The competition between dogs and cats goes 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. Are cats faster than dogs? And is the world's fastest dog faster than a cat?
Scientifically, the world's fastest cat is faster than the world's fastest dog
How fast can a cat run? The world's fastest cat is the cheetah, and these quick cats are also the fastest land animal. A dog-size cat weighing in at 75 to 125 pounds as adults, these cats speed up to 75 miles per hour for short bursts, meaning they can sprint as fast as a car traveling on the average freeway. This high speed during the acceleration phase of a hunt helps a cheetah catch up to their prey. From their narrow frame to their hard paws, everything about a cheetah is built for speed.
The world's fastest dog, on the other hand, is the greyhound. These dogs can sprint up to 43 miles per hour, making them the second-fastest land animal. Even though it's still impressive, it's 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. Their pivoting hips and swinging tail enable them to make sudden turns at high speeds yet still maintain their balance during a chase. They also elongate their body, stretching as far as they can, and they then contract to help cover the greatest distance. At top speeds, their stride can be up to 21 feet.
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 fair to compare a wild cat to your home-bound dog. When specifically considering 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 dogs, 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 to 40 miles per hour. After the greyhound, here are some of the world's fastest dog breeds.
Vizsla - 40 miles per hour
The Vizsla is a high energy Hungarian breed that can run up to 40 miles per hour. they were bred to be hunting companions that can both point and retrieve.
Jack Russel Terrier - 38 miles per hour
The Jack Russell terrier was named for its breeder, Jack Russell, who bred these dogs in England in the mid-1800s to be fox hunting dogs.
Dalmatian - 37 miles per hour
The Dalmatian was bred in the region of Europe known as the Dalmatians, near Croatia, as a hunting companion and a dog to lead carriages. They have powerful legs to run for long distances.
To see the fastest cat, head to Egypt
On the domestic side of things, the Egyptian mau is the fastest cat breed. These kitties can run as fast as 30 miles per hour, which is not as fast as the fastest dog but still pretty impressive. Powerful back legs not only help with acceleration but they also make the mau an excellent leaper.
Here are some of the other super-speedy cat breeds.
Are cats faster than dogs? It depends on your comparison between wild and domestic species. 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!