For centuries, breeders have sought to optimize specific dog breeds for racing purposes as well as hunting and other types of sport. Racing dogs are, quite naturally, built for speed. Some are even able to top out at 45 miles per hour. For those who are fans of dog racing, the sport can be nothing short of mind-blowing.
Thinking about bringing a speedy and loving pup into your family? Here is the scoop on some of the fastest dog breeds and what their temperaments are like. Oh, and read on through to the very end to learn a little bit about the history of dog racing.
The fastest racing dog breed is undoubtedly the greyhound. Racing greyhounds can run at incredibly high rates of speed, getting up to 45 miles per hour. But the racing greyhound really only has two speeds: lightning speed and sloth. If they aren’t lazing about on the couch, they are running around outside. This actually makes retired racing greyhounds excellent dogs for home life, even if you live in an apartment.
Greyhounds are racing dogs known for their friendly and gentle personalities. They even make amazing emotional support dogs. Both independent and intelligent, a greyhound dog responds quickly to changes in the environment, changes in the owners’ moods, and to perceived threats. If they do get bored, they might destroy things. This is why it is important for them to get enough physical activity outside each day.
Whenever something piques their interest, the greyhounds’ prey drive will kick into gear. If they take off on you, they will really take off, which is why it is important to keep them leashed while out and about for walks. These dogs typically get along well with other pets, but sometimes, smaller dogs will activate their prey drive. This is especially true for greyhounds who live with cats and not other dogs but then encounter smaller dogs while out in the community. They will want to chase those smaller animals. Always be sure to monitor a greyhound while it plays with other animals.
German Shepherds can run up to 30 miles per hour. Their intelligence, speed, and stamina make them good at racing. Law enforcement likes to use them as K9 officers for these very same reasons. A German Shepherd can easily outrun a human suspect on foot before taking them down to the ground.
German Shepherds were originally bred to herd flocks, and they require a lot of attention and physical activity from owners. If they don’t get out enough, they will rip through shoes and furniture, dig holes in the yard, or bark a lot. With their intense bite force, they can easily destroy cheap toys. That’s why they require safe chew toys and high-quality bones for dogs.
German Shepherds are very much attached to their families but will come off as standoffish to strangers. They likely won’t be interested in your household guests but will interact with you and your family. The younger you start socializing them, the less aloof they will seem to strangers.
These dogs are renowned for their shedding. Their thick fur does keep them warm, but no matter the season, they are constantly losing fur. While their fur does make them amenable to cooler temps, they prefer the family lifestyle versus always being outdoors. They’re prone to separation anxiety and will need your patience in training them for the dog crate.
Afghan Hounds have been around for centuries and are therefore one of the oldest breeds still around. Their personalities are centered upon being dignified, intelligent, and independent. As their name suggests, they originally hail from Afghanistan. Their coats need constant grooming since their fur grows long and thin, making it tangle quite easily. You will need to spend time brushing them every day to keep their fur from matting.
As far as speed goes, they can easily reach 40 miles per hour, making them ideal racing dogs.
Afghan Hounds are fiercely independent. They are also quite affectionate and can quickly adapt to changes. They will let you know when they want your attention as well as when they don’t want it. These mischievous dogs like to goof around, and they do well with children when they are introduced to babies as puppies. They typically do better with just adults around since they have a low pain tolerance.
Afghan Hounds are sighthounds and can chase and hunt by sight. Therefore, this dog should always be under your control and on a leash outside of the house. Your yard should have a high, secure fence to keep these excellent jumpers contained, invisible dog fences also work.
Want a dog breed that holds a Guinness Book of Record? Then get yourself a Saluki! They have been clocked running at 43 miles per hour. Globally speaking, they are one of the oldest dog breeds around. Their svelte frame makes them aerodynamic, and they are superbly loyal to their families.
Since they’re natural-born runners, they cannot be trusted off-leash. Their prey drive is high, and once engaged, they’ll be off like a rocket. But they are certainly some of the most beautiful dogs you will ever see.
Salukis need a ton of room to run outdoors and definitely require a safely fenced-in area. Unfortunately, since they’re so quick to run, they run into a lot of hazards without looking or forethought—today’s best dog GPS tracker collars would help greatly.
Despite their rampant energy, they love the comfort of home. They require a lot of socialization as pups since they are naturally timid. They love thinking for themselves, so your commands might not always be obeyed.
Salukis are family-oriented and need a lot of attention throughout the day. They make great companions for older children since they love to play and are not usually aggressive. But they are probably too big for children under eight.
Dalmatians are strong athletes with a lot of agility and muscle. Known for being firehouse dogs, Dalmatians are work-horses in the dog world. They want to be where the action is, especially since they were once bred to run alongside horse-drawn carriages. If you like to run or jog, this dog could be your new running mate.
Dalmatians are highly intelligent and extremely active. They need to be trained as pups or else they’ll run you ragged. They aren’t the most obedient breed, but they sure are obstinate. When trained and socialized, a Dalmatian can be a fantastic playmate for a child over age six or for other pets. These brawny dogs should always be closely monitored with infants and toddlers due to their size. However, they’re typically non-aggressive, especially if socialized early on.
Dalmatians love being included in family activities. They are prone to separation anxiety and feel lonely if left alone for too long.
Scottish Deerhounds are fast runners, getting up to about 28 miles per hour. They’re exceedingly affectionate sighthounds, loving people of all ages and other animals. While they aren’t great watchdogs, they are loyal and chill .
As puppies, Scottish Deerhounds are high-octane. But they slow down quite a bit over time. As adults, they can absolutely become couch potatoes. If you live a relaxed, at-home lifestyle, then a Scottish Deerhound might suit you well.
Scottish Deerhounds aren’t exactly apartment dogs despite their relaxed nature. They still need big, fenced-in yards to run in. Sure, they tire out quicker than other dogs, but they need a fair amount of exercise as adults. They can be leash-trained, but it takes some work. They have high prey drives and like to bolt when something triggers that drive. They’re also not usually friendly with smaller animals and view them as prey, which means cats, bunnies, ferrets, and other small animals could be endangered in the same home as a Scottish Deerhound.
That being said, these dogs are big people-lovers. They won’t sound the alarm for strangers, so they aren’t the best watchdogs. However, they will likely seek attention from your houseguests. They aren’t big fans of being left alone for long and will seek out your attention. It is important to socialize them early since they do not know their own strength and are big pups.
Whippets were originally bred to be close companions for hunters. They have strong prey drives, which means you should not leave them unattended with smaller pets, even though they can be socialized together from an early age. Whippets will even dare go after cats, which is why they sometimes do better as either the only dog or with other dogs their size.
Whippets can easily make it up to a speed of 35 miles per hour. Like greyhounds, whippets are sprinters, meaning they get a strong initial burst of speed but cannot maintain it for long. They’re also commonly used for racing.
Whippets need a fully fenced-in yard with a lot of space for running off all that energy. With high prey drives, smaller animals will be quickly chased down, so be sure to start leash training as early as possible. Even the most well-trained Whippets tend to bolt when their prey drive is triggered.
Whippets should be socialized early since they tend to be untrusting of new people, places, or situations. At home, they will be mellow and seek your attention. They love playing with children and cuddling up after a long day. They can live in an apartment so long as there is a fenced-in area nearby for them to play in. They’re certainly the type of dog that needs more than just a quick walk, so plan on being outside a lot.
A History of Dog Racing
Dog racing, which is often referred to as greyhound racing due to greyhounds being the most commonly bred dog for use in a race, is a 20th century spin on the much older sport of coursing . In coursing, dogs hunted by sight as opposed to scent. In modern dog racing industry, dogs race inside of an enclosed track, chasing an electronically controlled and mechanically propelled hare (otherwise called a rabbit).
In 1919, the very first dog racing track opened in Emeryville, California after O.P. Smith held an initial racing demonstration in the town. From there, popularity grew. In 1926, the sport was introduced in England and took off there to an even greater degree than it did in the United States. Mexico, Argentina, Belgium, and Ireland would eventually adopt live dog racing as a sport.
As far as England is concerned, one meeting usually consists of eight races. The governing body is the National Greyhound Racing Club, which was established in 1928. They set race distances for flat and hurdle races from 210 to 1,100 meters (or, in the metric system, 230 to 1,200 yards). In most cases, no more than six racing greyhounds run on the grass at the same time, and the races are illuminated as they take place at night.
Dog races became different in the United States. By the mid-1920s, the sport had reached Florida and became a popular past-time in many states. However, by the 1990s, bans were being issued on the sport due to concerns over the dogs’ well-being and treatment by handlers. By the early 21st century, only a few states continued to have dog races and commercial greyhound racing nationwide declined. Due to ethical concerns, those races are overseen by state commissions and some organizations today continue the work to end dog racing.
In the US, dog races are limited to eight dogs competing in one race. One program can have 10 or 11 races in all. Dog tracks are crafted from loam and sand and are 1/4 mile in length. Most races are held at 5/16 or 3/8 mile. The pari-mutuel (totalizator) pari-mutuel(totalizator) system dictates how bets are placed. Betting is a quintessential part of dog races.
What dogs are racing dogs?
The most commonly-used racing dogs include Greyhounds, Salukis, Whippets, Afghan Hounds, and Dalmatians. The faster and more aerodynamic the dog’s build, the more likely they are to be used in the dog racing industry.
How much does it cost to buy a race dog?
Pricing depends on the breed and varies from breeder to breeder. Just the Greyhound alone can go for anywhere between $500 and $1,000 per well-bred dog .
Why is dog racing bad?
Each year, thousands of healthy young racing dogs (namely Greyhounds) are killed because they supposedly lack winning potential, are no longer competitive, or were injured during a race. Rescues work diligently to get these dogs to safety, get them healthy, and adopt them out to loving households.
What breed of dog can run fastest?
The Greyhound is known for being the fastest breed out there. They can make it up to 45 miles per hour quite quickly. They can even outrun the world’s fastest human runner, Usain Bolt. Even if they were in a long race with a cheetah, they would eventually be able to overtake the cheetah.
Racing dogs can make wonderful additions to the right families. They aren’t the types of dogs who can be kept in crates day in and day out, and you will definitely need a heavy-duty dog crate if you must use one. Also, these pups definitely need a lot of room to run. Whether you go for a Greyhound, a Whippet, or a Scottish Deerhound, you will have a loyal companion who can keep you on your toes. If you live an active lifestyle, you will probably enjoy having a racing dog breed for a pet.