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Home > Dogs > How Fast Is a Great Dane? Average Speed & Breed Comparison

How Fast Is a Great Dane? Average Speed & Breed Comparison

blue great dane

Great Danes were originally hunting dogs. Therefore, despite their massive sizes, they can run pretty fast when they want to. An athletic Great Dane can reach around 30 mph. However, most companion animals won’t hit this speed. Just like humans, dogs need training and practice to reach very high speeds.

We don’t know exactly how Great Danes were developed. However, there is some likelihood that Greyhounds were utilized. Therefore, their higher-than-average speed for a dog makes sense.

These dogs are much heavier than Greyhounds and other extremely fast dogs and they aren’t completely built for speed—and it shows. They’re somewhat fast, but not nearly the fastest dog breed out there.


How Fast are Great Danes?

Here’s a quick comparison of the Great Dane and other animals:

Cheetah 50–80 mph
Greyhound 45 mph
Great Dane 30 mph
German Shepherd 30 mph
Domestic Cat 30 mph
Human 8 mph

Are Great Danes Good Running Dogs?

Great Danes are athletic dogs, so they can run pretty fast. The average Great Dane can run around 30 mph when in good shape. This speed is assuming that the dog is exercised regularly and is not obese. Dogs that aren’t in the best shape will go much slower. If you’re trying to improve your dog’s physical condition, you should start out much lower than the breed’s maximum ability.

Great Danes run fast enough to keep up with a human, though. An athletic Great Dane can run over twice as fast as an athletic human. Even the fastest human in the world couldn’t outrun the average Great Dane. Therefore, even if your dog isn’t in the best shape, a Great Dane is a great dog to run with.

Not only will this get you in shape, but it can also help your Great Dane remain in good shape.

White great dane running
Image By: TMArt, Shutterstock

With that said, you should be cautious regarding exercising Great Dane puppies. All dogs need exercise. However, too much exercise at a young age can lead to joint issues later on. Therefore, it’s important to keep your dog’s physical condition in mind and watch them for signs of fatigue. Don’t force a tired dog to exercise, especially if they are still developing.

Great Danes are about as athletic as German Shepherds and Jack Russel Terriers—two breeds that are often considered very fit. Therefore, they can also make good running dogs.

Is the Great Dane a Lazy Dog?

Great Danes are not high-energy dogs. They can run quite fast when they want to. However, they don’t have huge amounts of stamina. They are more sprinters than marathon runners. Therefore, after a small to moderate amount of exercise, these dogs are typically good for the day. They don’t require the extensive exercising that other athletic dogs do.

For this reason, these dogs are often described as much calmer than other breeds. They tend to spend much of their day laying around. They are often called “rug dogs” for this reason. Their large size means that they often sprawl in the middle of the floor, which makes them resemble rugs.

merle great dane dog in harness lying on grass
Image By: Ralphs_Fotos, Pixabay

However, as these dogs age, they can develop joint problems. Some unlucky Great Danes may get joint problems far before they reach old age, as well. For these reasons, we highly recommend keeping an eye on your dog for unnecessary laziness. While Great Danes don’t always move very much, your dog shouldn’t seem absolutely against movement.

If your dog shows signs of discomfort or seems to indicate that they’re in pain, you should visit your vet. While joint problems aren’t usually curable, anti-inflammatory medications are a great option for many dogs. Most Great Danes will have joint issues at some point due to their fast growth rate and larger size.

Are Great Danes Strong Dogs?

Great Danes were originally bred to hunt and hold boar still while the hunter dispatched the animal. This was at the time before firearms were widely accessible. The boar in England were extremely ferocious, so this wasn’t an easy task.

To accomplish this, the Great Dane was bred to be very strong. This purpose is largely why they are so big. A big dog was needed to hold the boar in place. Other dogs simply weren’t large enough and got injured too easily.

For the most part, Great Danes still have a lot of this strength today. While they have been bred as companion animals for some time, these dogs are still very tough and strong. Their large size makes them much stronger than most other dog breeds.

However, these dogs don’t have particularly impressive strength for their size. They don’t have huge amounts of muscle and aren’t nearly as strong as a Mastiff, for instance. It’s mostly their size that gives them the one-up on other dogs.

What is the Fastest Dog?

The Greyhound is easily considered the fastest dog. The world record book is littered with Greyhounds setting speed records. While there are some other sighthounds that come pretty close to the Greyhound, none of them have ever been able to surpass the Greyhound.

Greyhounds were bred to chase things that they saw—just like other sighthounds. Therefore, they had to be very fast. They weren’t bred to track with their nose like other dogs. Instead, they had to see the prey animal to chase it successfully. Obviously, this meant that they had to see the animal to begin with, which involved keeping up with the animal when it fled.

Two Brindle Greyhounds running
Image By: Pxfuel

This is also one of the few dogs that were actually meant to catch the prey animal. Many other breeds simply tracked them or kept them busy while the hunter did most of the catching. However, Greyhounds were different. They had to effectively catch their prey, which also meant that they had to be fast.

Greyhounds were also bred to be fast for longer than most breeds thanks to dog racing. While most breeds were starting to be bred as companion animals, Greyhounds were running around the track. Therefore, these dogs are still remarkably fast today, even if dog racing is becoming much less popular.



Great Danes are reasonably fast. They are athletic dogs that were originally bred for hunting and despite being mostly companion animals today, these dogs still have a lot of their athletic ability. However, they are more sprinters than marathon runners—while they can run pretty fast, they don’t have huge amounts of stamina.

However, how fast a particular Great Dane can go depends largely on their athletic abilities. Dogs that exercise regularly will go faster than others.

Featured Image Credit: verky01, shutterstock

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