The pattern of movement of animals during (terrestrial) locomotion.
Gaits used by cats and dogs include the walk, the amble, the pace, the trot, the canter and the gallop.
A phase of a gait when all four feet are off the ground.
A symmetrical, two-beat gait in which diagonally contralateral limbs move in unison.
This is an endurance gait, which allows coverage of ground at a reasonable speed but without expending maximum energy. The trot may, therefore, be maintained for hours.
This is a four-beat gait, at which an animal reaches its fastest speeds.
The suspended gallop has suspension phases (when no feet are in contact with the ground).
There are two varieties of the suspended gallop: the single suspension gallop and the double suspension gallop.
A gallop in which at least one limb in on the ground at any one time.
This is more usually known as a canter, and is contrasted with the (full) gallop.
Single Suspension Gallop
An asymmetrical, four-beat gait, in which there is just one suspension phase, which occurs when all four limbs are airborne, gathered under the body.
All four limbs contact the ground separately, none in unison.
An asymmetrical, three-beat gait in which two diagonally contralateral limbs are moved in unison, and the other two are moved separately.
A typical sequence of footfalls might be right hind foot, left hind foot and right forefoot in unison, and then left forefoot. This is an asymmetrical pattern because footfalls are not evenly spaced in time.
Relating to the opposite side of the body.
For example, diagonally contralateral limbs are limbs on diagonally opposite sides of the body.
The fastest gait of an animal.
There are two kinds of gallop: the supported gallop (canter) and the suspended gallop.
All four feet leave the ground at one time during a suspended gallop.