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Running on All Fours

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Who's afraid of getting dirt on his White Gloves?
You know how they say "learn to crawl before you run"? Well, this character has learned to do both at once. This character may walk or run on two legs but is absurdly fast and nimble when running on all fours. Though running on all fours for humans is still possible, we've evolved to move faster and more efficiently through bipedal motion (our arms would have to be longer to be really good at it).

This character though is a bit of a throwback for doing otherwise, and a pretty successful throwback as well because they can run just as fast (if not faster) than on two legs. This atavism is represented by the character being Raised by Wolves, and/or being a Wolf Man or some other sort of Beast Man. On the other extreme a Cyborg or genetically altered character might have this added as an alternate mode of locomotion. Then again, the Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl and other supernatural critters may move this way just for freaky kicks.

Sometimes, Funny Animals and Civilized Animals will assume this stance, whether as part of a Masquerade or not. Sometimes, for them, traveling on all fours is just faster.

This Sister Trope of Primal Stance often involves Ceiling Cling, In a Single Bound, Wall Crawl and Wall Jump. The character can grab onto the roof, jump super high, run on walls and jump from object to object. Civilized Animals and Funny Animals are known to switch to all fours.

The polar opposite of Four Legs Good, Two Legs Better, where a quadruped adopts a decidedly humanoid gait. May constitute a mild example of Bizarre Alien Locomotion. Can be part of an Anthropomorphic Zig-Zag or Furry Reminder.


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  • In Boonie Bears, the eponymous bears are usually seen walking on two legs but will sometimes run on all fours as a Furry Reminder.
  • Happy Heroes: In Season 8 episode 22, Big M. sics a hungry Little M. on Happy S. in his cracker form. Little M. runs on all fours as he chases Happy S. around trying to eat him.
  • Wolffy from Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf has been seen running on all fours a few times. For example, in the second movie, Wolffy runs on all fours to escape from some spotlights at Lord Japper's amusement park.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Accel World: Mihaya's avatar can change forms into a leopard that runs this way.
  • Played for Laughs in Attack on Titan. Pieck startles Galliard by walking around on all fours with her hair in her face, causing her to look like a Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl. He nearly falls down the stairs in shock, and yells at her to walk like a normal person. She counters that it feels easier to walk that walk that way, after spending two months in her four-legged Titan form.
  • BNA: Brand New Animal: Some beastmen drop to all fours when running in beast form. Michiru looks rather raccoon-like while running from hunters along a guardrail.
  • Dragon Ball Z:
    • Yamcha does this in after he fails to catch King Kai's Monkey while running on two legs, as part of King Kai's training. He promptly catches him this way.
    • Goku as a kid occasionally ran on all fours, usually when he's after food.
  • Fire Force: Tamaki Kotatsu tends to run on all fours when her Nekomata ability is active, which is probably meant to further enforce her cat motif.
  • The only time the animals that are featured in Sayuri Tatsuyama's Happy Happy Clover and "Pukupuku Natural Circular Notice" are ever seen on four legs is when they start running fast instead of walking on two legs when ever they start walking.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stone Ocean: Lang Rangler pursues Jolyne by running on the ground on all four, in-part he also has suction-cup fingers that allows to crawl on the wall.
  • In Juni Taisen: Zodiac War, Tiger takes to running on all fours after becoming more animalistic due to heavy drinking.
  • Mikoto of My-HiME does this on occasion, referencing her semi-feral upbringing and how she was largely raised by cats.
  • Olmecs from The Mysterious Cities of Gold. They are mutated humans of ancient civilization and look a bit like aliens and a bit like monkeys.
  • Naruto:
    • The eponymous hero does this from time to time, especially in the earlier part of the series, when he was less aware of the 9-Tailed Fox sealed inside him. None of the other characters with Tailed Beasts sealed inside them exhibit this behavior.
    • Kiba does this as well. He's a normal boy who was reared in a family who works with dogs.
  • Berserk units in Neon Genesis Evangelion and Rebuild of Evangelion run this way.
  • An early minor villain in O-Parts Hunter does this due to an absurdly acute fear of heights.
  • Pokémon: The Series: Pikachu as well as Typhlosion can function equally well on either four or two legs — they walk on two legs but run on four.
  • In Shaman King, Joco's integration with Mic gives him tiger abilities that enables him to run with immersive speed running like a tiger on all fours.
  • Merle in The Vision of Escaflowne does this. Justified, as she is a Cat Girl.

    Comic Books 
  • X-Men foe Sabretooth is fond of this across continuities.
  • Averted in one Yakari story: Yakari has lost his memory and thinks he's a bear cub. His new mother is teaching how to grow into a proper bear by hunting, fishing and running. However, he quickly discovers he's better at running on two legs.

    Fan Works 
  • Abraxas (Hrodvitnon): Godzilla, in reference to his Godzilla vs. Kong portrayal, charges out of the ground on all fours to join his monster allies in the Final Battle against Keizer Ghidorah.

  • Daisy Jo from All-American Girl (Shinzakura), despite being a pony from Equestria, was reared among humans and prefers to walk bipedally. However, she's faster running in "four wheel drive" (as she calls it), and she resorts to it on certain rare occasions.
  • Like his film counterpart, Anguirus (at least in his true form) in The Bridge is a rarity amongst the mostly bipedal kaiju in that he runs on all fours, only rearing up on his hindlegs to walk and fight
  • Ryuuko from Cellar Secrets moves around on all fours due to developmental abnormalities, worsened by being caged. As noted, she'll stand on two legs but she won't walk on two legs.
  • The MS Paint Fan Adventure Water Works has Slick do this with his arm and leg blades. He explains it's faster than walking, but considered rude as "you damage people's floors".

    Films — Animation 
  • Aisling from The Secret of Kells sometimes runs the same way in her human form as well as in her wolf form; being one of The Fair Folk, this highlights her connection to nature.
  • In Turning Red, Mei's panda form is normally bipedal but if she needs to move more quickly, she'll run on all fours.
  • Mebh from Wolfwalkers tends to run on all fours at times. Being a Wild Child who's also a Wolfwalker, this highlights how she has a wild nature even when she's human.
  • In Zootopia, animals are normally bipedal, but drop to four legs on occasion. Animals who have "gone savage" will stay this way all the time.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Xenomorph seen in Alien³ was born from the body of a quadruped (a dog in the theatrical cut, a cow in the "Assembly Cut") and prefers to run around stalking its prey on all fours as a result.
  • In the movie The Animal, Marvin Mange, who has been implanted with various animal organs, starts running on all fours when being chased down by a truck.
  • Quadrupedal movement is commonly used in Bangkok Knockout for the freerunning segments, and one of the villains uses it for his fighting style, rapidly scrambling across the floor on all-fours.
  • Godzilla, of all characters, in Godzilla vs. Kong. Despite his proportionately enormous legs and tiny forelimbs, he uses this to terrifying effect when he viciously mauls Kong in the manner of an alligator, defeating him.
  • Rocket briefly runs on all fours in Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) and does so several times in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, notably leaping from branch to branch in a forest and landing on all fours when he jumps down. He also comes out of a chair and runs on all fours toward the end of the latter movie and looks perfectly comfortable doing so.
  • The hybrid Indoraptor from Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is based on a theropod dinosaur (which are always bipedal), yet it occasionally is seen walking and running on all fours.
  • In Legion, one of the angel-possessed humans (the ice-cream man) has his limbs elongate and allow him to really run on all fours like a demented spider.
  • The creatures in Pandorum alternate between bipedal and quadripedal running when chasing the heroes.
  • M3GAN: In retaliation for bullying Cady, M3GAN pursues Brandon through the woods, eventually chasing him down on all fours like a wild animal.
  • Apes in Planet of the Apes (2001), although mostly bipedal, do this when they are really excited and in a hurry.
  • The Promise (2005) has all of the slaves used as bait in the opening battle move around like this because as slaves they weren't allowed to act like humans. The protagonist Kunlun is easily able to outrun all of his other fellow slaves, but it turns into an aversion since he does run faster bipedally — he's just that good of a runner.
  • Samara from The Ring, who crawls up the well and out of a TV set.
  • Played for Black Comedy in Shallow Hal. The main characters have a friend with spina bifida, leaving him with limited use of his legs; thus, he gets around on all fours.
  • The Lycans of Underworld (2003), when transformed, run on all fours on ground and through trees and can easily catch up with horses, either way.
  • The Wolf Man (1941): When transformed, Talbot tends to abandon bipedal running when not in the middle of killing someone, which is rare if there's anybody near enough to sink his claws into.

  • Another Note's Beyond Birthday does this, probably to show just how freaky and maladjusted he is.
  • Goblins of Artemis Fowl are described as bipedal simpletons that revert to all-fours for running, specifically for the speed boost.
  • In Dinoverse, Candayce is put into the body of a Leptoceratops, a more lightly built relative of Triceratops. Leptos actually run faster on two legs, but otherwise are more stable when moving on all fours. Initially Candayce refuses to ever walk like that, because on some level it's accepting that she's an animal.
  • Monk Mayfair from the Doc Savage novels sometimes does this (his arms are so long they almost touch the ground when he is standing up).
  • Some strains of ratfolk from the Garrett, P.I. series run by bending forward and bounding on all fours, bouncing their palms off the ground as they go.
  • Gor: The alien Kurii are bipedal, but switch to all fours when running.
  • In the Harry Potter series, the werewolf Fenrir Greyback does this... while in human form.
  • The Hobbit:
    • Some goblins are said to do this. Justified because goblins have longer arms in comparison to their bodies than humans/elves/dwarves/hobbits, and sometimes the bigger ones need to do this in order to quickly move through tunnels with low ceilings, as their race is subterranean by inclination.
    • Also Gollum at times, at least in The Lord of the Rings.
  • Land of Oz: The Woggle-Bug in The Marvelous Land of Oz would walk on two legs, as he felt it was more civilized, but would revert to four legs when he was scared and needed to run faster.
  • The Sholan Alliance series has Sholans who will all do this when they need to cover a lot of ground on foot.
  • Inverted in The Terror; one of the first and creepiest hints that the monster is not a polar bear is when it starts easily walking around on its hind legs like a human would.

    Live-Action TV 
  • There's a variant in Lexx, where Xev is able to curl up like a wheel and roll rapidly, because she's become part cluster-lizard and that's their method of locomotion.
  • Star Wars, The Mandalorian: In "Chapter 10: The Passenger", the "Frog Lady" usually keeps a humanoid stance, but being short-legged she drops to all four and start using awkward frog leaps to run away faster from the ice spiders.
  • Super Sentai: The heroes of Hyakujuu Sentai Gaoranger run on all fours when chasing an enemy. Also used in the adaptation Power Rangers Wild Force, yet downplayed because all of them got Cool Bikes (as opposed to Gaoranger where only the Sixth Ranger had a bike).
  • Teen Wolf has this as it is the fastest way of travel for Betas and Alphas.


    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition: From the 3.5th edition Monster Manual IV, the varags are feral goblinoids who move and run on all fours. Thus, they are twice as fast as most similar-sized humanoids.
  • In Ironclaw "All Fours" is an Atavism Gift that increases movement speed when empty-handed.
  • In Rifts, the Russian White Tiger cyborg can hit ~150 mph doing this, due to its powerful artificial muscles and overly long arms.

    Video Games 
  • Cave woman Ayla runs this way in Chrono Trigger.
  • City of Heroes features the purchasable power Beast Run which allows a character to do this.
  • A few enemies and bosses from Dark Souls III pull this off, likely as a Shout-Out to Guts wearing the Berserker Armor. These include the Outrider Knight enemies (and by extension the boss Vordt of the Boreal Valley) as well as Slave Knight Gael, the final boss of the last DLC.
  • When the Xenomorph was added to Dead by Daylight, they gave it a unique status called "Crawler Mode", wherein after it's either stalked survivors for a while or recently emerged from the map's tunnel network, it'll be on all fours, able to attack with its swift tail.
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: As a werewolf the Dragonborn can do an extremely fast four-legged sprint.
  • In Evolve the Goliath can move much faster when running on all fours, though it can only do so for brief periods of time.
  • This is the stance Freedom Planet's Milla Basset takes when she's at full speed. This is in spite of her sporting normal plantigrade legs and feet in the first game; the second game changes her to digitigrade to make this look more natural.
  • In Guild Wars 2, the catlike Charr move like this when out of combat.
  • Both Faust and Zappa from Guilty Gear run on all fours. Faust runs like a dog to emphasize both his incredibly low fighting stance and his wacky personality, while Zappa does a very fast crabwalk as a Shout-Out to The Exorcist.
  • The Fast Zombies from Half-Life 2, which have long fingers to seemingly support this.
  • Daxter from the Jak and Daxter series normally sticks to using his hind legs for walking and running, but there are some instances where he drops to all fours, usually as part of a Furry Reminder.
  • In Kingdom Hearts II, protagonist Sora does this in Anti-Form.
  • Kirby and the Forgotten Land: The fight against Forgo Dedede's second phase has the normally-bipedal penguin King Dedede start running around on all fours like an enraged boar, showing that he's definitely not himself. Turns out this was a side-effect of constant brainwashing from Fecto Forgo, whose mental control eventually devolves its victim into a feral beast. The same thing happens to Leongar, who normally takes a bipedal stance when he's in his right mind, but takes a quadrupedal stance when Forgo tightens its grip on his mind.
  • The mudmen zombies in Left 4 Dead 2 stand upright, but will run on all fours if they're attacking the survivors. They don't move any faster than their two legged counterparts, but they gain the advantage of being harder to shoot at since their bodies are lower to the ground and they can also nearly hide underwater when they run through it.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
  • In Lugaru, the Player Character can do this. Justified, since he is a rabbit, although normally bipedal.
  • Mega Man X6: Blizzard Wolfang normally stands on 2 legs but dashes around on all fours.
  • The Stranger from Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath starts loping if he runs for long enough. It's actually rather impressive considering the fact that Stranger's true form is that of a centaur-like creature.
  • Persona 5 Strikers: During the second phase of Alice's boss fight, she runs on all four limbs like a rabbit, making her faster and harder to dodge.
  • Pokémon: Pikachu can function equally well on either four or two legs — when they're in 3D, they're shown to run on four and walk on two.
  • Jack from Power Stone not only runs in all fours: his legs are bent in unnatural angles and his hands don't touch the floor as he never lets go of his scimitars, meaning he's walking on top of knives.
  • The protagonist of Prehistorik Man runs on all fours.
  • In Samurai Shodown, "Cat Girl" Cham-Cham runs on all fours. She's not actually a catgirl though. She can run faster than the other characters.
  • Ms. Fortune from Skullgirls uses this as her forward dash attack.
  • In Socks the Cat Rocks the Hill, Socks runs faster when he goes on all fours.
  • Sonic Unleashed: When in Werehog form, Sonic goes down to all fours when sprinting.
  • In Street Fighter V, when Necalli activates his V-Trigger, he'll start walking on all fours, befitting his savage nature.
  • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: In his home series, King K. Rool stands upright at all times. He does the same when translated to Smash, except for his running animation, where he moves like a real crocodile.
  • The animal dash ability in Tomba! allows the titular character to do this.
  • In Twelve Tales: Conker 64, Conker is normally bipedal, but he runs on all-fours while wading through water or sprinting.
  • The Worgen in World of Warcraft usually walk around on two legs, but go to all fours when they need to move fast. The playable Worgen have this ability, called "Running Wild", instead of a racial mount.

    Web Original 
  • Done among several types of birds in Serina where some lineages of birds, such as the burrowing mole-like bumblets and the deer-like serezelles, evolve to be obligate quadrupeds, becoming flightless and repurposing their wing anatomy back into weight-bearing limbs.

    Web Videos 

  • Most of the digitigrade Cyantians of The Cyantian Chronicles are capable of this, though they do so less as adults.
  • El Goonish Shive: During the "Painted Black" arc, while Grace is infiltrating Damien's underground lair, she encounters Vlad and tries to run away from him. While in her half squirrel/half human form, she gets down on all fours like a squirrel to run away from him.
  • Florence in Freefall switches to quadruped when running, because she's a wolf. She actually grew up as a quadruped and then had to adapt to standing upright as an adult.
  • The anthro animals in Kevin & Kell typically walk upright, but there are exceptions, such as those living in the Wild or when someone's in a major hurry. A memorable "all fours is faster" comes when Leona (a lioness) is chasing a van holding a kidnapped Carl. She even has a passenger (Miranda, a rabbit) clinging to her back and neck.
  • Slightly Damned:
    • The Jakkai do this when they run but are typically bipedal when just walking or standing.
    • Iratu almost exclusively walked like this as a child, the digitigrade legs on both him and the jakkai probably help.
    • When Buwaro enters his berserk form he runs quadrupedally because his torso and limbs elongate and after drinking the Rainbow Reverie he is fast enough to catch up with a horse drawn wagon while running this way.
  • Characters in Vápnthjófr saga frequently drop to all fours when running.
  • The Whiteboard:
    • In this strip, Bandit is shown running on all fours to catch up with others, even though normally when he runs it's on two feet like a human.
    • Earlier, a very PO'ed and hung over Doc drops to all fours to chase Roger.

    Western Animation 
  • Amphibia: The Moss Man walks on two legs, but when it wants to run fast, it descends on all fours.
  • Wakko Warner from Animaniacs would do this a few times as well.
  • Bravestarr has Thirty-Thirty, a cyborg sapient horse who can shift from being a quadruped with hooves and a humanoid biped with his front hooves becoming hands and back at will.
  • As with other examples above, Chip and Dale from Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers can run faster on all fours than they do upright, so leg it on all fours if they really need to move. Oddly, Monterey and Gadget only rarely do so if at all.
  • Code Lyoko: Odd's digital avatar on Lyoko has Cat Boy traits, and he quite often runs on all four when speed is needed.
  • Most of the mammals in Dinosaur Train usually stand on two legs to make them look more anthropomorphic, but walk on all fours.
  • Lambie from Doc McStuffins does this in most episodes in the first three seasons, and also does this in some Season 4 episodes.
  • Gargoyles: The Gargoyles often do this when they're in a hurry.
  • R'Qazz in He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2021) is prone to crawling around on all fours to highlight how primitive and savage he is. The real running starts when he transforms into Beast Man, gaining a more ape-like physique that lets him run with his arms doing most of the work.
  • The title character from I Am Weasel sometimes does this.
  • Timber Wolf from Legion of Super Heroes (2006) does this a few times
  • Title character from Little Bear, Funny Animal without cloths.
  • My Little Pony:
  • Pinky the tall mouse from Pinky and the Brain would run in his hamster wheel like this.
  • Primal: Spear would run on all four whenever he had to get somewhere quickly.
  • Rigby from Regular Show when he needs to move quickly.
  • Though he doesn't do it often, Shaggy from Scooby-Doo has been known to run like this occasionally, and seems to be even faster than he is on two legs. This is part of the minor gag that Shaggy displays several canine traits to match Scooby-Doo, despite being a human.
  • Catra from She-Ra and the Princesses of Power has gotten down on all fours to run sometimes, especially when she's in danger. It makes sense since she's a cat girl.
  • Zeke the Big Bad Wolf from the Silly Symphonies cartoon "The Three Little Pigs" is normally a bipedal half-dressed Funny Animal, but at the end of the cartoon, he becomes completely naked, assumes a four-legged stance, and runs away.
  • Steven Universe:
    • Peridot does this frequently, starting in "Catch and Release". Given that she had presumably gotten used to limb enhancers, their loss may have led to her being generally less steady on her feet.
    • Pearl does it in one episode, although it seems like she was just imitating Lion.
    • Amethyst is also seen crawling for no apparent reason in a flashback, although it's at a normal pace.
  • Unagi the Electric Eel from Sushi Pack is sometimes seen running on all four legs, such in the episode "Go with the Glow".
  • In the first episode of Teacher's Pet, when Spot the dog first puts on his human disguise and enters the school, everyone points and says, "Who's that kid running on all fours?" They lead the viewer to think it's Spot but it's actually resident weird kid Ian Waseluski.
  • Beast Boy from Teen Titans Go! occasionally does this.
  • Fifi LaFume from Tiny Toon Adventures sometimes does this.
  • ThunderCats (1985):
    • Lion-O drops to all fours in order to outrun a lava flow on a hillside and catch up to the Thunder Tank.
    • Snarf also tends to switch between being bipedal and quadrupedal with little or no reasoning other than what he feels like; his nephew Snarfer distinctly prefers bipedal locomotion.
  • In the animated Trolls de Troy, the trolls sometimes run on all fours when they need a burst of speed, usually while hunting. This includes protagonist Waha, even though she's a human adopted by the trolls.
  • Los Trotamúsicos: Despite often walking on their hind legs, the Bremen Town Musicians still run on all fours.
  • Squirrel Girl in Ultimate Spider-Man (2012) usually runs on four legs, with a characteristic squirrel-like gait.
  • Nightcrawler in X-Men: Evolution is occasionally seen running on all fours, usually when he's in an urgent situation.

    Real Life 
  • Some adults can pull it off better than others. And yes, there is a world record holder: Kenichi Ito.
  • The Ulas family in Turkey move on all fours; however, the reason for this are tied to developmental and genetics tied together.
  • During the filming of The Dark Crystal, performers who portrayed the Landstriders — long-legged quadrupeds used as mounts by the heroes — discovered that they could run amazingly fast this way. Being equipped with four stilts and a support-harness helped, of course.
  • Among animals this trope is almost completely absent. In fact, the opposite is seen, with many prehistoric reptiles (probably) and various modern day lizards adopting a bipedal stance when they want to run quickly, and kangaroos moving slowly on all fours but hopping rapidly on two legs. About the only animals that spend any time in a bipedal stance but move quickly on all fours are bears and certain primates (and the former almost never do more than take a couple steps when on their hind legs).