Dog breeds known for their speed aren’t just the thing of cartoons. In years gone by, many breeds were developed to have high stamina, great endurance, and the ability to run swiftly over vast terrain whether they were assisting on a hunt or involved in game racing. The fastest dog breeds on earth come in all shapes and sizes with some small breeds on the list amongst some of the largest. Though these dog breeds are known for their lightning quick moves, many of them don’t necessarily have high activity requirements, meaning they are well-suited to life as a less busy family companion.
Here is our list of the top ten fastest dog breeds on earth:
Jack Russell Terrier—25 miles per hour
The Jack Russell Terrier, the smallest dog on the list of the world’s fastest dog breeds, may be little of size, but he is big of heart. A spunky little pooch with an independent spirit, the Jack Russell Terrier was developed in England in the mid-1800’s by the Reverend John “Jack” Russell who sought to breed a strain of the Fox Terrier with the stamina to quickly traverse vast tracts of land to flush out game from beneath the earth. As such this little terrier needed to be courageous of heart, hardy of body, and with the stamina to run at immense speeds to keep up with the thrill of the hunt.
Jack Russells typically clock in at a speed of 25 miles per hour, an impressive feat for a dog of smaller stature.
Border Collie—20-30 miles per hour
Anyone who has ever enjoyed watching an agility trial knows that the jovial Border Collie is one dog that can really run! Like the Jack Russell Terrier, the Border Collie was a breed intended to have a job and is happiest when busy herding livestock, an occupation he has thoroughly enjoyed since his days as a working dog in the Roman Empire.
The Border Collie is characterized by his quick movements, a skill which makes him ideally suited to his job as well as to many active performance sports such as agility and disc dog. The breed is known for its random outbursts of exuberant energy, a trait which is part of its charm.
The Border Collie has a speed of between 20-30 miles per hour.
Whippet—36 miles per hour
The elegant Whippet owes his conformation and racing prowess to a more widely known and prized sighthound known as the Greyhound. The Whippet was developed in England to meet the need for a racing breed of smaller size to compete in dog racing events and accompany their owners on rabbit hunting adventures.
In the 20th century, the Whippet moved from his native England to the United States where Whippet racing soon gained popularity. Today, the Whippet has the occasion to indulge his love of running in lure coursing events where his speed and skill are tested in a safe and humane setting.
The Whippet can run at speeds up to 36 miles per hour.
Dalmatian – 37 miles per hour
The distinctive Dalmatian earns pride of place on our list of the fastest dog breeds on earth for his impressive pace of 37 miles per hour. A dog breed whose original purpose included acting as a guard dog for horses and their coaches, today, the Dalmatian remains a loyal protector. The Dalmatian is characterized by his incredible stamina, an excellent strength for a dog renowned for his ability to run at high speeds.
Dalmatians are often associated with fire stations. This came about in the 1800’s when fire engines were pulled by horses. Today, the Dalmatian Club of America regularly holds trials to test a Dalmatian’s stamina, strength, and speed, important qualities in a pooch whose primary job was as a “coach dog.”
Borzoi – 38 miles per hour
The Borzoi originated in Russia where he was developed to accompany aristocrats on their wolf hunting sprees. A dog breed intended to hunt in packs, as many as 100 of these noble creatures would set out on a hunt during the prime season.
A breed characterized by his gentleness, the Borzoi is a much beloved breed and has prominently featured in many great novels including Leo Tolstoy’s masterpiece War and Peace.
During the Russian Revolution, the Romanov family, their homes, property, and beautiful Borzois were destroyed, almost driving the breed into extinction. A concentrated effort was made amongst Borzoi enthusiasts to ensure the breed’s survival.
The Borzoi is a breed capable of immense speeds, topping the charts at a whopping 37 miles per hour.
Doberman Pinscher – 40 miles per hour
The Doberman Pinscher is a breed that is easily recognizable worldwide for his regal appearance that inspires awe in some and fear in others. This dog breed was developed in Germany in the 19th century by a local tax collector named Louis Dobermann. His intention was to create a dog type that would be intimidating in appearance with suitable guard-like qualities to keep him sufficiently protected when out fulfilling the mandates of his job.
What Mr. Dobermann produced was a working dog of superlative quality who was highly prized for many different roles including both work in the military and on the police force.
The Doberman is also a dog capable of tremendous speed, ringing in at an impressive 40 miles per hour.
Afghan Hound – 40 miles per hour
An ancient breed with a noble history, the Afghan Hound is considered to be the world’s oldest dog type by many aficionados of purebred dogs. It is even believed that the Afghan Hound was the species of dog taken on Noah’s Ark.
Though it is difficult to pinpoint the precise origins of this breed, we do know that the Afghan Hound has long been a valued hunting companion, easily able to traverse rugged and varied terrain. The breed was primarily owned by aristocrats and royalty.
The Afghan Hound is a sighthound that is highly prized for its ability to employ panoramic vision in its pursuit of prey. Like the Border Collie and the Jack Russell Terrier, this breed is characterized by its spontaneous outbursts of energy at impressive speeds of up to 40 miles per hour.
Vizsla—40 miles per hour
Believed to be companion animals to the Magyar people who raced through Europe wreaking havoc and carnage for over 50 years, the Vizsla was highly prized for his speed, agile body strength, and mental and physical toughness. A dog breed required to keep pace with warriors on horseback, the Vizsla easily meets the description of one of the world’s fastest dog breeds.
Though these dogs were an early prototype of what the breed would later become, the racing qualities and heart remain in the dog we know today as the Vizsla. Today, the Vizsla is a bold-hearted hunting dog, capable of running at high speeds and over long distances.
The Vizsla can run speeds of up to 40 miles per hour.
Saluki – 43 miles per hour
Another dog of ancient origins, legend tells us that the Saluki traces his heritage all the way back to 7000 BC. The Saluki is also a sighthound and was a popular dog breed amongst royalty including many of the Egyptian pharaohs and even Alexander the Great, who loved the elegance and strength of the breed.
The breed has undergone very little physical change over its history which spans several thousands of years, maintaining essentially the same unique profile. Sleek of body with a regal air, the Saluki can run at speeds of up to 43 miles per hour. Some dispute exists amongst proponents of the Saluki with some asserting that the Saluki is actually capable of running at speeds greater than the favored racing breed, the Greyhound.
Greyhound – 45 miles per hour
A dog that excels at sprinting, the Greyhound is believed to be the world’s fastest dog, topping the charts at a whopping 45 miles an hour. Some Greyhound aficionados claim the top speed record for the breed is 63 miles an hour with 45 miles standing as a correct average.
The Greyhound is also a very old breed who was often featured in prehistoric drawings which indicate animals resembling dogs accompanying their owners on hunts. In Egypt; approximately 5,000 years ago, the Greyhound was the favored companion of pharaohs who brought the dog along on hunts to spot, chase, and capture prey in the desert.
The noble appearance of the Greyhound played to the narcissistic nature of Egyptian royalty who saw the dog’s beauty as an extension of their own.
Thinking of adding a speedy dog to your life?
Any of the breeds on our top ten list makes for an excellent family companion. Though many of them were originally intended to work as hunting or racing dogs; with the appropriate amount of daily exercise, they are happy to slot into the luxury of family living. Contact a reputable breeder today to learn more about these great breeds.