The Top 10 Fastest Dog Breeds in the World
When we're chasing after our doggos to retrieve a stolen shoe or to put them in their crates for the night, they seem to be trying to qualify for the Indianapolis 500. But most of the world's fastest dog breeds aren't simply trying to evade us: They were bred specifically for hunting, ferreting out vermin, or competitive coursing ability tests (CAT).
The fastest dog breeds ranked on this list easily average speeds of 30–40 mph, and six of the top seven are sighthounds, using their keen eyes and sprinting abilities to hunt or course, says Jerry Klein, DVM, chief veterinary officer for the American Kennel Club (AKC). "As a group of dogs, they share features of long legs, sleek aerodynamic bodies, deep chests for extra lung room, and tucked-in waists," Klein says. "The sighthound breeds are among the oldest, too, with salukis and Afghan hounds being thousands of years old."
No matter how nimble and quick, these dogs aren't necessarily the best running companions. "Some breeds are known to be sprinters and others have the stamina to run long distances," he says. "It's best to become informed and aware of breed peculiarities by reading about their history and talking to responsible breeders."
Speed: 40–45 mph
You probably already guessed this elegant creature can outrun us all, especially in a sprint, but did you also know greyhounds maintain a speed of approximately 35 mph for as far as 7 miles? Plus they have a 270-degree range of vision (by comparison, humans have 180), hence the origin of the term "sighthound."
Their devoted, calm nature and ease with children make them great family dogs, too. However, Klein says all sighthounds should be given an opportunity to run freely in a large, fenced area at least once a day—a 10-minute walk around the block simply won't be enough—but after that, greyhounds are more than happy to be couch potatoes the rest of the day.
Speed: 40–43 mph
Right on a greyhound's heels is the saluki, a perfect canine companion for active people. This African dog breed, once prized by pharaohs, is an independent thinker, almost catlike in her ability to balance love for you with preferred time alone. She benefits from consistent socialization and positive reinforcement training and appreciates rewards such as long walks on warm beaches and safe, enclosed spaces to play lightning-fast fetch.
Speed: 40 mph
Just look at how those gorgeous locks flow in the wind! An Afghan hound, native to Afghanistan, was also the first-choice hunting hound for Asian and English nobility for his ability to track game over long distances. His handsome good looks require a regular grooming schedule and he also needs diligent training. Although he may be free-spirited, he's smart and bonds closely with single pet owners who keep him mentally and physically engaged.
Speed: 40 mph
Who's this now? Many people interested in the fastest dog breeds are surprised to learn about the mysterious Hungarian Vizsla (pronounced VEESH-la or VEEZH-la). Affectionate, sweet, and true, the "V" also stands for "Velcro dog" because her favorite place is by your side—and she'll follow you everywhere. Experienced and energetic pet parents understand that she must run, sniff a lot, and learn fun activities such as agility and flyball to live her best life.
Speed: 40 mph
Ibizan hounds, named for the Spanish island of Ibiza, are actually considered one of the oldest purebreds from Egypt, dating as far back as the eighth century. Initially trained as deer and rabbit hunters, Klein says they're affectionate, outgoing, and love their humans. They thrive on interactive playtime, but make sure you have a high fence—they can jump as high as 6 feet!
Speed: 35 mph
Any professional dog competition that requires rapid acceleration usually has records set by the fleet-footed whippet. This mid-sized English lovebug shines in CAT races—like Reas, who aced the 2022 Fast CAT 100-yard dash in just under 6 seconds at nearly 35 mph! But she can also be a beauty queen like Bourbon, an AKC National Championship winner in 2020. When not earning ribbons, whippets are tender-hearted sweeties who love to cuddle after a brisk jaunt outside.
Speed: 35 mph
One of the tallest (up to 28 inches high!) and the fastest dog breeds is the borzoi (pronounced BOR-zoy). Once a favorite of the Russian aristocracy and able to chase large prey, he was previously known as the Russian wolfhound in the U.S. until 1936. The borzoi's dignified stature is often profiled in art and literature but he's far from standoffish. All this calm, cold weather-loving canine needs is your steady companionship and, naturally, proper daily exercise.
Speed: 35 mph
To run alongside fire trucks requires both speed and stamina, and Dalmatians have both! A ready-made playmate for kids, she might be high-octane on her feet but pretty low-key in her demeanor. In fact, she can be a bit hesitant around new people and situations, so use positive reinforcement conditioning to help her be less timid. Exceedingly sweet, "Dals" make great therapy dogs, too, when properly trained and socialized.
Jack Russell Terrier
Speed: 30–35 mph
Among the three Russell terriers in the world—the Parson Russell terrier, the Russell terrier, and the Jack Russell terrier—the Jack is presumed to be the fastest, as the Australian breed with English heritage is still an active working dog. Dedicated to burrowing after vermin and sussing them out, the Jack gives new meaning to "rat race." This adorable, spunky, and bright pup won't quit until the work is done, so keep him occupied with fun activities such as agility courses.
Speed: 30 mph
If you really want a brainiac canine, the border collie is the one for you! Considered to be the most intelligent dog breed, she not only herds animals at blistering speed but also performs amazing feats and memorizes bus routes (it's a fun story). She can probably do your taxes, too, but might require at least two days of training. Dedicated to her people, she needs a lot of attention and exercise, and thus, might not be a good fit for first-time dog owners … but she's definitely a companion they can aspire to have one day!
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