Dogs are incredibly diverse. Different breeds come in an impressive variety of shapes, sizes, temperaments, and physical capabilities. Among their diverse traits, speed stands out as a particularly fascinating characteristic.
Some dogs that were bred for jobs requiring quick pursuit or agile maneuvering are known for their shockingly fast speed. These are those amazing dogs - in no particular order, and not necessarily just the fastest breeds, but the pound-for-pounder greatest speedsters in the canine world.
At the top of the list is the Greyhound, famed for its incredible top speed of up to 45 miles per hour. Originally bred for hunting down game, Greyhounds are built for speed with a lean, aerodynamic body, and strong hindquarters.
This breed's speed allows them to cover a considerable distance in a relatively short amount of time. Their long legs, slender body, and fast-twitch muscle fibers provide an explosive start, while their deep chests give ample space for lungs, ensuring sufficient oxygen supply during their high-speed runs.
Greyhounds are known as the Cheetahs of the dog world. However, they aren't one-trick wonders; Greyhounds have great endurance and can run for longer distances at roughly 30 miles per hour!
Close on the Greyhound's heels is the Saluki, also known as the Persian Greyhound, which can reach speeds up to 42 miles per hour. Bred to chase down gazelles in the desert, Salukis have a slim build and deep-chested body designed for long-distance running.
The main difference between the Saluki's body structure and the Greyhound is their size, which makes some difference in the Saluki's overall speed. But they're close, and they're fast, moving like the wind when they want to get up and go.
This dog breed is known as the oldest dog breed in history!
3. Afghan Hound
Afghan Hounds can reach top speeds of up to 40 miles per hour, which places them among the fastest dog breeds in the world. Their sleek and aerodynamic bodies, combined with powerful, muscular hind legs, enable these high speeds.
Initially bred for hunting in the rough terrain of Afghanistan, their speed and agility were crucial for chasing and catching fast prey. Even when kept as a companion dog, the Afghan Hound's instinct to run fast is still there, which is why they perform well in dog sports like lure coursing and agility.
This breed is known to be difficult to train due to their independent, aloof demeanor.
The Vizsla, a Hungarian dog breed known for its striking rust-colored coat and athletic build, is impressively fast, and well-suited to high-energy activities and sports. A healthy adult Vizsla can run at speeds of up to 40 miles per hour, rivaling the speed of the Afghan Hound.
Their impressive speed comes from their lean, muscular physique, deep chest, and robust hindquarters, all of which contribute to their powerful stride. Vizslas also have high stamina and can run at close to top speed for a long time. Because of this, they make excellent running companions!
Before you choose to adopt a Vizsla, be prepared to provide them with at least an hour of exercise each day for their mental and physical well-being.
5. Ibizan Hound
The Ibizan Hound, an agile dog breed known for their graceful deer-like appearance and unique ability to leap great heights, is also remarkably swift. Known as "Beezers" by their fans in the dog world, these dogs can reach speeds of up to 40 miles per hour, making them one of the fastest breeds in the world.
Their speed, combined with their excellent jumping ability, was essential to their original role of hunting rabbits on the rocky terrain of the Balearic Islands in Spain. With a slender-yet-muscular build and a deep chest for good lung capacity, the Ibizan Hound is built for both endurance and speed.
Despite their fast speed, Ibizan Hounds are known for their ability to move with stealthy, cat-like grace when stalking prey or exploring their surroundings.
6. Jack Russell Terrier
OK, you probably don't think of Jack Russell Terriers when you think of the fastest dogs in the world. But hear us out. They may be small, but they pack an impressive amount of energy and speed into their little bodies. Jack Russells can reach speeds of up to 25 miles per hour! That makes them pound-for-pound pretty quick, especially for small dogs.
These high-energy, speedy dogs are pretty fast considering how small they are. Jack Russels were originally bred for fox hunting in England, and their speed and agility, along with their bold temperament, made them perfect for the job. In modern times, These traits make them excellent competitors in dog sports such as flyball and agility trials.
This breed is known for their digging habits, which you need to take into account when dealing with this instinctive behavior.
Dalmatians are well-known for their distinctive spots and athletic physique. They're also known for their powerful speed and endurance. With a history as a carriage dog, Dalmatians were bred to run alongside horse-drawn carriages, meaning that they needed both speed and stamina.
Today, a healthy Dalmatian can reach speeds of up to 37 miles per hour. Their lean, muscular bodies, coupled with a strong frame, contribute to their ability to maintain this speed over extended periods.
The Borzoi, also known as the Russian Wolfhound, is known for their elegant appearance, along with their exceptional speed and agility. Originally bred to hunt wolves and other large game in Russia, Borzois can reach impressive speeds of between 35 and 40 miles per hour.
Their long, lean bodies, deep chests for ample lung capacity, and powerful hindquarters all contribute to their quick, graceful running style. Despite their high speed, they are also known for their calm and gentle demeanor when they have a sufficient amount of exercise.
Known as the "poor man's racehorse" in England, Whippets can reach speeds of up to 35 miles per hour, making them one of the fastest dog breeds relative to their size. Their slim, aerodynamic bodies and powerful, muscular hind legs help them reach these high speeds and make quick, agile movements.
Despite their small bodies, they are competitive athletes and excel in dog sports, particularly lure coursing and racing. While they are known for their high-energy bursts and love of running, Whippets also have a relaxed and gentle demeanor, and enjoy cuddling up to their pet parents when their exercise needs are fulfilled.
A Whippet named Reas was awarded the title of Fastest Dog in America in 2021 and 2022.
The Weimaraner, with its distinctive sleek, silver-gray coat, is a breed known for their exceptional athletic abilities and high level of endurance. These dogs are capable of reaching speeds of up to 35 miles per hour. Their long, muscular legs and deep chests, which allow for significant lung capacity, contribute to their high-speed performance.
Initially bred in Germany for hunting large game, the Weimaraner's speed was a crucial trait for tracking and pursuing prey. Nowadays, their quickness and endurance make them excellent companions for runners and hikers, as well as skilled competitors in various canine sports, such as agility, tracking, and field trials.
Despite their athleticism, Weimaraners are also known for their affectionate nature and strong desire for human companionship.
11. Doberman Pinscher
Originally bred in Germany by a tax collector who needed a protective companion, the Doberman Pincher's speed was used to help deter potential threats. Today, their speed and agility, coupled with their intelligence and trainability, make them excellent participants in various dog sports, such as agility, obedience, and schutzhund trials.
These elegant and muscular dogs can reach speeds of up to 32 miles per hour. The Doberman's powerful build and energetic temperament contribute to their high-speed capability.
This breed is often considered to be intimidating, but like most other breeds, with proper socialization they can be excellent family dogs.
12. Border Collie
The Border Collie, known to be one of the most intelligent dog breeds, is also renowned for their remarkable agility and speed. These dogs top out around 30 miles per hour. This speed, combined with their quickness, nimbleness, and exceptional problem-solving abilities, makes them particularly well-suited to the work they were bred for; herding livestock.
Their lightweight frame and muscular build also contribute to their speed, allowing them to change direction rapidly when necessary. Today, Border Collies often showcase their athletic prowess in dog sports such as agility, flyball, and disc dog competitions, where they are able to showcase both their speed and intelligence.
A dog named Chaser was dubbed the smartest dog in the world until he passed away in 2019.
13. German Shepherd
The German Shepherd Dog is known for their intelligence, loyalty, and versatility, but this breed is also remarkably fast. German Shepherds can reach speeds of up to 30 miles per hour. Initially bred for herding sheep in Germany, their speed was crucial for efficiently managing large flocks.
Today, their combination of speed, strength, and intelligence makes them ideally suited for a variety of roles, including police, search and rescue, and guide dog work. They are also excellent competitors in various dog sports. Whether they are working or simply playing, the German Shepherd's speed is one of many attributes that contribute to their reputation.
German Shepherds can be stubborn, but their eagerness to please and intelligence places them among one of the most obedient dog breeds.
14. Great Dane
Often referred to as the "gentle giant" of the dog world, the Great Dane is not just known for their massive size and friendly nature, but also for their surprising speed. Despite their large, muscular build, Great Danes can reach speeds up to 30 miles per hour.
Originally bred for boar hunting in Germany, this breed's speed helped them keep up with and bring down strong prey. While their size may not make them the most agile in canine sports, you can find them participating in activities like obedience and tracking, where their speed can still be put to good use.
Great Danes are also known for being affectionate and easygoing, and they enjoy relaxing with their families when they're not roaming around, checking things out.
Poodles, are highly intelligent, lively, and elegant. Despite their reputation as sophisticated pets, Poodles are remarkably athletic and fast. The Standard Poodle, the largest of the three standard sizes, can reach speeds of up to 30 miles per hour.
This impressive speed is a result of their well-proportioned, muscular bodies and the breed's history as a water retriever. Originally used for duck hunting, their agility and speed both on land and in water made them excellent at their job. Poodles excel in nearly all dog sports, from agility to obedience to dock diving.
The Poodle is known for being hypoallergenic, making them an ideal breed for pet parents with allergies.
Give Your Dog Rest
There's no doubt that these dogs can run. But like us, dogs need consistent, quality sleep for their bodies to function well. It's important to make sure your pup has a sufficient amount of rest for muscle repair and recovery. Ensuring your dog has a quiet, comfortable place to sleep and scheduling regular downtime in their daily routine is as important as providing a balanced diet and regular exercise.