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How Fast Can a Belgian Malinois Run? Speed Comparison & FAQs

Elizabeth Gray

By Elizabeth Gray

Belgian Malinois running

Belgian Malinois are among the most popular breeds trained as police and military dogs. These jobs often call for them to chase after people for various reasons, most of whom probably feel that the Belgian Malinois is running at superhuman speeds! In truth, the Belgian Malinois can run about 30 miles per hour (mph) at top speed.

Keep reading to learn how the Belgian Malinois can run so fast and how their speed matches up to other species, including humans.

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How Fast Is the Belgian Malinois Compared to Other Dog Breeds?

The Greyhound is the fastest breed and one of the speediest land animals.1 They can reach top speeds of 45 mph. Other sighthounds like the Saluki and the Afghan Hound regularly reach 40 mph.

Besides the Belgian Malinois, other breeds that run about 30 mph include the Border Collie, Boxer, and Great Dane. Slightly slower species include the Siberian Husky, Rat Terrier, and Boston Terrier.

Belgian Malinois Running
Image Credit Credit: 825545, Pixabay

How Fast Is the Belgian Malinois Compared to Humans?

Usain Bolt, the Jamaican 100-meter sprinter, recorded the fastest human speed at just under 28 mph. However, Bolt is an Olympic champion, and most humans are not. On average, humans usually run about 6 mph over a distance.

Even the fastest human in the world is still slower than a Belgian Malinois, so it’s no wonder anyone running from one of these dogs doesn’t stand a chance!

How Fast Is the Belgian Malinois Compared to Other Species?

The cheetah is believed to be the fastest land mammal,2 with a top speed of 60 mph. In the water, the fastest swimmer is the black marlin, at an estimated 80 mph. Interestingly, based on an experiment, an insect beats them all out for speed, and the horsefly is believed to be capable of reaching 90 mph.

However, the true winner in speed in the wild kingdom is the peregrine falcon. This bird of prey can dive at speeds of 185 mph when hunting. The following chart shows how the Belgian Malinois’ speed compares to the other creatures we’ve discussed:

Belgian Malinois puppy
Image credit: Best dog photo, Shutterstock
Species/Breed Top Speed (mph)
Peregrine Falcon 185
Horsefly 90
Black Marlin 80
Cheetah 60
Greyhound 45
Belgian Malinois 30
Human (Usain Bolt) 28

Why Is the Belgian Malinois So Fast?

The fastest dog breeds are typically those bred to hunt, herd, and work. Speed, strength, and stamina are all required to do the jobs they were bred to accomplish. The Belgian Malinois was initially bred to serve as a herding dog in its native Belgium.

The Belgian Malinois is muscular and energetic and is a true canine athlete, developed to work for hours chasing and directing unruly livestock. These days, the breed is more likely to use its skills for police or military work, as we discussed earlier.

belgian malinois dog in the park fields
Image By: Irantzu Arbaizagoitia, Shutterstock

How to Tire Out a Belgian Malinois

If you’re considering adding a Belgian Malinois to your family, it’s essential to be aware that their need for physical activity is among the highest of any breed. Yes, they can run fast, but they also have the energy to do it for long periods. These traits make them ideal working dogs but high-maintenance pets.

Because they’re also intelligent dogs with a high work drive, Belgian Malinois are an excellent choice for canine sports like agility, tracking, Frisbee, and flyball. Participating in these activities allows them to exercise their bodies and minds.

Belgian Malinois owners should expect to spend time every day tiring out their dogs. Walks typically don’t do the trick, either. More intense activities like jogging, swimming, hiking, or playing fetch are usually required.

A Belgian Malinois that doesn’t get enough exercise can be a handful because all that energy must go somewhere. It can manifest as destructive or harmful behaviors if they don’t get a safe outlet for their energy.Divider 5


The Belgian Malinois is one of the most athletic dog breeds, and its running speed reflects that ability. With an average top speed of 30 mph, the Belgian Malinois is faster than most dogs. This breed’s combination of energy, strength, intensity, and intelligence means they are best suited for experienced dog owners. A well-trained, socialized, and exercised Belgian Malinois makes a loyal pet, but it can take a lot of time and effort to accomplish compared to other breeds.

Featured Image Credit: 825545, Pixabay

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