Top 14 fastest dog breeds in the world | How do dogs run so fast?

Dogs are born with a natural ability to run fast. While some dogs were bred as hunting dogs,  others were bred as herding dogs or racing dogs. This long-living gene has given them a separate platform today, depending on their agility and endurance. 

However, not all dogs are runners. The fastest dogs of the world like Greyhounds, Saluki, Afghan hounds, etc. have been separated on the basis of a few parameters. These are:

  • Feet: Dogs that run fast have feet that have a strong grip on the ground. Besides this, they also have nails for traction which gives them complex gaits.
  • Double-suspension gallop: This feature comes with the physique of every fast running dog. It maximises their speed, allowing them to run longer distances at a very fast speed.
  • Forward drive: The flexible spines, long loins and strong abdominal muscles give power to the dog to leap forward. 
  • Tail: A dog’s tail counterweights the dog’s body movements. While in motion, the dog uses its tail to change direction.
  • Shoulder Bones: Dogs have disconnected shoulder bones that help them to take long strides and make them run very fast

Fact: The fastest runner in the world, Olympic Champion Usain Bolt has achieved the title for completing his 100-meter sprint at a speed of 27.5 miles per hour in 2009. For dogs like Boston terriers, this is just the beginning. They can run at an average speed of 25 mph while Greyhounds run at a speed of 45+ mph.  

The speed of the breeds has been determined by the following factors.

  1. The weight of the breed’s body
  2. The rate at which energy is provided to the breed in the form of nutritious food
  3. The ground force that is produced by the muscles
  4. The stiffness of the ‘Spring’ formed by the muscles, ligaments and skeletons
  5. The aerobic capacity of the lungs and the circulatory system
  6. The strength of the bones and ligaments

Why do dogs run fast?

Dogs are quite impressive runners (their physical build plays a primary role in it). But there are several other reasons for it too!

Greyhound Racing | SpringerLink

Different breeds have different body structures. But, the thing that is common in such breeds is that they are all speedy sprinters. Further, the complex skeletal system that consists of a strong spine expands and contracts during running. This way, it helps them maximize their speed. The aerodynamic head shape of the breeds adds to the cherry on top. This is also the reason why Cheetahs are able to run at a speed of 70 mph. Some fast dogs carry ancestral traits along with them (lean legs and powerful muscles) supporting their frame. But, who are these dogs? Let’s get a brief about the top 10 fastest dog breeds in the world.

Top 10 Fastest Dog Breeds of the world

1. Greyhound

Greyhounds are the fastest breed among all dogs. They are capable of reaching 30 miles in just three strides. The speed of this breed is 45 mph. They have a thin body that helps them stride long distances. While running, they follow a Double Suspension Gallop (forelegs and hind legs stretched forward and backwards, followed by tucking in all four limbs under their body).


Some people even compare this breed to a Cheetah. A similarity between the two is that both follow the rotary or the double suspension gallop. They are even similar in terms of their height (26-36 inches). But, while Greyhounds run at a speed of 40-45 miles per hour, Cheetahs can run at a speed of 60-65 miles per hour.

2. Saluki

The second fastest dog, Saluki (also known by the name Persian Greyhound) is a breed developed from sighthounds. They originated in Egypt and were one of the dogs that were present during the invasion of India by Alexander The Great (392 B.C.). These dogs hunt better with sight, rather than scent. Their sharp vision helps them hunt down prey from great distances. The speed of this breed is 43 miles per hour. 


They have padded feet which help them absorb their stamina while they are running. As fast dogs, they have also won several titles. In 1996, a Saluki listed itself in the Guinness Book of World Records for running at a speed of 68.8 km/hr (42.8 mph).  

3. Sloughi

Another member of the sighthound family adds one more seat to the list of fastest dog breeds of the world. Also known as the Arabic Greyhound, the Sloughi originated in the Northern Africa. They weigh around 50-57 pounds and have a short coat that helps them to run smoothly.


 They have a muscular physique and are built for endurance so that it can cover long distances. The speed of this breed is 42 mph. The canine is both elegant and racy and strong and muscular at the same time. 

4. Vizsla

Vizsla belongs to Hungary and is recognised by the Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI). This smooth-haired breed is a sporting canine and is known to be among the fastest dog breeds in the world. The speed of this breed is also 40 mph. In olden times, these dogs were used to bring the fowl after their owner shot the bird.


A prime reason for being on this list is their physique. Vizsla has a lean body along with well-developed muscles that allow them to run very fast. Further, they have a light coat that reduces the weight of the fur and allows them to speed up easily. But, once they start to age, their speed starts to reduce.

5. Afghan Hound

This breed has a long line of origin, starting with being a member of the sighthound family. It is a thin and tall dog and is very agile. One of the most attractive features of this breed is its long lustrous hair making its owners fall for their silky appearance. But besides this, they are also known to be fast dogs. Their top speed is 40mph. 

Afghan Hound - Dog Breed Information, Images, Videos, FAQs

Their athletic and muscular body helps the breed to pick up great speed while running. The origin of this breed is also a reason for such great speed. History confirms that this breed was used to hunt prey (deer mostly) in the hilly mountains. Thus, even with the long coat on their body, Afghan hounds can run very fast.    

6. Dalmatian

This breed is among the most unique dogs to have ever developed. Unlike other dog breeds, the Dalmatian has uncountable black spots all over its body and these spots are different for each canine. A speciality of this breed was that they were meant for coaching (clearing paths through the crowd so that the horses could pass through).


Some of the factors that make them fast include their medium-sized sleek body. Followed by, they also have short and fine coat. The speed of this breed is 37 miles per hour. Their athletic and energetic build also makes them good family pets. 

7. Ibizan Hound

The hound family adds another member to the group of fastest dogs- the Ibizan Hound. It is a naturally agile dog and was meant for the task of hunting rabbits. These dogs are even capable of jumping a 5-foot fence in just one flat-foot jump. They are often inclined to run off, which means owners need to be vigilant while they are off-leashed.

Under the American Kennel Club, a female Ibizan hound named GCHB DC Wirtu`s Airs Above The Ground MC BCAT set a record for running at 36.79 mph. Till date, she is the last one to have made such a record. In fact, female Ibizan hounds run faster than male ones. While the male Ibizan hound runs at 25.7 mph, the female Ibzian run at a speed of 26.1 mph.

8. German Shepherd

This intelligent and gentle breed is a perfect sprinter. Their ability to cover short distances with long leaps has led them into police and military forces. In fact, their strong nose has barely failed them while sniffing out dangerous objects. Such features not only make them perfect for guarding but also ranks them among the top 10 most popular dog breeds. 

According to American Kennel Club’s Fast CAT (Coursing Ability Test) records, a female German shepherd named Caradoc’s The Wicked Truth completed her 100-yard dash by reaching her top speed of 32.89 mph. These dogs follow the transverse gallop and rotational gallop (horse gallop: four-bait, single-suspension gallop) that make them run at a speed of 39 miles per hour.  

9. Whippet

The Whippet dog is known to be a breed under the English Sighthounds. The athleticism and versatility of this canine makes them fast runners. Other reasons also include their lean physique, narrow heads and long legs. Further, Whippets are also known to have descended from Greyhounds which means, running fast is in their genes. Their average speed is 35mph.

Running whippet Images, Stock Photos & Vectors | Shutterstock

The latest record made by a Whippet was in 2021, when Reas from Indiana was awarded for making the highest record , first in ‘Fastest Dog USA ESPN’ and then on Fast CAT Invitational, organised by American Kennel Club. For his 100-yards grass track,  his speed in ESPN was 35.36 miles per hour and 35.46 mph in the CAT.

10. Scottish Deerhound

The Scottish Deerhound, also known as the ‘Royal Dog of Scotland’, is a coursing hound. It is among the tallest breeds, right after greyhound. In earlier times, this dog was used by humans to hunt giant wild red deer.

Scottish Deerhound

Even with a weight of 75-110 pounds, these dogs are capable of running quite fast. Male deerhounds are faster than the female ones. The average speed of a male deerhound is 27.5 mph while the average speed of a female deerhound is 25.5 mph. The fastest Scottish Deerhound, FC Charlbury Indigo SC was a male dog who set the record of 30.83 mph.

11. Doberman pinscher

The Doberman Pinscher is among the most versatile breeds. It is relatively 150 years old. The breed has an athletic build, followed by a graceful tendency to walk on their toes rather than their paws. They are a long-legged breed that can reach long distances at great speed.

Doberman Pinscher

These canines run at a speed of 35 miles per hour.  As grown-up dogs, providing new information and command can be difficult for them to adapt to. Thus, they should be started to train once they reach 10 months. They also show signs of aggressiveness when in front of a stranger. But, if socialised from a young age, they start expressing friendly behaviours towards all. They are also perfect for being guard dogs. 

12. Standard Poodle

Poodles are a mixture of beauty with brains. These dogs are mostly presented at dog shows for showing off their coat. But, did you know, they also have a hidden talent? These dogs also exhibit great agility and obedience. Poodles can run at a top speed of 33 miles per hour. 

Standard Poodle

The breed has long legs and a streamlined body that helps them to cover long distances. As athletic breeds, they require lots of training and exercise to keep them in check. Further, they are also a very lively and obedient breed and are loyal family companions. 

13. Border Collie

Considered to be the most intelligent dog breed, the border collie is a remarkable canine bred for herding livestock. Stanley Coren’s Intelligence ranks them as the smartest dog breed. But, do you know they are also among the group of fastest breed? In fact, the average speed of a Border Collie is 30 miles per hour. 

Border Collie

For an active lifestyle, these dogs are the best suited. Their asymmetrical gait and double-suspension gallop helps them to run fast. Further, they have lengthy loins and sturdy muscular abdominal muscles. This fast-running dog even has quick energy bursts and a velocity that is unmanageable at times.

14. Jack Russell Terrier

The Jack Russell terrier is known as to be one of the smallest dog breeds. These dogs have a speed of 30 miles per hour and are capable of covering short distances within a short time. These dogs were also developed for the sole purpose of hunting foxes. 

Jack Russell Terrier

These dogs prefer endurance more than strength. They have a very low weight (13-17 pounds), a short stature and a narrow chest. Such factors are highly effective when it comes to running fast.  


Given above was the list of the top 10 fastest dog breeds. But, being fast does not mean that they lack other talents. If given proper love and care, these dogs can turn into the best furry companions you’ll ever have. Also, regular training makes them obedient and well-behaved canines. 

Most dogs under this list run fast as a result of their origin as hunting breeds. But, just like they are good runners, their physique should also be checked at regular intervals. Responsible owners must make them exercise regularly so that they do not fall prey to health issues. 


Q. How fast can a Great Dane run?

Great Dane can run at a speed of 30 miles per hour. These dogs are very patient and barely show any signs of hostility. They even become good family dogs if trained properly from an early age. 

Q. How do furs affect the speed of a dog?

The hairs or furs of a dog regulate the speed of a dog. The lesser the amount of fur, the more is the dog’s speed. Further, it also protects them from injuries and scratches.

Q. Are Shih Tzus good for first time owners?

The loving and gentle temperament makes them perfect for first time owners. 

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