When you picture the fastest dog breeds, Great Danes probably don’t pop into mind first. You will most likely be bombarded with images of Weimaraners and Greyhounds, the sleek and lean breeds rather than a huge Great Dane that is known for their generally relaxed and chill personalities. We’re here to inform you that the Great Dane is actually considered to be one of the fastest canine breeds in the world.
They may not always run at their top speeds, and most of the time they don’t have to. Their long legs due to their taller stature are enough to provide them with a wider stride that takes other dogs going at a slow jog to keep up with. If you are surprised by how fast Great Danes can run, then we have even more information about this majestic breed to reveal that you might find interesting.
About the Great Dane
Let’s get to know the Great Dane a little bit better. They are quite old, having a 400-year history, and as a breed, these giant dogs originate from Germany, and can grow to be anywhere between 100-120 pounds. The females and males are relatively the same size at maturity with the males only being a inch or two taller. Their main purpose upon their first introduction is as a hunting dog and guardian dog. They were used to hunt boar and are classified nowadays as either a guardian dog or working dog.
Similar to other large to giant breeds, they aren’t very rambunctious once they mature into their full size. This is a great fact to know because we can’t imagine how one would control an energetic dog that weighs as much as a full-grown human.
Great Danes aren’t attention-seeking, but they do appreciate being showered with affection every once in a while. They aren’t vocal either, so you won’t have to worry about incessant barking and noise complaints. This dog breed does tend to drool, which could be a deterrent to those who like to keep a clean house, but the addition of a dog to your home will entail more cleaning no matter what.
As a gentle giant dog breed, Great Danes don’t need a lot of exercise, not more than some other high-energy working breeds such as the Siberian Husky. Taking your Great Dane for a walk for 20-40 min a day is enough. Great Danes are very easy to train, affectionate, friendly and can get along with people and animals.
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How Fast is a Great Dane?
The question of the day is how fast are Great Danes? Their max speed is an amazing 30 mph, so if people were small enough to ride them, we could use Great Danes as a mode of transport for most of our errands in a rural area. Sadly, that isn’t the case but we can still appreciate them for their quick and long-legged strides.
Great Danes are so fast largely due to their long legs. Most fast dogs feature the same anatomy of slim and lithe body and long legs. Other breeds that resemble the Great Dane and also make it on the list as some of the fastest dog breeds include the Afghan Hound, although they have a beautiful long and silky coat that the Great Dane lacks, the Weimaraner as previously mentioned, the Dalmation and the Greyhound to name a few.
What Type of Running is the Great Dane Good for?
Although their top speed is an impressive 30 mph or so, does that mean they can exert that same energy throughout a long-distance run? Like most living creatures, Great Danes will lose steam over time, but they can run for long distances. The bigger question is SHOULD they run long distances. As a large to giant breed, the Great Dane is more prone to hip and elbow dysplasia, so while they can run for long distances, we suggest tempering your efforts a bit as to not put undue strain on their joints.
The Great Dane is more suited to long distances compared to smaller but very fast breeds such as the Jack Russell Terrier, who can run up to 25 mph (pretty impressive for a small dog!), simply because they cover more ground due to their larger size. It will take more momentum and effort from smaller breeds.
How to Train a Great Dane to Run
Running is second-nature to most dogs, but making sure they are doing it in the right way and getting the right nutrition is up to you. You can train a Great Dane to run at their top speed potential for great distances, but that takes care, patience and an everyday effort.
For starters, you need the right nutrition. Similar to humans training for a marathon, the right amount of protein and calories are essential to our performance. This means good, clean and whole foods that are hopefully organic as well. Keeping your Great Dane hydrated throughout the process is as important as great nutrition. Make sure their water bowls are always full and you always have a bottle of water handy during training.
One other thing we will suggest, as will most trainers and vets, is the addition of supplements to your Great Dane’s diet. Your Great Dane needs extra assistance with essential minerals, especially for joint lubrication. Think about adding glucosamine and chondroitin as they help with joint protection.
One other action you can take is to pace and spread out the training sessions for your Great Dane. Don’t overwork them at top speed as it can result in injuries, some that are even irreparable. Spend no more than an hour a day training, and watch your dog as he goes. There are some days where he’s more tired than others, and if he shows it, then take break and cut the day’s training short.
Are Great Danes Easy to Train?
They are pretty easy to train when it comes to potty training and other household behaviors, but pushing them to repeat the same activity for hours every day can prove to be difficult for some. However, consistency, patience and positive reinforcement are key. Over time, you can train these guard dogs to be great runners.
You can start training your Great Dane as early as a few months old, but not necessarily running. However, a dog’s growth plates are not fully formed until they’re about a year old in the case of Great Danes, so we would advise against walking and running your puppies for over 15 min a day. If you overexert them, it could lead to more long-term health issues that will present themselves in the form of staggering medical bills in their old age.
For full-on running training, make sure your Great Dane has reached his full size. For giant breeds, this can be up to 2 years! Just to be on the safe side, we recommend not commencing with any real racing training until your dog is at least 2 years old.
When you finally start training, remember to ease into the process as your Great Dane needs time to acclimate to this new routine.
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How to Make Sure Your Great Dane is Healthy for Training
One of the most important things to keep in mind when you start training is nutrition. The next important thing for these hunting dogs is keeping them strong. A visit to the vet is a great way to make sure your Great Dane is ready for training. Your vet will conduct a basic health check to make sure your Great Dane is in tip top shape.
From this examination you will get a clear picture of your dog’s bodily functions and weight. If your dog is over the ideal weight for training, you may need to get him down to the right number for the ability to run fast. If your dog is underweight, he also won’t be able to reach his top speed potential. Aside from that, make sure your Great Dane is up to date on all his shots and it’s also a good idea to spay or neuter them first.
This is because you don’t want to halt training for a week or more if there are any complications after the procedure. It’s also possible that spaying or neutering your Great Danes can result in a temperament and energy level change. Instead of having to revamp the routine your Great Dane is used to, just establish a more permanent one after the procedure.
It’s also useful to keep your vet updated on the progress. This is just in case something goes wrong and your vet has no idea the routine activity your Great Dane endures. They won’t be able to tell you the possible causes of certain injuries without being kept in the loop. If you are working with a trainer, they should have the professional expertise to help your Great Dane avoid injuries.
Extra Factors to Be Aware Of
You shouldn’t attempt to train your Great Danes without some knowledge. We suggest consulting a trainer just to get a basic routine going. They will be able to offer you extra pointers and tips and tailor a program that fits your dog. Knowing how to train your dog can prevent injuries from occurring and exasperation for both parties.
Learn to listen to your Great Dane. While these gentle and loveable dogs can’t speak, they can more than show you how they are feeling through their actions. A tired dog will drag his feet, scratch constantly and maybe even groan. Some of them will refuse to keep going because they can’t handle any more exercise. Pay attention to what your dog is “saying” and take heed.
Remember that your dog is more than a running machine, while they excel at being guard dogs and hunting dogs, they still need to be shown affection and require mental stimulation as well. Giving them a break or a day off from time to time will give them the refreshment they need to push further.
Also, be aware that your Great Dane’s energy level will diminish over time. He won’t possess the same ability to run as the fastest dogs in the park in their senior years. We would suggest retiring your dog from training around 5 years of age. In general, a dog reaches old age around 7 years old, but we suggest quitting a little earlier because the constant training over the span of his life will weigh on him over time.
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Other Breeds That Can Run Fast
If you are wondering how fast some other breeds are compared to your Great Dane, we have compiled a list that includes breeds of all shapes and sizes that can give your Great Dane a run for his money.
Of course, there is the Greyhound, which is known to be one of the fastest dogs on the planet and can be difficult for even Great Danes to catch. Their max speed is an impressive 43 mph! Their slim and toned bodies and aerodynamic build make this possible. However, they are humble about their abilities and don’t often go at full speed. Instead, they often make it on lists for the best house dog or apartment and condo dogs due to their lazy nature.
Resembling the Greyhound but with a more squarish face, the Viszla is next on our list with a top speed of 40 mph! Only a little slower than the Greyhound, the Viszla is high energy and loves to run. They are also more active than their faster counterparts and require a lot of exercises every day. If you live near a wide-open field or a park, then daily runs with these hunting dogs are great for their health.
No, they aren’t only sought-after for luxurious coats, but the Dalmation is actually super-fast, capable of a speed of 37 miles per hour. They are beautiful and unique-looking, perhaps one of the most interesting looking dogs out there with their spotted coats. One thing we will say is Dalmations can be quite stubborn, so training them will take patience. However, they catch on quite quickly thanks to their superior intelligence and they can carry out tasks very well.
The Whippet and Weimaraner
We grouped these two breeds together not because they are closely related, but because they have the same max speed of 35 mph. Just slightly faster than the Great Dane, these two breeds are both affectionate an energetic dogs.
The Border Collie is the first one on our list that doesn’t share the same figure as the others. They are not long and lithe but they are equally as agile and fast. Their top speed is 30 mph, which is a highly useful ability due to them being herding dogs. Other than their speed, the Border Collie is also known for their superior intelligence and good temperament.
The fierce and aggressive looking Doberman Pinscher is next on our list. They bring us back to the thin and acrobatic build we often see in the fastest dogs. Their top speed is also 30 mph, and they are known for their guard dog reputation. Although their exterior says one thing, these dogs are actually very loyal. However, their natural protective instinct could bring out acts of aggression towards others, so we highly suggest putting them through behavioral dog training.
Other very fast breeds include the German Shepherd, Scottish Deerhound, Irish Wolfhound among others.
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Speed VS Endurance
This comparison is similar to sprinting VS cross-country running. One just requires a huge burst of speed for a short time while the other one focuses on longer distances over a greater period. We focused on the fastest breeds, but these dogs may only be able to maintain these incredible speeds for just a few minutes. If we compare them to endurance breeds like the Siberian Husky, which is built for long distances, they really are no match for consistent performance.
Take the Sibe for example, which have a max speed of 12 mph but they can sustain this for over 6 hours. That makes this arctic spitz one of the toughest and most robust dog breeds out there. Of course, when they aren’t pulling heavy loads, the Siberian Husky can run as fast as 20 or so mph. They aren’t fast enough to make it onto our list of fastest breeds, but they are pretty fast and very impressive in terms of steadfastness.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the top speed of a Great Dane?
A Great Dane has an amazing top speed of 30-32 mph. They can reach these incredible speeds thanks to their long legs as the tallest dog in the world. For pet parents that want a dog that is a great companion and a fast runner, then they are the best choice for you.
What is the fastest a dog has ever run?
The fastest a dog can run is 45 mph, which is also set by the fastest dog in the world, the Greyhound. To give you an idea of how fast this is, this impressive number is almost 20 miles faster than the fastest human Usain Bolt.
How fast can a Great Dane kill you?
Great Danes are not known to be aggressive dogs, so it’s very unlikely that they will kill you. However, if you don’t take good care of them, there are a variety of factors that can kill the tallest dog in the world like bloat.
Can Great Danes go on runs?
Yes! Great Danes are more than able to go on runs. They can even be training to run professionally if you wish. All you need is a proper training plan and the right diet. This will ensure your Great Dane will stay healthy despite a rigorous training schedule.
Is a Great Dane Smart?
Great Danes aren’t known for being exceptionally intelligent, but they do possess an average IQ for dogs. This means your Great Danes can be trained relatively easily but will still require a lot of patience, consistency and positive reinforcement for successful results.
To sum up, Great Danes are a very fast dog breed that can impress you with speeds up to 32 mph. They are often used for racing in some countries, but that requires a lot of training and nutrition. To ensure your Great Dane is healthy when undergoing training, make sure you consult a vet first, and keep them updated throughout the process. Other than being fast pets, the Great Dane also makes an excellent companion as the breed is very affectionate and loving.
Even though Great Danes don’t have a long coat, it’s still important to schedule a grooming session or two for your dog. This will guarantee his health and it’s easier to spot any health issues that may manifest. Ear cleaning, and teeth cleaning are important parts of the grooming session as is nail trimming, especially for avid runners.
Did You Know?
Though Great Danes love to run, it will be towards you for the most part as they are a dog breed that loves attention. Make sure you are always giving your dog a lot of love, but it’s also important to train them well and from a young age to avoid separation anxiety.