FAST CAT Basics (and the Sloughi)

Participants of the AKC’s fast CAT already know about this gem of an activity they can do with their dog, but this post is for people who don’t. Fast CAT stands for Coursing Ability Test; it is a timed straight-line 100-yard dash where dogs run one at a time, chasing a lure.

The AKC has been running Fast CAT races for dogs since 2016, and eligibility to participate is straightforward: Dogs have to be at least twelve months old, and while all dogs can participate whether they are purebred or a mixed breed, they must have an AKC number via the dog’s AKC registration as an AKC recognized breeds,  through AKC Canine Partners (for mixed-breed dogs and dogs ineligible for AKC registration), through the Purebred Alternative Listing (PAL) program, (for purebred dogs that cannot be fully registered with the AKC to participate in AKC events), or through the Foundation Stock Service.

  • 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

A handicap system?

The AKC ranks the 20 fastest dogs by breed, and you can see those rankings by breed for each year going back to 2016.  Because all breeds may participate, it’s fun to compare and contrast. In 2020, for example, the fastest Dachshund in the country was a dog named. “Nugget” who had an average speed of 21.6 mph.  The fastest Pekingese, meanwhile, had an average speed of 7.39 mph. And if you would expect a sighthound to easily “cruise” to fast times, you would be right. That same year, the fastest Whippet had an average speed of 35.02 mph.

One sighthound we don’t hear a lot about in FAST CAT even though it was recognized by the AKC is 2016 is the Sloughi. Also called the “Arabian Greyhound,”  this is still a fairly rare breed in the United States, but Berbers and Bedouins in North Africa bred the dogs for millennia to course gazelles, jackals, hares, and rabbits.

The site, PetCalculator, analyzed over 60,000 dog speed records from the AKC Fast Coursing Ability Test database, and studied the speeds of thirteen different Sloughis. It found the breed’s average speed to be 26.4 mph, and the minimum speed to be 19.2 mph. The fastest speed on AKC record for a Sloughi was 31.79 mph and was set by CH Ocerico Everest BN RI FDC FCAT CGCA CGCU TKN ATT. 

Interestingly, PetCalculator also compared the sexes and found little difference between the two, though enough to make a difference in a race: The average speed of the male Sloughi is 26.5 mph,  the average speed of a female is 26.3 mph.

Compared to the running speed of other dog breeds, the Sloughi ranks 9th out of 247 breeds. The fastest breed is the Greyhound which can run at an average speed of 33.1 mph.

The Sloughi was recognized by the National Oval Track Racing Association in 1994, and the American Sighthound Field Association (ASFA, coursing) in 1996.  In fact, the Sloughi was the inspiration behind the Large Gazehound Racing Association created in 1995.  Read more about that below:

Sloughi and the Large Gazehound Racing Association

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Image: Two Sloughis in the sand dunes in the Sahara desert of Morocco/Deposit Stock Photo


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