How Fast Can an Italian Greyhound Run?

If you’ve ever wondered, “How fast can an Italian Greyhound run?” you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll explore the remarkable speed capabilities of Italian Greyhounds and the factors contributing to their exceptional running abilities. So, let’s dive in and uncover the fascinating world of Italian Greyhounds speed!

Italian Greyhound Speed

Italian Greyhounds are renowned for their blazing speed. On average, these dogs can reach 25 to 35 miles per hour (40 to 56 kilometers per hour). However, some individuals have been known to exceed these speeds, reaching up to 40 miles per hour (64 kilometers per hour) in short bursts.

Speed Enabling Characteristics

Italian Greyhounds, often referred to as “Iggies” by their admirers, possess unique characteristics that make them superb runners. Let’s take a closer look at some of these traits:

Lean and Aerodynamic Body

Italian Greyhounds have a lean and slender bodies, significantly reducing air resistance when running. Their narrow head, deep chest, and tucked abdomen create a streamlined profile that allows them to cut through the air with minimal drag. This aerodynamic design gives them a significant advantage when reaching high speeds.

Long and Muscular Legs

Another crucial factor contributing to the Italian Greyhound’s speed is its long and muscular legs. These dogs have relatively long bones in their limbs, allowing for a more extensive stride length. Combined with their powerful leg muscles, this enables them to cover ground quickly and efficiently.

Flexible Spine

The Italian Greyhound’s spine is remarkably flexible, providing them with a unique advantage in agility and speed. This flexibility allows for increased extension of the rear legs during each stride, resulting in greater forward propulsion. The ability to stretch and contract their bodies with fluidity gives Iggies an edge in speed competitions.

Strong Heart and Lungs

To support their rapid bursts of acceleration and sustained high speeds Iggies possess a strong cardiovascular system. Their hearts and lungs are well-adapted to supply oxygen-rich blood to their muscles, ensuring optimal performance during intense exercise. This efficient oxygen delivery enhances their endurance and overall speed capabilities.

iggy sprinting
Look at me go!

Sighthound Instincts

As sighthounds, Italian Greyhounds have a strong prey drive and exceptional eyesight. They possess an innate instinct to chase and capture fast-moving objects, which makes them natural-born sprinters. This instinct, combined with their agility, allows them to excel in high-speed pursuits.

Muscular Power

Although Italian Greyhounds may appear delicate, they possess powerful muscles contribute to their speed. Their well-developed hindquarters generate significant propulsive force, enabling them to accelerate rapidly and maintain impressive speeds.

Energy and Endurance

Italian Greyhounds are not only fast but also possess remarkable endurance. Despite their small size, they have high energy levels and can sustain their speed over considerable distances. This combination of speed and stamina makes them versatile athletes.

Acceleration Ability

Their acceleration is equally impressive. Italian Greyhounds can go from a standing start to full speed in just a few strides, making them one of the fastest accelerating dog breeds. This rapid acceleration allows them to close the gap between themselves and their intended target quickly.

Factors Influencing Italian Greyhound Speed

Several factors contribute to the speed of Iggies. Let’s explore some of the key elements that influence their running abilities:

Genetics and Breed Standards

The speed potential of an Iggy is influenced by its genetic makeup and adherence to breed standards. Well-bred Italian Greyhounds with a strong lineage of fast and agile ancestors are likelier to exhibit exceptional speed. Breed standards also emphasize physical attributes contributing to speed, ensuring that the breed retains its athletic prowess.


Like most animals, an Italian Greyhound’s speed may vary depending on age. Younger dogs tend to have more energy and can reach higher speeds. Their speed may gradually decrease as they age due to reduced muscle tone and joint stiffness. However, older Italian Greyhounds can still maintain impressive speeds with proper care and exercise.

Fitness Level

The fitness level of an Iggy plays a significant role in determining its speed. Regular exercise and conditioning can improve their performance and help them achieve faster speeds. Dogs in peak physical condition as compared to those that are unwell, with strong muscles and cardiovascular systems, are more likely to reach their maximum speed potential.

Surface and Terrain

The surface and terrain on which an Iggy runs can impact its speed. Smooth, even surfaces provide optimal conditions for speed, allowing the dog to exert minimal effort while maintaining high velocities. On the other hand, rough or uneven terrain may hinder a dog’s ability to reach its top speed.

Motivation and Temperament

An Italian Greyhound’s motivation and temperament can affect its speed. Some dogs may have a strong drive to chase and compete, while others may be more laid-back or easily distracted. The level of focus and determination the dog displays can impact its speed and performance on the track.

dark italian greyhound running
Did you say chimken?

Environmental Factors

Environmental factors such as temperature and wind can influence an Italian Greyhound’s speed. Cooler temperatures are generally more favorable for optimal performance, as excessive heat can lead to fatigue and reduced speed. Additionally, tailwinds can slightly boost the dog’s velocity, while headwinds may pose a challenge.

Training and Conditioning

Proper training and conditioning are vital in maximizing an Italian Greyhound’s speed potential. Regular exercise, including sprint training and endurance exercises, can improve muscle tone, cardiovascular health, and overall performance. Training methods like lure coursing and agility courses also help develop the dog’s speed and agility.


Italian Greyhounds are truly extraordinary when it comes to speed. With their sleek bodies, powerful muscles, and innate hunting instincts, they can reach impressive velocities. Whether sprinting across a field or participating in racing events, Italian Greyhounds never fail to leave us in awe of their speed and agility.

So, the next time you wonder, “How fast can an Italian Greyhound run?” remember that these graceful canines can achieve speeds of up to 35 miles per hour.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long can an Italian Greyhound maintain its top speed?

Italian Greyhounds can sustain their top speed for short bursts of up to 1/4 to 1/2 mile (0.4 to 0.8 kilometers) before gradually slowing down. Their ability to maintain speed over longer distances depends on fitness level, age, and environmental conditions.

How does the speed of an Italian Greyhound compare to other dog breeds?

Italian Greyhounds are among the fastest dog breeds, showcasing speeds similar to other sighthound breeds such as Whippets. However, their smaller and lighter build often makes them appear even faster, which is deceiving when compared to their larger counterparts.

Are Italian Greyhounds suitable for high-intensity exercise?

While Italian Greyhounds excel in short bursts of high-intensity exercise, they are generally not built for prolonged, high-impact activities. Their slender frames and delicate bones make them more prone to injuries than sturdier breeds. It’s important to balance exercise with rest to prevent overexertion.

Can the speed of an Italian Greyhound be dangerous?

Italian Greyhounds are generally agile and adept at maneuvering obstacles. However, their incredible speed can pose risks if they are not properly trained, supervised, or in secure environments. Providing a safe and controlled space for them to exercise their speed safely is essential.

Can Italian Greyhounds be good family pets despite their speed?

Absolutely! Iggies can make wonderful family pets despite their remarkable speed. They are affectionate and loyal and enjoy spending time with their human companions. While they require regular exercise to stay happy and healthy, they are also content curling up on the couch for a cozy snuggle session.

Victoria Richards

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