you'll want a dog breed that's known for their endurance. Dogs with high levels of endurance include:

  • Alaskan Malamute: Originally bred for hauling heavy sleds over long distances, Alaskan Malamutes are full of stamina and endurance.
  • Australian Shepherd: Despite their name, Australian Shepherds were developed on the ranches in the western United States. As a herding breed, they have the stamina to work all day.
  • Belgian Malinois: Often confused with the German Shepherd, the Belgian Malinois is a separate breed developed for herding.
  • Border Collie: Originally bred for herding sheep, Border Collies have a high energy level and are known for their incredible stamina and endurance.
  • German Shorthaired Pointer: This breed is known for their speed, power, and endurance during hunting trips. They are excellent running companions and have the stamina to keep going over long distances.
  • Greyhound: Surprise! Yes, Greyhounds are known for running sprints at top speed, but these dogs also have endurance. They can still keep up a pace of 35 mph over long distances, around 6 to 7 miles.
  • Labrador Retriever: As one of the most popular breeds, Labradors are known for their energy and endurance. They were originally bred for retrieving fishing nets and waterfowl, activities that require plenty of stamina.
  • Rhodesian Ridgeback: Also known as the African Lion Dog, the Rhodesian Ridgeback was bred to keep lions at bay while hunters tracked them. This required a dog with high endurance for long-distance running.
  • Siberian Husky: Much like the Malamute, Siberian Huskies were bred to pull sleds over long distances in harsh Arctic conditions. They are known for their exceptional endurance.
  • Vizsla: Vizslas were bred as hunting dogs and are known for their exceptional endurance. They have a lean build and lots of energy, making them excellent companions for long-distance jogs.
  • Weimaraner: Known as the "Silver Ghost," Weimaraners were bred in Germany for hunting. They are full of energy and can run for extended periods without tiring.

Slowest Dog Breeds

Dogs with large, stocky bodies and short legs aren't the best runners. Of course, they can run. But they're no Greyhound. French Bulldogs and Basset Hounds aren't going to win the contest for the fastest dog. Here's a list of the slowest dog breeds, along with why they were bred to be on the slower side.

Three Basset hounds on the move
  • Basset Hound: Basset Hounds are notorious for their slower speed due to their short legs and long bodies. They were bred for tracking and use their incredible sense of smell more than their speed.
  • Bulldog: Bulldogs are known for their stamina, but they are not runners. They have a stocky build and a pushed-in nose that can make vigorous exercise challenging.
  • Chow Chow: Chow Chows are sturdy and muscular, but they're not known for their speed. They were bred for various tasks like pulling, herding, and guarding, but they're typically slower in their movements.
  • Dachshund: Dachshunds have a unique body shape with a long body and very short legs, which makes them slower than many other breeds.
  • Great Dane: Despite their large size, Great Danes are not typically fast runners. They are powerful and can have short bursts of speed, but they are more leisurely in their movements.
  • Mastiff: Mastiffs are among the largest dog breeds. They have a powerful build but are known to be slow movers.
  • Newfoundland: These gentle giants were bred for water rescues and hauling heavy loads. Although they're strong swimmers on land, they are typically slower and enjoy a more laid-back lifestyle.
  • Pekingese: Like the Shih Tzu, it also bred the Pekingese to be a companion dog. Their small size, short legs, and flat face result in a slower pace.
  • Saint Bernard: Saint Bernards are large, muscular dogs bred for rescue missions in the Swiss Alps. Despite their size and strength, they tend to be slower and more easygoing.
  • Shih Tzu: Shih Tzus were bred as companion dogs, not working dogs. They are small and not built for high-speed or long-distance running.
Quick Tip

Many slower dog breeds are prone to obesity, so a healthy diet and regular exercise are crucial. For brachycephalic breeds - those with shortened muzzles - many can be quite fast, but they overheat easily, too.

Training Your Dog to Run Faster

Training your dog to run faster involves building their stamina, improving their fitness, and keeping them motivated. Here are some steps to help your dog increase their speed:

  • Regular Exercise: Regular exercise is the first step to improve your dog's speed. It strengthens their muscles and improves their cardiovascular health. Start with regular walks and gradually increase the pace and distance.
  • Interval Training: Just like with humans, interval training can be very effective for dogs. Alternate between periods of high-intensity exercise like running or sprinting, and periods of low-intensity exercise or rest.
  • Incorporate Play: Make running a fun activity for your dog. Incorporate toys or play fetch in a large, safe area where they can run freely. This will encourage them to run and increase their speed over time.
  • Obstacle Courses: Setting up a simple obstacle course can help improve your dog's agility, which can improve their speed. Use items like cones or make-shift hurdles to create a course.
  • Consistency is Key: Consistency in training is crucial. Keep your training sessions regular and build up gradually.
  • Healthy Diet: A balanced, nutritious diet is important for maintaining energy levels and building muscle mass. Make sure your dog's diet is appropriate for their breed, age, and size.
  • Hydration: Ensure your dog stays hydrated before, during, and after training. Always have fresh water available.
  • Vet Check-Ups: Regular vet check-ups will help ensure that your dog is healthy and capable of increased physical activity. It's always best to consult your vet before starting any new training regimen.
  • Rest: Give your dog plenty of time to rest and recover between training sessions. Overworking can lead to injuries and burnout.

Every Breed Needs Exercise

While it's exciting to marvel at the impressive speeds of certain breeds, it's important to remember that every dog, regardless of their top speed, requires regular exercise to stay healthy and happy. Whether your furry friend is a speedy Greyhound or a laid-back Basset Hound, they all love and benefit from a good run or a brisk walk.

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How Fast Can Dogs Run? 13 Fastest (& 10 Slowest!) Breeds