Women in a field chasing after a very fast Beagle!

Why Are Dogs Faster than Humans?

Have you ever wondered why dogs are so much faster than humans? If your dog has ever escaped through the front door as you reached for the mail, you probably realized quickly how fast your pooch can run! My dogs did this shortly after I adopted them; they were gone in a flash.

Within seconds they ran to the end of the block, chasing after my neighbor’s poor cat. Fortunately, they all turned around and headed back toward me so I could grab them. But there was no way I would have been able to catch up to them otherwise.

The reason why dogs are faster than humans is primarily because they are leaner and lower to the ground. They also have four strong legs, greater lung capacity, a faster metabolism, and a more efficient cardiovascular system. Even so, dogs may not always beat us in a race. Keep reading to learn more.

Biological Advantages Dogs Have Over Humans

Having descended from wolves, dogs evolved as fast runners because that was a critical genetic attribute needed to outrun predators and find food. As a result, dogs can run much faster than most humans.

A study done in 2017 compared the running ability of different breeds of dogs. The study found that dogs with more ancestral wolf DNA were more athletic than dogs bred for other purposes, such as hunting.

Dogs are generally faster than humans for a number of reasons:

First, dogs have a more efficient cardiovascular system than humans. They have a higher number of red blood cells, which means that their blood can carry more oxygen to their muscles, allowing them to maintain their speed for longer periods of time.

Secondly, dogs have a more streamlined body shape, which allows them to move more efficiently through the air and over the ground. They also have a longer stride length than humans, which means that they can cover more ground with each step.

Finally, dogs are also built for speed. They have four powerful legs and stong muscles that allow them to generate a lot of force with each stride, and their paws are designed to absorb shock and provide traction on a variety of surfaces.

However, it’s worth noting that there are some humans who are faster than some dogs. Elite human athletes, such as sprinters, can run faster than some dogs, while some dog breeds, such as bulldogs, are not particularly fast due to their body shape.

Fastest and Slowest Dogs Compared

Like humans, dogs will vary in their ability to run fast. Some dogs are more athletic (Greyhounds) and others really like to relax and take a lot of naps (French Bulldog). Here is a short list of some of the faster and slower dogs:

Fastest DogsSpeed MPHSlowest DogsSpeed MPH
Greyhound45Shih Tzu6
Afgan Hounds40Basset Hound5-10
Vizslas40Toy Poodles10
Ibizan Hound40French BulldogsUnder 15
Jack Russel Terrier30Bulldog15

Compare this to humans:

Human Running Speeds–MPHSlowest AverageFastest AverageStellarRecord Breaking

For the most part, we are no match for our dogs when it comes to being fast! So don’t feel bad when your dog runs circles around you! It is all about biology.

Can a Human Outrun a Dog?

Fast running Beagle chasing a rabbit
Really fast Beagle chasing a rabbit

If you have ever chased after a Beagle who was running like crazy to catch a jack rabbit, you will truly understand just how fast a dog can run! Years ago, I had a Beagle who got away from me while we were walking on a desert trail in Arizona. She spotted a huge jack rabbit, and we were off to the races in a split second!

There was no way I could keep up with her as I panted and ran with all my might. I was terrified she would soon be out of site and would be lost in the desert. Fortunately, I spotted another person on the trail and yelled at him to grab my dog’s trailing leash. Luckily, he was able to get hold of the leash and bring my pup back to me.

The fastest recorded human running speed of 28 miles per hour was achieved by Usain Bolt of Jamaica during a 100-meter sprint in 2009. But even this speed is no match to a Greyhound who can run up to 45 miles .

Rates for most human runners range between 4-10 miles per hour, which is pretty slow compared to most dogs. However, some very well-trained athletes can outrun some dogs when factors such as age, size, health, and type of dog are considered.

Are Dogs Able to Run Long Distances?

Even though dogs can run faster than most humans during a sprint, they are not the best long-distance runners. They simply do not have the same endurance as a human may have. So, if you and your dog run a marathon, you may win!

Dogs have more fast-twitch muscles, giving their legs the power and speed needed for fast sprints. However, both fast-twitch and slow-twitch muscles are required to maintain momentum and endurance. A human has a balance of both and will run slower than a dog but can outlast him regarding distance. A dog will simply stop running and rest way before the end of a long-distance race!

Does Your Dog Enjoy Jogging with You Even Though You Are Slower?

Women jogging with her small white dog.
Dog having fun jogging at a slower pace with owner

Many dogs enjoy jogging with their owners, regardless of the owner’s speed. Dogs often enjoy spending time with their owners and being outdoors, and jogging can provide a fun and stimulating activity for both the dog and the owner. Additionally, jogging is a shared activity that will help you bond with your dog.

However, it is important to remember that dogs have different energy levels and fitness levels, just like humans, so start gradually and build up your dog’s endurance over time. Some dogs may be better suited for slower jogs, while others may be able to handle a faster pace.

My rescue dog, who has a lot of Pug DNA, loves to run and walk in the park. But she needs a lot of breaks. Whenever I stop for a minute, she often retreats to a shady spot on the cool grass and lies down.

Ultimately, whether or not a dog enjoys jogging with their owner depends on the individual dog’s preferences and abilities. For example, some dogs may prefer other types of exercise, such as playing fetch or going for a walk, while others may love jogging with their owners.

Final Thoughts

Due to biology and heritage, our dogs will always be faster and able to outrun us. But our furry friends don’t seem to mind slowing down a bit to walk or jog by our sides.

Just be sure to let your pups really tear around every now and then in your backyard or the doggie park. This will allow them to do what they were born to do — exercise those strong leg muscles and run with the wind!

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