We look at our dogs in awe of their running capabilities. When they get into full flight, they look so majestic and graceful, we never tire of watching them get up to full speed, which happens remarkably quickly, we might add.
We have marveled at the sharp turns they can accomplish and the fact they have four legs yet never seem to trip over them.
But have you thought about which are the fastest dog breeds and how fast is fast? Before we identify the fastest dog list, let’s discuss for a moment what it is about the dog’s physical characteristics that allow them to run at such incredible speeds.
We’re only looking at the fastest dogs, so what do they all have in common. They all have slender bodies, long legs, deep chests, and flexible spines. All except number 9 on the list, which will surprise a few readers.
Here are the fastest dog breeds in the world:
We’re guessing this was number 1 on everybody’s list. But did you know they reach an incredible 72 km/h or 45 mph? And earlier I mentioned dogs get to their top speed rapidly, well, a Greyhound achieves their top speed in 6 STRIDES.
They are a calm, rather docile dog and even though they are the speedsters of the dog world, they love to sleep.
But, because of their strong prey drive, they are not suitable for homes with small pets. As you would expect they need regular exercise, but not for long periods because of their low endurance levels.
A graceful and independent dog, the Saluki comes in number 2 behind the Greyhound, however, there’s not much to choose between their top speeds.
A Saluki can reach speeds up to 68.8 km/h or 42.8 mph. But it will outpace the Greyhound on endurance, anything over 800 meters, and the Saluki’s superior stamina will tell.
They have incredible chasing instincts and should always be on a leash when out for walks. They will chase any small animal.
3. Afghan Hound
Next up is the Afghan Hound. These are not just speedsters, they are popular show dogs. Easily recognized with their long, beautiful coat and aristocratic bearing.
They can reach speeds up to 64.4 km/h 40 mph. So no slouch in the speed stakes either.
The Afghan is not a dog that enjoys long periods of solitude; they love their owners and look for attention most of the time.
With this breed, they instigate when it’s time for affection, not the owner.
If you are considering getting an Afghan, then positive reinforcement training is necessary because they are stubborn and difficult to train.
4. Irish Wolfhound
An Irish Wolfhound can run at speeds up to 64.4 km/h 40 mph. It’s also the tallest of all the AKC breeds. Originally bred to hunt down wolves, they are swift and powerful.
Having said that, if you can give them the exercise they need, they can make a loving and loyal family member. Generally, patient with children, but he is a big dog, so supervision is required.
They will never be great guard dogs, but with their size do they need to be?
Beautiful, rust-colored coat and a reddish-brown nose to match. These are distinctive dogs by anybody’s estimate. They have a lovely nature and are giant lap dogs.
They look robust but are lightweight for their size. They can attain a top speed of 64.4 km/h 40 mph.
The Vizsla must have a healthy amount of intense exercise. If not they will become hyperactive and destructive.
They have a reputation for being a “goofy” dog. But as they get into adulthood, they become more sedate.
They aren’t a small dog, growing to between 26-28 inches tall. However, they are no guard dogs. They might bark to announce a visitor, but they are not aggressive dogs.
As with all dogs similar in build to the Borzoi they can be swift, their top speed is 58 km/h 36 mph.
If you feel this could be the dog for you, then patience will be a virtue. They are difficult to train and stubborn. They most definitely don’t respond to harsh training methods. They require positive reinforcement with lots of treats.
Whippets are a great family dog, loving, playful with a friendly personality. They also make fabulous therapy dogs.
If you stood one side by side with a Greyhound, the untrained eye would swear it was a miniature version. A kind of Mini-Me!
With a top speed of 56 km/h 35 mph, they are swift and need lots of short bursts of intensive exercise.
We know them to be destructive puppies, but once that stage is over they become very polite adults.
They love to be on the furniture, either sat on you or near you. I won’t say it offends them if you don’t let them on the furniture, but they aren’t happy about it.
8. Jack Russell Terrier
When we talk about the swiftest dogs, this little guy catches people by surprise, it did us. After all, they don’t possess many of the build characteristics of the other top 8 fastest dog breeds.
Don’t let their small stature fool you. Clocking in at a respectable top speed of 56 km/h 35 mph.
They have a tenacious personality with well-balanced muscular bodies add into that a pinch of persistence and there you have a Jack Russell Terrier.
They need to be on a leash when out because their prey instinct will kick in and they will chase small animals.
9. Pharaoh Hound
As with nearly all the dogs on this list, the Pharaoh Hound will chase small prey. So outside of a fenced area, they should be on a leash.
Being obedient is not at the top of the list with this dog. But the adult Pharaoh is a calm, friendly dog.
When around children, there isn’t a more gentle and affectionate dog.
Pharaoh Hound’s top speed is 56 km/h 35 mph.
So there is our list of the top 9 fastest dog breeds in the world.
Do you agree with us? Or do you want to nominate another breed you believe we should include on our list?
Let us know in the comments below. We can always make the list a top 10.
As a kid, I grew up with lots of dogs in my family. My earliest recollection was a Labrador mix called Bruce, and I must have only been about three years old.
When I was around seven, we began to move around frequently, so having a dog was very difficult until we adopted a baby long-haired Dachshund. I was thirteen by then. We called him Pepe; I have no idea why; all I can say was it wasn’t my idea. But he did seem to grow into the name.
I’ve personally been the parent of a Great Dane called Lady, a French Bulldog we called Spike. I have also had the privilege of being the parent of one of the gorgeous cats on the planet; a British Blue Shorthair called Ellie. Right now, we have an amazing little Havanese in our family; we call Biscuit; he’s four years old.
I pride myself on being the very best dog-parent I can be. I refuse to bring a dog into my life without investing as much time as possible to understand that dog’s particular needs. Every dog I have parented has been an experience, and they are all different with incredible personalities.
To understand dogs as much as possible, I have taken several courses regarding dog care and training. The most recent course is The Truth About Cats And Dogs, offered by The University Of Edinburgh.
My dogs and cat have been the funniest and most unique animals I have ever been privileged to spend my life with. They can teach human beings so much if we take the time to watch and listen to them. My ambition is to share what I have learned with other passionate dog lovers.
I am obsessed with writing and researching everything I can about dog health, care, psychology, and finding the best dog products available to help ensure a dog’s life is as happy and contented as possible.