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What are the fastest dog breeds? Meet 10 of the fastest dogs in the world

Two white Borzoi running

Top 10 of the fastest dog breeds in the world

© eAlisa - Shutterstock

Greyhounds will probably be your first answer if asked which dog breed is the fastest, as these animals hold the world record. But they are not the only dogs capable of running at high speeds. Here's a look at the fastest dogs in the world.

By Emilie Heyl

Updated on the

Some dogs are naturally built like athletes and their genetics allows them to reach an amazing speed. If you want to adopt this type of dog, it is probably best not to live in a studio. These dogs have specific needs, such as the need to exercise on a daily basis.

If you are considering adopting a dog or puppy, you need to consider not only its needs but also your lifestyle. You should look at the animal's physical appearance, its maintenance needs, any diseases it is prone to and the life you can offer the animal. As you can see, there is a lot to think of before you decide to adopt one of these ten fastest dogs in the world. Among our top ten, there are no less than six sighthounds.

Fastest dog breeds

Each breed has its own particularities, strengths and weaknesses. When it comes to speed, the breeds belonging to the sighthound group win hands down. This is mainly due to the fact that most of them have a morphology and musculature designed for speed. In addition, greyhounds are dolichocephalic, i.e. they have a narrow and elongated head. This characteristic gives them stereoscopic vision, which allows them to situate themselves clearly in space and to pinpoint their prey and its direction, even at very high speeds. And given the speeds they can reach, it is better that they can see clearly.

Did you know that the record for the fastest dog in the world is held by Fanta, a Greyhound racing dog, which was recorded at 50 miles/hour in 2013.

However, greyhounds are not the only dog breeds that can run really fast. Here is a list of the 10 fastest dog breeds in the world, some of which may surprise you.

The Afghan Hound

The Afghan Hound
The Afghan Hound can reach a top speed of 40 miles/hour ©David Raihelgauz - Shutterstock

As the name suggests, this sighthound originated in Afghanistan. He is a large and beautiful dog, whose very special physique does not go unnoticed. Elegant, energetic, he is a show dog but also a hunter with undeniable qualities thanks to two particularities: an extremely sharp sight and specific kneecaps allowing him to orientate his legs individually in an asymmetrical way in order to adapt to any type of ground, rocky, steep, uneven, even totally impracticable. The Afghan Hound can reach a top speed of 40 miles/hour.

His speed, as a sheepdog, is a great advantage when he has to go and collect the elusive mountain goats of Afghanistan.

However, speed and flexibility are not the only qualities of this breed. It is also distinguished by its exceptionally elegant coat, which is why it is frequently entered in dog shows. The breed is also known for its intelligence, which can be used to great effect in agility competitions.

Unlike some other sighthounds, the Afghan Greyhound has a fairly high exercise requirement. However, as long as he is given the opportunity to exercise sufficiently every day, he is not necessarily incompatible with life in a flat.

The Borzoi

The Borzoi dog
The Borzoi can reach a top speed of 50 miles/hour ©Anastasiia Cherniavskaia - Shutterstock

This fast wolf and game hunter has been part of Russian culture for almost a thousand years. Admired and adored by the greatest tsars, Russian writers and painters, this athletic-looking sighthound has an aristocratic appearance. They are calm, extremely intelligent and have exemplary courage. The Borzoi, which means “fast” in Russian, is capable of reaching speeds of up to 50 miles/hour when pursuing its prey.

Very calm and well-balanced in their home, these intelligent and very observant dogs soon become excited, unruly and energetic when in pursuit of prey. In addition to their speed and stamina, Borzoi are often seen as the most elegant of sighthounds, due in part to their long, silky, wavy coat.

Because of their need for exercise, a flat is not the best place for them to live. However, they can live in flats, as long as they are able to go for long walks every day and have regular access to large areas where they can run freely.

The Dalmatian

The Dalmatian dog
The Dalmatian can reach a top speed of 30 miles/hour ©Vladimir PicDeal Svanda - Shutterstock

Although best known for its elegant, spotted coat, the Dalmatian is a fast dog that originated in Croatia, despite English claims. His muscularity and great speed make him a sportsman who enjoys sharing his activity with his owner. He is also affectionate, sensitive, discreet and a pleasant companion with a lively temperament. He will need a garden to exercise at his leisure. The Dalmatian can reach a top speed of 30 miles/hour.

In the past, the Dalmatian was used mainly as a guard dog, but its skills in this area have faded over time. Nowadays, they are also used in dog show contests, agility and obedience competitions.

He needs an active, even sporty owner, capable of offering him several hours of walks or even running every day, and is not really made to live in a flat: he needs to have access to a large garden in which he can let off steam as he pleases. Once his important need for exercise is satisfied, he is both calm and affectionate, making him an ideal companion.

The Dobermann

The Dobermann dog
The Dobermann can reach a top speed of 30 miles/hour ©JELIZAVETA KARAKAJA - Shutterstock

The Dobermann is an impressive dog with an athletic build that enjoys physical activity and speed. Affectionate and loyal in spite of its strong character, it enjoys sporting outings with its owner. Known for its endurance and courage, this dog can reach a top speed of 30 miles/hour.

This dog originated in Thuringia in Germany and was named after the tax collector Frederic Louis Dobermann, who created the breed in the middle of the 19th century with the aim of obtaining a new defence dog.

Because of their great loyalty, they are often used as watchdogs or police dogs. This dog breed will therefore need a lot of physical activities, and is therefore not suitable for living in a flat.

The Galgo

The Galgo dog
The Galgo can reach a top speed of 38 miles/hour ©Vera Zinkova - Shutterstock

Originating from Spain, this very athletic, compact-boned sighthound can reach speeds of up to 38 miles/hour. The Spanish Greyhound is also called the Galgo because of an old assumption that they originated in Gaul. 

This robust, hardy and very old breed would in fact be descended from the hunting dogs of the kings of ancient Egypt, as suggested by its resemblance to the Greyhound. Very common in dog races and hunting parties, these beautiful and affectionate dogs are unfortunately often mistreated in Spain. They are actually still used today for hunting game, especially hares, foxes and rabbits, and leave little hope for their prey to escape.

The Spanish Galgo is full of energy and needs open spaces. As they grow older, they moderate their energy and also become very gentle making them a good companion. They need to exercise daily on long walks, but are not totally incompatible with flat living, as long as their high need for exercise is met.

The Greyhound

The Greyhound dog
The Greyhound can reach a top speed of 45 miles/hour ©acceptphoto - Shutterstock

The Greyhound is a magnificent short-haired dog that can reach speeds of up to 45 miles/hour. Its top speed surpasses any cat except the cheetah.

Considered the fastest dog in the world over a short distance, this British breed has impressive muscles and a very athletic build that make him tough and vigorous. Its generous proportions give it a relatively symmetrical anatomy, with a long, thin head, small ears and a broad, long back.

Fun fact: According to dog expert Stanley Coren:

When Usain Bolt set his 100 meter world record he was running at a speed of 22.9 mph and covered that distance in 9.58 seconds. A greyhound would complete that same race in 5.33 seconds.” … A greyhound could beat Usain Bolt’s 100 meter world record in 5.33 seconds."

Considered the dog of the nobles, the Greyhound was used since ancient times for hunting, especially deer, fallow deer and wild boar. Its calm, refined and distinguished character makes it a gentle, faithful and loyal animal that is pleasant to live with every day. These dogs can adapt to life in a flat, only if they are given long daily walks.

The Jack Russell Terrier

The Jack Russell Terrier
The Jack Russell can reach a top speed of 32 miles/hour ©Sundays Photography - Shutterstock

Don't be fooled by appearances! Despite its small size, the Jack Russell is a fast and hardy dog. His boundless energy, lively temperament, courage and determination make him a great runner, capable of reaching high speeds over short distances. Despite its small size, this small game hunter is by far the fastest of all small breed dogs with peak speeds of 32 miles/hour.

The Jack Russell originated in Great Britain. This breed was born in the 19th century under the care of the Reverend John Russell, who wanted a dog that could run like the foxhound and still be able to scavenge for prey underground. They are very fearless and playful.

He is not as enduring as greyhounds, but he is full of energy and needs to spend several hours a day playing and exercising. If you add to this the fact that he barks a lot, it is easy to understand that he is really suited to living in a flat.

The Saluki

The Saluki dog
The Saluki can reach a top speed of 42 miles/hour ©Elisabetta Bellomi - Shutterstock

Also known as the Persian Greyhound, the Saluki is a very old dog breed. Its origins go back thousands of years to the Middle East, mainly in Afghanistan. It was popular with the Pharaohs of Egypt, where it was used for sight hunting of various game. This super fast dog can reach peak speeds of 42 miles/hour, it is not surprising that it is used for hunting.

The Saluki’s body was made for running as it is supple and harmonious. It has a long, narrow head, followed by a long neck well set above the withers. They are easy to live with on a daily basis, as they are very low maintenance and calm. Their need for exercise is quite limited, so they can live in a flat, as long as they get a good daily walk and have access to a running area from time to time.

The Saluki is a very shy dog, affectionate with his owners, but prefers to keep his distance from people he doesn't know.

The Vizsla

The Vizsla dog
The Vizsla can reach a top speed of 37 miles/hour ©TMArt - Shutterstock

All Pointer dogs are fast and athletic. However, the Vizsla is probably capable of reaching higher speeds. Extremely muscular and enduring, the Vizsla reaches a top speed of around 37 miles/hour when chasing prey.

Originating from Hungary, the Vizsla is particularly well adapted to swampy grounds and excels at hunting on sight.

This beautiful dog with a noble and distinguished appearance is also a very good companion in everyday life. They are sociable and easy to train. This excellent companion has a lively temperament and a highly developed protective instinct. Rather made for the big spaces in the countryside, this breed is not really adapted to a life in a flat. However, some dogs can adapt to living in an apartment, provided they are given daily walks, if possible in complete freedom. Thanks to its endurance, the Vizsla excels in sports such as canoeing and canicross.

The Whippet

Two Whippet dogs
The Whipper can reach a top speed of 30 miles/hour ©Liliya Kulianionak - Shutterstock

The Whippet is a cross between a small Greyhound and terriers; Italian greyhounds were later bred in to give the whippet a sleek appearance. This English breed is in fact a small sighthound: while its cousin the Greyhound can measure up to 76 cm, the Whippet very rarely exceeds 50 cm.

However, it has inherited the athletic qualities of the Greyhound, as it is capable of reaching speeds of over 30 miles/hour. Although it cannot keep up with a Greyhound, it is still the fastest dog of its size. He is also distinguished by his ability to accelerate, as he can reach his maximum speed in less than 4 seconds. Elegant and affectionate, these dogs have strong muscles that make them well suited to racing. However, they are considered too small to be good hunters and are not used for this purpose.

With less need to exercise than some other sighthounds, they can live in a flat, provided they get their fair share of daily walks and are allowed to roam freely at least once a week in large areas.

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