Which Dog Breeds are the Fastest?

August 20, 2012

By Linda Cole

The Greyhound is hands down the fastest dog breed around with a top speed of about 45 miles per hour. Some people claim the greyhound is the second fastest land animal, right behind the Cheetah (70-75mph); however, other land animals like the Lion (50mph), Pronghorn Antelope (61mph) and Wildebeest (50mph) are faster than the Greyhound which sits at number 7 on the list. There are other fast dog breeds right on the heels of the Greyhound, and some of the breeds might surprise you. Keep in mind, the “fastest list” isn’t one everyone agrees on.

The Whippet (35.5mph) and other sighthounds like the Afghan Hound (40mph), Scottish Deerhound, Borzoi (38mph), Saluki (43mph), and Ibizan Hound were bred to sight their prey, give chase, and wear them down. Sighthounds hit their top speed in only a few strides and are built for endurance. In a one-on-one race with a cheetah, the Greyhound or other sighthounds could easily outrun the big cat, because a cheetah’s top speed is only good for a short distance.

The Siberian Husky has a top speed of around 28mph, but the dog is like the Energizer Bunny and will keep going and going. Endurance is the name of the game for a Husky. A team of dogs can maintain an average speed of 10-11 mph and run for hours, covering around 150 miles in a day. They can withstand a harsh winter climate and have great instincts for finding a safe trail under snow and ice.

The Border Collie is a speedy and agile herder with a top speed between 20-30mph, a speed they can maintain as they quickly twist and turn to keep livestock in line. They can work over rugged terrain with the same surefooted confidence of the sheep they herd. Considered the smartest dog around, the Border Collie is quick to learn new commands, especially if he’s offered his favorite CANIDAE treat.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback can hit a top speed of around 20mph. They were once called Lion dogs because at one time in their history, that’s what they were used for, hunting and chasing lions in their native land of South Africa. The Ridgeback is both a sighthound and scenthound, and has a unique ridge of hair that runs down their back. Today, the dog is used in lure coursing. This is another breed built for endurance so they can run down and wear out the prey they’re hunting.

The Jack Russell Terrier may be a small dog, but he can reach a top speed of around 20-25mph for a short distance. The talent of a Jack Russell is his ability to go underground after foxes, woodchucks and raccoons. He is an aggressive, confident and diligent hunter. Don’t be fooled by this dog’s size. He needs plenty of exercise to keep him from becoming bored.

The German Shepherd and Belgian Malinois turn in an impressive speed at around 30mph. These dogs are obedient, protective and hard working breeds. Both are smart, loyal, muscular, alert, agile and strong willed, with a fearless attitude. They are a favorite for the military and police force because of their work ethic, intelligence and speed.

The Anatolian Shepherd has a top speed of 28mph and is being used in Namibia, Africa as conservation dogs to help protect the Cheetah from extinction. To keep farmers from killing the big cat, the Anatolian Shepherd, which is a flock guarding dog, lives with his sheep “family” and protects them from the Cheetah and other predators. These dogs are capable of working on their own without the help of any humans and they are extremely skillful and diligent at doing their job.

The Doberman Pinscher can easily come in at a top speed of 32mph. The breed was developed in Germany in the 1800s by Louis Dobermann, a tax collector. He wanted a sound bodyguard and watchdog powerful enough to discourage thugs and robbers from attacking him when he traveled through unsafe areas while on the job.

The Giant Schnauzer tops 28mph and excels as a guard dog. The breed was originally used in Bavaria as a cattle driving dog by farmers taking their livestock to market. Butchers and breweries also used them to guard their businesses. The Giant Schnauzer is a larger version of the Standard Schnauzer and is brave, easy to train, loyal, powerful, active, muscular, very intelligent and reliable.

Most dogs can easily outrun us, and determining how fast they can run depends on sprinting speed or long distance speed. Working breeds depend on endurance to get the job done, which makes their long distance speed more important and impressive. Australian Shepherd, Weimaraner, Standard Poodle, Collie, Airedale Terrier, Australian Cattle Dog, Basenji, Bearded Collie, Dalmatian, Old English Sheepdog, Pharaoh Hound, Smooth Fox Terrier, Vizsla, Welsh Springer Spaniel, and American Foxhound are other breeds with fast speeds.

Top photo by Jorg KanngieBer (Greyhound)
Middle photo by Kyknoord (Border Collie)
Bottom photo by Andrew Kraker (Doberman)

Read more articles by Linda Cole

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

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  1. Lindsay says:

    you missed the borzoi it’s in the text of the whippet

  2. Ozzie says:

    My dog is a German Shepherd Lab mix, but does not have a sloped button. Since he found near a greyhound, I have ever to wonder. My friend saw him run and said if he was at the greyhound track, she would bet on him.

  3. Liza says:

    … Did I miss the borzoi or have u missed one of the top 5….

  4. Michael says:

    The fastest men in the world run 25-27 mph for short distances (30 – 60 meters within 100 and 200 meter races). In my opinion, as a long time track coach and dog competitor, MANY breeds of dogs have fit individuals who run this fast. I have a young border collie now who almost surely runs 30 mph — well before his first birthday. So while your top dog breeds may have been precisely timed, I think many of the rest are underestimated here. The fastest border collies in the world almost surely run close to 35 mph, for example.

  5. Ernir says:

    My Ridgeback can easily reach 35+ mph. And he can maintain that kind of speed over a very long period of time. He will easily wear out every dog st the park.

  6. Tom says:

    we now have a Chinese Crested pup 7 weeks old.

    How fast can they run?
    Our new pup (8weeks) loves to run.

    I am a DAV in a wheelchair. Do they make good assistance dogs which can thet be trained as needed? appricate any info,

  7. Jeffrey says:

    There are some rather absurd speeds mentioned here, an article denoting the animal’s top speed.. Topping out the Ridgeback at 20? The herding dogs like the Border Collie are small and the poles in the agility course are skewed to its lower to the ground running style and small stature but don’t have much of a top end. Many dogs not on the list are faster. I have personally GPS timed a German Shorthair Pointer at 43mph and I don’t believe he was flat out. No dog can chase a pheasant’s violence direction changes in a wheat field better but the agility course poles are spaced for the smaller herding dogs. If you want to denote agility course speed as opposed to top end, you would have a different list and if you are concerned about endurance, it’s another list all together.

    1. Michael says:

      Borders have a surprisingly high top end speed, around 35mph. But you are right that they are most competitive in tight, agility-challenging situations. After all, a cattle herding bc has his life threatened by an angry animal a couple of times a day. Survive 3-7 years of that before breeding, do that 10 generations, and you have selected for a VERY agile creature.

      1. Jean says:

        My border collie runs at least 35 mi/hour. She has long legs. She can out run most dogs.

  8. J P Gilligan says:

    I wish this article put them in order of speed. I know the greyhound has the record for fastest, but the doberman might be second fastest. I had one who could chase down desert jack rabbits, which are not only fast, they’re incredibly manoverable and Baron could turn as quickly as they do.

  9. Nathan says:

    I hope people are aware that saying a Ridgeback’s top speed is at 20mph is absurd. They’re probably twice that fast.

    1. Taylor says:

      It is true. My ridgeback, Fudge, can run up to 30 miles per hour.

  10. Kristin says:

    My Aussie (Australian Shepherd) run at 33mph.

    1. S says:

      My Australian shepherd can probably run at speeds close to 40mph

  11. anirud says:

    What is top speed of a street dogs?

  12. Priscilla says:

    That is interesting info!

  13. meowmeowmans says:

    That was really fascinating. It was really neat to read about the abilities of all these dog breeds. Thanks, Linda!

  14. LOL – we know all about energy. We have the Ultimate Energizer Bunny living with us:)

    Woos – Phantom, Thunder, Ciara, and Lightning

  15. Marg says:

    When our Border collie was young, we used to love to watch her fun. They lower themselves to the ground and are just gorgeous when they run so fast. They are great dogs but the definitely need a job.

  16. Jen says:

    It’s interesting to learn about how fast different breeds can go! Some dogs are freaking FAST!

  17. Finn says:

    Very interesting. Some of these I didn’t realize could run so fast!