The kind of dog you choose really depends on what you're looking for in a pet pup. Do you want a cuddly cutie who will be your snuggle partner on the couch? Look into the most affectionate breeds, then. If you prefer a loyal dog with a natural protective instinct, check out the best guard dogs. But if it's a hiking, running, or biking buddy you're looking for, you may want to consider any one of the 30 fastest dog breeds.
The fastest dogs in the world fall into three main categories of breeds: hounds, sport, and hunting dogs. While other groups like non-sporting, herding, terrier, and toy are also represented in some of the fastest breeds, for the most part, the dogs with lightning-fast racer qualities tend to be dogs known to chase, hunt, and catch. And for good reason!
Here are 30 of the fastest dog breeds that will sprint circles around you.
30 Fastest Dog Breeds
We all know that Greyhounds are fast. Like, really fast. After all, they have been bred as racing dogs for decades. According to Psychology Today, the Greyhound can reach similar speeds to that of a cheetah. We're talking a speed of 45 miles per hour (mph) within its first six strides. That unmatched ability makes Greyhounds the fastest breed of dog.
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It's no wonder the Saluki is the second fastest dog breed in the world. Just one glance at the Saluki and anyone can tell it's made for speed. After all, they are built similarly to Greyhounds. Saluki males are generally anywhere from 23 to 28 inches high and in weight, between 40 to 65 pounds. Lean in stature and independent in nature, Salukis were sought by kings to do their hunting because they were so agile and able to hunt by sight rather than scent, according to American Kennel Club. That's not all that's impressive: Salukis also run at about 45 mph.
Tied with the Afghan Hound for the third-fastest breed, the Vizla gets up to about 40 miles per hour when running. Because of their extreme speeds, Vizlas have been bred for hunting and upland games over the years and as a breed, they've honed their hunting instincts and are exceptionally trainable. Also known for their golden-red coats and amber eyes, Vizlas are the pride of Hungary; Hungarian huntsmen have been using them for sport for years.
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4. Afghan Hound
As quick-paced as the Vizla, Afghan Hounds are one of the oldest breeds around. So, it's no wonder that they've figured out a thing or two about running... and fast! You may recognize Afghans from their long, almost human-like hair, and though they are very pretty, you shouldn't be fooled by their graceful look. They're also insanely fast, reaching speeds of up to 40 mph.
5. Ibizan Hound
Also a hound, Ibizan Hounds have been around since 3400 BC when they were first brought to Egypt in the eighth century, according to Spoiled Hounds. Egyptians train Ibizan hounds to hunt rabbits, which they're still used for today. After all, rabbits are quick little sprinters, who can run anywhere from 25 to 45 mph. To be able to catch a rabbit, Ibizans Hound would have to be just as fast—and they certainly are. They're not just fast, either; Ibizans can reportedly jump up to six feet in the air from a standing position.
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The Whippet's name sounds fast for good reason. According to AKC—which describes the dog breed as "lightning fast"—the Whippet is also part of the sighthound family, as are the breeds mentioned above. With a body of inverted S-lines and long, arched, and slim features, the Whippet can run up to 34 miles per hour.
7. Jack Russell Terrier
Jack Russells were originally bred as working dogs, thanks to their instinct to hunt. And not just any kind of hunting instinct—Jack Russells are exceptionally good at hunting for prey underground. To hunt underground, a dog must be able to run quickly to keep up with whatever may be scampering below the surface. Sure, they make amazing family dogs, but Jack Russell Terriers might be difficult to track down should they run away. After all, they can hit speeds up to 38 mph.
Also known for its great guard dogging, Dalmatians have long legs that like to stretch out. With a unique history of being bred as a "coach dog"—a dog with the rather now defunct job of trotting alongside a carriage or coach to protect them from burglars or other assailants. Because Dalmatians had to be able to keep up with the vehicles of the past, they had to be fast. How fast? Dalmatians can run up to 37 mph.
Similar in look to the other sighthounds on this list, the Borzoi is a Russian wolfhound, the breeding of which dates back to the 17th century. Described by the AKC as "agreeable," "loyal," and "regally dignified," it's not entirely clear how fast a Borzoi can run. The AKC reports Borzoi speeds anywhere from 35 to 40 mph, but other sources cap their speed at 36. Are they truly faster than Dalmatians, Jack Russells, and maybe even the Whippet? Only time will tell...
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10. Doberman Pinscher
The Doberman Pinscher is another breed associated with speed. Why? This working dog has a body that's literally built for speed. Paired with brains to boot, one of the most distinguished features of a Doberman's temperament is his fearlessness. That fearlessness might just be one of the things that enables a Doberman to move so sharply and athletically.
The Weimaraner is certainly not a small dog but its large size doesn't stop this breed from hightailing it around the dog park. Running as fast as 35 mph, Weimaraners are hunting dogs with excellent track records of hunting big game: boar, deer, and even bear.
12. Pharaoh Hound
Surprise, surprise—another hound! The Pharaoh Hound is no average hunting dog. Standing at about 24 inches tall and weighing an average of 50+ pounds, the Pharaoh Hound got its name from sprinting after small game at about 35 mph.
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13. German Pinscher
Not to be confused with the Doberman Pinscher (although these breeds are indeed very similar), the German Pinscher reaches speeds of about 33 mph. Described by AKC as "courageous," "intelligent," and "vivacious," the German Pinscher was once used to chase (and of course, catch!) rats. If that doesn't say something about its speed, we don't know what does.
14. Border Collie
Border Collies are herd dogs that have historically had the job of taking care of sheep and other herds. In order to whip the herds into shape, Collies have had to run alongside herds, steering them and moving them in the farmer's desired direction. Since a Border Collie can run as fast as 30 mph, that's no problem for this energetic breed.
15. German Shepherd
Also an incredible guard dog, German Shepherds aren't known for giving up. In fact, they are vigilant dogs with a high level of intelligence that is only rivaled by their speed and of course, physical beauty. Also a working dog, the German Shepherd is agile, muscular, and big, generally. This loyal giant can run at about 30 mph, too, so you wouldn't want to be chased by this breed, famously known as police and military dogs.
16. Standard Poodle
You may not have guessed it, but the Standard Poodle isn't just pretty to look at. Sure, poodles may have some overwhelming curls, but like the Afghan Hound, the Poodle's looks shouldn't take away from its athletic capabilities. Standard Poodles have been known to run at a fast pace—up to 30 mph. After all, Poodles were originally duck hunters.
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17. Australian Shepherd
Australian Shepherds do the same job as the Border Collie: protect and herd. These working dogs need daily exercise to get all their energy out and can do so at speeds of up to 30 mph.
18. Great Dane
Known for their great height—approximately 32 inches from the ground to the shoulder—the speed of Great Danes is often overlooked. But it shouldn't be. Able to sprint with the best of them, the Great Dane can reach 30 mph even despite their weights being upwards of 150 pounds!
19. Italian Greyhound
The Italian Greyhound may be significantly smaller than his other Greyhound friends, but he's speedy quick! When running, Italian Greyhounds—also affectionately called "Iggys"—kick the dust up behind them at 30 mph. But when not exercising, these small pups are known for curling up on the couch.
20. German Shorthaired Pointers
A sporting breed that dates back to the 17th century, German Shorthaired Pointers are hunting dogs known for their unique spotted coats. Reaching about 30 mph when in pursuit, Germain Shorthaired Pointers also interact well with other dogs and humans, making them affectionate family pets.
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21. Siberian Huskies
Huskies are known for running in the Iditarod—a yearly dogsled race from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska. The race, which covers 1,161 miles of treacherous terrain of ice and snow, is completed by teams of Huskies that generally run up to 125 miles per day. With each Husky able to run at about 28 mph, teams race for up to six hours at a time, pulling a sled (and a person!) the entire way. Of course, Huskies don't run at their full 28 mph the whole time; it's more like 10 to 12 mph during the race, Psychology Today points out, but even still. This energetic, too-smart-for-its-own-good dog breed certainly doesn't get enough credit for just how fast they really are.
22. Rat Terrier
As their name implies, Rat Terriers were used for "ratting," or chasing away rats. Also known as "vermin hunters," Rat Terriers can run as fast as 27 mph despite their tiny size.
23. Brittany Spaniel
Reaching up to 25 mph is the Brittany Spaniel, an easily trainable breed that loves swimming and makes for a great hunting partner.
23. Pit Bull Mixes
It's true! They may have a reputation as aggressive guard dogs, but Pitties—which is really just a catch-all term for American Staffordshire Terriers, American Pit Bull Terriers, and other mixes—can also run really, really fast. Reaching anywhere from 25 to 27 mph—depending on the source you consult!—Pits are part of the terrier group of dog breeds.
24. Shiba Inu (25 mph)
Aside from Siberian Huskies, the Shiba Inu is perhaps the only other snow dog to make this list. Known to sprint as fast as 25 mph, Shiba Inus resemble foxes and, well, run almost as fast.
The Basenji can run as fast as 25 mph, as this breed, too, was a vermin hunter. But despite their quick speeds, Basenjis are small, so they don't need a vast amount of space. They allegedly adapt well to apartment life, as well.
26. Icelandic Sheepdog (22 mph)
The Icelandic Sheepdog's name gives away just how ancient a breed it truly is. Dating back to the 9th century, Icelandic Sheepdogs have been around for almost forever, herding cattle and sheep at speeds of up to 22 mph.
The Beagle may be on the more medium size than some of these other big and fast sprinters, but it, too, is fast. A scent hound, Beagles can chase game at up to 20 mph.
28. Boston Terrier
Boston Terriers have earned the adorable nickname "America's Gentleman," strictly because of their appearance. But did you know this tuxedo-coated breed is actually quite fast? These little guys will zip around your backyard at up to 18 mph, so good luck catching them!
Though they may be tiny, they be mighty. Well, at least when it comes to speed. You might have a hard time catching a Papillon, either in your yard or around your house, since they can reach up to 18 mph. Apart from that though, they're pretty low-key dogs so long as they've tired themselves out running.
30. Australian Terrier
Another nimble little vermin hunter, Australian Terriers reach speeds of up to 18 mph. They're also known to be effective watchdogs with affectionate dispositions toward their owners and other members of the family.
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