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How Fast Can a Dog Run? The Slowest and the Fastest Dog Breeds

Updated by Sheryl on Sep 10, 2021

Have you ever watched your dog run a race with his canine friend in a park? Have you noticed that some dog breeds run really fast?

You may feel that your dog is lazy or doesn't like to run but how fast a dog can run solely depends on his body structure and breed. Dogs that run faster have striking differences in their body parts, physique and even internal organs.

Most small-slow-slug dogs like Corgi, Pug, Poodle are not blessed with long legs, while sighthound dogs like Greyhound, Saluki, Vizsla, Whippet are designed to run fast. Their lean body, long legs, narrow waist, everything supports their body to drive forward.

dog running
How fast can a dog run?
Are dogs faster than humans?
Why do dogs run so fast?
How to train your dog to run fast?
Your Burning Questions

An average dog can run about 15 to 20 miles per hour for short distances without any training. Their speed and distance covered will depend on their body composition and breed.

For example, dogs like sighthounds have long legs, oversized lungs, and hearts. They can breathe more oxygen and pump blood faster to keep up with the race. They can run at a speed of 25 to 45 miles per hour. Another example is collies; they have small body mass and long stride, which allows them to move faster than their counterparts of the same size.

On the contrary, small dogs with short legs like Poodle, Shih Tzus, and giant dog breeds like St. Bernards run much slower because of one’s shorter strides and the other’s body mass. Other dogs run slow because they either don’t have a strong respiratory system or aren’t that athletic by nature.

But most dogs can only run fast for shorter distances. The dog breed which runs the longest distance are Siberian Husky and the Alaskan Malamute. They have a strong cardiovascular system. They can run at a speed of 10 to 15 miles per hour and maintain their running pace for hours.

dog running

If you ever wonder how fast can a dog compare to humans? Well, the fastest man on record is Usain Bolt, who is able to run 27.5 mph. For the rest of us, it’s somewhere between 10 to 15 mph when running at a fast pace.

Whereas the fastest dog on the planet has a running speed of 45 mph. However, these fast-running dogs have a short running sprint. It means they can only run at their highest speeds for shorter distances. A dog with full stamina can run a mile in five to six minutes and sometimes even less.

Then there are slow dogs who are significantly slow compared to their leggy counterparts. The slowest dog breed in the world at only 6 miles per hour is Shih Tzu. Therefore, the running speed of the dogs greatly varies from breed to breed. It depends on their anatomy.

exercise with the dog
Top 9 fastest dog in the world:
Greyhound: 72 km/ hour
Saluki: 68 km/h
Afghan hound: 64.4 km/h
Vizsla: 64.4 km/h
Ibizan hound: 64.4 km/h
Dalmatian: 60 km/h
Borzoi: 58 km/h
Whippet: 56 km/h
Pharaoh Hound: 56 km/h

Qualities of fast running dogs that are common in these breeds are- a deep chest, lean physique, and comparably long legs.

dog run fast
Top 9 slowest dog breeds:
Shih Tzu: 6 mph
Lhasa Apso: 7 mph
Japanese Chin: 7 mph
Pomeranian: 7 mph
Chihuahua: 8 mph
Dachshund: 8 mph
Pug: 8 mph
Bichon Frise: 8 mph
French Bulldog: 8 mph

Some dogs run exceptionally slow when compared to leggy dogs. Although, there are obvious reasons and differences in body composition some are naturally not sporty.

a dog looks at you

How fast can a dog run depends on its body structure and the breed. However, all dogs share the following morphological similarities that make them good runners.

Characteristics of a fast running dog:
A flexible spine

Dogs flex their spine to attain maximum overreach. In addition, they have strong abdominal muscles and loins, which creates the potential force to drive forward.

Better grip

Dogs have feet with great grip and sensation, allowing them to feel the ground. And they have nails for better traction. It highly improves their turning ability and balances while running.

Complex gaits

Dogs run in the double-suspension gallop, which maximizes their stride length and speed.

Strong cardiovascular system

Dogs that run fast have an oversized heart that pumps blood as much as needed to keep up with the race. They have larger lungs and nostrils which help them breathe more oxygen and run at even faster speeds.

Running with your dog is a fun way to do exercise together. Some owners want their dogs to run to be able to go on exploring the world together. And besides, every dog breed, regardless of its size, shape and gender, should be active to remain fit and healthy.

dog running
Here are the easiest ways to train your dog to run fast:
Reward him

By reward, we don’t necessarily mean snacks. It can be his favourite toy or stuff he loves. Bring it with you and make sure you are carrying this stuff. He will start following you everywhere. Remember, dogs don’t understand what they are doing. They do things that make you happy and make them feel accomplished. So, reward him with his favourite thing.

Lots of praise

When you are making your dog do something, praise him, be his cheerleader. Get down on his level, cheer him, give him treats and rub his favourite spots. Give a look and feel that he understands he has done a great thing that has made you proud. He will be anxious to perform it again.

Short sessions

When you are teaching your dog something new, keep the lessons short and on point. If it’s too long, he might forget what the training was all about. Suppose you are making him do a speed trial. He should realise that it’s not his usual walk in the park. But it should never be a long, exhausting training.

Exercise with him

Whatever you do, your dog wants to follow you. It’s the same for running. Run with your dog, be involved in the exercise, give him treats and enjoy the running together. And try this best dog running leash, you will love it.

What is the fastest dog?
An original hunting dog breed, Greyhounds are the fastest dog breed that can run at a speed of 45 miles/hour or 72 km/hour. Greyhounds are professionally trained to take part in dog racing. They have the most aerodynamic body to cut through the air, oversized lungs, and long legs for larger strides.
What is the slowest dog in the world?
Shih Tzu is the slowest dog, with a running speed of only six mph. They have nothing to help them run fast, like long legs, narrow waist, deep chest; Shih Tzu is a house dog and lives by humans.
Can a man outrun a dog?
Most mammals, including dogs, can sprint faster than humans. For short-distance running, an average dog will easily outrun an average human who runs at a 3.2 to 4 meters per second speed. Running on four legs gives the dog advancement over speed and distance covered. But when it comes to long-distance running, humans will outrun a dog and all other mammals running on four legs. It’s because humans cool down by sweating instead of panting. We don’t have furs, and we can keep cool at speeds that will overheat dogs.
Sheryl
Sheryl is an editor from iPetor, owns extensive pet care experience. As a professional writer, she can provide useful pet care tips for all "parents".
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