Are Cats Faster Than Dogs?

Dog and cat best friends walking together outdoor on the grass
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The competition between dogs and cats go back probably as long as humans have been keeping dogs and cats as pets. We want to know which animal is smarter, which is more affectionate, and which makes a better pet. Of course, we know the answer is, all of the above, because we love both cats AND dogs.

But when we're talking about competition, we have to think about the ultimate challenge: racing. Who would win in a race between a dog and a cat? Which animal is fastest, cats or dogs?

Scientifically, the world's fastest cat is faster than the world's fastest dog.

Cheetah at full stride
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The world's fastest cat is the cheetah, and these quick cats are also the fastest land animal. Cheetahs run up to 75 mph for short bursts, so they can sprint as fast as a car traveling on the average freeway.

The fastest dog, on the other hand, is the greyhound. These dogs can sprint up to 43 mph, making it the second fastest land animal. which even though it's still impressive, is just over half as fast as the cheetah.

The reason both greyhounds and cheetahs run as fast as they do is thanks to their rotary gallop, where their legs hit the ground in a circular pattern. They also elongate their body, stretching as far as they can, and then contract to help cover the greatest distance.

Check out this video to see a comparison of the cheetah and greyhound.

However, cheetahs aren't exactly the same as house cats. These wild cats are quite a different genus and species from domestic cats, so it's not exactly a fair comparison. When we consider specifically our domestic animals, the facts are a little different.

Domestic dogs are, on average, faster than domestic cats.

Because there are so many different breeds of domestic cats and dog, there are definitely certain domestic cats who are faster than domestic dogs. However, on average, dogs are faster. Fast domestic dogs can get up to 35-40 mph. After the Greyhound, here are some of the fastest dog breeds.

Viszla (40 mph)

Running Vizsla
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Jack Russel Terrier (38 mph)

Happy dog pet running on a lawn
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Dalmatian (37 mph)

Dalmatian dog running across meadow
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These dogs run with speed that ranges from 35-43 mph, which is pretty speedy.

On the feline side of things, the Egyptian Mau is the fastest domestic cat breed.

These kitties can run as fast as 30 mph, which is not as fast as the fastest dog, but still pretty impressive.

Egyptian Mau cat in street
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Here are some of the other super speedy cat breeds.

Abyssinian

Abyssinian cat in studio
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Somali

Somali cat portrait
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Bengal

Bengal Cat Playing With Chipmunk
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Of course, there's only one REAL way to determine if your cat is faster than your dog — schedule a test race. However, as much fun as it sounds, we know our dogs would just get distracted by a squirrel, and our cats would refuse to participate.

So unfortunately, we may never be able to host our own pet Olympics. Even if it would be the cutest event ever!