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Meet America's fastest dog, a rescue pup from Maryland!

By Austin Cannon
December 14, 2020
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Meet Phelan, the rescue dog who beat out 116 other dogs over the weekend at the 2020 American Kennel Club Fast CAT Invitational in Orlando, Fla. The “All-American dog”—another term for a mixed-breed pup—competed against other super-speedy dogs in the race, which took place alongside the AKC National Championship.

The Fast CAT (short for Fast Coursing Ability Tests) competition is pretty simple. The dogs each take turns running 100 yards, chasing a lure. They get three tries, and each dash is timed and measured for a top speed in miles per hour. 

dog chases after lure
Phelan, America's fastest dog.
| Credit: American Kennel Club

The fastest dogs from each breed (and mutts!) were invited to participate in this first-ever competition, so it wasn’t just your whippets, greyhounds, and other famously fast breeds.

Our Fastest Dog USA winner Phelan, whose registered name is Wailin’ Phelan The Bearded Lass CAX FCAT3, set a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it time of 6.346 seconds, hitting 32.3 mph, according to the AKC. Comparatively, the world’s fastest human, Jamaican sprinter Usian Bolt, topped out at just under 28 mph. Slow poke! 

Krista Shreet and Ted Koch of Crownsville, Md., adopted Phelan when she was just a year old, according to National Geographic. She's a mix of three breeds: borzoi, greyhound, and Scottish deerhound. Unsurprisingly, all three breeds are long-legged and very, very fast.

Nat Geo writes that the Fast CAT competition was Phelan's last race for the year. Instead of running laps (victory or otherwise), the rescue will instead relax over the holidays.

“We’ll make sure her stocking is full,” Koch told the magazine.

The AKC breed also crowned a “Speed of the Breeds Champion,” a miniature poodle named Elliot (Safranne's Make Mine M"Ag"Nificent MX MXJ T2B BCAT). This award was based on how much faster dogs fan compared to the average speed of their breed, so Elliot won because their speed was the best compared to the breed (poodle) average.

Last but certainly not least: the people’s champion, Buster, a Pekingese. He registered the slowest time at the event—short legs can only move so quickly—but he’s still the fastest of his breed. The AKC awarded him the Turtle Award, meant for “the slowest dog with the biggest heart.” Great job, Buster!