fast cat akc

How Fast CAT Dog Sport Competitions Work: Rules and Regulations

Fast CAT (Coursing Ability Test) is an exhilarating sport designed for dogs that love to run. Combining speed, agility, and instinct, these competitions offer a unique opportunity for dogs to showcase their natural abilities in a structured environment. Whether you’re a seasoned handler or a newcomer to the world of canine sports, understanding the rules and regulations of Fast CAT dog sport is essential for ensuring a fair and enjoyable experience for both you and your dog. In this article, we’ll delve into the specifics of how Fast CAT dog sport competitions work, providing a comprehensive guide to the guidelines, scoring, and what you can expect on the day of the event.

Table of Contents

What is Fast CAT?

Fast CAT, short for Coursing Ability Test, is a timed 100-yard dash where dogs chase a lure. It’s designed to measure a dog’s speed and physical ability, providing a fun and engaging way for owners and their pets to stay active. Unlike traditional lure coursing, Fast CAT is a straightforward sprint, making it accessible to dogs of all breeds and sizes.

lure coursing

History of Fast CAT Dog Sport

Fast Cat dog sport history is not very long. The American Kennel Club (AKC) introduced Fast CAT in 2016 as a simplified version of lure coursing, aimed at attracting a broader range of participants. The competition has since grown in popularity, with events held across the United States. Its simplicity and inclusive nature make it an excellent entry point for newcomers to canine sports.

Eligibility and Requirements

Fast CAT competitions are open to all dogs, regardless of breed or mix. However, there are some requirements to keep in mind:

  1. Age: Dogs must be at least 12 months old to participate.
  2. Health: Dogs should be in good physical condition, free from injuries or illnesses that could impair their performance or endanger their health.

AKC Registered: To participate in Fast CAT competitions, a dog must be registered with the American Kennel Club (AKC). This requirement applies to both purebred and mixed breed dogs. For mixed breed dogs, AKC offers the Canine Partners Program, which allows them to be registered and compete in a variety of AKC events, including Fast CAT.

fast cat dog sport

How Fast CAT Competitions Are Structured

The Course

A Fast CAT course is designed as a straight 100-yard dash, providing a simple yet thrilling challenge for dogs of all breeds and sizes. Typically set up in an open field or a similar venue, the course features a clearly marked start line and finish line. The main attraction for the dogs is the lure—a lightweight object such as a plastic bag, which is moved rapidly along the ground by a mechanical system.

fast cat

The lure system is designed to stimulate a dog’s natural prey drive, encouraging them to run at their fastest speed. As the dog races down the 100-yard stretch, the lure moves ahead, mimicking the movements of small game, which keeps the dog engaged and motivated to reach the finish line. The entire setup ensures a safe and controlled environment where dogs can exhibit their speed and agility.

Conducting a successful run requires the involvement of two people: one person to release the dog at the start line and another person, ideally the dog’s owner, to catch the dog at the finish line. Having the owner as the catcher is crucial because it motivates the dog to run towards a familiar and trusted person, enhancing their enthusiasm and performance.

Handlers position their dogs at the start line, and once the signal is given, the lure begins its journey down the track. Dogs are then released to chase the lure as quickly as possible. The person at the finish line catches the dog, ensuring their safety and providing immediate positive reinforcement. The time it takes for the dog to complete the 100-yard dash is recorded, and this time is used to calculate the dog’s speed in miles per hour. The straightforward nature of the course, combined with the excitement of the chase and the presence of a trusted owner at the finish line, makes Fast CAT a popular and accessible sport for both novice and experienced dog owners.

Timing and Scoring

Dogs are timed from the moment they cross the start line until they reach the finish line. The dog’s speed is calculated in miles per hour (MPH), and the score is recorded based on the dog’s speed and overall performance.

Titles and Awards

Fast CAT competitions not only provide an exciting outlet for your dog’s energy and instincts but also offer opportunities to earn prestigious titles and awards. As your dog competes and achieves impressive speeds, they can accumulate points and earn recognition through various titles.


  1. BCAT (Beginner Coursing Ability Test):
    • Awarded to dogs that achieve a cumulative total of 150 points.
  2. DCAT (Dog Coursing Ability Test):
    • Awarded to dogs that achieve a cumulative total of 500 points.
  3. FCAT (Fast Coursing Ability Test):
    • Awarded to dogs that achieve a cumulative total of 1,000 points.
  4. FCAT# (Fast Coursing Ability Test with Number):
    • For every additional 500 points beyond the FCAT title, dogs earn an FCAT title followed by a number indicating the multiple of 500 points achieved (e.g., FCAT2 for 1,500 points, FCAT3 for 2,000 points, and so on).


  1. Top 20 Fastest Dogs by Breed:
    • Each year, the AKC recognizes the 20 fastest dogs in each breed based on their average speeds from Fast CAT runs.
  2. Breed Rankings:
    • Dogs are ranked nationally within their breed, providing recognition for those who consistently perform at high speeds.
  3. Special Recognition Certificates:
    • Many events and clubs offer special certificates and awards for outstanding performance, such as “Fastest Dog of the Day” or “Most Improved.”
  4. Rosettes and Ribbons:
    • Dogs can earn rosettes and ribbons at events for their participation and for achieving qualifying speeds, adding a tangible reward for their efforts.

Rules and Regulations

General Rules

Fast CAT competitions are governed by a set of rules designed to ensure fair play and safety for all participants. Here are some of the general rules:

  1. Safety First: Dogs must be in good health and free from any conditions that could impair their ability to run safely.
  2. Leashes and Collars: Dogs must wear a secure, non-restrictive collar during the competition. Leashes are only removed at the start line and must be promptly reattached at the finish line.
  3. Handler Conduct: Handlers must follow the event officials’ instructions and maintain control of their dogs at all times.

Specific Regulations

In addition to the general rules, there are specific regulations that competitors must adhere to:

  1. Start and Finish Lines: Dogs must start behind the designated start line and complete the run by crossing the finish line.
  2. Timing: The official time is recorded by electronic timers, ensuring accuracy and consistency.

Disqualifications: Dogs may be disqualified for behavior issues, such as aggressive behavior or failure to complete the course.

Benefits of Participating in Fast CAT

Physical Exercise

Fast CAT provides an excellent opportunity for dogs to engage in vigorous physical activity, promoting overall health and fitness. The high-intensity sprint helps improve cardiovascular health, muscle strength, and endurance.

Mental Stimulation

Chasing a lure stimulates a dog’s natural prey drive, providing mental enrichment and keeping them engaged and focused. The excitement of the chase can also help alleviate boredom and reduce destructive behaviors.


Participating in Fast CAT events can strengthen the bond between dogs and their owners. The shared experience of training, competing, and achieving goals together fosters a deeper connection and mutual trust.

Tips for a Successful Fast CAT Experience

Arrive Early

Arriving early to the event allows your dog to acclimate to the surroundings and reduces pre-race stress. It also gives you time to complete any necessary paperwork and participate in any pre-race briefings.


Just like human athletes, dogs benefit from a proper warm-up before intense physical activity. A short walk or light jog can help loosen muscles and prepare your dog for the sprint.

Stay Calm

Dogs can pick up on their owners’ emotions, so it’s important to stay calm and positive. Encourage your dog with a confident and reassuring tone, and avoid displaying any signs of anxiety or stress.

Post-Race Care

After the race, provide your dog with water and allow them to cool down gradually. Monitor them for any signs of fatigue or discomfort, and provide a comfortable place for them to rest.

How to Find Fast CAT Dog Sport Events

AKC Events Calendar

The AKC’s official website features an events calendar where you can find upcoming Fast CAT competitions in your area. The calendar provides details on event locations, dates, and entry requirements.

Local Clubs and Organizations

Many local dog clubs and organizations host Fast CAT dog sport events. Joining a club or organization can provide valuable resources, support, and information about upcoming competitions.


Fast CAT dog sport competitions offer an exciting and accessible way for dog owners to engage with their pets and participate in canine sports. By understanding the rules and regulations, preparing your dog through training and proper care, and following the tips provided in this guide, you can ensure a successful and enjoyable Fast CAT dog sport experience. Whether you’re aiming for a new title or simply looking for a fun activity to share with your dog, Fast CAT dog sport is a fantastic option that promotes physical health, mental stimulation, and a stronger bond between you and your furry friend. So, gear up, get ready, and let your dog unleash their inner speedster in the thrilling world of Fast CAT dog sport competitions!

Related Articles


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *