When it comes to racing, there are two animals that have captured the attention of humans for generations: dogs and horses. Whether it’s a regal stallion or a rangy greyhound, there is no denying the majesty of these swift beasts. But which one is faster?
Are dogs faster than horses? No! On average, a dog can run 4 meters per second while a horse can run 6 meters per second.
There are several different factors as to why a horse is faster than a dog, and the answers may be more interesting than you could ever imagine! Read on to discover why exactly horses are so much faster than dogs.
Why Are Horses Faster than Dogs?
When you break it down, horses are almost always going to come out faster than dogs. Sure, there are some outliers where an incredibly fast dog could outrun a mediocre horse, but as a rule, the horse is always going to win.
Why is that? Simply put, a horse has longer legs and larger lungs, and therefore, a longer stride, meaning they are able to cover much more ground in a shorter period of time.
Average Speed of a Dog
On average, a dog can run 15-20 mph. This is the average for all dogs combined.
But what about the fasted breed of dogs out there, the greyhound? Greyhounds, the fastest dogs alive, have an average speed of 35 mph, more than 10 mph faster than the average dog!
These long-legged speed demons have even been known to reach speeds up to 45 mph, quite the incredible feat for a domestic canine!
Even more surprising was the astonishing speed of one little greyhound named Fanta. Back in 2013, Fanta set the record for the fastest dog of all time, reaching a scorchingly fast speed of 50.5 mph!
So, to summarize for dogs:
- The average dog can run 15-20 mph
- Racing dogs can run up to 45 mph
- The fastest dog in the world, Fanta, ran a speed of 50.5 mph
Average Speed of a Horse
The average galloping speed of a horse is 25-30 mph, much faster than the speed of the average dog. Although the horse is no doubt the faster of the two animals, you may be surprised to see that the averages are so close.
This is because, although the average horse is quite fast, they have nothing on their racing counterparts. A racehorse has an average speed of 40-45 mph!
American Quarter Horses are the fastest racehorses on the track, able to reach galloping speeds of 55 mph for short periods of time. The fastest horse of all time is considered to be a filly named Winning Brew, who was able to maintain an average speed of 44 mph over a 400 m race.
To summarize for horses:
The average horse can run 25-30 mph
Racehorses can run, on average, 40-50 mph
The fastest horse of all time, Winning Brew, topped out at 55 mph
What is Faster, a Horse, or a Greyhound?
When you average everything out, most horses are going to be faster than greyhounds, but you may be surprised to learn that the race is closer than you might think!
Earlier we learned that the fastest horse ran 55 mph, while the fastest dog ran 50.5 mph. That’s less than a 5 mph difference!
When you take into consideration both averages and top speeds, there is no denying that some greyhounds are faster than some horses.
Since the average racehorse tops out between 40-50 mph, there is a chance that Fanta, the fastest dog on record, could have beaten numerous successful racehorses in her heyday!
While there are some exceptions, when all the speeds are taken into consideration, it’s rare that a greyhound will be faster than a horse, but as Fanta proved, never say never!
Does a Dog or a Horse Run Farther?
The great equalizer between dogs and horse seems to be distance. At high speeds, dogs and horses both seem to be able to run between 2 and 5 miles.
This distance won’t be covered in a full sprint or gallop, but the horse and dog both will be able to cover the miles at a faster pace than a walk.
Shockingly, there is one living creature that can go farther than both horses and dogs.
Humans are the ultimate long-distance runners, having evolved to run dozens upon dozens of miles at a time. Humans will never be able to outrun the fastest horse in a footrace, but on the long haul, we’ve got even the swiftest equine beat!
Though the race is close, horses, on average are faster than dogs. This is due to their huge lungs, long legs, and generations of breeding to be the fastest runners around.
Dogs, especially greyhounds, are no slackers, though. It is often only 5-10 mph that separate horses and dogs when it comes to sprints.
Family Dog Expert Author
Hi there! I’m Stuart, a devoted dog lover and family dog expert with over a decade of experience working with our furry companions. My passion for dogs drives me to share my knowledge and expertise, helping families build strong, loving bonds with their four-legged friends. When I’m not writing for SirDoggie, you’ll find me hiking, playing with my beautiful dog, or studying music.