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MLBaer Photography
MLBaer Photography
MLBaer Photography
MLBaer Photography

Who is the fastest dog in the country? You’re about to find out. At the AKC Fast CAT Invitational, the country’s speediest canines gather for an inaugural, 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.

Held in conjunction with the AKC National Championship Presented by Royal Canin, the fastest dogs from each breed, based on rankings from AKC Fast CAT Tests, have been invited to participate in Orlando, FL for the designation of Fastest Dog USA or Speed of the Breeds Champion. All dogs will run three times, with the cumulative speed determining the fastest dogs. Dogs compete in two final divisions: Fastest Dogs USA and the Speed of the Breed Championship. Fastest Dogs USA is the outright fastest dog according to miles per hour. Speed of the Breed is determined by the percentage of speed run over the average speed for that breed.

Watch the event on ESPN2 on Sunday, Dec. 13 at 6 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!

The fastest Pekingese competing, Buster, has an average speed of 7.39 MPH. The fastest Greyhound, Dagnabit, has an average speed of 37.01 MPH (For reference, Usain Bolt’s fastest time has been clocked at almost 28 mph.)

In the AKC Fastest Dog USA competition, dogs will compete in two final divisions: Fastest Dogs USA and the Speed of the Breed Championship. Fastest Dogs USA will be the outright fastest dog according to miles per hour. Speed of the Breed will be determined by the percentage of speed run over the average speed for that breed.

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

Wednesday, December 9, 9am ET AKC Fast CAT Invitational Run 1 AKC.TV
Thursday, December 10, 9am ET AKC Fast CAT Invitational Run 2 AKC.TV
Friday, December 11, 2-4pm ET AKC Fastest Dogs USA Finals ESPN App
Sunday, December 13, 6pm ET AKC Fastest Dogs USA on ESPN2  ESPN2

Don’t miss the action! The 2020 AKC National Championship presented by Royal Canin will air on ABC on Sunday, January 17, 2021, from 2 to 5 p.m.

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