How fast can dogs run?

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Author: Steph Coelho

Last Updated: January 31, 2023

Toss a ball, and most dogs will eagerly go to retrieve it. How fast they run to the ball depends on a few factors, including their breed and personality. Some might shuffle over to the toy, and others are more likely to sprint all out.

But is there a limit to their speed? How fast can dogs run?

Let’s find out.

The benefits of running for dogs

Whether you let your dog run free at the dog park or go for regular jogs together, there are many benefits to exercising your favorite furry pal. And you can reap some of the same benefits if you’re tagging along.

  • Improved heart health
  • Better mood
  • Mental stimulation
  • Improved joint health
  • Better digestive and urinary health
  • Bonding time for you and your dog

How fast can a dog run?

The average dog can reach run speeds of about 15 to 20 miles per hour (mph). But some speedy pups can reach speeds of up to 45 mph. For reference, the top speed for cheetahs is between 68 and 74.5 mph.

5 fastest dog breeds

Here are a few examples of some of the fastest dog breeds:

  • Whippet
  • Greyhound
  • Vizsla
  • German shepherd
  • Jack Russell terrier

Research suggests that a genetic mutation plays a role in a whippet’s ability to reach dizzying speeds. Unsurprisingly, genes may play a role in speediness. Racing dogs like whippets and greyhounds have been bred for centuries to reach faster and faster speeds. They’re built for fast running speeds, with long legs and lean bodies.

Keep in mind that while some dogs are lightning fast, they may not be able to maintain high speeds for long, just like humans. Sprinters, like Usain Bolt, are good at racing short distances but might not have the training or abilities to compete at longer distances. A dog’s speed isn’t solely determined by its breed or body shape.

Which breeds are the best runners?

The above-listed breeds are great at being fast but might not necessarily be the perfect running partners. If you’re looking for a fur pal to join you on regular runs, it’s essential to consider the breed and individual temperament. And remember that your buddy won’t be up for 10-mile runs right away. Dogs benefit from training, too. You’ll need to gradually increase the distance you run each time.

Find out more by reading our guide to running with your dog.

While the best running companion for you may depend on a dog’s individual temperament and personality, some breeds are inherently bad running partners because their physiology limits their physical abilities.

Dogs with short legs or overly large bodies tend to be on the slower side. Small dogs may also have trouble keeping up with you on a run. And dogs prone to breathing issues, like pugs or bulldogs, may struggle to get enough air if you try to go for runs with them, posing a potential health risk.

Examples of breeds not suited for running include:

  • Toy poodles
  • Standard poodles
  • Boxers
  • Chihuahuas
  • Shih Tzus
  • French bulldogs

Is it safe for dogs to run?

Let a dog hang around a backyard, and they’ll likely break out running at some point. It’s a natural movement for them, whether chasing squirrels or squeaky toys.

Regular exercise is vital for physical and mental health, too. But too much running can pose an injury risk. And all dogs have limits. That’s why it’s important to carefully monitor your pooch when going for a run or even a long walk.

And remember to use the proper equipment when running with your dog. A quality dog running leash will ensure you and your pup have a safe and enjoyable experience.

Takeaway

Some dogs can reach speeds of up to 45 miles per hour. But among the fastest breeds, there’s some variation in top speeds.

Some breeds are better endurance runners, and others do better going fast. Still, individual personality also determines whether you’ll succeed with a canine running partner.

Most dogs are happy to run around, but not all are built for regular run training, so keep that in mind when deciding on bringing Fido along for marathon training sessions. Dogs with stubby legs or squished faces (also known as brachycephalic breeds) may struggle to keep up with you and be better off sticking with short, slow walks.

FAQs

What dog breed can run the longest?

Again, this depends on the individual dog — maybe you’ve met a lazy labrador retriever who doesn’t enjoy playing with other dogs, which is totally contrary to the breed — but some breeds are definitely better at going long distances than others. These include:

  • Labrador retrievers
  • Dalmatians
  • Belgian Malinois
  • Australian shepherds
  • Jack Russell terriers
  • Border collies
  • Salukis
  • Afghan hounds
  • Weimaraners
  • Siberian Huskies
  • Borzois
  • Doberman pinschers
  • Ibizan hound

How long can a dog run without stopping?

This depends on the dog and how much training they’ve done. Some dogs will poop out after 5 minutes of running. Others may be able to run as far as marathon distance or more — with training, of course.

What are the slowest dog breeds?

No research pins this moniker on a specific breed or dog, but breeds that tend to waddle instead of spring include:

  • Newfoundland
  • Saint Bernard
  • Bulldog
  • Boston terrier
  • Basset hound
  • Bullmastiff
  • Great Dane
  • Dachshunds