Is your dog OBSESSED with the tennis ball? Introducing..FLYBALL!
Flyball is a dog TEAM relay sport. If you have a dog that is fast, has a strong work-drive, and LOVES tennis balls, Flyball could be the sport you are looking for.
What is Flyball?
Flyball is a relay sport that consists of four dogs racing against other teams. There are four hurdles placed 10 feet apart from each other and each dog races against another team's dog, jumping the hurdles and hitting a spring-loaded ball box. They retrieve the ball from the box once they hit it with their paws (or any part of their body) and must return back over the hurdles with the ball to the finish line without errors. The next dog is released as soon as the other dog crosses over the finish line. The total distance, one way, is 51 feet.
Object of the sport: Dogs must complete the relay course in the fastest time possible.
Does your dog have what it takes to be a Flyball player?
Requirements are pretty easy to fill in this sport. If your dog is a high-energy dog, LOVES tennis balls, gets along well with other dogs, and has pretty good listening skills, they could be a contender for this FUN, high energy sport!
Border Collies and Terriers are two of the most popular breeds to participate in this team sport. This sport is open to all dogs of different breeds (purebreds or mixes) including bully breeds! Dogs earn titles and awards based on points earned by the team.
Size doesn't matter in this sport, because the height of the hurdles is based on the smallest dog participating. For many teams, a small dog could be the advantage though they can have a harder time pushing on the box to release the ball.
Teams are selected and raced against other teams based on similar speeds. This gives each team an opportunity to have a more competitive and exciting race. Teams even work on beating their own best score, driving their dogs to run faster and return quicker.
Although the sport has used manual judges and stopwatches in the past it has been switching over to better technology, using electronic systems that record the time and digital video and cameras to record dogs crossing the finish line.
Penalties to a team are caused by errors made such as: dogs avoiding the hurdles, returning without a ball or dropping the ball and early release of the next dog before the other dog crosses the finish line.
How to join a team
The North American Flyball Association (NAFA) oversees the competitions. Check out their website to locate a Flyball Club near you. The sport originally started in California in the 1970's and has grown in global popularity over the last four decades.
There are four classes of competition:
- Multi-breed - Team is required to have 4 different breeds racing on the team
- Veterans - (7+ older) Jumps are also lowered and racing time is limited
- Open - Dog's can be combined from any club, but teams are not eligible for record times or regional championships
The Current Champions
A team called "Touch N Go" from Las Vegas, NV is currently holding the world record time of 14.690 seconds! Even beating their previous world record time of 14.860. This team is sought after by many to beat and is the only team in the world EVER to break into the 14-second barrier!
Do you think your dog has what it takes to become a FLYBALL champion! Ok, they don't have to be a champion just to have fun. Looking to be around other dog enthusiast? Excitement, team-work and a dog with speed is what it takes to do this sport. You never know, your dog could be a future champion in this relay sport, FLYBALL!
Original Dog Bible, 2nd Edition, by Kristin Mehus-Roe