How Fast Can Golden Retrievers Run?

I recently read Chez Stinky, an adorable rom-com featuring multiple cats and dogs including a clumsy Golden Retriever.

In the book, our heroine tires Tessa (the dog) by weighing her down with water bottles and leashing her to Linus, a much larger ‘bear-sized-horse-dog’.

Side view of asian sportswoman jogging with dog on beach

Eventually, the Golden Retriever escapes the from horse dog, two cars, and a motorcycle all trying to catch her.

I found myself wondering – just how fast can golden retrievers run? The short answer is roughly 35mph.

The long answer is … as always … it depends. So let’s look at the factors that influence how quickly your golden retriever can run.

In this guide, you’ll learn:

  • How fast Golden Retrievers can run
  • Factors that affect a Golden retrievers running speed
  • How this breeds top speed compares with other similar breeds

And much more!

What's In This Guide?

      Read More: >> How fast can German Shepherds Run? 

      Where did a Golden Retrievers Speed Come From?

      Golden retrievers were first bred in 19th Century, Scotland. The breed was carefully developed and recorded in Lord Tweedmouth’s famous studbook.

      He kept such meticulous breeding records that his 1868 to 1890 notes are still preserved at the London Kennel Club library. 

      The goal was to come up with a fast dog that could withstand the chilly highland weather and be amiable enough to live with kids.

      It was meant to be a hunting dog, mainly for water birds, and its primary role was to ‘retrieve’ the dead birds and bring them to the master.

      The dog had to do this without being distracted, dropping the bird, or eating the bird. And speed was a crucial factor in this.

      It’s why Lord Tweedmouth combined the speed of a Flat-coated Retriever with the swimming ability and friendliness of a Tweed Water Spaniel.

      He wanted a ‘yellow’ dog too, so he bred in some bloodhounds with sandy coats.

      And to hone the dog’s speed and hunting skills, he added Labrador Retrievers and Red Setters to the gene pool.

      The result? A red-to-blonde dog with a straight tail, double-coat, and a mid-size frame.

      This dog is a great runner thanks to its distinct stop (i.e. the section in between a dog’s forehead and muzzle area) and deep chest, which both help the dog breathe as it sprints.

      The strong forelegs, muscled thighs, well-defined stifles, and feline feet also make this dog an excellent runner. Plus – of course – the dog has built-in fetch instincts. 

      Let’s talk more about these feline feet and their effect on how fast golden retrievers can run.

      Dogs can have webbed feet (for swimming), hare feet (for sprinting), or cat-feet (for balance and stability). Cat-feet improves traction and endurance so the dog can run faster and further.

      Read More: >> What’s the best harness for running with a Golden Retriever? 

      What do You Need To Know About Running Golden Retrievers?

      You’ve probably heard people say Chihuahuas are the feistiest dog breed.

      But while Golden Retrievers can be friendly and docile, they can be as angsty as their tiny relatives if they don’t get enough exercise.

      Remember, this is a dog that was specifically designed to chase things.

      So if your Golden Retriever doesn’t get enough exercise, they’ll tear the house apart to work off that energy.

      You need to give your dog vigorous exercise for at least an hour every day. Find a safe spot where your dog can run at top speed without barriers or disruptions. 

      We’ve mentioned Golden Retrievers can hit 35mph, which roughly translates to half a mile per minute.

      The dog can sprint 3 to 4 miles at a stretch, so it will run for 4 or 5 minutes at a time if it has enough space. For reference, the fastest man alive can run 23.35mph at a sprint.

      And of course, Usain couldn’t possibly maintain that speed for longer than 30 seconds.

      So while you may think jogging with your Golden Retriever is sufficient exercise, your dog will be happier if you bike, rollerblade, skateboard, or use an ATV to exercise the dog sufficiently.

      And apart from being extreme sprinters, Golden Retrievers are commonly calm and composed.

      This means they can withstand chaotic kids, other pets, noisy horns, batty elders, and loud traffic. 

      golden retriever running

      Why Do Golden Retrievers Run So Fast?

      The reason golden retrievers are such good runners is … well … that’s what they were built for. They needed to run along their masters – who were often on horseback.

      Then they needed to watch the bird that their masters were hunting so they could see where it fell.

      Next, they had to use their enhanced scent to find the fallen prey, then bring it back to the master as quick as possible.

      Golden Retrievers love to please their owners, which only motivates them to work faster. Both their bodies and personalities are bred for speed.

      Let’s check this out in detail by reviewing the top speeds of the bloodlines that make up a Golden Retriever.

      Note that Vizslas aren’t true bloodhounds, but they’re often crossbred with them.

      Also, since Tweed Spaniels are extinct, we’re checking an English Water Spaniel here.

      Dog Breed Top Speed
      Bloodhound (crossed with Vizsla) 40mph
      Flat-Coated Retriever 35mph
      Tweed Water Spaniel (English Variant) 30mph
      Red Setter 30mph
      Labrador Retriever 30mph

      Training a puppy from 8 weeks onwards will give them the highest chance of running to top speed. 

      This is contentious because some owners can’t bear to restrict those adorable puppies. Ideally, though, you want to train the dog from as young as 8 weeks.

      But always keep in mind that puppies haven’t fully developed their bone structure, so you should restrict their walks and runs to carpets, grass, or rubber.

      Leave the concrete surfaces for later as this breed is also prone to hip dysplasia.

      What Are The Signs That Your Golden Retriever Isn’t Running Enough?

      40 to 60 minutes of vigorous exercise is needed that should include running and retrieving. Anything less than this may result in a dog gaining unwanted weight.

      A healthy golden retriever weighs 55 to 75 pounds, so if your dog is leaning towards 80lb, they’re not running enough.

      Of course, the dog can’t run longer than 5 minutes at a go, so combine their sprinting sessions with swimming, walks, and yes, Fiona can use a treadmill.

      It’s better to offer food twice a day than to serve one big meal. This is crucial because overfeeding can cause bloat.

      And bloat can lead to expansion of the stomach that pressures down other organs and restrict blood flow to the heart.

      If you spot the signs, call a vet!

      How Are Golden Retrievers Different From Other Running Dogs? 

      While Golden Retrievers are far from the fastest dog out there they’re certainly the friendliest. Their genes were edited to make them gentle and safe as family pets.

      That said if you’re looking to buy a faster golden retriever, check their cousins.

      You want a dog that was whelped by a long lineage of farm dogs (as opposed to urban pets). Farm dogs are working dogs so they have more room to run.

      City dogs are busy fetching papers, slippers, and balls while country dogs have speed-oriented chores, so they’re faster.

      Similarly, the average running dog is bred for security. Meaning they have an aggressive temperament, a sharp bite, and an intimidating bark.

      Golden Retrievers – on the other hand – are more likely to suck up to a stranger than scare him off. They’re just big fluffy puppies.

      Final Thoughts On The speed Of A Golden Retriever 

      Your dog will be happiest if it can run wherever and whenever it wants.

      Train the pup well so it comes when you call. That way, you’ll be less worried about leashing it and you can let it roam free in the yard.

      Walk your dog at least once a day, though three to four times would be best. Include lots of vigorous exercise during each walk.

      Let the dog splash in puddles or swim in a lake or pond if you have one around. Let the dog do a few sprinting bursts to tire it out and save your couch.

      Rachael Summers

      Rachael Summers

      Rachael Summers is the Founder and Senior Editor at Dig Doggy. She is a lifelong canine enthusiast and adores dogs of all shapes and sizes! Rachael also loves iced coffee, hammocks, and puppy-cuddling!

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      Rachael Summers

      Rachael Summers

      Rachael Summers is the Founder and Senior Editor at Dig Doggy. She is a lifelong canine enthusiast and adores dogs of all shapes and sizes! Rachael also loves iced coffee, hammocks, and puppy-cuddling!

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      DigDoggy® is a free resource for dog owners, with everything from expert product reviews to trusted pet care advice.

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