Flyball is a dog sport in which teams of dogs race against each other from a start/finish line, over a line of hurdles, to a box that releases a tennis ball to be caught when the dog presses the spring loaded pad, then back to their handlers while carrying the ball.

Flyball started as a dog sport in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, in Southern California. Some dog trainers combined scent hurdle racing with the dogs bringing back a tennis ball to the finish line. Then a tennis ball-launching apparatus was added and the first flyball box was born. The first Flyball tournament was held in 1983 in the USA. Flyball has now expanded into many countries including Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa.
And in European countries such as Belgium, Britain, Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands and Poland, national flyball tournaments also hold joint annual
European championships.

Flyball is a relay run in teams of four dogs. The course consists of four hurdles placed 10 feet (3 m) apart from each other, with the starting line six feet (1.8 m) from the first hurdle, and the flyball box 15 feet (4.5 m) after the last one, making for a 51-foot (15.5 m) length. The hurdle height is determined by the shoulder height of the smallest dog in the team. Each dog must return its ball all the way across the start line before the next dog crosses. Ideal running is nose-to-nose at the start line. The first team to have all four dogs cross the finish line error free wins the heat.

Flyball provides an entertaining and active way to interact with one’s dog and other dog lovers in an environment that is fun and allows the dogs exercise and enjoyment. It is especially a great way to burn off the energy of dogs with a high drive to work, such as:

Popular Breeds

  • Border Collies
  • Terriers
  • Parson Russell
  • Whippets
  • Herding dogs

Suggested Exercises

  • Jumping skills
    • Retrieving skills,
    • Handler chase and focus
  • Targeting skills

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