Are Camels Faster than Horses?

Camels are called the “ship of the desert”. Have you ever wondered why? When there could be several other titles then why only the ship of the desert?

Well, this title was given to them because they are a “slow” means of transportation for the people of the desert. They prefer to walk but if they are kicked on and on they can run as fast as a horse(40 miles per hour).  Doesn’t this fact( they are one hell of runners) surprise you?

So, the question arises is the camel faster than the horse? The answer is no, they are just a little slower than the horses as the top speed of the horse is 88kph(55mph) and the camels can run to their fullest at the speed of 64kph(40mph).

Camel, even-toed ungulates, is domesticated for milk, meat, leather, dung, and transportation. The word “camel” is taken from the Arabic dictionary, meaning beauty. Their total population has gone up to 14 million and most of them are living in Australia, Asia, and the Middle East.

Besides the above-mentioned purposes, camels are kept in the circuses, not to perform but to give people rides. Camel wrestling is also a cultural thing for the residents of Turkey even though the animal rights organization is not happy but still despite the anger and hate it is still going strong.

Trained camels are powerful runners!

Camels are powerful runners by nature but there is no way they can compete a horse in speed maybe because of their heavy getup. But trained camels run much faster than the domestic ones. Training does improve its speed.

Camels run Faster than Horses in Desert

Camels run faster than the horses for these reasons.

  • Camels have wider hoofs, the reduced pressure of their feet makes the camel run faster in the desert. 
  • Their eyes are used to blowing sand so it does not affect their speed. But horses get nervous as the ground they are running on is unfamiliar and to sprinkle salt to the wound they can not see anything.

Horses are sprinters but camels are long runners

Horses may surpass the camel in the race but they are short runners. Camels are slow but long runners. As they are running at normal speed so they don’t get tired as easily as horses do.

The type of ground determines who is going to win

If the camels and horses are made to race on hard grounds, the horse is going to win. But if the ground they are running on suits the camel more the competition is going to get tough as the horse is more likely to sink in the sand.

Bactrian is the slowest camel breed

The two-humped camels that are adored for their unusual appearance are considered the slowest camel breed. Excessive stored fat, bodyweight makes running a nut that is probably never going to get cracked.

Do camels run wild in the sand? Or do they prefer to walk?

They prefer to walk. Camels are domestic animals and their masters have never allowed them to run wild in the desert. They do run when their master commands them to but this is not their favorite thing to do.

Can the camel run with a rider?

Yes,  the camel can run with a rider. Mostly in professional races(that are despised for injuries and killing) camels are running with a rider on their back. 

Camels are specifically raised for running in some part of the world

You may not know the countries like India, Kenya, Sudan, Egypt, and Dubai camels are raced for racing. They are carefully bred, nutritioned, and trained to gather more claps in the game.

Why do horses run faster than Camels?

They run faster for multiple reasons: 

  • The muscular tendons help them in maintaining balance and running faster.
  • They do not have humps. Humps are pretty heavy to carry horses are free from the burden of humps so they run faster.
  •  Camels are thick and heavy but horses are not. Their ideal body weight also becomes the reason for them winning the race.
camels vs horses

Frequently Asked Questions

Can camels run?

Of course, they can run despite their weird body structure, weight, and humps. They are not faster runners but sometimes their walking is fast enough to call running.

Can camels run fast?

They can run fast but not as fast as horses. When it comes to running in the desert camels are more likely to win the race against horses as they are used to that environment and their feet just do not sink in the sand.

Why are camels racing considered cruel?

Because camel racing has taken many precious lives. Riders get several injuries and sometimes even die from falling as the camels keep trampling during the race. 

Can camels gallop? 

Yes, their flat, broad leathery pads help them in galloping at the speed of 25kph.

Camel or horse? Which one is faster?

Horses are naturally faster and camels are average runners. But when it comes to running in the desert camels are fast runners.

Which camel breed is used for racing?

The dromedary breed is better at racing than the Bactrian camels. Bactrian camels are heavy so they don’t run well.

Do camels enjoy running?

No, they don’t but baby camels find running enjoyable. The burden at their back, the stored fat, and giant body structure do not just support running so they find it pretty exhausting.


Horses are no doubt fast runners but when it comes to running in the desert camels are going to give horses a tough competition that usually ends up in camels victory. Bactrian camel is considered the slowest camel breed as they are pretty heavy therefore they are never preferred for this job. Horses are known for running 25-30 miles per hour while camels manage to keep the speed between 20-25 miles per hour so they are “slightly slower” than horses.

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Hi, I am Waqar and active in the horse world since 2012. I have MSc (Hons) in Agriculture from the University of Agriculture Faisalabad. I love to solve equine health care issues and note down in the form of research papers. I have written hundreds of equine health care, accessories, names, and history-related blogs. My equine related work is watering a lot of horse-related magazines and blogs.

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