How Fast Are Foxes? Discover Top Speeds and Agility

Written by Katie Downey
Published: November 14, 2023
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What does the fox say? How fast are foxes? As humans, we have so many questions when it comes to foxes and what their lives are like. Foxes, no matter the species, are fascinating animals. The beautiful animals that look to be half cat and half dog are notorious trophy animals. Their pelts are sadly still sought after for designer apparel and fur coats. We at A-Z Animals stand with the foxes of the world and would never applaud the cruel treatment they receive. However, we do want to discuss the fox and its speed. They must be fast to outrun all those hunting dogs, right? Let’s look at the four types of foxes found in the U.S.

What is a Fox?

Cute Red Fox, Vulpes vulpes in fall forest. Beautiful animal in the nature habitat. Wildlife scene from the wild nature. Red fox running in orange autumn leaves.

Foxes are such beautiful animals capable of clever antics and trickery.

©Ondrej Prosicky/

The red fox is typically found in wooded areas near meadows, forests near water, farmland, and suburban neighborhoods. They can weigh anywhere from 5 – 15 pounds and usually measure between 39 and 46 inches long, with a height of 14 – 20 inches at the shoulder. The red fox is the largest species of fox in North America. Their diet includes rodents, rabbits, insects, berries, amphibians, reptiles, and small birds.

Grey foxes are very similar to red foxes in size, diet, and habitat. They are 35 – 40 inches long and typically weigh 8 – 14 pounds. The grey fox’s numbers are much lower than the red fox’s due to habitat loss. Their faces are slightly smaller and narrower. The grey fox is sometimes known as a tree fox because it climbs trees and sleeps in them.

The Arctic fox is found in Canada and Alaska. They are bright white and measure 18 – 27 inches. Their weight is slightly higher than that of the grey or red fox at 7 – 22 pounds. Their diet comprises lemmings, rodents, rabbits, birds, and carrion. They are especially fond of goose eggs and will even bury them in the snow for later.

The kit fox is a tiny and adorable beige-colored fox with black markings and huge ears. They prefer the warmth of the southwestern U.S. and Mexico. They have a small frame measuring 29 – 33 inches long, with over a third being their tail. The fox weighs 3 – 6 pounds. Their large ears help them to stay cool in the heat. Their diet is similar to the other species of foxes in the U.S.

Swift foxes live in the southwestern U.S. and the Great Plains. They are approximately 12 inches tall and 23 – 34 inches long, weighing 5 – 7 pounds. Their appearance resembles a mixed version of the grey and red fox species.

How Fast is a Fox?

Kit Fox

Overall, foxes are fast enough to outrun most dogs.

©brentawp/ via Getty Images

The red fox can run 31 miles per hour. They are also able to leap six feet into the air. They are not as fast as the wolf or coyote and are sometimes attacked.

The grey fox can run up to 28 miles per hour, leap onto low tree branches, climb trees, and swim to escape predators. They are also able to maintain their speed for quite some time.

The Arctic fox can endure short sprints at 31 miles per hour but also has a neat trick. They jump up to six feet in the air and land with their paws together to break the snow crust while their head dives in to catch unsuspecting prey they heard above the snow’s crust.

The kit fox can run up to 25 miles per hour for short bursts. They are the second smallest fox in the world and appear to be moving much faster than 25 miles per hour when they hit top speeds because of their small stature.

The swift fox can run up to 31 miles per hour. Since they are so small, it looks like they are flying when they run at those speeds!

When looking at top domestic dog speeds, the greyhound takes first place at 45 miles per hour, with numerous dogs not too far behind it. Fortunately for the fox, none of the fastest dogs are typically used to hunt them. Unlike the greyhound, huskies don’t care for hunting, though they can run for hundreds of miles. The greyhound runs over half as fast as the fastest cheetah, the fastest animal on the planet, and can run up to 50 – 80 miles per hour.

A Final Word on Foxes

Red fox pouncing on prey in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Foxes have an uncanny ability to hunt and pounce on their prey with lightning speed.

©Michelle Holihan/

There are many faster animals out there, but no one ever said fast like a fox; they said smart like a fox. Though fox speeds differ slightly, they can all run nearly 30 miles per hour, at least in short bursts. Foxes can outsmart most animals with their problem-solving and trickery. Look how many hunting dogs it takes to catch the scent of a fox. The fox also trips them up by placing scents where it won’t stay; they make a break for it by land, tree, or water. They are the actual Triathalon runners, and with their skill, intelligence, and speed, they can outsmart just about anyone trying to catch them.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Mary_wolf88/

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About the Author

Katie Downey is a writer for A-Z Animals where her primary focus is on wildlife, arachnids and insects. Katie has been writing and researching animals for more than a decade. Katie worked in animal rescue and rehabilitation with handicapped cats and farm animals for many years. As a resident of North Carolina, Katie enjoys exploring nature with her son, educating others on the positive role that insects and spiders play in the ecosystem and raising jumping spiders.

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