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How Fast Can a Cow Run, Exactly?

Now, we know that cows do not look like the most athletic of animals, and they do seem to prefer to spend their days lazing around. But if you’ve ever seen a cow hightailing across the paddock, you can’t fail to be amazed at their turn of speed! But just how speedy are our bovine friends?

How Fast Can a Cow Run?

A cow can run at an average speed of 17 miles per hour, although it cannot maintain this speed for long periods. If startled, they will set off at their top speed, but soon slow to a more sustainable pace. Some breeds and types of cattle are faster than others.

how fast can a cow run
How fast can a cow run, exactly? About 17 miles an hour!

Do All Cows Run at the Same Speed?

The speed of a cow will vary according to its breed, size, age, and gender. A young cow with a slender physique will be much faster than an adult cow with a calf at foot.

Modern cows are bred for improved muscle mass, especially beef cattle. This means that they are incredibly strong, but cannot move at high speeds.

What Is the Fastest Breed of Cow?

Sadly, there is no real information available about the speed of different breeds of cows, as their athletic ability is not normally considered to be important. I did find this incredible video of the tallest cow in the world – check out her size!

If you’ve got a particularly speedy cow, we’d love to hear about it!

How Fast Do Cows Walk?

Cows are leisurely walkers, preferring to amble along rather than a quick march. The average speed at which a cow walks is 2 miles per hour, around half the speed of a human. If startled or hurried along, they will break into a trot rather than attempting a faster walk.

Do Cows Chase People?

Cows are generally very amenable and not bothered by humans. They are prey animals and have no natural instincts to chase other animals or people.

However, in some circumstances, cows will chase people. If you are walking through a field of cows it is important to survey the situation carefully first to keep yourself safe.

A cow with a young calf at foot will be very protective of its baby and is highly likely to chase any person that gets close. It is always a good idea to give a cow and calf a wide berth, and never be tempted to walk between them or pet the calf.

Young cows can also be very inquisitive and will follow people across a field or yard. They don’t mean any malicious harm, but a group of adolescent cows stalking you can be quite intimidating!

Frequently Asked Questions About Running Cows

Now we’ve got you thinking about the speed of your bovine companions, let’s find out some more fascinating facts about how fast a cow can run!

Overall, it seems that cows are fairly lazy and stoic animals, who cannot reach the impressive speeds of other similar-sized animals.

But to be on the safe side, stay out of fields with new mothers or herds of juvenile cows!


  • Kate Chalmers

    Kate moved to Portugal last year and lives with her husband, two cats, six hens, and a glorious Brahma rooster called Mary. Earlier this year they purchased a half-hectare ‘quinta’ – traditional terraced land with olive trees, grapevines, and a house to renovate. They are currently living in a small campervan which is a challenging but fun experience! Kate has over 15 years of experience in the UK veterinary industry and is also a passionate gardener – turning a grassy field into a productive vegetable patch in just three months. Future plans include more animals, particularly sheep and goats for milk production to make cheese, butter, and yogurt! Kate and her husband are aiming to create a self-sufficient off-grid life on their quinta, fulfilling a life-long dream.

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