FlyballGot a ball-crazy dog who's smart, fit and fast? Looking for a way to burn some of his energy and meet some people? Then flyball is a sport for you!
A flyball team is made up of four dogs with their handler, plus a box loader. Two teams race each other over a 51-foot course lined with four jumps. Each dog navigates the jumps, pounces on a spring-loaded box that ejects the ball, catches it in his mouth and races back to the start by navigating the hurdles once more. The dog with the ball must cross the finish line before the next dog of his team can go. Each dog on the team must successfully complete the course, and the first team to finish without any errors wins.
Pembroke Welsh Corgi "Dash" - Photo: Irene Cotter, Fur-Fetched
In the past, the dog had to hit a pedal with his paw to release the ball, which was then catapulted high in the air to be grabbed by the dog, hence the term "flyball".
The hurdle height is determined by the shoulder height of the smallest dog in the team. A short dog is therefore often an asset to a team because the larger dogs benefit from the lower hurdles.
Under current North American Flyball Association (NAFA) rules this should be 5 inches (12.7 cm) below the withers height of the smallest dog, to a height of no less than 7 inches (17.8 cm) and no greater than 14 inches (35.6 cm). Current EFC (European Flyball Championship) rules limits the height is no less than 17.5 cm and no greater than 35 cm.
Flyball started as a dog sport in the late 1960s and early 1970s, in Southern California. Since then it has expanded into many countries including Australia, Canada ,South Africa, and Europe.
This video from the finals at Crufts 2019 gives you an idea of this crazy sport!
Read here about Porsche the First and Only Flyball Corgi in Germany