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Home > Dogs > How Fast Can Greyhounds Run? Facts & Animal Comparison

How Fast Can Greyhounds Run? Facts & Animal Comparison

greyhound running

Greyhounds are well known for their speed, but it can be quite surprising to know just how fast these dogs are. As the world’s fastest canines, Greyhounds can reach speeds of up to 72 km/h, which is equivalent to 45 mph, making them a lot faster than we mere humans. That being said, there are other animals that can beat Greyhounds in a long-distance sprint.

In this post, we’ll explain why Greyhounds can run so fast and look into how they compare speed-wise to humans and other animals.

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Why Are Greyhounds So Fast?

Greyhounds are so fast because of their anatomy and what they were bred for. These graceful dogs are sighthounds that were originally bred to track down and be able to outrun their prey, which accounts partially for why they’re so adept at running. In addition to their history as hunting dogs, Greyhounds are simply built for speed.

For one thing, their hearts are huge, which allows for better circulation and therefore better-oxygenated muscles to help them withstand running at such high speeds.

The Greyhound also has long legs that seem to go on for miles (quite literally), a graceful yet athletic and muscular build, lean muscles, a strong yet flexible spine, a short and fine coat, and a double suspension gait (also known as “double suspension rotary gallop”).

greyhound running outside
Image Credit: herbert2512, Pixabay

Greyhound Speed Comparison

Though Greyhounds are the world’s fastest dogs, they’re built to run medium distances rather than long distances. For this reason, other animals would be able to beat the Greyhound in an endurance race, including Siberian Huskies, Alaskan Malamutes, and horses.

Though the Greyhound may initially run ahead of these animals due to their ability to reach high speeds incredibly quickly, Huskies, Malamutes, and horses are better suited to long-distance running than Greyhounds are.

If you’re curious to know how the Greyhound matches up against the cheetah—the fastest land animal—the cheetah can reach higher speeds of up to 120 km/h (75 mph) and would certainly win against a Greyhound in a sprint. However, cheetahs can only sustain their top speed for around 30 seconds, so in a long-distance race, a Greyhound would triumph against a cheetah.

If we compare Greyhounds with humans, Usain Bolt’s record time in a 100-meter race was 9.58 seconds and his top speed was 22.9 miles per hour (36 km/h). It takes a Greyhound just 5.33 seconds to run 100 meters.

Now, let’s take a look at how Greyhounds compare with other land animals in terms of speed. The table below shows the top speeds each animal can reach.

Animal Top speed
Greyhound 72 km/h (44mph)
Cheetah 120 km/h (75mph)
Springbok 88 km/h (55mph)
Lion 81 km/h (50mph)
Ostrich 70 km/h (43mph)
Domestic cat 48 km/h (30mph)
Grizzly bear 56 km/h (38mph)

greyhound running
Image Credit: Herbert Aust, Pixabay

Is Greyhound Racing Cruel?

Yes. There are a host of animal welfare issues linked to the Greyhound racing industry. According to the RSPCA, Greyhound racing is dangerous because many Greyhounds suffer injuries caused by being forced to run at such high speeds around oval tracks. In some cases, these injuries result in the dog being euthanized.

As the RSPCA also notes, data from the Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB) shows that over 2,000 Greyhounds died as a result of Greyhound racing between 2018 and 2021. Moreover, the data shows that almost 18,000 injuries were recorded. This speaks volumes about just how unethical and dangerous Greyhound racing is for the dogs involved.

In addition to all this, the RSPCA draws attention to the fact that some racing dogs are kept in inadequate living conditions and fed substandard food.

brown greyhound running
Image Credit: Herbert Aust, Pixabay


Final Thoughts

To recap, Greyhounds are medium-distance runners that can reach speeds of up to 72 km/h (45 mph). They’re the world’s fastest dogs because of how quickly they can reach their top speeds, but this doesn’t mean that they’re the best endurance runners. Siberian Huskies and Alaskan Malamutes are better long-distance runners so would come out on top in an endurance race.

Featured Image Credit: Herbert Aust, Pixabay

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