Cloning a huge repository (like a project with multiple years of history) might take a long time, or fail because of the amount of data to be transferred. In cases where you don't need to have the full history available, you can do a shallow clone:
git clone [repo_url] --depth 1
The above command will fetch just the last commit from the remote repository.
Be aware that you may not be able to resolve merges in a shallow repository. It's often a good idea to take at least as many commits are you are going to need to backtrack to resolve merges. For example, to instead get the last 50 commits:
git clone [repo_url] --depth 50
Later, if required, you can the fetch the rest of the repository:
git fetch --unshallow # equivalent of git fetch -–depth=2147483647 # fetches the rest of the repository
git fetch --depth=1000 # fetch the last 1000 commits