The 25 Best Animal Athletes
Image via sk8book.i8.com
Everyone who owns a pet thinks that it's the greatest thing since sliced bread.
We spoil our dogs by treating them like our own kids, let our cats get away with anything they want to and teach our parakeets to talk just like us.
As great as those feats are though, nothing's quite as good as these animals who can call themselves legit athletes.
Go ahead and feed your dog all the Lams possible, but until it does any of these things, it will never be considered a "hot dog."
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
Okay, so technically the dread-locked forward for the Nuggets isn't actually an animal, but with the nickname of "The Man-mal," we just had to give him some notice.
He may be the only one on this list that can actually go out and get a double-double in an NBA game, but then again, who knows?
Puppy Bowl Dogs
We strictly added this for a friend of ours, who has insisted over the past five years on continuing to try and convince our Super Bowl party to watch this during halftime.
No one wants to, yet he somehow takes hold of the remote and changes the channel during commercials.
It may not be a gridiron classic, but admittedly these pups have skills.
Rosie the Ribiter, Jumping Frog
Image via cupertino-news.com
We've seen a fair share of long jumpers in our day, but nothing like the world record-holding frog, Rosie the Ribiter, who captured the crown in 1986 by jumping over 21 feet before landing.
With all due respect to Jackie Joyner-Kersee, this gal might be the best jumper we've ever seen on the planet—even if she is a little slimy.
Buster, the Fastest Swimming Dog
We'd like to think Michael Phelps or Ryan Lochte don't have a thing on this four-legged friend, who displays that just because one might down a ton of calories to help fuel his motor, he still isn't quite as fast.
With these skills, Buster brings a whole new meaning to the words "doggy paddle."
Happie, the Skateboarding Goat
Who knows how old this goat actually is, but with the influx of youngsters hopping on their boards to show up the older guys, why not see what Happie can do against them too?
It might make for an awkward awards celebration is he wins, but wouldn't it be worth it?
Here comes the way-too-cliche "Slam Trunk Champion" title for this elephant, who shows that just because he weighs two tons, he'd still be nimble enough to play in the post.
As dominant as Shaq was, imagine what something more than five times his playing weight could do on the court?
We say sign him up!
Yes, there is actually an annual competition where pooches put on their life jackets, wax their boards and hit the breaks.
If you've ever been surfing before, you know it's not easy, and though these guys have four legs to help keep their balance, it's pretty damn impressive that they can ride a wave out as long as they do.
Soaring Cindy Jumps
Image via guinnessworldrecords.com
Most of us have heard of Air Bud before—the fictional dog who plays basketball, football and any other sport Hollywood wants it to—but Bud can step aside and make way for this real high-flyer, Cindy.
This greyhound actually cleared a 66-inch hurdle back in 2006, earning her a world record in the process.
Basically, if you're 5'5", this dog can clear you by an entire inch.
Zeke, the Dunking Dog
What do these three guys have in common? They're all assumed to be great finishers.
But whoever this guy is, we'd say that he actually has one of the best finishers in all of basketball thanks to his array of slams.
Low hoop or not, can we see him fend off some of the dunk contest participants next year?
Budgie, the Skateboarding Bird
Who knew that Tony Hawk's influence on skateboarding would spread all the way to the animal world?
With moves like this, what's holding the X Games from expanding to an animal event each year?
We know the top competitor in the skateboarding street competition if they ever decided to do it.
Sure, Ibrahimovic and CR7 are thought to be two of the more talented soccer players in the world, combining an uncanny scoring touch with their ball-handling skills, but what about this canine's pace?
It's one thing for a dog to go wild and roll a ball around, but this dog gets mad respect for spinning it on its nose while on the pitch.
Image via hencethetestbed.com
So pigs really can fly?!?
This little guy went H.A.M., literally, when it scored a world record for highest jump by a pig back in 2004, with a leap of 27.5 inches.
We have a feeling this is one little piggy who didn't run all the way home. He just flew!
Petey, the Volleyball-Playing Dog
It's never easy to get a bunch of people geeked to play a game of volleyball.
Sure, it can be fun to play on the beach, but whenever you go to a backyard BBQ, it's never quite as entertaining for some reason.
That's where Petey comes in.
Add this spiking pup to your game, and people will quickly want to take part.
Queenie, the Water-Skiing Elephant
Sadly, this former performing elephant passed away a couple years ago, but hopefully it taught some of its other pachyderms how to balance on a set of skis, because this is pretty incredible.
Wonder if they make life jackets big enough for an elephant to float?
The sports world was first introduced to this dog-riding monkey back in 2011 during the halftime of a Broncos/Patriots game, and since then, the monkey has been one of our most talented athletic animals.
We've seen humans get bucked off horses in less than a second, so to have the strength this primate does to avoid falling off either side is pretty impressive.
Gattuso, the World's Fastest Dog
Usain Bolt may hold numerous world records on the track, but with a dog that can run 100 yards in seven seconds, we have a feeling the Jamaican has met his match.
To make things harder on Bolt, this dog did it on grass, so it'd be even faster on a rubberized track.
Chinese May Day Animals
China's gotten some heat for the way it uses animals at its annual May Day festival, but regardless of opinion, one thing that's for sure is these guys are talented.
Where else can you see a bear chasing monkeys on bikes or goats walking the tightrope?
Kimo, Frisbee Dog
We've seen a number of all-time great combos in our day.
Bradshaw to Swann and Stallworth.
Montana to Rice.
But this one rivals even those, thanks to the combination of speed and jumping ability Kimo shows while snatching this frisbee out of the air.
It's been said that soccer players run about 10 miles during an entire match, so it's safe to say they have to be in pretty good shape.
Knowing that, one wouldn't think that a 2,000-pound animal would be too great at the sport, but low and behold, it can be.
Timmy Howard's great and all, but could you imagine this guy in goal for the U.S. team? It'd be impossible to score!
Norman, Riding a Bike
Any dog that rides a bike is good for a couple reasons.
1) The last thing most dog owners want to do when it's pouring down rain is take their friend out for a walk. This solves that problem.
2) Biking's great, so now you would always have a riding partner—though it might get distracted when seeing a cat or runner going by.
Training wheels or not, everyone should try to get a dog that can spin it like Lance can—well, minus the PEDs.
Eddie, Dunking a Basketball
While we all resort to lowering our driveway baskets to slam one home, this little otter from the Oregon Zoo just uses the regulation-sized hoop he's given.
Looks like the Blazers found a replacement down low for Oden after all!
Twiggy the Water-Skiing Squirrel
If you've ever searched the Internet or watched a TV, you've probably seen this famous squirrel being pulled by a remote-controlled boat.
Twiggy's become a cult classic ever since.
Though known for his skateboarding skills (seen next), Tillman and his pooch friends aren't afraid to weather the cold and shred the gnar on the slopes every once in awhile too.
Any dog that can stay on a snowboard longer than a human has some serious talent, but just remember to watch out for the yellow snow!
Tillman the Skateboarding Bulldog
As mentioned in the previous slide, this bulldog's name is Tillman, and he was made famous thanks to an iPhone commercial from a couple years back.
The only thing he's missing are those Jnco's that us posers used to wear back in the mid-90s when we thought hopping on a board instantly made us cooler.
Image via secretariat.com
You didn't think we'd leave out the greatest horse ever, did you?
Secretariat has been a cult hero from the time he won the 1973 Triple Crown, then becoming the first horse in 25 years to do so by taking home the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes.
Movies and other media recognition happened after, making this Thoroughbred the cream of the crop when it comes to athletic animals.