Table of Contents:
- Why Are Dogs Such Great Runners?
- How Fast Can Greyhounds Run?
- 5 More of the Fastest Dog Breeds
- America’s Fastest Dog
- How Much Exercise Do Dogs Need?
If you’ve ever chased your dog through the yard or watched them bound through the park at a full sprint, you’d probably agree that dogs can really move. While speed varies from breed to breed, the average dog can run at a pace of between 15 and 20 miles per hour over short distances.
Why Are Dogs Such Great Runners?
A dog’s prowess on the track starts at ground level. Paw pads and nails provide the power to explode into a sprint, as well as the traction necessary to change direction and gait quickly. At top speed, especially fast dogs break into what’s known as a double-suspension gait. This is the same gait you’ll see from a racehorse, which is all four limbs leaving the ground at the same time. It’s especially common among dogs with lean builds, deep chests, and long legs.
How Fast Can Greyhounds Run?
Many breeds are speed demons, but Greyhounds are definitely the top dogs. Greyhounds only need six strides to reach their full speed of around 45 miles per hour. Among mammals, only cheetahs are capable of accelerating faster and some studies suggest Greyhounds would win in a head-to-head competition.
What makes Greyhounds so fast?
In addition to the speed-boosting features noted above, Greyhounds have other genetic gifts that make them so fast. Most notably, the breed’s heart is huge in relation to the rest of its body. The human heart accounts for about .5% of a person’s body weight and the average dog’s heart accounts for .77% of its weight. Depending on their weight, a Greyhound’s heart could account for nearly as much as 1.75%. Beating five times per second, it can circulate all of the blood in the dog’s body multiple times even during a brief race. Greyhounds are also powered by exceptionally long, slender legs and flexible spines.
5 More of the Fastest Dog Breeds
Greyhounds aren’t the only dogs noted for their speed. These five dogs would also be assets on any canine track team.
Long and lean like Greyhounds, Salukis aren’t just one of the world’s fastest breeds — they’re also one of the oldest. They served as the hunting companions to ancient Egyptians and can reach speeds around 40 miles per hour.
The Afghan Hound is best known for its distinctive coat, but the breed’s speed is plenty impressive too. Bred to hunt in the deserts of Afghanistan, they’re still known to hit 40 miles per hour.
Hailing from Hungary, the Vizsla is another active breed that was developed to hunt and continues to impress with speeds nearing 40 miles per hour.
Jack Russell Terrier
These tiny pups can run surprisingly fast for dogs with such little legs. Intelligent and energetic, the Jack Russell has evolved from an effective hunter to a devoted family pet.
Familiar from firehouses and a famous Disney flick, the Dalmatian is capable of running faster than 35 miles per hour.
Some Not-So Speedy Breeds
Much slower dogs include stubby-legged pups like the Pug, Corgi, and Basset Hound, as well as massive breeds like the St. Bernard. Though they can zip around the yard, they certainly won’t win any races against more athletic competition.
America’s Fastest Dog
Each year, the American Kennel Club crowns the country’s fastest dogs from each breed at the Fast CAT (Coursing Ability Tests) Invitational. 2020’s competition took place in Orlando, Florida from December 9th to 11th and featured 117 four-legged runners. Fastest of all was a mixed-breed competitor from Maryland named Wailin’ Phelan the Bearded Lass. The impressive pooch ran 100 meters in just 6.346 seconds, hitting more than 32 miles per hour.
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How Much Exercise Do Dogs Need?
Whether your dog’s a marathon runner, a sprinter, or a devoted couch potato, they need regular exercise and stimulation. Walks and games of fetch won’t just help your pet maintain a healthy weight. They’re also a valuable way to reduce stress and discourage dogs from anxious destructive behaviors like chewing or scratching furniture.
Pet parents who are trying to get more active don’t need to look far for a workout partner. In 2016, one avid jogger clocked a 4:13 mile alongside their Weimaraner! While you probably won’t set records like that out of the gate, it’s simple to develop a workout plan that accounts for your needs as well as your dog’s. Learn more about breaking a sweat alongside your pup to keep yourselves both happy and healthy.