When it comes down to it, most dog breeds are pretty darn fast. Averaged out across all breeds, dogs can run between 15 and 20 mph for short spurts. However, the fastest dog breeds can run over twice that speed!
Looking back at the history of domestic dogs, this makes a lot of sense. Early dog companions were chosen based on their ability to chase down hunting game and herd livestock, so speed was a very important factor. Even today, many breeds are selected for their incredible agility and running endurance above all else.
Maximum speed: 45 mph
If you know anything about the Greyhound, then it should come as no surprise that the breed takes the top spot on our list! Because the Greyhound was bred purely for speed, these dogs look quite a bit different than their wolf ancestors. Their bodies are long, thin, and aerodynamic, giving them an edge in any foot race.
Greyhounds are a type of sighthound, meaning they pursue prey solely through sight. Unlike hunting dogs that rely on their sense of smell, this trait means the Greyhound is overwhelmingly independent and prone to taking off after the slightest bit of movement.
While training a Greyhound as a household pet poses a unique set of challenges, this breed makes a rewarding companion for those willing to put in the work. Plus, despite their speedy reputation, the breed is known for being pretty lazy when they have nothing to chase!
Honorable Mention: Italian Greyhound
Many people confuse the standard Greyhound and the Italian Greyhound, which makes sense since they are practically identical. However, the Italian Greyhound is much smaller than the standard Greyhound.
But is the Italian Greyhound as fast as its larger counterpart? Well, no, but this is really only true because their legs are so much shorter. The Italian Greyhound can still reach speeds up to 25 mph, which is remarkably fast when you consider their size!
Maximum speed: 43 mph
The Saluki is another sighthound variety, and they share a striking similarity to the standard Greyhound. However, one thing definitely stands out about the Saluki’s appearance: it’s long, shaggy ears. This breed is also one of the oldest breeds of domestic dogs, serving as a loyal hunting dog for thousands of years.
Their history also means they love chasing anything and everything, so keep a strong grip on that leash if you choose to add a Saluki to your home! While the breed is fairly independent and aloof with strangers, they can make excellent household pets when given the proper care and training.
3. Afghan Hound
Maximum speed: 40 mph
At first glance, you probably wouldn’t expect this elegant breed to take off at a full sprint. You’d be mistaken, though, because the Afghan Hound is easily one of the fastest dog breeds in the world.
Underneath all of that silky fur, this breed is long and lean like most of its fellow sighthounds. The Afghan Hound has served as a hunting dog in harsh, mountainous climates for millennia, hence the agile build and insulated coat.
As a household pet, the Afghan Hound can seem distant and untrusting at first. Once it’s bonded with its family, though, this breed is incredibly loyal and surprisingly playful. Of course, if you decide to bring one of these pups into your home, be prepared for regular grooming!
Maximum speed: 40 mph
Tied for third place with the elegant Afghan Hound, the Vizsla is the stockiest dog breed on our list so far. But that definitely doesn’t mean this dog is any less agile than its competition. While the Vizsla head resembles a cross between a Retriever and a generic hound, its body is still lithe and well-built.
As can be expected from their running talent alone, the Vizsla is extremely athletic. In the home, though, this dog is sensitive and loving to its family members. If you’re looking for an affection companion that will also enjoy regular runs around the neighborhood, then this breed might be exactly what you seek.
Maximum speed: 37 mph
If you’re like most people, then you associate the Dalmatian with fire trucks and Disney films. Surprisingly, though, this breed is one of the fastest dogs in the modern world. Much of this athleticism can be attributed to their original jobs: guarding and accompanying horses and horse-drawn carriages.
While the Dalmatian no longer needs to keep up with the equestrian variety, they are still one of the most popular (and recognizable) breeds in existence. Modern Dalmatians retain some of their guarding tendencies, but also make excellent companion animals when allowed to bond with their family.
Maximum speed: 36 mph
Although some Borzois (previously known as Russian Wolfhounds) can reach over 100 pounds, these elegant dogs are remarkably quick on their feet. Closely related to the standard Greyhound, this breed is lean and covered with a wispy coat of fur.
With the positive training and quality bonding time, the Borzoi makes an excellent family pet. Often compared more to cats than other canines, the breed doesn’t typically enjoy rough play. When presented with the right toy or someone to chase, though, their fun-loving personality will quickly come to the surface.
Maximum speed: 35 mph
Today’s Whippets are a genetic offshoot of the Greyhound, though they’ve been bred slightly smaller. Still, they’ve kept most of their ancestor’s trademark speed and athleticism.
Fortunately for their owners, Whippets instinctually scale their energy to their environment. While the average Whippet will sprint around the yard or dog park with little reserve, the same animal will be calm in the home. However, if you don’t provide plenty of opportunities for exercise, this breed is prone to mischief when bored.
8. Scottish Deerhound
Maximum speed: 35 mph
While there’s a good chance you’ve never heard of the breed, this shaggy sighthound is one of the fastest dogs out there. The Scottish Deerhound is another offshoot of the Greyhound, though this breed is notably taller and bulkier. As the name suggests, these dogs were bred to hunt Scotland’s large red deer.
The Scottish Deerhound might boast a thick, wiry coat of fur, but they require remarkably little in terms of grooming. With that said, the breed requires lots of human interaction and affection, so it won’t suit households that work long hours or regularly board their pets.
9. Doberman Pinscher
Maximum speed: 35 mph
Known more for their guard dog tendencies than their agility, it might surprise you to see the Doberman Pinscher on our list. In many ways, though, it is their speed that makes them such effective protectors of home and property.
Unlike many popular guard dog varieties, the Doberman Pinscher is neither stubborn nor hard to train. This breed is incredibly intelligent and will catch on to commands with ease. Also, while they will treat strangers with a healthy amount of distrust, the Doberman is far from aggressive when properly socialized from a young age.
10. Border Collie
Maximum Speed: 30 mph
In reality, many popular dog breeds top out at 30 mph, including the German Shepherd and the Poodle. But since Border Collies routinely take top honors in agility sports, this herding breed stole the final place on our list.
The Border Collie is one of the most prevalent family dogs for many reasons, including its loving personality and sharp intelligence. However, this breed is also famous for getting into trouble when left to its own devices. Border Collies require both physical and mental stimulation to be at their best, so be sure you’re ready to dedicate time each day to exercise and puzzles before bringing one home.
Do you own one of the fastest dog breeds in the world? What strategies have you tried to keep up with their exercise requirements and chasing tendencies? Share your personal experience and tips in the comments below!
Featured Image Credit: ragnahellberg, Pixabay