How fast can a dog run? Do dogs like running in the first place? Are dogs born sprinters or long distance movers? Many questions have been asked when it comes to a dog’s speed and how fast they can run. The difference in breeds will certainly come into play. There’s a lot to look at when discussing a dog’s speed and how fast they can run in general.
Hi my name is Mike and I’ve been training and working with dogs for many years now. This website was developed to help interested parties like yourself get answers to common and complex dog questions alike. Today we will be discussing dog speed in general and answering the question, “How fast can a dog run?” Lets take a look shall we?
How Fast Can A Dog Run Examined
Dogs are great pets and can easily become a valued and essential member of any family unit. Because of this, we sometimes forget that they were originally wild animals and have very different skills and abilities depending on their breed. Some dogs were bred to herd livestock while others were built for hunting. We also have breeds that were raised specifically for show or companionship. All of these different breeds have strengths and weaknesses. Many of them can count speed and agility among their strengths.
For most dogs, running is just as essential as breathing. It is the main way they get from one place to another. how fast do they run though and are they able to keep it up for extended periods of time or just short bursts? This will of course largely depend on breed but lets look at some super general facts about dogs and their speeds by breed size.
General Dog Speed By Size
This is by no means exact but it will give you a good idea of how fast your dog could run depending on their overall size and weight. The larger the dog, the shorter the lifespan is another general rule of thumb as well. Lets look at a few of the most common categories.
When I refer to toy dogs, I’m referencing dogs that are lightweight (5 pounds or less) and fit easily in your hand. Obviously these dogs are not bred to run and chase things. These dogs are generally show dogs, companion and or emotional support animals. So what kind of speeds do our toy dog breeds have? Not much at all I’m afraid. These dogs don’t really run. They may trot from place to place but speed was never the desired outcome during selective breeding. Most of the time, these dogs have very short legs and can’t really get to a full on gallop to put on any real type of speed. The average seems to be short bursts of speed around 3-5 mph.
Taking a step up from our toy breeds we have small dogs. Small dogs tend to weigh between 5-15 pounds and have some advantages over toy dogs when it comes to speed. These dogs can actually be decently fast. Many smaller breeds like this were bred to be rodent and small game catchers. Because of this, they are able to put on short bursts of speed anywhere from 10-20 mph. The smaller dogs are sprinters though. They can’t sustain these types of speeds for long. They do recover quickly however and they are also very nimble to boot. The added agility would make it very easy for them to chase down small game and birds while hunting out in the fields and forests. My cousin had a small Jack Russel who used to love to chase field mice all day.
To sum it up, these dogs have decent speed but usually can’t sustain it for that long. They will put on a burst, take a short rest and get right back to it. Smaller breeds also tend to be more nimble and able to maneuver much better than their larger counterparts.
The next step up in terms of size is the medium bracket. The increase in size is generally proportionate to the increase in speed. In general, the longer the dogs legs get, the faster they can run. Medium sized dogs tend to weigh in around 15 to 40 pounds and were bred for a multitude of reasons. They will have a good balance of strength and speed combined with agility. Sprinters and long distance runners belong to this group. The speeds can range anywhere from 10 to 37 mph.
As I mentioned before, these dogs can be used for many different types of tasks. Some are hunters, others help out in the fields and others still are family dogs and protectors of their homes. There is a lot of variability in this group and the versatility can show itself in the range of different sizes and speeds that accompany these breeds.
Now we move onto the larger dog breeds. The speeds between the large breeds and the medium sized dogs can actually be quite similar. Most larger breeds will outweigh their medium counterparts and stand taller as well. We are looking at a similar speed range of about 15-45mph. Some of the fastest breeds in the world reside in this group. They weigh in anywhere from 50-100 pounds.
Once again , these dogs can be used for a variety of tasks. Herding, protection, family, hunting and racing to name a few. The larger dog breeds tend to be a bit slower at a walk but can reach higher speeds at a full on run as well. This is generally because they have a longer leg size and gait.
Extra Large Dogs
These are the biggest dogs out there. I’m referring to anything over 100 pounds in size. Some of these can be just as fast as smaller breeds but are generally built more for strength and protection than anything else. Speeds of 20-40 mph are often observed with these animals. These mighty dogs are often used in hunting big game like deer or bear. Some speed is required but endurance is also a larger factor. The larger breeds can generally go longer without food and water. They can store more energy on their bodies and that gives them an advantage when it comes to marathon hunting situations.
Larger dogs also tend to be able to develop better coats and shield themselves from extreme weather conditions a lot better. Sadly, these dogs usually have the shortest lifespans of the whole bunch.
Do Dogs Like Running?
So now that we have looked at the question, “How fast can a dog run?”, we should ask ourselves, “Do dogs like to run?”. Once again, a lot of this is going to depend on breed and temperament. Some dogs that were bred to be fast like a Grey Hound or Jack Russel, tend to run more than breeds that were not built for it. With that being said, all dogs have the ability to run and will use this ability when required.
Some dogs love to play fetch or run around the house banging into everything and causing a general ruckus. Other pups are perfectly content to sleep on the couch all day only moving when something happens or they smell a tasty treat! Breed will always give you a good idea of how a dog is going to react and what kind of general activity level they will have.
Some Of The Fastest Dog Breeds
Lets take a look at a few of the fastest dog breeds out there and how they stack up to each other.
Grey hounds are fast! This is currently the fastest dog breed in the world. They can reach speeds of up to 45+ mph. These dogs are often used in sports, hunting and other speedy ventures. Grey Hounds are a large dog breed that make great family pets as well. Using a grey hound as a family companion animal or a racing buddy is ideal. They have great temperaments and aren’t aggressive at all. They do tend to have shorter lifespans than smaller dogs but that is common with a larger breed to begin with.
Jack Russel Terrier
This dog is another fast breed but in a much smaller package. Jack Russel’s were originally used to help hunt small game on the American Frontier. They have superb agility and speeds reaching up to 30 mph. They can also turn on a dime and make great companion animals as well. These dogs are also highly intelligent and an absolute joy to train. They pickup new tricks and behaviors quickly and they tend to have a longer lifespan than their larger, faster counterparts as well.
The one downside with a Jack Russel is that they can be a bit aggressive. This is not an issue with proper training. If left unchecked, they can become a bit of a menace to potential visitors.
The Dalmatian is a medium sized breed that comes close to the top speeds of a Grey Hound. They usually top out at 40 mph. This dog is generally a good family pet and has a high level of intelligence as well. Historically they were used to help clear the roads for emergency situations and they are still seen as the official mascot of many fire fighter stations.
Dalmatians actually make great farm dogs as well. They were utilized heavily because of their affinity with horses. these dogs have brought a calming influence to many a stable in their own way.
Doberman’s are another great breed for this list. They tend to top out at speeds of around 30-35 mph. This dog wasn’t built for racing though. Make no mistake, this animal is a guardian. They were bred originally for protection and are still used in that capacity today. Doberman Pinschers have good intelligence but training is paramount if you want to own one of these dogs. They require strict foundations and firm leadership.
This is also a very strong breed with a focus on endurance instead of explosive speed. They make great tracking animals in addition to their guardianship roles because of this.
Collies were originally herding dogs. They were used on farms and by shepherds to help corral livestock and keep them safe. These dogs have decent speed that tops out around 30mph. They are of medium size and are still widely used in the same capacity today.
Collies are also great family animals. These dogs are intelligent and most have an excellent temperament. Collies are nimble and quick with good endurance to match. A great all around dog. For those of you old enough to remember the show Lassie, that is the quintessential Collie.
How Fast Can A Dog Run Concluded
Over the last few sections, we have answered the question, “How fast can a dog run?”. We have also looked at several popular dog breeds and where they stand in regards to speed and other metrics.
Grey hounds hold the top spot when it comes to fastest dog in the world but there are many fast breeds out there and we have shown that each of these breeds has strengths and weaknesses. Some dogs are better in a family environment, while others are born hunters. Finding the right dog for your family is always the most important step when choosing a dog to begin with.
Dogs are long term commitments that require a sizeable time investment from both you and your family. Training is important and establishing the training foundations as early as possible will give you a leg up when it comes to dog training in general.
There are many training services out there that would gladly take your money to help train your dog. For the most part, these are unnecessary if you are willing to spend a little time and effort on your own addressing the situation. Trainers can help teach the basics but you are the one who is going to have to reinforce them for continued improvement with your pet. Here’s a good DIY guide that I recommend if you would rather cut out the middle man and save a ton of money in the process.