Do you like dogs? And, sports? Then this is the right place for you to be. Because this article contains a list of sports that dogs participate in. Not just participating with being cute, they are, in fact, the main stars of the show. But the list is quite big. That’s why I’m going to say only word or two about each dog sport. Just so you can get some image of it. Some of them are very cute and fun to watch but on the other hand, there are some sports that I don’t approve at all. Nevertheless, it is up to you to decide if you like these dog sports or not. Without further ado, let’s move on to the list of dog sports and their short description.
You also might be interested in this article: Introducing a Dog to a Cat
This list of dog sports is taken from here.
In this dog sport, dogs task is to go through numerous obstacles. Humans role here is only to direct dogs towards them. And, they are not using any compelling thing like toys or treats. A dog is observing humans movements and signs. Voice is also used as a sign. And, a human can’t touch a dog or the obstacle until the race is over. Because this is a race and competition. It all counts down to speed and accuracy.
This is one farm-like dog sport. Here, a dog has to go through a hay maze to find something. But, what are they searching for? A rat. And don’t worry. Rats are perfectly contained inside a PVC tube. Because of that, they can’t hurt a dog, and a dog can’t hurt them. With every passed level, a dog is going higher and higher into the competition. The higher he/she goes, more rats they have to search. To make things even harder, higher they go, they have more decoys set up. And, they have to complete more difficult climbs and tunnels.
This dog sport is another one that involves the race. This time the dog is attached to a towing line to pull and run together with a bicycle. Humans are riding these bicycles of course. It’s important to mention that bikejoring is meant for dry land.
Canicrossing is a dog sport that involves cross-country running with dogs. Similar to the previous sport, bikejoring. Only this time, a human is running, not riding a bike. A dog is always attached to a runner. And, there can be one or two dogs that participate with one runner.
Caniteering is a dog sport in which every individual or team with at least one dog must navigate a course to find set locations and then return to the finish line the fastest. They have an orienteering map that shows where all the control posts are located.
This dog sport requires choreographing routines for the “dance” floor. Although, there is no dancing. Just heeling making tricks and some quite difficult moves. For example: heeling backward, sideways or in a pivot.
Carting is a dog sport that involves dogs and dogcarts. By dogcarts, we mean a type of light horse-drawn vehicle. In these dogcarts, dogs are carrying all kinds of stuff, supplies and sometimes a human or two. Usually, only large dogs are involved in this activity.
Competition obedience is a sport in which a dog must follow certain tasks. The handler directs him to a certain task and a dog must handle that task perfectly. Tasks can be formed from home behavior, behavior in public to more complex doings. And, the dog must execute these task despite any possible distractions like other dogs, toys or food. In the spirit of this sport, there are many obedience trials and training.
You might have heard of this sport but by a different name. This dog sport is also called breed show. In this show, the dog has to perfectly present its own breed. In other words, the dog has to conform its own breed as it is written in a breed’s individual breed standard. And, it is important to mention that the judges have to be familiar with a dog breed he is judging.
Coon hunting field trials
Dog parkour (Urban agility)
Dog parkour is an activity in which dogs have to climb, jump, balance and run. In other words, they have to do everything similarly to human parkour. It is important to mention that this sport is non-competitive.
Many people call disc dog as a frisbee dog. There are three formats of this sport: Toss and fetch, Freestyle, and Long-distance. Toss and fetch is short distance disc dog. Freestyle has all sorts of categories like Canine Athleticism, Degree of Difficulty, Showmanship, etc. And, lastly, in Long-distance the longest catch wins. There is also a disc sport that is meant only for sighthound dogs.
People also refer to this dog sport as dock diving. The name speaks for itself. In this sport, a dog has the task to jump or dive from a dock into a water pool. Also, there are two types of dock jumping. Firstly, there is a “place and send” dock jumping. The second type is “chase”.
Dog hiking, pack hiking
You know how humans like to go hiking? Well, in this sport, they take their dogs with them. Simple as that.
In this sport, the human is riding an unmotorized kick scooter. And, the dog’s task is to pull it. There can be more than one dog that is pulling this scooter. And the dogs are attached to a scooter with gangling that also features bungee cord. It is important to mention that this activity is in most cases just a fun hobby for dogs and dogs owners. It is a great way to meet and be active with other dogs and dog-owners.
Earthdog test, in other world trials, tests the working abilities and smell instincts of dogs. Usually, dogs that are tested are short-legged terriers or Dachshunds. In this sport, dogs have to go through underground tunnels to search for any vermits or quarries. If the dog has found something, he has to react. And, it is important to mention that just like in barn hunts, any animal (usually the rat) is protected. This way, a dog can’t harm the rat and the rat can’t harm a dog.
Field trials are similar to hunting test. But, they are more complex and they require more training. Also, in field trials, dogs usually have to go through long distances and more complex paths. You can find field trials for retrievers, pointing dogs or flushing dogs. There are also four grades of competition. Those are Open, Amateur, Sanctioned and Non-sanctioned. There are also retreiving trials that are basically similar to or the same as field trials.
In this dog sport, there are four dogs that race against each other. They start running from a start line. Then, they go through the line of obstacles to the box that releases tennis balls. And, the goal for a dog is to catch a tennis ball and run with it back to the handler.
You can call this dog sport monkey jockeys because it does include monkeys. Capuchin monkeys to be exact. And, these monkeys are jockeys. Only this time, they are riding greyhound dogs. That’s right. In this sport, dogs are like horses. But, as far as I know, this dog sport is no longer a popular or ongoing sport.
Greyhound and Whippet racing
greyhound and whippet racing sport speaks for itself. It is a sport in which greyhounds or whippets race against each other. There are two types of this sport. Track racing which usually involves an oval-shaped track. And, coursing (for example hare coursing and lure coursing).
This dog sport belongs to a kinda cruel category. The dog’s task is to chase the hare (wild rabbit). The hare is unprotected and it usually ends up being harmed or killed by the dog. Cruel indeed. But, the interesting part about hare coursing is the fact that dogs are chasing hares only based on sight and not on a smell. Because of that, sighthounds are the ones who usually participate in this dog sport.
Heelwork to music
Heelwork to music includes the handler who is working with his/her dog at heel and music of course. And, only one-third of the partipicians musical routine must be heelwork, which includes eight positions. There is also a freestyle type of heelwork. In this type one-third of the routine is also heelwork, and the rest is freestyle (dog doesn’t have to work at heel).
Herding high jumps
I think you can assume by the “high jumps” part of the name what this sport is all about. High jumping of course. Because of that, the winner of the competition is the dog who manages to jump the highest. Dogs have to clear a wooden barrier that is set up at some hight. When the dog manages to clear it, the wooden barrier is raised even higher. And, the process is repeated until there is a winner. In other words, the winner is the dog who managed to clear the wooden barrier while other dogs didn’t.
As you can see, this is a dog sport for hound dogs. But, what do they do? This sport includes an artificial scent trail and dogs that have to race and follow that trail. And, hound trailing’s are usually held on country courses. Also, it is important to mention that in this sport, dogs don’t need assistance from the handler.
Junior showmanship, or junior handling, is a bit different. Unlike previously mentioned dog sports, junior showmanship puts its focus on a handler. And, NOT the dog. This sport is similar to a conformation dog show but young, junior handlers are the ones that are judged. In this sport, they are the ones who have a chance to show off their skills.
Jack Russell hurdle racing
This sport includes only Jack Russell dogs and the race between them. There are five or six dogs that are racing at the same time. Against each other. And, only two dogs that are first to reach a finish line can go to the next round.
Lure coursing is a sport in which dogs have to chase a mechanical lure. This lure has to imitate the movements of a natural prey. Dogs task is to catch that lure in any way they want. The winner of the race is the dog with the highest score. Judges are looking at and scoring speed, agility, endurance, enthusiasm, following the lure and sometimes intelligence. Usually, purebred sighthound breeds participate in this sport. But, any other dog breed can participate. They just have to pass the CAT (Coursing Ability Test).
Mantrailing is a sport in which dogs have to find a “missing person”. And, they are able to find it by individual, specific smell of that person. Any dog can participate in this.
This sport includes one, or usually more dogs. The dog’s task is to pull a sled on snow or a rig on dry land. Some of the sub-categories of mushing are skijoring, bikejoring and scootering. There is also wheelchair mushing (the dog pulls a handicapped person in a wheelchair).
Musical canine freestyle
You might recognize musical canine freestyle by different names. Musical freestyle, freestyle dance or canine freestyle. This dog sport includes obedience training, tricks, and dance. And the best part is that the owner is in this competition together with his/her dog. Because of that, this sport is a fun way for owners to bond with their dogs.
You know those detection dogs from all those movies? Well, in this sport, dogs get exactly this role. The dog works with its handler. He has to find a hidden object after he previously sniffed it. If a dog finds the object, he/she has to alert the handler. It is important to mention that dogs have to be fully focused on the search. There are many obstacles and many distractions like food and toys. And dogs have to learn how to ignore those obstacles to get to their goal. A wonderful thing about this sport is that even dogs with disabilities and behavioral problems can participate.
Protection sports is one big branch of dog sports. Some of the organized activities that belong to protection sports are Schutzhund, Service Dogs of America, French and Belgian ring, Protection Sports Association and many more. But, why is it called protection sports? Because dogs have to show their skills to protect themselves and their owners or handlers. And, it is important to mention that the judges are looking at the whole temperament of dogs. Not just their will and ability to protect someone.
People also call rally obedience as just Rally or Rally-O. In this sport, a handler works with his/her dog in the heel position. Furthermore, they go through numerous stations that has the signs of what should dog do. In other words, the dog and the handler don’t need to wait for the judge’s instructions. Unlike other obedience trials and competitions, a handler can encourage dogs to do the task. There are three categories in rally obedience. Novice, advanced and excellent.
Sheepdog trials (or herding)
There are actually more names for this sport. Sheepdog trial, herding test, and stockdog trials. Explanation of this sport is simple. The handler directs the dog to move all sorts of animals around field, fences, and gates. Just like dogs do it at the farm.
Skijoring with dogs
We have already talked about mushing. And, skijoring is a part of that dog sport. In this sport, dogs have to pull the handler that is on the skis. There are also other types of skijoring that don’t involve dogs. Instead of dogs, the skis are pulled by horses or motor vehicle.
Sled dog racing
Sled dog racing includes a team of dogs. This is a winter sport and the dog’s task is to pull the sleds with a driver on it. They pull the sleds through previously determined and marked course. A team that wins this competition is a team that comes to the “finish line” fastest.
This is one totally fun dog sport. Dog surfing! Just imagine it! Surfing is hard for some people, but some dogs don’t seem to have a problem with it at all. Dogs can surf on surfboards, skimboards, windsurf boards and bodysurf boards. And, here I am, without even knowing so many types of surfing boards exist.
This is a dog sport in which terrier dogs race. We previously mentioned Jack Russell terrier racing. I don’t know why is there a separate dog sport for them, but just terrier racing is basically the same thing. Only thing is, any terrier can participate in it, not just Jack Russells.
Tracking trials are testing dogs ability to recognize and follow a certain smell. A dog has to follow a trail and find some “lost” object or even “lost” person. There are different levels of difficulty in tracking trials. Also, there are many different rules because tracking trials are held by different organizations.
Treibball is also one very fun dog sport. A dog has to push all the balls from the field into a goal. The kind of goal you can see in soccer or handball. There are 8 balls in total and their size is 45-75 cm. Just like the ones people use in fitness.
Water work trials
Water work trials are great for all dogs that absolutely love water. Dogs in water work trials do many things. They have rescue duties, retrieving duties and courier duties. In addition, they also have team swimming, boatwork, and underwater scent searches. It’s like being in a camp!
Bull breeds and sled dog breeds are quite popular in weight pulling. In this dog sport, dogs have to pull a cart or sled that is loaded with some weight. With that weight, they have to pass some short distance and they usually do it on dirt, grass, snow or carpet.
Wiener racing is also called Dachshund racing. The name itself suggests that in this sport, the Dachshund breed is the one that is racing. In Wiener racing, tracks are 25 or 50 yards long.
There is not much to say about dog walking. We all know what dog walking is, right? But, why is it included in dog sports? It is not really a sport if you ask me. It is more like a daily activity that every dog owner has with his dog or dogs. But, I’ll just let it be.
To sum up, as you can see, there are all sorts of dog sports out there. And although I didn’t like some of them I was absolutely amazed by some others. I would watch them, cheer for the dogs and even participate in if I knew how. Dogs really are amazing animals. They do have some quite mesmerizing skills. So, here are some questions for you dear reader, and feel free to comment in a comment section below.
Which dog sports do you like? Which dog sports you don’t approve at all? Why?
Do you think dog sports have some benefits for the dog itself? Or, are dog sports just another way for human fun?