Hepper is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

How Fast Can a Pitbull Run? (Max Speed Comparison)

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

Strong, energetic, and with enough agility to chase down a rabbit, Pitbulls are quite quick on their feet. They make for excellent guardians, too, and have the reputation of being brave and loyal dogs. So, what’s the max speed of a healthy, well-trained Pitbull? It’s quite impressive: 25–30 miles/40–48 kilometers per hour.

But can they hold their own against other dogs? Can a Pitbull outrun a human? What about a rabbit or a deer? How much stamina do Pitbulls have? We’ve got all the answers right here! Join us, and let’s see just how fast Pitbulls are, how they perform compared to similar-sized breeds, and more!

Divider 7Pitbulls: A Quick Breakdown

What’s the definition of a Pitbull, though? Is it a breed or not? Well, it’s a gray area, and it depends on who you’re asking. For example, the UKC (United Kennel Club), officially categorizes the American Pitbull terrier as a breed.

That said, most esteemed clubs, including the AKC (American Kennel Club), use this term to describe various dog breeds that “look like” Pitbulls. We’re talking about the shape of the dog’s head, body type, and other physical features. Essentially, if it’s fast, strong, and has a square-shaped head, fleshy nose, and larger-than-average eyes, it will probably be called a Pitbull.

Here’s a list of some dog breeds that are often categorized as Pitbulls:

All these breeds are American, but they’re still very much different. The size, demeanor, and attitude are NOT the same. English bull terriers are also included in the list, along with boxers.

boston terrier pitbull terrier
Image Credit: Studio Photo, Shutterstock

Why Are They Called That, Anyway?

The first mentions of the word “Pitbull” date back to the early 19th century, when bull baiting was gaining momentum in the British Isles. It was a barbaric, inhumane “sport” where a bull or a bear was chained to a stake (by its legs or neck) to limit its ability to move. Then, a group of dogs was set on the poor animal for the crowd’s amusement. Thankfully, bull baiting was banned in 1835.

Now, the hounds used in these events were English Bulldogs and terriers. And the dogs that managed to “pin” the bear/bull were called Pitbulls. It’s been almost 200 years since bull baiting was outlawed in Europe and worldwide, but we’re still using this word to describe a dog with similar attributes and traits.

So, How Fast Can These Dogs Run?

Pitbulls are among the fastest canines on the planet. On average, they can run as fast as 25–30 miles per hour. If you’re from the UK or the EU, that amounts to 40–48 kilometers per hour. Agile, athletic, and with an above-average starting speed, these dogs are, indeed, pretty fast. By mating terriers with bulldogs, dogfighting clubs managed to create a tough, speedy new breed.

And the genes are still there. Modern-day Pitbulls are just as muscular and strong as their ancestors; the speed didn’t go anywhere, either. That’s why these dogs are often seen trotting alongside their owners. Pitbulls are great running companions. But, if you mostly keep them inside and never take your four-legged friends into the wilderness, they will lose their “edge”.

pitbull on a leash running on sand
Image Credit: susanne906, Pixabay

The Pros of Running With a Pitbull

  • The dog can blow off steam.These hounds have more energy than most owners can handle. However, by letting them stretch their legs, you’ll have less to worry about back home. Otherwise, the dog will wake you up in the middle of the night and maybe even break something along the way.
  • Your pet will stay healthier.Just like people and other animals, dogs get rusty if they don’t move. So, why not take the Pitbull on your routine morning jogs? The dog will stay in shape, get rid of depression, and be happier for the rest of the day. His mental health will also improve.
  • The Pitbull will live longer.Again, similar to their human owners, dogs live longer, healthier lives when they’re physically active. Not only does this keep them fit, but it also has a therapeutic effect. This is just as important as feeding the dog the right food and having him checked by vets.
  • You’ll get to bond with the dog.Lastly, to improve your bond with the furry champ, always invite him to your jogging and running sessions. Nothing strengthens the bond between dog and man quite like physical activity. Pitbulls are big fans of running and socializing with their owners.

Even if you just walk with the dog, that will still be better than keeping him “locked up” at home 24/7. Swimming is another great activity, but Pitbulls need some training to be able to swim freely. Hiking and overcoming challenging routes together should also be on your calendar.

How Do Pitbulls Compare to Other Breeds?

Most dogs are capable of covering 15–20 miles per hour. This is only true for relatively short distances, though. Also, the longer the breed’s legs and the bigger its lungs, the faster it will be. Now, the fastest dogs can easily speed up to 25–45 miles per hour, which is quite impressive. The list includes greyhounds, the Saluki, and other lightning-fast dogs.

Here’s a closer look at the fastest canines and how they rank against Pitbulls:

Dog Breed Running Speed

Compared to greyhounds, Pitbulls aren’t nearly as fast (they’re about 60% slower). They can’t compete with a German shepherd, either. That said, they’re still quite fast, which is why they’re so often used in hunting. So, next, let’s compare these lovely dogs to other animals and our own selves!

Featured Image Credit: Hugo A. Quintero G, Flickr

What About Humans, Rabbits, and Deer?

Animal Running Speed
  • Deer:  30 mph
  • Rabbit:  25–30 mph
  • Pitbull:  25–30 mph
  • Bicycle: 10–30 mph
  • Squirrel:  10–15 mph
  • Pig:  11 mph
  • Human: 5–10 mph

The average male or female will have a hard time trying to outrun a Pitbull in his prime. Of course, if we compare an older dog to a professional human athlete, the odds might shift. But, in all fairness, Pitbulls will easily leave you behind in a friendly race even if you’re keeping yourself in good shape and like to jog/run early in the morning.

Pitbulls can actually keep up with a bike (depending on how fast you go) and will be able to stick close for at least 20–30 minutes. More importantly, Pitbulls do a great job of hunting pigs, squirrels, and even rabbits. As part of a hunting party, these dogs are quick to find the prey and to either catch it or push it towards the hunter.

When Do Pitbulls Run Out Of Breath?

On average, these dogs weigh 35–60 pounds, which is a decent weight for a canine. And, compared to most breeds, they have more pure muscle mass. This is how Pitbulls can reach max speed within seconds and that’s what makes them perfect catch dogs. That doesn’t mean they can keep running at max speed for hours, of course. Expect a healthy Pitbull to slow down after one mile of top-speed running.

We’re talking about a 30–40 minute run. However, when running at 13–15 mph, Pitbulls can go on for 2–7 miles. In any case, you shouldn’t push these dogs to their limit unless absolutely necessary. If you notice he’s starting to lag, slow down and give the Pitbull time to rest. Or, better yet, create the route in advance, considering the capabilities of your dog. This way, both of you will get to enjoy the race.

pitbulls playing
Image Credit: Pixabay

Common Uses For Pitbulls

Hunting and guarding: that’s what these dogs are mostly famous for. Pitbulls are used for tracking down large game and keeping livestock safe. They are a bit too friendly towards strangers, though, which is bad news for a guard dog. On the bright side, thanks to their impressive strength, decent stamina, and sharp instincts, they make incredible catch dogs.

Athletic, intelligent, and striving to get in the “good graces” of their owners, Pitbulls are happy to follow your command. Sadly, long pursuits are not their strongest suit. So, ideally, you should use Pitbulls against hogs and other relatively slow animals. These dogs are not only good for hunting, though. They excel at detecting bombs, searching/rescuing, and even serving the country.

Divider 7Conclusion

While Pitbulls can be a bit scary, given how they’re often portrayed, these dogs deserve just as much love and affection as any other breed. Pitbulls are built to survive harsh conditions, guard livestock, and serve as rescue dogs. These hounds are fast runners, too, and easily catch up to the prey, including squirrels and rabbits.

Now, if you’re looking for the fastest dogs, Pitbulls might not “cut it”. However, they’re so much more than just a hunter’s sidekick. Strong, protective, and more courageous than most animals, Pitbulls can outrun the average human and keep up with a bike. Go-getters at heart, they are highly sociable, obedient, and heroic and will always have your back!

Featured IImage Credit: 825545, Pixabay

Related Articles

Further Reading

Vet Articles

Latest Vet Answers

The latest veterinarians' answers to questions from our database