UK Dog Sports

Dog sports in the UK are increasing in popularity as more and more pet parents seek new activities, not only for their dogs but as a social and keep-fit activity for themselves too.  There are a number of dog sports you can participate in and hopefully this article will help you choose a sport that is right for both you and your dog(s).  

Dog Agility

You may have seen this hugely popular international sport on TV at Crufts where it’s been an instant hit since 1978. But what is dog agility? Dog agility involves a dog negotiation an array of different obstacles, such as jumps, a tunnel and an A-Frame, round a set course against the clock; the fastest clear round wins. Any breed of dog can take part and if you don’t want to compete, there is no reason why you can't train your dog just for fun.

 

Dog Agility

 

Flyball for Dogs

If you have a dog that is ball crazy then Flyball is the dog sport for your dog. It’s a fast and competitive team sport which made its debut at Crufts in 1990. Since then the sport has shot-up in popularity and there is now a vast number of Flyball clubs all around the UK. In a nutshell, Flyball is a relay sport in which the team of four dogs must jump over four hurdles and activate a leaver by jumping on a box that releases a tennis ball. The dog must catch the ball and run back over the hurdles with the ball in their mouth through timed gates where they cross over with the next dog. Faults are incurred if a dog misses a jump, crosses back through the timer without the tennis ball or if one dog sets off on the course through the timed gates before the other has completed. Again, any breed of dog can take part although the border collies seems to be the preferred breed.  

 

Flyball for Dogs

 

Obedience

Obedience does what it says on the tin. It will help to train and test your dog's obedience. The overall objective is to complete a variety of set exercises with precision and accuracy. It's about dog and handler working as a team as in competition you can both be penalised for errors. You may have heard of the Good Citizen Dog Scheme which are designed for all ages and breed of dog. This is a great place to start with obedience and will teach you and your pooch the basics.  

Field Trials for Working Dogs

Field Trials are designed to be a close resemblance to a day’s shooting. The dogs are expected to work with a variety of game including pheasants, partridges and rabbits. Field Trials are extremely popular with UK dog owners and attract many of the traditional working dog breeds such as the Labrador Retriever, Springer and Cocker Spaniel and the English Pointer. If you enjoy the countryside and would like to see you dog working then Field Trials would be a great sport to add to your calendar for 2016.  

Dock Diving For Dogs

Dock Diving is relatively new to the UK so you may not have heard of it. It’s certainly a great spectator sport and if your dog doesn't mind jumping into water, it’s definitely worth a go! Due to its nature it tends to be a summer sport. It involves dogs diving into water from a dock, and the distance of their jump is measured. It's basically doggy long jump! Usually a ball or toy is thrown into the pool with the dog jumping in after it- the longest jump is the winner. Click here to watch a video.

Dock Diving for Dogs

 

Heel Work to Music

Heel Work to Music is a relatively new competitive sport which provides a unique and wonderful opportunity to have fun with your dog. It involves you and your dog performing a range of set movements to music in which you can demonstrate your skills and partnership. Heel Work to Music provides a wonderful opportunity for you and your dog(s) to develop a close partnership as well as the change for more competitive training and competition.  

Cani-Cross

Cani-Cross (or CaniX as popularly referred to) is basically canine cross-country. If you enjoy running and want a way to keep you and your dog fit, this is the perfect sport for you. You wear a special waistbelt which is attached via a two-meter bungee line to a padded dog harness . Any breed of dog can participate. Each dog/owner starts at individually timed intervals in a set age class and follow a set cross-country course. The choices in dog sports in the UK today is endless and there really is something to suit everyone. Just ensure your dog is in good health before taking on anything too strenuous. A quick vet check-up should do it and always remember the importance of nutrition to keep your dog happy and healthy.

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