Hepper is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Are Cats Faster Than Dogs? Our Vet Advices What The Science Says

Lorre Luther

By Lorre Luther

dog and cat running in the snow outside

Vet approved

Dr. Lorna Whittemore Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Lorna Whittemore

MRCVS (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

If you’ve ever watched a cat chase a dog (or vice versa), you may have wondered which of the two species would win in an honest footrace. The answer is a bit complicated! As the fastest cat and dog depend on what breed we talk about. The fastest dogs, Greyhounds, can reach speeds of up to 45 miles per hour. The speediest felines, Egyptian Mau Cats, usually top out at about 30 miles per hour. But that’s only part of the picture since dog and cat breeds have various top speeds. Your neighbor’s Pug wouldn’t have a chance in a race with your best friend’s Savannah Cat, but a Dalmatian can lap even the fastest cat over.

What Are Some of the Fastest Domestic Cat Breeds?

Cats with long, lean bodies and legs have an advantage in the speed department; Abysinnian, Savannah, and Bengal cats are all pretty fast. While sturdily built pets prone to carrying extra weight, such as Ragdoll and Maine Coon Cats, are not as fast or energetic. Cats with flat faces, such as Persian and Himalayan Cats, are slower and sometimes have trouble handling strenuous exercise.

a bengal cat running outdoor
Image Credit: Jeannette1980, Pixabay

What Are Some of the Fastest Domestic Dog Breeds?

Vizslas and Afghan Hounds can run between 30 and 40 miles per hour, and some Greyhounds can reach 45 miles per hour. On the other hand, Chihuahuas, Pugs, and Shih Tzus aren’t that speedy because of their little legs. Also, dogs with short snouts and flat faces are slower since they sometimes have difficulty breathing due to brachycephalic airway syndrome.

brown greyhound running
Image Credit: Herbert Aust, Pixabay

Do Cats or Dogs Run More Efficiently?

Dogs run much more efficiently than cats; their bodies are optimized for holding out in long chases, while cats have the edge regarding short, swift bursts of energy required to stalk and pounce. Dogs’ bodies naturally move up and down as they run, allowing them to reduce the amount of effort expended by about 70%.

Cats run in such a way that the energy they require to move forward is only reduced by about 34%. And that number falls much lower when cats crouch and slink forward, getting ready to pounce. Researchers suggest cats are optimized for sneak attacks, while dogs are designed for efficient forward motion.

What About Wild Dogs and Cats?

When it comes to wild animals, there’s not much competition; Cheetahs are the fastest animals on land. They can reach speeds of over 70 miles per hour when they get going. The fastest wild canines, African Wild Dogs, can only hit about 44 miles per hour, which is about the same as Greyhounds, who can easily run 40 to 45 miles per hour.

Cheetahs and Greyhounds move in similar ways, and both have two-part running styles designed to produce super quick bursts of speed. Cheetahs can only move at top speed for about 219 yards. Greyhounds can keep going for a bit longer and maintain consistently high speeds for about 273 yards.

Are Cats and Dogs Faster than Humans?

Humans are completely outclassed by cats and dogs when it comes to speed. The average man can jog about 5.9 miles per hour. Women tend to be slower, averaging speeds closer to 5 miles per hour. To put things in perspective, Usain Bolt would likely lose in a head-to-head match-up with a cat if you could convince a cat to even participate in such a pointless activity.

Bolt can reach lightning speeds of over 27 miles per hour in a full-out sprint, but a motivated Egyptian Mau Cat capable of hitting 30 miles per hour would zip by even the speediest human. A Greyhound at top speed would leave any human in the dust, and even a pug could give many humans a run for the money in the speed department.

man running with akita inu dog outdoors
Image Credit: Zen Chung, Pexels

What Are Some Seriously Fast Animals?

Cheetahs are the fastest animals on land, but Mexican free-tailed bats are just as impressive. The stunning small mammals can soar at speeds close to 60 miles per hour. When it comes to birds, peregrine falcons take the prize; they can hit 186 miles per hour.

Ostriches in all-out sprints can hit 43 miles per hour, and Thompson’s gazelles often gallop at over 40 miles per hour. Black Marlin fish can swim faster than 80 miles per hour, and Green Iguanas can run up to 20 miles per hour. The fastest horse in the world was clocked at 43.97 miles per hour.

How Fast Are Lions and Tigers?

African lions can hit 50 miles per hour when sprinting. And they can leap over 36 feet when in the mood. Adult Sumatran Tigers can reach speeds of up to 40 miles per hour. Amur leopards are gorgeous creatures living in northern Eurasia’s forests, and they can hit 37 miles per hour in a pinch and jump a stunning 10 feet straight up.



It’s hard to say whether cats or dogs are faster since it depends on specifics! Cheetahs are the fastest land animal on the planet and are much faster than wild canines. The fastest domestic cats around, Egyptian Mau Cats, have been clocked at more than 30 miles per hour. However, that’s far slower than the fastest dogs, as Greyhounds can easily hit 45 miles per hour when in the zone. Ultimately, domesticated dogs are faster than domesticated cats, but wild cats are much faster than wild canines.

Featured Image Credit: Bachkova Natalia, Shutterstock

Related Articles

Further Reading

Vet Articles

Latest Vet Answers

The latest veterinarians' answers to questions from our database