No matter what dog breed you choose, they all have one thing in common — they love to run! This instinct not only keeps them physically fit but also brings them joy. But can you keep up with the fastest dog breeds?
Since the average human runs at about 6 to 8 mph, if you’re considering a fast dog, you’ll need to make sure you can train and control it.
If you’re looking for a particularly fast pup, consider choosing from one of the breeds that were bred specifically for speed. These dogs have an innate ability to sprint and were first used for hunting or running.
The fastest dog breeds make great house pets and can surprise you with their speed. If you’re interested in getting one of the fastest dog breeds, keep reading to learn about a few popular options.
Meet the fastest dog breeds
A wide variety of dogs fall under the category of fastest breeds. Though they all have different features, they share some similarities.
For example, the fastest dogs are usually very energetic and need to be involved in regular exercise to stay healthy and fit.
Some common fastest dog breeds you may want to consider are listed below.
Top speed: 40 mph
Physical characteristics: Arched neck, prominent hips, silky coat, and large paws.
The Afghan Hound is a uniquely beautiful dog breed characterized by its long, silky fur and impressive speed of around 40 mph.
While the dogs can be aloof and stubborn at times, their strong prey instinct and loyal nature make them wonderful companions.
Unfortunately, they are prone to several health problems, including juvenile cataracts, hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, autoimmune disease, and bleeding disorders.
Top speed: 35 mph
Physical characteristics: Long legs, lean body, silky coat, known for elegance and grace.
The Borzoi is a regal sighthound known for its luxurious silky double coat. That long, silky hair can be flat, curly, or wavy.
Although the Borzoi typically is calm, the dogs can be independent and stubborn. Be patient and consistent with training for the best results.
Because the dogs are natural hunters, they have a high prey drive and will chase smaller animals.
Borzoi dogs are usually healthy, but breeders must screen the dogs for health conditions including elbow and hip dysplasia, osteochondritis dissecans, and progressive retinal atrophy.
Top speed: 37 mph
Physical characteristics: Poised and alert with long legs and a lean body, capable of great speed and endurance.
The Dalmatian is a sleek, regal, and intelligent breed of dog that makes an excellent hunter, firehouse dog, or circus performer.
Dalmatians have been described in European, Asian, and African texts dating back centuries. They are also depicted in ancient Egyptian wall paintings and Italian frescoes.
Dalmatians are beautiful spotted dogs, but it’s essential to know that they’re genetically prone to forming kidney and urinary stones. The dogs also are predisposed to deafness and likely to develop ear infections, suffer from allergies, and experience cranial cruciate ligament tears.
Top speed: 32 mph
Physical characteristics: Compact, muscular, built for incredible speed and endurance.
This energetic athlete needs lots of exercise, including long daily walks or hikes, and time to run and plan in a fenced area.
Participating in canine sports such as obedience, tracking, and agility will provide exercise for the mind and body.
Dobermans are brilliant dogs that learn easily and respond quickly. They make great companions that are loving and fun.
However, they can become pushy, destructive, and unmanageable if not raised properly. Socialization starting in puppyhood is essential, as well as obedience training.
Dobermans are generally healthy but prone to bloat, a potentially life-threatening digestive condition. Other genetic health conditions affecting the breed include hip dysplasia, dilated cardiomyopathy, von Willebrand’s disease, progressive retinal atrophy, albinism, and hypothyroidism.
Top speed: 40 mph
Physical characteristics: Thin body, long legs, smooth coat, and narrow head.
The Greyhound might be the perfect breed for you if you’re looking for an athletic and gentle dog. Though originally bred as hunting dogs, today’s Greyhounds are more likely to be lounging on the couch. But don’t let their laziness fool you —these dogs are swift and are considered the fastest breed on Earth.
Their lean, muscular physique and large lung capacity help them accelerate quickly, making them formidable opponents in a race. And while they are generally calm and even-tempered, Greyhounds can be aggressive or angry if not adequately trained and socialized.
With the proper care, however, they make great pets for families with other animals and children.
Greyhounds are susceptible to specific health problems. Epilepsy and blood disorders are common among this breed, so it’s essential to watch for any potential issues.
Jack Russell Terrier
Top speed: 30 mph
Physical characteristics: Compact, athletic dog that’s slightly longer than it is tall with front legs set close together and a stubby tail.
The breed’s high energy makes them ideal companions for active people. The dogs love to play fetch at the park or take long weekend hikes.
The dogs require stimulation to prevent boredom and need constant attention and exercise.
If you’re planning to take home a Jack Russell, consider having a large, gated backyard with room to run.
Jack Russell Terriers are happy, healthy little dogs. Most breeders screen for health conditions such as patellar luxation (loose kneecaps), deafness, and eye disease.
Top speed: 42 mph
Physical characteristics: Thin body, long legs, and a narrow head.
Saluki, another sighthound, is an athletic breed that loves to run. It needs a big yard or open space to explore and stay active.
Initially bred for hunting jackals, foxes, gazelles, and hares, Salukis make great family dogs. They are intelligent and quick, making them excellent watchdogs. However, they are not great protection dogs.
Nowadays, Salukis participate in dog racing events in North Africa and the Middle East. If you want to keep your Saluki puppy happy, ensure they have plenty of space to run around.
The Saluki is susceptible to developing hereditary eye diseases or cancer. Leaving them in the sun for too long can cause sunburn, specifically on the nose.
Top speed: 40 mph
Physical characteristics: Muscular build; russet-colored short, smooth, dense coat.
Vizslas are one of the few dog breeds that come from the Maygar hunting tribes of Hungary. They were further bred for their endurance and pace, making them indispensable for hunters.
Vizslas are considered one of the oldest breeds of dogs in Europe. They have come close to extinction a couple of times throughout history.
The highlight of this breed is its eager and affectionate nature. If you plan to get a Vizsla, you should offer it proper training and exercise because this breed might become aggressive without it.
Vizslas are medium-sized dogs with lean bodies and short-hair coats. Generally, they are calm and well-mannered. But if provoked, they can show their aggressive side. Some common health problems for this breed include cancer, epilepsy, and entropion.
Top speed: 35 mph
Physical characteristics: Looks like a small greyhound.
The whippet is a beautiful, small to medium sighthound with keen eyesight to track down prey. The whippet resembles a miniature greyhound with a short, smooth coat in various colors and markings.
These loving, intelligent dogs are naturally gentle and fiercely loyal to their owners. However, their sensitive nature can make them skittish in harsh or loud environments.
Whippets are strong and healthy dogs that can tolerate cold weather if they’re appropriately clothed. They have little body fat so they can appear skinny sometimes. If you’re taking your whippet out in the winter, dress them in a warm coat.
Bottomline: Should you choose one of the fastest dog breeds?
The fastest dog breeds have certain advantages and disadvantages potential owners must consider.
All of the suggested breeds have some form of health issue that regular vet visits can help to mitigate. Without proper exercise and care, these issues can become more pronounced.
Owning one of the fastest dog breeds can be challenging if you are unprepared.
These speedy dogs require plenty of training, exercise, and high-quality food.
If you do not have access to a big yard or somewhere your pet can run freely daily, getting one of these breeds might not be the best idea.
Getting a fast dog breed can be a great option if you can provide what they need.
Sara B. Hansen has spent 20-plus years as a professional editor and writer. She’s also the author of The Complete Guide to Cocker Spaniels. She decided to create her dream job by launching DogsBestLife.com in 2011. Sara grew up with family dogs, and since she bought her first house, she’s had a furry companion or two to help make it a home. She shares her heart and home with Nutmeg, a Pembroke Welsh Corgi. Her previous dogs: Sydney (September 2008-April 2020), Finley (November 1993-January 2008), and Browning (May 1993-November 2007). You can reach Sara @ [email protected].