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How fast can a dog run?

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How fast can dogs run? Even if you are not a fan of dog racing, you certainly see the dogs playing in the park and understand that they can run rather quickly. But, what speed can be built up at average and to the maximum? And what mechanism allows dogs to be so speedy? What is the fastest breed? There are so many questions if you are interested in the subject. We are going to answer some of them in the article.

Factor influencing the speed

In general, the dog’s running speed depends on a breed with a particular body composition and peculiarities of health, age, environment and other things. Dogs have competed in races for centuries. All those factors influencing the result are studied and considered by the authority of dog racing. Unfortunately, we do not have a lot of evidence in records about dog racing history but we know that the winning speed increased from year to year due to professional training and choosing the best dogs. The most popular races were known as the “Sport of Queens”. The Greyhounds are used for that sport due to their stunning speed. In the US greyhound racing was all the rage in about 1919. Since 1990 this activity has been restricted due to animal abuse and careless handling of the dogs. Nowadays the racing is legal only in 6 six states.

So why do dogs run fast? They have four limbs and that is a solid advantage. In addition, they are able to start a rapid running from a steady walk because their limbs are arranged in the best ways for locomotion. The limbs are made of tendons, muscles, joints, and ligaments. The dogs run at the limits of capability of their muscles and limbs as a result of mutation in a gene responsible for generating Myostatin, a muscle protein, which causes an increase in muscle mass and that makes racing dogs so fast compared with other breeds.

Let’s consider some more features providing fast running:

·         Aerodynamics body. The greyhound is considered a racer breed. They are able to run at speed of up to 45 mph. And that is possible because they have an aerodynamic shape of body. They are very slim, almost cutting through the air when they are running.  Thus, small head, well-balanced long legs, and a slender body reduce air resistance.

·         Paws do matter. We mean that pads and nails can impact the ability to run. The particular structure of paws with resilient pads have high adhesion characteristics. The dog can run almost on any surface. While toenails give reliable traction. It is important to keep nails trimmed if a dog is involved in racers otherwise they can be broken causing pain.

·         Gait. The dogs can go walking, trotting, cantering, and galloping. Every next gait comes with increased speed. When galloping a dog lifts all four legs off the ground. Still not all dogs are equally efficient. There are breeds built to run, like whippet or greyhound. They have a double-suspension gait while all others have a single suspension, meaning that they almost fly during races. This peculiarity maximizes speed.

·         Shoulders. The dog’s shoulder bones are disconnected and that simplifies running.

·         Respiratory and cardiovascular systems of dogs built for races are very strong providing running endurance. The powerful hearts pump blood in a fast manner in accordance with the speed of racing. The large lungs allow for a rapid deep breath-in and deliver more oxygen to muscles enhancing their efficiency and endurance.

·         The longer legs a dog has, the faster it runs. It is clear that with long limbs it can make larger strides and cover more distances with less effort. Also the legs should be strong to contact the ground tight and keep balance.

·         Tail is important as it counterweights the dog’s body movements.

All the above mentioned is related to body composition. But of course the environment and proper training program do mean a lot. If you ask: How far can dogs run? The answer will depend on their health and capabilities. Not all dogs are meant to run long distances. Usually most pups can cover a distance of about 8 miles. But if a dog is well conditioned being of the powerful breed, it can run up to 20 miles.

How Fast Can Dogs Run?

Now when the reasons for the fast running of a dog is revealed, let’s speak about the speed levels. If we take a simple dog which is not intended for races and of course it is not trained to run fast but it is healthy, we get a speed equal to about 15-20 mph. There are no special conditions.

But if we take the dog’s breed chosen in accordance with requirements to body shape, leg length, and health, we’ll get the higher result. Some breeds run slower and the others run much faster. Let’s look at these champions. The fastest dog over the globe is the Greyhound. They are capable of running at a speed of about 45 mph. The record was set in 1994 with the speed of 41.mph. That happened during dog races in Australia. But an unofficial record is the greyhound top speed equal to 50.5 mph. This is not the only fast dog. The Salukis, and Afghan hounds are those breeds which are capable of achieving the best results too.

But these are records while the average top speed varies from 30 to 45 mph. For instance, German shepherd top speed can reach 30 mph. How fast can a Doberman run? This athletic breed is able to run up to 32 mph. How fast can a Pitbull run? The performance is almost the same – up to 30 mph. How fast can a Husky run? It is just as fast as Doberman. Among the slowest dog breeds we’d mention Chihuahua, pug, bassett hound. They run at the speed of about 5-10 mhp.

If you are going to run a marathon with your pet or involve it in your daily morning run over great distances, you should consult with a vet for a start. Probably, a complete checkup will be needed to ensure that a pet is strong enough to withstand load. Then, you’d better condition a pup for running. The intensity and distance should be increased gradually. It is important that a dog enjoys the process. And do remember that not all breeds are suitable for running. For example, if a dog has a short nose (bulldogs), it cannot breathe in a proper way to provide the needed cooling because of an insufficient respiratory function.

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