Usain Bolt holds the world record in the 100 meter sprint, clocking in at close to 28 mph. An impressive speed, but it wouldn’t be enough to outrun a Cheetah with a top speed of 60 – 70 mph depending on the terrain, a grizzly bear at around 37 mph, or the top fastest dog breeds. The Cheetah holds the record as the fastest land animal, but when it comes to endurance, even this top cat is left in the dust of the fastest dogs.
Sighthounds like the Whippet, Scottish Deerhound, Saluki, Borzoi, and Afghan Hound were built for speed and endurance to run down prey. Their streamlined bodies were developed for purpose not looks, and their deep chest allows for maximum lung capacity. Sighthounds are among the oldest dog breeds. When it comes to the fastest breed on earth, that honor goes to the Greyhound with a top speed of 45 mph. The Cheetah might win a sprinting race with the Greyhound, but it’s the dog that would win in a race of endurance. Compared to other animals, the Greyhound is number 7 on a list of the top ten fastest land animals. The Saluki clocks in at 43 mph, Afghan Hound is next at 40 mph, Scottish Deerhound and Borzoi can hit 38 mph, and the Whippet has a top speed of 36 mph.
The Vizsla is known as the “Velcro dog” because he wants to be with his family at all times. Ancestors of the Vizsla wandered Central Europe with their Magyar owners who eventually settled in Hungry sometime in the 9th century. It was in Hungry where this member of the Sporting Group was developed into a top of the line hunting dog capable of pointing and retrieving. With the speed of a sighthound, the Vizsla has been clocked as fast as 40 mph.
The Dalmatian is an ancient breed, and the only recognized spotted dog breed. The Dal is also the only breed with an innate fondness for, and ability to calm horses. For 300 years, starting in the 17th century, Dalmatians were associated with English and Scottish high society, and used as carriage dogs to run alongside carriages as guardians to protect riders and horses from highwaymen. This is a speedy and versatile breed with ample endurance to run beside a horse for 30 or more miles. Dalmatians have been used as guard dogs, border sentinels, war dogs, draft dogs, and in a variety of other jobs. His top speed is 35 mph.
The Weimaraner is a fearless, smart, and speedy hunter reaching a top speed of 35 mph. Bred in Germany to hunt large game like bear, wolves, and deer, this courageous dog is is one of the newer breeds developed in the early 1800’s. When big game became scarce in Germany, the Weimaraner talents were redirected to hunting smaller game like birds, fox, and rabbits.
The Doberman Pinscher was developed in Germany in the late 1800’s by a tax collector, Louis Dobermann, who was looking for a guard dog to accompany him on his tax collecting rounds. He wanted a dog with muscle, speed, and intelligence to discourage thieves from bothering him, and act as a watchdog and guard dog. The Doberman is very protective and loyal to his owner, and with a top speed of 30-32 mph, this canine is among the fastest dog breeds around.
The Border Collie is an alert, intelligent, and agile sheepherder with a top speed of 30 mph, which he can easily hold while twisting and turning to maintain control of his herd. Developed along the border region between England and Scotland, the Border Collie is considered the smartest of all dog breeds and a premier herder. The BC is a confident and surefooted dog able to work in the same rugged terrain as the sheep he’s charged with protecting and controlling.
The German Shepherd and Belgian Malinois are breeds used in law enforcement and the military because of their intelligence, work ethic, and speed. Both can hit a top speed of 30 mph. The Malinois hails from Belgian and was originally bred as a herding dog. The German Shepherd was developed in Germany in the late 1800’s as a herder, and is considered one of the most versatile dog breeds capable of doing many jobs. Both breeds are strong willed, agile, alert, loyal, and fearless.
The Siberian Husky and Alaskan Husky are dogs of the North. The Siberian Husky was bred in Siberia by the Chukchi people. The Sibe is among the oldest dog breeds, and was used by the Chukchi to transport heavy sleds filled with food and supplies over long distances and survive in harsh weather conditions. The Alaskan Husky is native to Alaska and is a type of dog, not a dog breed. These dogs were bred for function and their appearance wasn’t important. Alaskan village dogs are thought to be direct ancestors of the first domesticated dogs that crossed over the Bering Land Bridge with the Inuit people who settled in Alaska. Village dogs were bred with Siberian Huskies and other breeds to produce a fast sled dog with stamina to go the long distance. The Siberian and Alaskan Husky can hit a top speed of 28 mph, although the Alaskan is a little faster than the Sibe, but it’s their strength and endurance to pull a heavy sled over long distances that sets these dogs apart from other canines. They can maintain an average running speed of 10-11 mph for many hours, covering 100 miles or more a day.
The Anatolian Shepherd was bred in Turkey as a flock guardian dog. This is a large dog that can easily weigh in at 120-150 pounds. He was built to stand up to large predators and needs speed to patrol his flock that is usually scattered around. A smart and independent thinker, this dog can work on his own without human intervention, and is a fierce and able guardian for his human or animal family. When he needs to move, the Anatolian Shepherd can reach a top speed of 28 mph.
The Jack Russell Terrier was developed in England in the 1800’s by John “Jack” Russell who wanted a feisty, smart, and fearless small fox hound that could go to ground to flush fox and other small prey from their underground dens. These dogs needed to be fast enough to keep up with men on horseback during a hunt and have plenty of stamina to go underground when needed. He may be small, but when it comes to speed, the Jack Russell is fast on his feet and can sprint at a top speed of 25 mph. The JRT is a good running partner for people who enjoy jogging.
There’s a number of other canines that are among the fastest dog breeds and they include: Airedale Terrier, American Foxhound, Australian Cattle Dog, Australian Shepherd, Basenji, Bearded Collie, Collie, Giant Schnauzer, Old English Sheepdog, Pharaoh Hound, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Smooth Fox Terrier, Standard Poodle, and Welsh Springer Spaniel. Working breeds use speed and endurance to be effective at doing the job they were bred to do, and most dogs settle into a slower pace utilizing their stamina more than running full out.
Pictured: Greyhound, Weimaraner, Belgian Malinois on U.S. Army M2A3 Bradley Fighting Vehicle in Iraq., White Siberian Husky dog team, Anatolian Shepherd
Why the Dalmatian is Known as the Carriage Dog and Firehouse Dog
Why the Jack Russell Terrier Isn’t Recognized by the American Kennel Club
Hero Dogs of the 1925 Iditarod Serum Run: Balto and Togo