The fastest dog breeds that are built for speed

Updated 03/01/2023

fastest dog breeds that are built for speed

If you’ve ever seen a dog chase a car, squirrel, bird, or butterfly, you’ll know that there are some unbelievably speedy pooches out there.

But did you know that some dog breeds were actually created to be fast? Yes, some dogs are built for speed! So, which dogs are the fastest? What kind of speeds can they reach, and why were they bred?

Well, in this article, we lay out our favorite top 8 fastest breeds that are built for speed. So, if you can’t wait to find out more about speedy pooches, read on!

Whippet 35 miles per hour
Borzoi 35 miles per hour
Dalmatian 37 miles per hour
German Shepherd 30 miles per hour
Vizsla 40 miles per hour
Afghan Hound 40 miles per hour
Saluki 42 miles per hour
Greyhound 45 miles per hour



A more developed descendant of the ancient Greyhound breed, the Whippet is as playful as it is speedy. Like the Greyhound, the Whippet also possesses the uncanny ability to chill out on the couch and be asleep within ten seconds!

The Whippet was developed initially to follow and catch the small game – in this way, they are literally built for speed. Today, the Whippet excels at the rally, lure coursing, flyball, agility, and even obedience! Some Whippets are even trained to be therapy dogs.

Content enough to spend all day on the couch chilling out, but with a top speed of 35 miles per hour, the Whippet can live anywhere as long as you give them the opportunity to get their daily sprint in.



First bred to hunt wolves, the Borzoi is also known accordingly as a Russian Wolfhound. Though they have dignified, regal looks, the Borzoi can make an excellent family dog, albeit a reasonably independent one.

In wolf-laden Russia, with a top speed of 35 miles per hour, Borzois would tail the wolves in teams of three. Later on, Borzois also used these skills to hunt foxes and even rabbits. The breed later spread across Europe as regal, fluffy companions for royalty.

An independent yet sensitive dog, the Borzoi will protest at being left alone for a long time and needs plenty of companionship. But as long as you can provide company and some time for sprinting around gleefully together, the affectionate, sweet Borzoi will happily live anywhere.



With a history as a fire dog, the intelligent and unique Dalmatian also makes a popular pet. With a top speed of 37 miles per hour, if you want a brilliant canine running buddy, look no further!

Yes, the Dalmatian breed was first bred to run miles beside carriages. Having a Dalmatian sprinting along beside your fleet helped to prevent highwayman hijackings. This glamorous spotty dog also simply added a touch of style to any aristocrat’s journey.

This has led to today’s Dalmatians possessing an endless appetite for exercise. Do you skate, jog, or cycle? Maybe a bit of all three? If so, the speedy and smart Dalmatian would make a perfect companion for you!

German Shepherd

German Shepherd

The second most popular dog breed in the world, the German Shepherd is fiercely loyal. In fact, this loyalty is part of the reason why they excel as military and police dogs. But with a top speed of 30 miles per hour, an Alsatian isn’t going to let you escape easily if you bring contraband to the airport!

An excellent all-round worker, the GSD excels at everything from being a guide dog to police and detection work to search and rescue work, and, of course, herding! German Shepherds surpass and outdo others at competitive obedience and as faithful and trusting companions in their downtime.



Also known as the Hungarian Pointer, the Viszla is a surprisingly gentle and affectionate pooch. First bred in Hungary and likely a descendant from the dogs of Magyar settlers, the Vizla is a hunting dog that excels at retrieving everything from hares and game birds to that errant Frisbee!

With a whopping top speed of 40 miles per hour, the Viszla will show you the fastest game of Fetch you’ve ever seen in your life – that is, if they don’t chew up the ball on their way back to you!

Give your ‘Velcro Viszla’ a daily jog on a long leash at the park or in a fenced-in area, and they’ll happily snuggle up on the couch with you all evening. In fact, with their threadbare coat, snuggling up with your Viszla is absolutely mandatory. It also gives you the excuse to dress them up in adorable outfits during the cooler months!

Afghan Hound

Afghan Hound

One of the oldest known dog breeds in the world, the Adams family’s dog, Itt’s, more elegant cousin, was originally called the Tazi. Thought to be pre-Christian, with a top speed of 40 miles per hour, watch this fashion model’s silky coat cascade as they pursue squeaky ball after squeaky ball!

Originally a hunting dog, the Afghan Hound hunted large prey across the mountains and deserts of Afghanistan. Their abundant warm coat insulated them well as the Afghan Hound tailed animals such as leopards over great distances, chasing them until the horseback huntsmen could catch up. Today, the breed remains faster than many horses.

Despite their silky coat, adult Afghan Hounds are often aloof and independent, sometimes refusing to accept petting and pampering! This stems from the Afghan Hound’s independent decision-making, and quick thinking often relied upon while waiting for the huntsmen.



Thought to potentially be the ancestor of dogs like the Borzoi and Afghan Hound, the medium-sized Saluki was first bred in the Middle East to chase extremely swift prey. Indeed, with the Afghan Hound’s fabulous ears, a great personality, and a top speed of 42 miles an hour, it’s not hard to see why the Saluki was thought of as a gift from Allah!

Sometimes independent yet highly loyal and affectionate, as well as much easier to groom and maintain than their Afghan relative, the Saluki can make an ideal pet. They are quiet, seldom bark, and need a secure outdoor area for zipping around in. They also need an oversized plush bed and will promptly take over your bed or couch if one is unavailable.



And, of course, it wouldn’t be a list of dogs built for speed without mentioning the Greyhound. Thought to be the fastest dog in the world, with its top speed measured at 45 miles per hour, the Greyhound can sustain their top speed for longer than a cheetah!

Though the Greyhound loves to sprint and needs to spend some time zipping around every day, Greyhounds are then gentle and calm when they come home.

This is part of the reason why Greyhounds make such great pets! Just don’t expect your remote control car to survive a Grey encounter – this breed has a need to chase anything small as strong as its need for daily belly rubs.

What is the slowest dog breed?

The slowest dog breed is the Basenji. This breed is known for being a “barkless” dog and for its low energy level and a slow, relaxed gait.

The Basenji is an ancient African breed, so it’s not surprising that it’s not a particularly fast runner. Its top speed is about 25 miles per hour, which is about half the speed of the fastest breeds.

The breed is also known for its intelligence and independent nature, so it may not be the best choice for someone looking for an active jogging partner.

Are there any health concerns for the fastest dog breed?

Yes, there are certain health concerns to consider with the Greyhound breed. These dogs have a predisposition to bloat, which can be life-threatening if not treated.

They are also prone to musculoskeletal injuries due to their long, thin bodies and high-speed pursuits. Greyhounds may also be prone to skin allergies and eye issues.

Q and A

What is the fastest dog breed?

The Greyhound is widely considered to be the fastest dog breed, capable of reaching speeds of up to 45 miles per hour.

What are the physical characteristics that make a dog breed fast?

  • 1. Lean, muscular body: Dogs with lean, muscular bodies are typically better equipped to run faster than those with a more stocky physique.
  • Long legs: Longer legs mean greater strides and thus faster speeds.
  • Lightweight: Heavier dogs tend to expend more energy running and therefore, run slower than their smaller, lighter counterparts.
  • Narrow chest and hips: Narrower chest and hips allow for less resistance when running.
  • Long, narrow muzzle: A longer, narrower muzzle allows for greater oxygen intake, which helps dogs run faster.
  • Strong cardiovascular system: A strong cardiovascular system is necessary for any dog to be able to run quickly and efficiently.

Are there any certain breeds that are better suited for sprinting than others?

Yes, certain breeds of dogs are better suited to sprinting than others. Greyhounds, Whippets, and Vizslas are some of the most popular breeds for sprinting, as these breeds are known for their speed and agility.

Other breeds such as Siberian Huskies and Australian Shepherds are also good choices for sprinting.

Are there any tips for training a dog to run faster?

  1. Start with short distances: Start with shorter distances and gradually increase the distance as your dog gets used to running.
  2. Increase pace gradually: Increase the pace gradually and make sure your dog is running comfortably.
  3. Change terrain: Changing up the terrain every so often can help your dog get used to different surfaces and help them run faster.
  4. Use positive reinforcement: Reward your dog with treats and praise when they do a good job running.
  5. Get the right gear: Invest in a good pair of running shoes and a proper harness for your dog.
  6. Stay consistent: Be consistent with your training and make sure to set aside time for running with your dog every day.