Most dogs can run at incredibly fast speeds. As anyone that has ever tried to catch an escaping puppy or older dog can tell you, even the smallest of dogs can truly speed off, with all four legs spinning like fast cogs.
But, what is the fastest dog?
There are two dog breeds that compete for title of the fastest dog – the Greyhound and the less well known Saluki. Over short distances the Greyhound is the fastest canine achieving speeds of up to 45 MPH. If you consider speed over distance however, the Saluki can maintain speeds of up to 43 MPH over more than 2 miles, which is better than the fastest land mammal the Cheetah.
Speed or endurance?
Most people will be familiar with strongman type competitions where competitors seek to lift the most weight to see who is the strongest.
In some modern versions the strength and power aspects have been enhanced with endurance – you may be able to lift the weight but how far can you carry it?
When considering what is the fastest dog you can look at the answer from a similar perspective.
Although not a dog most people know about the Cheetah, it can reach speeds, in short sprints, of 70 MPH.
The Greyhound – the fastest dog – can achieve speeds of 45 MPH, which is why this breed is used for dog racing – but these races are over 550 yards, a third of a mile or half a kilometre.
The Saluki – a desert hunting dog bred for speed, has been measured at 43 MPH, constantly, over distances of 2 kilometers or just over 1 mile, making it the fastest land mammal over distance – faster than the Cheetah.
So, what is the fastest dog? Short sprints or desert hunter?
The fastest dogs on the planet
The Greyhound is a sleek, slender and fit dog that has been clocked at speeds of up to 45 MPH.
This dog is the choice of racers and can be found competing around the world at dog racing tracks due to it’s speed and racing heritage.
Although the Greyhound is recognised as being the fastest dog, there are many who believe that other breeds can match it and even exceed it’s speed over short distances and there is at least one breed that can out perform it over a longer distance.
Over distances of more than half a mile the Saluki beats the Greyhound as the fastest dog. In 1996 the breed qualified for the Guinness Book of Records hitting a speed of 43 MPH.
The Saluki is an ancient breed and is one of the oldest dogs, originating in Eygpt, where is was and still is used as a hunting dog, chasing down gazelle and hares over long desert distances.
Whippets are sleek, smaller dogs that can run at speeds of up to 36 MPH. Common in some areas of northern England where, for many years, they have been used to hunt rabbits and rats they have been referred to as the ‘poor man’s racehorse’.
Over short distances this is one of the world’s fastest dogs able to run 200 yards in less than 12 seconds – faster than many cars.
The Border Collie
As well as being one of the most intelligent dog breeds, the Border Collie is an exceptionally agile and speedy canine that can hit speeds of up to 30 MPH.
This breed’s speed is put to good use in many parts of the world where it is still used as a working dog to herd sheep and livestock where it’s fast footed ability is required on a daily basis.
Border Collies are great at dog sports including agility, frisbee and other speed based activities.
The Hungarian Vizla
This upland bird dog is one of the fastest dogs over a mile. Bred to handle the difficult terrain of moorland and high altitude countryside the Vizla is a powerful and fast dog that is not only quick on land but is also an excellent swimmer.
An athletic and active breed the Vizla is a hard dog to beat over tricky country.
Discover more about these fastest dogs
Conclusion - What is the fastest dog?
Dogs are fast, they are certainly faster than humans and most can easily reach speeds in excess of 20 MPH.
There are, however, some dogs that really can run like the wind but deciding which is fastest is not so straightforwards.
Do you go for speed over short distance or endurance over a mile or two?
What about terrain? Nice and smooth or rocky and bumpy?
We’ll let you decide what is the fastest dog.