How Fast can a Deer Run?

Basit Ali Chaudhary

A deer’s speed can often be the difference between life and death – when being pursued, deer utilize their agility and lightning reflexes to evade predators. 

With max speeds up to 50 MPH, deer are one of the fastest land animals in North America. Different species have different speeds – for instance, Caribou, Mule deer, and red deer are known for their speeds unmatched by other types of deer

Speed also depends on other factors, such as the age of the deer; young deer will obviously have greater speeds than older ones. Gender also plays a role, as it has been observed in most cases that male bucks are faster than their female partners. Illness and injury can also affect deer’s speed.

Let’s have a look into more detail about the speed of different species of deer and which specie is more dominant than others. 

Speed of different deer species

Just like different deer species have different characteristics in terms of weight, size, and color, in the same way, they have different speeds. But on average, all deer are fast runners with an average speed of 30-50 MPH. Let’s analyze the varying speeds between different deer species in detail.

Whitetail Deer- Odocoileus Virginianus

Whitetails are one of the common types of deer found commonly in North America. They are lightweight as compared to other species, with an average weight of 300 lbs. But the question here is How Fast Can Whitetail Deer Run? 

Their average speed is 30-35 MPH (48-56 Km/h). It’s not necessary that you will always find them running; they move in gait patterns such as walking, trotting, and bounding. 

Mule Deer- Odocoileus Hemonius

Mule deer is another famous specie of deer and is also commonly found in North America. They grow normally to 3 ft in height and have an average weight of 250-300 lbs. 

They also have similar speeds to their white-tailed cousins but are slightly quicker, with an average speed of 40 MPH (64 Km/h).

Elk- Cervus canadensis

Elk is known to be one of the biggest species of deer. It can grow to 1.5 meters in height and has an average weight of around 350 lbs. They have huge antlers and a good speed as well. They can run with a max speed of 35 MPH (56 Km/h)

Red Deer- Cervus Elaphus

Red deer are also one of the biggest members of the deer family. And this specie of deer is well-spread in different countries and regions of the world. As far as their speed is concerned, they can reach a maximum speed of 40-45 MPH (64-72 Km/h).

Speed Chart of Other Deer Species

Deer TypeAverage Speed (MPH)Max Speed (MPH)
Fallow Deer2035

How does a deer use its speed to avoid its predators?

Deer has a lot of predators, including humans. Most hunters just love to hunt deer. Along with humans, there are a number of their predators such as , bears, lions, Cheetah, wolves, coyotes, bobcats, and the list goes on. This long list of predators makes deer more alert and vigilant. This is also the reason why deer don’t sleep too long in a single go but prefer to take short naps from time to time. 

Deer don’t have the ability to fight back against most of their predators, so their biggest defense is their speed. And it’s only good speed that can help deer to escape from predators’ arc. 

Speed comparison of deer

Are Deer Faster Than Horses?


Horses are also great runners, just like deer, but their speed also varies according to their species. For instance, galloping horse can gain a speed up to 40 MPH ( 65 Km/h) and is also known to be one of the fastest animals. The strength and agility of a galloping horse have been admired for thousands of years, and modern technology like electronic timing has made it even more measureable.

Other horse breeds famous for speed are Arabian horses, Thoroughbred, and quarter horses. 

Horses can outrun deer due to their ability to maintain their speed for longer durations than deer. Compared to deer, horses have more speed and endurance, so they are definitely capable of winning the race from deer.

Also for hunting, it’s still fun to hunt on horseback, even though most hunters now prefer SUVs and ATVs.

Are Deer Faster Than Humans?


Yes, without any doubt. The maximum speed a normal person can maintain is around 8 MPH (12 Km/h). And those that are physical athletes and gym enthusiasts can run slightly fast at an average speed of 15 MPH ( 24 Km/h). And if you look at the world’s fastest person, even Usain Bolt, who has a record in the Olympics for running the 100 meters in 9.8 seconds, can’t beat deer in speed. 

So, clearly doesn’t matter how fast you run; you will never be able to match the speed of deer in any way.

Are Deer Faster Than Dogs?


Street dogs can run at about 15-20 MPH. But there are dog breeds that are known for their speed, such as greyhounds, which can run with a max speed of 45 MPH (72 Km/h). Secondly, dogs also have good endurance and can maintain their speed for quite a long chase.

It is also common for hunters to take their dogs with them while they go hunting. 

Some popular dog breeds with good speed are:

Greyhounds – Max Speed -45 MPH

Saluki- Max Speed -40 MPH

Vizsla- Max Speed- 40MPH

Whippet- Max Speed- 35 MPH

So, there are some breeds of dogs that can match the speed of deer but not necessarily in all cases. Because it’s not just about running in a straight line, deer are superior in swift maneuvers than most animals in the world.

How good are deer at swimming?

Deer are surprisingly good swimmers. Those species of deer that move in the form of herds especially have a good practice of swimming as they often interact with water when migrating from one place to another. 

They don’t swim very occasionally but have a good tendency to swim if there is a need. Their limbs aren’t made for long strokes and gracefully gliding through the water, but nature has given them some natural swimming skills that come in handy when there is water between them and a predator.

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