Have you ever wondered, “How fast can a greyhound run?”
The greyhound has a sleek, aerodynamic build with a narrow head and long legs, and the greyhound is perfectly constructed for high-speed pursuit. Greyhounds can sprint at speeds up to 40 or 45 miles per hour, making them the fastest of all dog breeds. A greyhound can sustain his top running speed for about 250 meters (about 273 yards).
The greyhound’s running style and gait are what allow him to run so fast. Greyhounds run using a rotary gallop style – a style that lends itself to sprinting. In this running style, the order of the legs hitting the ground rotates – first the front left leg touches the ground, then the front right leg, then the rear right leg and finally the rear left leg.
Like the cheetah, the greyhound uses a two stage gait. In the first stage, the body and legs are stretched out parallel to the ground. In the second stage, the body is compressed with front and rear legs overlapping beneath the greyhound. This is when the legs propel off the ground to push forward with speed.
How Fast Can a Greyhound Run Compared to Other Animals?
So how fast can a greyhound run compared to other animals? The quickest animal in the world is the cheetah. Cheetahs are known to run up to 70 miles an hour at top speed, but the cheetah can only sustain that top speed for about 200 meters (about 219 yards).
So now that we’ve answered the question, “How fast can a greyhound run?”, let’s look at a different question: Which is faster, a greyhound or a racehorse? This question was addressed at a race track in the United Kingdom where officials raced a top greyhound against a top thoroughbred racehorse over a 400 meter (437 yards) grass course. The greyhound won the race by seven horse lengths. The greyhound’s jackrabbit start was the key to its success. However, the thoroughbred horse was steadily gaining on the greyhound throughout the race, and had the course been longer, the horse would have overtaken the greyhound. Greyhounds are known for their sprinting, not their endurance.
Greyhounds were originally bred as hunting dogs to chase prey such as rabbits, foxes and deer. Because of their great speed, greyhounds have made a name for themselves as racing dogs and they are still used for that purpose to this day. However, the sport is coming under fire by many. To learn more, go to our article Greyhound Racing Comes Under Fire.
How Much Exercise Does a Greyhound Need?
Contrary to popular belief, a greyhound does not need a lot of exercise. Two twenty minute walks a day is usually enough exercise to keep your greyhound happy and healthy.
A greyhound will happily spend most of its time indoors relaxing and laying around. Greyhounds need to burn off their conserved energy with a run or walk. Backyard exercise is perfectly acceptable for a greyhound, but daily walks provide more mental and physical stimulation for your greyhound – and these walks help to build a better relationship between you and your dog.
According to the National Greyhound Adoption Program, how much outdoor exercise your greyhound will need depends in large part upon the size of his indoor living space. If you live in an apartment or small house with no back yard, your greyhound will need about 2 to 3 short walks per day, or 1 to 2 long walks. A good run in a completely enclosed fenced area will also be enjoyable for your greyhound.
The age and physical condition of your greyhound will also determine the type of activity you can engage him in. For instance, a senior greyhound may not be as eager to join in a hearty romp with other dogs but he would enjoy a nice quiet walk with you.
Remember that greyhounds are sprinters, not distance runners. So before you run long distances with your dog, start slowly with a one-mile jog and slowly work your way up from there. If your dog is not conditioned for it, a long run can be detrimental to your greyhound’s health.
Make sure to monitor your greyhound for signs of fatigue or overheating whether you are running or walking. Always carry a bottle of water in case your dog gets overheated. Never walk your dog in the heat. Early morning and evening walks are the best times to walk your dog during the warm weather. Remember, if the sidewalk is too hot for you to walk barefoot, it is too hot for your dog to walk on.
To prevent against bloat and indigestion, wait at least an hour after your greyhound has eaten before engaging him in any kind of physical activity.
To learn more about greyhounds, read our article All About Greyhounds.