Fast CAT

Dalmatian photographed mid-air while participating in Fast CAT dog sport.
Photo Credits: Amanda Gill

About Fast Coursing Ability Test (Fast CAT)

Fast CAT, short for Fast Coursing Ability Test, is a thrilling and accessible dog sport created and organized by the American Kennel Club (AKC). This exciting performance event is all-inclusive as it offers an exhilarating experience for dogs of any breed or breed mix, with a focus on their natural chase instincts in a dynamic and straightforward sport.

Fast CAT Overview:

  • Objective: Fast CAT is centered around a 100-yard dash where dogs chase a lure, typically a plastic bag or similar object, down a straight track. The sport aims to showcase a dog’s natural speed and instinct to pursue in a safe and controlled environment.
  • Course Setup: The course is a straight 100-yard track. Dogs are released individually to chase after the lure, ensuring a direct and focused sprint.
  • Timing and Scoring: Each dog’s performance is timed, and points are scored based on speed that’s adjusted for the dog’s size. This scoring system allows a fair comparison across different breeds/mixes and sizes of dogs.

Participation:

  • Eligibility: Fast CAT is open to all dogs over 12 months of age, including purebreds and mixed breeds registered in the AKC’s Canine Partners program.
  • Physical Fitness: Dogs must be in good health and physically capable of completing the course. This is checked by officials to ensure the safety and well-being of the participating dogs.
  • Registration: Dogs need to be registered with AKC, and owners must submit the official AKC entry form for each event.
  • Rulebook: Coursing Ability Test (CAT) and Fast CAT® Regulations
Corgi participating in Fast CAT
Owned by: Gerald Roach – Photo Credits: C4 Pet Photography

History of Fast CAT

Fast CAT is a relatively recent addition to dog sports under the American Kennel Club (AKC). Its emergence marked a significant shift in the realm of canine athletics, offering an innovative and inclusive approach to the traditional sport of Lure Coursing.

The origin of Fast CAT is rooted in traditional Lure Coursing. That sport offers dogs the opportunity to chase a mechanically operated lure and is historically the domain of sighthounds, ancient breeds that are well known for their speed and agility. Recognizing the universal appeal of the chase instinct that’s present in most dogs, AKC sought to create a sport that was more accessible and inclusive.

In adapting Lure Coursing to Fast CAT, AKC simplified the sport into a 100-yard dash. This streamlined version maintained the excitement and challenge of the chase while opening the door to dogs of all breeds and sizes, and even those with unknown backgrounds. The objective behind Fast CAT’s development was to simplify the sport, making it easily understandable and accessible to a wider audience, not just those already familiar with more traditional dog events.

Following its official launch, Fast CAT rapidly became popular within the dog community. The American Kennel Club’s (AKC) backing and governance provided the sport with credibility and a structured framework, promoting standardized rules and ensuring fair competition across all events. The simplicity of Fast CAT, coupled with the sport’s minimal training requirements, made it a popular choice for dog owners looking to engage their pups in a fun and invigorating activity.

The growth of Fast CAT has been notable, with its popularity soaring across the United States. It has appealed not only to those already involved in the world of dog sports but also to newcomers looking to stay active and engaged with like-minded, dog-friendly people. Fast CAT fosters a vibrant community of enthusiasts, united by a shared love of watching dogs run full-tilt!

Dog participating in Fast CAT dog sport.
Submitted by: Adlane Guenane – Photo Credits: Blue Dog Photography

Finding Fast CAT Events

American Kennel Club (AKC)

The American Kennel Club (AKC) is the primary organizer of Fast CAT events. On the organization’s website, interested dog owners can find a comprehensive list of upcoming events, making it easier to locate Fast CAT events locally. The AKC also offers a wealth of resources and information regarding the rules and regulations of Fast CAT to ensure participants are well-informed and prepared for the events.

Breed Clubs

Numerous local and national breed clubs affiliated with AKC also host Fast CAT events. These clubs are invaluable resources, particularly for those new to the sport, providing additional support and information about various performance, companion, and conformation events. They serve as excellent platforms for connecting with fellow dog enthusiasts and gaining deeper insights into Fast CAT and other dog sports. Engaging with these clubs can be a great way to stay alert to upcoming local, national, and international dog activities.

Submitted by: Susan Watkins – Photo Credits: C4 Pet Photography

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