Fastest dogs in the world

Published 7:00 am Thursday, December 2, 2021

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Fastest dogs in the world

Imagine walking your lovable dog down your favorite stretch of road, when a car alarm suddenly catches your attention. In the second it takes to glance at the commotion, your furry best friend jolts, yanking the leash from your hand. By the time you turn around and begin to run, the dog is already halfway down the block, and you realize you may need a bike or even a car to catch up, depending on the breed.

This scenario can be nightmare fuel for some, but it’s a common occurrence experienced by almost all pet owners at some point. This makes it all the more important to understand a dog’s breed before taking on the responsibility of caring for and training a canine friend.

Often, dogs that can run at high speeds were originally bred for hunting and herding purposes, including the Border Collie and Anatolian Shepherd, which both excel at agility and speed, and require vigorous exercise to expend their extra energy.

Consider this: The top speed a human has reached is 27.5 miles per hour, achieved by Olympian Usain Bolt during his record-breaking 100-meter sprint in 2009. That’s about the minimum speed for a dog to even make this list—we begin with the Boston terrier, with a top speed of 25 miles per hour, and end with the famous running breed the greyhound, with a top speed of 45 miles per hour. These dogs can run flat out for longer than humans, to boot. 

Stacker ranked 23 dog breeds by top speed, using data from the American Kennel Club, Vetstreet, and World’s Fastest Dogs, to help better understand your energetic companion.

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#23. Boston terrier

– Top Speed: 25 miles per hour

This small, friendly breed with a playful and energetic personality is known as the “American gentleman.” Boston terriers are thought to be directly related to the English bulldog terrier breeds and are well-built for canine sports—especially those involving speed.

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#22. Rat terrier

– Top Speed: 27 miles per hour

Originally bred as hunting companions and for pest control, rat terriers are considered a rare breed. They are sociable, intelligent, easy to train, and especially compatible with young children, making them a great choice for first-time pet owners with families.

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#21. Siberian husky

– Top Speed: 28 miles per hour

The Siberian husky historically endured harsh conditions that conditioned the breed to become an iconic choice for sled dogs. Despite their tough build, Siberian huskies are considered exceptionally friendly with children, due to their pack nature and high energy. However, the breed needs to be specially cared for and exercised sufficiently, and they are considered to be escape artists and have been known to jump fences as high as 8 feet.

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#20. Giant schnauzer

– Top Speed: 28 miles per hour

Giant schnauzers are gentle creatures with a timid nature, though they are known to become defensive when presented with new people or situations. Their history as farm and herding dogs trained them to be fast and playful, supplying them with an energetic and loyal nature. Giant schnauzers are known to be easily trained and loyal to their owner.

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#19. Anatolian shepherd

– Top Speed: 28 miles per hour

The Anatolian shepherd is an old breed, dating as far back as 6,000 years ago, where they endured intense temperatures and displayed feats of speed while defending livestock from bears and mountain lions. Consequently, its forceful and defensive nature can make it a handful for owners to train—this breed must be socialized to properly train them as companion dogs.

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#18. Border collie

– Top Speed: 30 miles per hour

Considered remarkably intelligent, border collies are bred for herding livestock and are known to be energetic and athletic, often displaying impressively quick maneuvers in dog sports. The breed is only recommended for owners who can keep up with its active lifestyle, which is known to be demanding.

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#17. Boxer

– Top Speed: 30 miles per hour

Boxers are a kind and loving breed that display the utmost loyalty to their owner, and are patient and protective of children, making them an ideal family dog. The breed’s name is thought to derive from their inclination to stand on their rear legs and thrust their front paws forward—resembling a boxer’s movements.

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#16. Belgian Malinois

– Top Speed: 30 miles per hour

Belgian Malinois are considered to be one of the most energetic dog breeds, which also means they demand plenty of attention and exercise. The breed is used for working tasks in military and police operations that require them to detect scents of possible threats. They are most notably used in White House defense.

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#15. Great Dane

– Top Speed: 30 miles per hour

Ancestry of the Great Dane is widely thought to have originated from a dog breed present in ancient Greece; as depicted in Greek art, Great Dane look-alikes appear hunting wild boar. Despite its intimidating stature, this gentle giant is friendly and patient, rarely displaying aggression or hostility. Dogs of this breed are recommended for families as long as they raise them from a young age and socialize them properly.

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#14. Poodle

– Top Speed: 33 miles per hour

Poodles are known for their beauty and brains. Most commonly used as show dogs, poodles are ranked the third most intelligent dog breed by Vetstreet, and exhibit great agility and obedience. The breed is normally shy around new people but quickly expresses affection and playfulness when socialized well enough.

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#13. Pharaoh hound

– Top Speed: 35 miles per hour

Pharaoh hounds are confident and self-reliant, but require special training that doesn’t involve disciplinary action. Though the breed’s DNA doesn’t have direct relation to Egypt, some believe it resembles breeds depicted in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics, which may support the myth of Phoenicians bringing the breed to Malta more than 2,000 years ago.

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#12. Weimaraner

– Top Speed: 35 miles per hour

The Weimaraner is considered to be an all-purpose dog, with traits that fulfill a number of specific needs for hunting small game and sports, including speed and a keen nose. The breed is considered energetic and sociable, but when left alone, they tend to be anxious and unruly.

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#11. Doberman pinscher

– Top Speed: 35 miles per hour

Doberman pinschers are a strong-willed and well-tempered breed, known for their graceful tendency to walk and stand on their toes rather than their paws. The breed is often perceived as intimidating due to its appearance, including the practice of clipping their tails and ears. Thankfully, some countries are beginning to outlaw the practice.

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#10. Scottish deerhound

– Top Speed: 35 miles per hour

This ancient breed is believed to pre-date recorded history and varies little from its ancestors. Scottish deerhounds get their name from their reputation of being exceptional hunters of deer—they chase them down at speeds of up to 35 miles per hour. While they may not be the fastest for racing purposes, some believe them to be faster than counterparts while in their natural habitat.

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#9. Whippet

– Top Speed: 36 miles per hour

Whippets are often used as athletes in various dog sports, including racing and hare coursing, as the breed exhibits impressive speed and agility, especially when properly trained. The breed is described as quiet and timid, and may be happy resting for most of the day. However, whippets can be oversensitive, and may react when startled or touched.

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#8. Borzoi

– Top Speed: 36 miles per hour

With a Russian name that translates to “fast,” the borzoi lives up to its name with the ability to run at a full speed of 36 miles per hour. Due to its slim build, silky smooth coat of fur, and its quiet and independent nature, the breed often appears in dog shows and athletics. Borzois are selective learners, requiring the owner’s patience and persistence to train.

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#7. Dalmatian

– Top Speed: 37 miles per hour

The Dalmatian is iconically known for its appearance in Disney’s “One Hundred and One Dalmatians,” and for its reputation as a firehouse dog in the U.S. Dalmatians have a natural liking for horses, which made them ideal for running alongside firefighter carriages in the early years of firefighting, as they were one of the few breeds that could keep up with horses. The breed continues to be a mascot for firefighters—and the Budweiser Clydesdales—to this day.

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#6. German shepherd

– Top Speed: 39 miles per hour

German shepherds are historically used as guard and service dogs due to their natural eagerness to work. German shepherds used for police service are so inclined to perform that they have been known to become upset when they fail to sniff out dangerous objects, requiring their handlers to routinely set up hazardous items for the dog to find.

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#5. Vizsla

– Top Speed: 40 miles per hour

Vizslas are bred to be hunters and retrievers—historically, the breed brought fowl to its owner after the bird was shot. The breed requires tons of attention and affection, and will sometimes whine when it feels ignored. Like most dogs used for hunting, vizslas require a level of exercise, so prepare to be active.

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#4. Afghan hound

– Top Speed: 40 miles per hour

The Afghan hound is considered a staple in dog shows, as the breed has a long and luscious coat of fur that owners groom to highlight its silky appearance. While the breed is a popular competitor in show, it also possesses remarkable speed, which makes it a worthy contestant in agility sports.

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#3. Ibizan hound

– Top Speed: 40 miles per hour

The Ibizan hound aims to entertain its owner with hyperactive antics and endless energy, as they will often escape crates and jump high fences. The breed has a natural inclination to run when unbounded, so it is recommended owners keep a watchful eye when their dog is off its leash. Ibizan hounds are also protective and bark only when necessary—characteristics of a great guard dog.

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#2. Saluki

– Top Speed: 43 miles per hour

Salukis are sight hunters, using their sharp vision to spot prey from great distances, and relying on their extraordinary speed to hunt down small prey. While not acknowledged as the quickest dog over short distances, it is believed that the saluki is capable of faster speeds over long distances.

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#1. Greyhound

– Top Speed: 45 miles per hour

The greyhound’s tall, slender build was specially bred for dog racing, making it the fastest dog, with a top speed of 45 miles per hour. Unlike other dogs, the breed is meant for speed rather than endurance, and doesn’t require much exercise. Greyhounds are often content with lounging around the house, and are recognized for their independent and gentle nature. However, without a proper outlet of exercise,they can become hyperactive and even destructive.

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