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By by Hilary L.

Fastest dogs alive

Every dog owner knows that dogs are fast and far more nimble than their human masters. In fact, even the smallest and slowest dog is almost impossible to catch unless they allow it. Still, when it comes to comparisons with each other, some dog breeds are significantly faster than others. Here is a quick rundown on the fastest:

The Saluki – With a slight frame, incredible stamina and heavily padded feet, Salukis are made for covering ground in treacherous conditions. They can easily lay claim to being the fastest half-miler in the dog world. Greyhounds may start off faster, but they simply cannot keep up over any distance longer than one trip around the track against a Saluki. Not only that, but the Saluki breed has been one of man’s best friends for over 9,000 years.

The border collie – Incredibly smart, a workaholic and very, very agile, the border collie has been bred to move exceedingly quickly and, more importantly, to make hairpin turns. Both of these qualities were bred to enhance its abilities in its traditional role as a sheep herder. These days, however, they also make the breed especially adept at such tasks as fly ball and Frisbee competitions. Border collies can clock speeds over 30 mph, but they are also renowned for their concentration. Many experts consider them superior to greyhounds when it comes to catching prey, as they rarely overrun their quarry.

The whippet – Probably a mix of greyhounds and terriers, these lightning fast dogs were originally known as “snaps” for the speed at which they ran down their prey and the ferocity with which they dispatched them. First bred by Italian masons and plumbers, their competitions were a huge source of entertainment for the lower classes and whippets soon became known as “the workingman’s racehorse.”

The Vizsla – All considerations of canine speed should not be confined exclusively to the land. The Vizsla combines considerable speed on land with an outstanding ability to swim very fast. Also known as “yellow pointers,” these dogs have been bred in the Balkan States since at least the 10th century. The original Magyar lords guarded them jealously and the dogs were so valued that they would execute anyone found trying to export them to a foreign land.

The greyhound – There is a reason that this breed of canines are raced on specially built tracks – they are incredibly fast; faster than any other dogs. In fact, greyhounds can regularly reach speeds over forty miles per hour, but only when hunting prey. When not tracking down game, though, these dogs love to just lounge around in the shade – thus garnering their nickname, “The 45 mph couch potato.” In short, they are adorable, but you don’t want to have to try to catch one.

The Siberian husky – No consideration of “fast” dogs would be complete without a mention of the marathoners of the sport – the husky. In general, sled dogs are known mostly for their power, but unlike their larger cousins the Malamutes and the Akitas, the relatively small-proportioned Siberian husky is actually quite quick and can move at speeds of up to 28 mph for hours on end. Over the course of a 12-hour day, they regularly exceed an average pace of 10 mph. No matter how you slice it, that is some serious speed.

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