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The Top 10 Fastest Dog Breeds

| Published on December 26, 2023

Have you ever wondered what makes the fastest dogs in the world so dog gone fast? For some breeds, a streamlined physique allows them to take impressively long strides. For other breeds that rank among the fastest dogs in the world, selective breeding has optimized their abilities for a working purpose. Many of the fastest dogs in the world were originally bred for hunting or herding animals. Although we don’t usually see these pups in their traditional working roles these days, that doesn’t mean that the fastest dog breeds have lost any of their mojo.

Keep reading to learn more about the fastest dog breeds in the world! Here are the 13 fastest dog breeds according to World Atlas:

The Top 10 Fastest Dog Breeds

#1 – Greyhound – 45 mph

There’s no surprise that the Greyhound tops the list of fastest dogs. The were originally bred to chase hares, foxes, and deer. Greyhound racing further refined the breed into the fastest dog on earth. They’re thought to have originated in Egypt and have been prized among royalty for thousands of years. Greyhounds are sprinters, not endurance runners, and they’re quite happy to spend much of their time napping.

They’ve been nicknamed the “40 mph couch potato” and will do well in an apartment with a few walks a day and the occasional sprint at the dog park. Although it is possible to buy a greyhound puppy, the vast majority of pet greyhounds in America are retired racing dogs who would otherwise be euthanized or sent to labs to be guinea pigs in the name of science.

#2 – Saluki – 42 mph

Along with the Greyhound, the Saluki is one of the oldest dog breeds. According to Dogtime:

“Once known as the Persian Greyhound or the gazelle hound, the Saluki has long been considered one of the most ancient of breeds. Recent genetic evidence confirms this to be the case. Scientists speculate that Salukis and other ancient breeds descend from the first dogs and made their way through the world with their nomadic owners. Depictions of dogs resembling Salukis — with a Greyhoundlike body and feathering on the ears, tail, and legs — appear on Egyptian tombs dating to 2100 B.C.E., some 4,000 years ago. Even older are carvings from the Sumerian empire (7,000-6,000 B.C.E.) that show dogs with a striking resemblance to the Saluki.”

Salukis hunted hares and gazelles. They were mummified by Egyptian pharaohs and revered as a gift from Allah by Muslims.

#3 – Afghan Hound – 40 mph

The Afghan Hound is originally from Afghanistan, where it was used to hunt in the deserts and mountains. Its long, flowing coat was required to keep it warm. Another ancient breed, Afghan Hounds have a very independent personality and can be difficult to train. They are known as a clownish breed and require extensive grooming to prevent their flowing locks of hair from getting matted. Afghan Hounds are escape artists and can be incredibly difficult to catch due to their speed. They tend to bond with one specific person.

#3 – Vizsla – 40 mph

Tied with the Afghan Hound for being the third-fastest dog, the Vizla was developed in Hungary to be both a pointer and a retriever. They worked closely with hunters and that personality trait has continued into modern times, leading to the nickname of the “Velcro Vizsla” for their tendency to stick close by the side of their favorite person.

The Vizsla has a lot of energy and needs plenty of exercise to prevent it from becoming destructive. Since they are so close to their people, they are prone to separation anxiety if left alone too much. They would make a great playmate for older kids but are probably too rambunctious for little kids.

#5 – Jack Russell Terrier – 38 mph

Compared to many of the other breeds on this list, the Jack Russell Terrier is a relatively young breed, having been bred by Parson Jack Russell to be the perfect fox hunting dog. They have endless amounts of energy and an independent mindset. They hate to be bored and can cause trouble if their intelligence isn’t given an outlet. If you have the time and patience to train a Jack Russell and provide him with plenty of energy, he can be a great companion and may excel at a variety of dog sports.

#6 – Dalmatian – 37 mph

This breed should come as no surprise on our list given their well-known history. Dalmatians were bred to run alongside carriages for many miles at a time to fend off highway robbers, so they have an exceptionally high energy level. They are also prone to deafness. According to Dogtime:

“Approximately eight percent of Dalmatians are born completely deaf, and 22 to 24 percent are born with hearing in one ear only…Some people believe deaf dogs can make just as wonderful pets as hearing dogs if they are trained with hand signals and vibrations so they are less likely to be startled. If you are considering adopting a deaf puppy or older adult dog, be sure to research the issue and the special care requirements of living with a deaf dog before you suffer the heartbreak of taking the dog in and not being able to manage his care properly.”

While Dalmatians aren’t the right breed for everyone, they can make great companions for the right family.

#7 – Borzoi – 36 mph

The Borzoi was developed in Russia for hunting and coursing, going after rabbits, foxes, and wolves in teams of 3 dogs. They were favored by royalty. Like Greyhounds, they are happy with a moderate amount of exercise and will be happy to lounge in bed most of the day. They don’t like to be alone and would prefer to be by your side as much as possible. The Borzoi is notorious for shedding and requires regular grooming.

#8 – Whippet – 34 mph

Smaller than their cousins, the Whippet was nicknamed the “poor man’s Greyhound” and was probably used for poaching rabbits. The Whippet possesses a  high prey drive and may not do well living with cats or other small animals. It is suggested that the Whippet should be leashed if they aren’t contained by a tall fence. This is mainly because they will chase after anything that moves, no matter how well-trained they are. Whippets can make good family pets if they get enough exercise, and even enjoy a good snuggle.

#9 – Doberman Pinscher – 32 mph

While Dobermans were originally bred to be guard dogs, they can make good family pets if they are trained, socialized, and given plenty of exercise and things to keep their intelligent mind occupied. They enjoy being part of a family and will naturally protect the people they love. According to Dogtime:

“Once upon a time, in the late 19th century, there was a tax collector named Louis Dobermann, who lived in the town of Apolda, in the Thuringia district of Germany. His job of collecting money was dangerous because there were bandits in the area who might attack him as he made his rounds. Since Dobermann was also the town dogcatcher, he often took along a dog for protection. Dobermann began breeding dogs with the idea of a loyal companion and protector in mind. The result of his breeding experiments was the early Doberman Pinscher.”

#10 – German Shepherd – 30 mph

The German Shepherd consistently ranks as one of the 10 most popular breeds in America. They are also in a 3-way tie for the fastest dog in the world. This versatile breed has been used for everything from protection to drug sniffing to herding to assisting those with disabilities and much more. Unfortunately, their popularity has been their downfall, as unscrupulous breeding has led to a high incidence of hip dysplasia and other hereditary diseases. Do your research carefully when looking for a breeder if you choose to get a German Shepherd puppy.

#10 – Standard Poodle – 30 mph

Standard Poodles were originally bred as water dogs to retrieve waterfowl for hunters. Don’t let their fancy hairdos fool you – Standard Poodles are very active, sporty dogs that do best with a job to do. They are extremely intelligent and will find something to do if bored – even if that something means tearing up your home when they’re alone. Their curly coats require extensive amounts of grooming, especially if they spend a significant amount of time in the water, as their coat can become painfully matted.

#10 – Border Collie – 30 mph

Bred to herd sheep, Border Collies can run all day long without tiring. They are extremely intelligent and adapt well to nearly any dog sport you can imagine. According to Dogtime:

“The Border Collie is a herding dog, which means he has an overwhelming urge to gather a flock. That flock could be sheep, children, cats, squirrels, or anything that moves, including cars. This instinct to nip, nudge, and bark, along with his energy, cannot be trained out of him. Rather, it must be directed. He must have a task, whether it’s actually herding sheep or competing in dog sports. A brisk walk or a game of fetch every day isn’t enough activity for the Border Collie.”

Frequently Asked Questions About Fast Dog Breeds

1. What is the fastest dog breed?

Renowned for their ability to sprint with impressive speeds up to 45 miles per hour, the Greyhound is one of the fastest dog breeds. Historically bred to catch rabbits and other quick-moving prey, Greyhounds are speed machines. With a thin build, well-defined muscle tone, a flexible spine, and a natural drive to hunt, these aerodynamic canines can outrun most small and large game – for short distances, anyway. 

2. What dog can run 35 miles per hour?

When it comes to longer distance treks, Greyhounds can manage a speed of around 30-35 miles per hour. Other dog breeds, like Whippets, Saluki, and Afghan Hounds, to name a few,  can also manage a consistent speed of around 35 miles per hour for at least a few minutes. Not very many other breeds have the athleticism to keep up with those impressive speeds! 

3. What is the slowest dog in the world?

On the other end of the spectrum, Basset Hounds, Bull Dogs, and Shitzus are among the slowest dogs in the world. Lucky, they’re incredibly cute and make great companions. 

With top speeds of 6-10 miles per hour, these slow dog breeds won’t be winning any races against their aforementioned counterparts – but they do have many other charming qualities.

4. What are the top 10 fastest dogs in the world?

How fast a dog runs can be partially determined by age, health, and potential motivating factors. Generally speaking, though, there are certain breeds that rank higher when it comes to speed and agility. 

Here are the top 10 fastest dogs in the world: 

  • Greyhounds: Greyhounds perform their best during short-distance sprints but can keep up with a two-legged running partner for a good workout. Despite their impressive speed, Greyhounds are actually pretty low-energy. They can be just as happy to curl up on the couch with you on rest days. 
  • Saluki: Salukis are not only one of the fastest dog breeds but one of the oldest. With a history of hunting that dates back thousands of years, Salukis are built and bred for speed. Salukis do well in a home that facilitates adequate exercise and space to be relatively independent. 
  • Afghan Hound: Afghan Hounds are popular for their unique appearance and loyal personality. Once valued for their remarkable ability to hunt throughout mountainous regions of Afghanistan effortlessly, Afghan Hounds are more commonly spotted in dog shows across the world nowadays. Afghan Hounds make great additions to active, quiet, and loving homes. If you’re considering adding an Afghan Hound to your family, remember that their grooming needs require alot of dedication. 
  • Vizsla: Vizslas are extremely active and thrive when mentally stimulated. Among some of the most loyal and family-friendly breeds, Vizslas are highly affectionate and make great companion dogs. Not only are they eager to please, but Vizslas are highly-trainable and intelligent to boot. 
  • Whippet: With a slender and athletic build, many people akin Whippets to a smaller Greyhound. While many physical attributes may be the same, there are some stark differences. Whippets are exceptionally active and spunky and love to play. Bred to hunt small game like rabbits, Whippets have fast legs with a high drive to please. 
  • Jack Russell Terriers: Despite being among the smallest breeds to make the list, Jack Russel Terriers can still reach speeds of up to 38 miles per hour. Their short legs are surprisingly impressive powerhouses. Jack Russells can be strong spirited and stubborn, but make great additions to adult-only households. While they can be good with kids and other pets, early socialization is key. 
  • Borzoi: Borzois, also known as Russian Wolfhounds, can be stubborn and quite independent. They are also known to be very loyal with a calm and graceful demeanor. With an exotic-looking coat and peculiar shape, their regal appearance is sure to turn heads. These pups are natural sight dogs, meaning they mainly hunt by sight instead of smell. Once they’ve spotted prey, it doesn’t stand much of a chance. This fast dog breed can easily hit speeds of 35 to 40 miles per hour. 
  • Doberman Pinscher: Doberman Pinschers are historically one of the best guard dogs there is. Their impressive speed, alert nature, and incredibly loyal personality make them the perfect dog to protect your home or land. Dobermans require a good amount of mental and physical stimulation and do best in active households. 
  • Border Collies: Considered one of the most intelligent dog breeds, Border Collies are known to be extremely easy to train. Also known as sheepdogs, these dogs have been used to herd farm animals since the 19th century. These loyal dogs will do just about anything to please.
  • Dalmatians: Dalmatians have an interesting history as they were originally bred to trot alongside the horses that pulled firefighting carriages. Dalmatians have an incredibly high activity level and thrive with plenty of mental and physical stimulation.

5. How fast can a Doberman run?

Dobermans are quite stubborn, but,  when given the motivation to run at top speed, Dobermans can easily run 30 miles per hour. Their incredibly strong legs and toned body structure allow them to take impressively long strides. The development of the Doberman Pinscher breed itself is credited to a man named Karl Friedrich Louis Doberman. Doberman was a tax collector, and his goal when selectively breeding these dogs was to have a loyal, fast, and protective companion to accompany him on tax collections. People have been paying up ever since for this incredible breed of dog. Don’t forget to check local shelters first though as a fast dog is not fit for some homes which may leave a special Doberman in need of a new home. 

6. Are German Shepherds fast?

German Shepherds are very fast. With top speeds of around 30 miles per hour, German Shepherds were originally bred for herding purposes. 

7. What is the fastest dog in the United States?

One of the fastest dog breeds, if not the fastest,  in the United States, is the Greyhound. Their tall legs make long leaps look effortless. Despite their shocking speeds, these loyal pups are just as pleased to snuggle up with you on the couch as they are to chase jackrabbits. 

8. Are Salukis the fastest dog?

While most do consider Greyhounds to be the fastest dog breed, Salukis are a close competitor. In fact, a Saluki even made the Guinness Book of World Records as the fastest dog recorded, with an impressive top speed of 42.8 miles per hour. That’s lightning fast! 

Take Care of Your Fastest Dog

While all of the above breeds are some of the fastest dog breeds in the world, each doggo has their own  personality, strengths, and weaknesses. Health, motivation, and training can also factor into a dog’s athleticism. Just as their environment can play a role in their behavior. To keep your four-legged friend in the best overall shape, you can support their health with the best  immune support, heart and vision support, hip and joint supplement, and mega vitamins for dogs. At iHeartDogs, we love dogs. . . imagine that! With every sale we make, we feed shelter dogs. While every dog and dog breed is unique and special and deserve a loving home, some dogs are in need of a furever home. Our hope is that we can help them know how much they’re loved until they find their pawfect match. Dogs are incredible companions that offer unmatched loyalty. They’re always there to greet us, shift our perspective, and help us relax. Shop iHeartDogs today for all-natural dog products that can help keep your dog happy and healthy while feeding shelter dogs in need.


(H/T: World Atlas)

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