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Do racehorses and Greyhound dogs exhibit a gender difference in running speed?

  • Pauline Entin (a1)

At any level of competition, men run faster than women. Consequently, a male speed advantage is often presumed for other species. This assumption was tested in two animals bred for speed: horses and dogs. Results from Thoroughbred (TB), Standardbred (STB) and Greyhound (GH) races were analysed by ANOVA to compare the speeds of victorious males, neutered males (TB and STB only) and females. Separate analyses were run for shorter (TB: ≤ 1609 m, GH: 503 m) and longer (TB: >1609 m, GH: 603.5 m) TB and GH races. All STB races (trotters and pacers) were 1609 m. In TB races, intact males were 0.7% faster than females at ≤ 1609 m (n = 305; P < 0.01) and 1.4% faster at >1609 m (n = 194; P < 0.01). The speed of neutered males was equivalent to that of females at both distances. Gender accounted for 3.8 and 10.7% of the variance in speed at short and long distances, respectively. In STB pacers, intact males were 1.5% faster than females and gender accounted for 10.1% of the variance in speed (n = 96; P < 0.01). Gender was not a significant predictor of STB trotter (n = 95) or GH speed at 503 m (n = 146) or 603.5 m (n = 23). In conclusion, gender has a significant effect on speed of TBs and STB pacers. Although the effect size is small, it may be significant for racing; in a 7 furlong (1408 m) TB race, the 0.7% difference translates to an advantage of several lengths.

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Equine and Comparative Exercise Physiology
  • ISSN: 1478-0615
  • EISSN: 1479-070X
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