Two types of Ru-ceria catalysts were investigated, one prepared by combustion to create an atomically doped metal oxide, and the other, prepared by impregnation, as supported Ru oxide. They have different physical properties (as measured by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, and Infrared spectra of adsorbed CO) but identical catalytic activity for dry reforming of methane. We show that the catalyst for dry reforming is partially reduced using XPS and IR spectroscopy. Furthermore, transient oxidation reaction spectroscopy with oxygen pulses confirms partial reduction of the catalyst is necessary for dry reforming activity. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media New York.