How Fast Can Cows Run? Discover Top Speeds and Compare to Other Farm Animals

Among the most practical farm animals are cows. The flesh and milk of these domesticated animals are prized commodities. They are grazers, commonly observed ambling around meadows at a leisurely pace. But contrary to popular belief, cows can speed up the pace and run far quicker.

Overview of the Species: Domestic Cows

One of the most prevalent farm animals worldwide is the domestic cow. According to Britannica, these animals were first domesticated by humans between 8,000 and 10,000 years ago as draft animals and for their milk and flesh.

As herbivores, cows graze on hay, grass, alfalfa, and other plant materials for sustenance. They lack upper incisors and canines to help with tearing up grass, so instead they have 32 teeth and a gummy pad. Moreover, cows’ massive four chambered stomach aids in the digestion of fibrous plant materials.

Baby cows are known as calves. Heifers are another name for female cows. Usually, this is directed towards younger girls. They are referred to be cows once they give birth to their first calf. Bulls are the adult male cows. Often, male cows are castrated. Adult neutered males are referred to as oxen, while young neutered males are termed steers or bollocks.

How Fast Can Cows Run?

Although they aren’t usually thought of as fast animals, cows can move very quickly when necessary. Cows can gallop up to 25 miles per hour, with an average speed of 17 mph, according to the Dairy Alliance.

But cows don’t sprint long distances; they only run short bursts. Cows typically flee when they feel scared or startled. When cows are aroused, like during feeding time, they may also run. According to, if you feel intimidated by cows, you shouldn’t run since curious cattle may try to catch up with you.

Can Cows Swim?

The ability for cows to swim is another astounding feature about them! For a long time, wild cattle have lived close to rivers and lakes, and occasionally they must cross these waterways.

Cows may have trouble in deeper water since they are not particularly good swimmers. Cows prefer to wade through the water if at all feasible, although they can swim if necessary.

Comparisons to Other Farm Animals

Given our newfound knowledge of cow running speeds, what is the difference in speed between cows and other agricultural animals?


Goats come in a variety of kinds, ranging from small, tamed animals to massive mountain goats. According to the Oakland Zoo, goats can run up to 10 to 15 miles per hour at their highest point. Larger breeds may run faster. In addition to their ability to swim, goats can jump up to four or five feet on average.


One of the world’s earliest and most successful domesticated animals were sheep. These farm animals are very beneficial because of their meat, milk, and wool-producing fiber.

Sheep are another unexpectedly swift animal. They can travel up to 25 miles per hour, just like cows. Sheep dislike swimming, yet they will do it to save their own lives if need be.


Another practical agricultural animal is the pig. Although they certainly don’t think of themselves as fast because of their large size, domestic pigs can actually attain top speeds of 11 miles per hour. According to Unity Farm Sanctuary, the boar, their wild equivalent, is capable of running up to fifteen miles per hour. Pigs, both domestic and wild, can swim very well.


On this list, horses are the fastest agricultural animals, with a top speed of 44 mph. Since horses can go far quicker than humans, humans have been employing them as a mode of transportation for thousands of years. Horses can jump many feet into the air and are proficient swimmers as well.


Often raised for their meat and eggs, chickens are ubiquitous farm animals. Usually, these tiny creatures move slowly and bob their heads. But when it comes to running, chickens may crank up the pace and get as fast as nine miles per hour. It may surprise you to learn that chickens can fly, albeit not very far.

Overview of Farm Animal Top Speeds

Animal Top Speed
Cow 25 mph
Goat 15 mph
Sheep 25 mph
Pig 11 mph
Horse 44 mph
Chicken 9 mph