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French Bulldog running Fast CAT
MLBaer Photography
MLBaer Photography
MLBaer Photography
MLBaer Photography

Who is the fastest dog in the country? You’re about to find out. At Fastest Dogs USA, an AKC and ESPN production, the country’s speediest canines gather for the second annual, invitation-only event. Dogs of all breeds participate year-long, around the country, in AKC Fast Coursing Ability Tests (Fast CAT) – the 100-yard dash for dogs.

Fastest Dogs USA will highlight a select group of the quickest canines competing in the sport of Fast CAT in this all-star, invitational show. Fastest Dogs USA will bring the exciting sport of AKC Fast CAT to its largest audience to date as the show is broadcast across the ESPN networks. A total of $10,000 in prize money will be awarded.

Watch the event on ESPN2 on Saturday, December 25 at 12 p.m. ET.

Before you enjoy the show, learn Fast CAT basics so you know what you’re watching:

Fast CAT Basics

  • Fast CAT is a timed straight race of 100 yards
  • Dogs run one at a time
  • The dog’s time to complete the 100-yard dash is converted into MPHs
  • A handicap system is applied to a dog’s MPH to determine the number of points earned. The handicap system is based on the height of the dog at its withers:
    • 18” or greater = handicap is 1.0
    • 12” up to less than 18” = handicap is 1.5
    • Below 12” = handicap is 2.0
  • Points = MPH multiplied by the dog’s handicap
  • Fast CAT titles suffix titles are earned at designated milestones:
    • BCAT = 150 points
    • DCAT = 500 points
    • FCAT = 1,000 points
    • FCAT# = every additional 500 points

How is a Fast CAT Track set up?

Can Any Dog Run Fast CAT?

Fast CAT is open to all dogs at least 12 months of age, including mixed-breed dogs. To compete, dogs must be individually registered with the AKC through either standard registration, FSS, Purebred Alternative Listing, or AKC Canine Partners (for mixed breeds.) Females in season may not enter. A dog may enter only once per event. (An event is defined by an event number.)

An inspection committee shall inspect each entry for lameness, fitness to compete, and females in season. If necessary, the inspection committee is responsible for measuring dogs to determine their height at the withers.

Do Different Breeds Race Against One Another?

Dogs are ranked by breed and the top 20 dogs in each breed can be found by year and breed. Since all dogs can participate, there is a wide range of speeds!

For example, the fastest Dachshund in the country for 2020, Nugget, has an average speed of 21.6 MPH. The fastest Whippet has an average speed of 35.02 MPH. Last year, the fastest Pekingese had an average speed of 7.39 MPH.

Last Year’s Winner

Wailin’ Phelan The Bearded Lass, a 4-year-old All-American Dog (rescued and thought to be a GreyhoundBorzoi, and Scottish Deerhound mix) bested 116 others to win the title of 2020 Fastest Dog USA in the American Kennel Club’s inaugural Fast CAT Invitational in Orlando, Florida.

Get Started With Your Own Dog

Your first step to learn about Fast CAT is to call or visit your a local AKC club and see if they offer one or both of the two types of tests: Lure Coursing or the Coursing Ability Test. You can also ask to speak with someone who has already taken part in Fast CAT as they would be more than happy to share their expertise with you.

Then it’s very easy to participate: Just find an event and fill out an entry form that you can get from your local AKC club’s premium list.

AKC Fastest Dogs USA Streaming Schedule

Saturday, December 25, 12pm ET AKC Fastest Dogs USA on ESPN2  ESPN2

Watch the 2021 AKC National Championship presented by Royal Canin on January 2 at 2 p.m. ET on ABC.

Related article: Mastiff Breaks Breed Stereotypes at First-Ever Fast CAT Invitational
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