From the short-legged basset hound to the long-limbed Irish wolfhound, all dogs were bred for specific purposes -- whether to sniff out certain scents, assist during a hunt, or to help a farmer with herding duties. However, this article showcases dogs that were bred to run at lightning fast speeds.
Greyhounds are generally agreed to be the fastest dogs in the world, reaching speeds of 40 to 45 miles per hour. Greyhound racing is a popular pastime in many states. These dogs do not have a lot of endurance, but instead run in short bursts. They are also spectacular leapers, so if you get one, make sure you have a high fence. Averaging 60 to 70 pounds, this isn't a small dog. While not running, the greyhound prefers a soft spot to rest, preferably near you, where he can be a couch potato.
Averaging about 20 pounds, the whippet is smaller than the greyhound, but he has the same sleek, angular build of a sight hound bred for chasing prey. Whippets have been clocked at 36 miles per hour, and can go 200 yards in 12 seconds. The whippet was developed in England in the 1800s from greyhounds and terriers to hunt rabbits, and just like rabbits, can turn and switch directions instantly. With an easygoing nature, he'll be happy with a long jog beside you.
While perhaps not quite as fast as the greyhound over short distances, the saluki still can reach speeds of around 40 miles per hour. Heavily padded feet contribute to his stamina by absorbing the impact of running. This is one of the oldest breeds, with a history dating back more than 7,000 years. Salukis wandered alongside the nomads of the Middle East, helping them search for food. Salukis love to sprint, but also appreciate a long jog or even a long and vigorous walk around the neighborhood. These quiet, sedate dogs average about 35 to 65 pounds.
This dog's top speed is around 28 miles per hour, but he can keep it up all day long. A team of huskies pulling a sled can run for hours, covering around 150 miles in a day. While a husky can't run in short bursts, he will outrun a faster dog because of his endurance. This friendly chap is great with kids -- definitely not a watch dog! Be prepared to provide him ample opportunity for exercise.
About the Author
Leslie Darling has been a writer since 2003, writing regularly for "Mississippi Magazine" and "South Mississippi Living," specializing in food and wine, animals and pets, and all things Southern. She is a graduate of the University of New Orleans.