Let's get those fluffy butts moving


If you’re looking for a bond-strengthening and rewarding experience for you and your dog, you should take a look into the world of dog sports. With a wide variety of activities to choose from, you’re sure to find something that suits your dog’s abilities and character, and will allow you to discover a whole new perspective on being a dog owner.

Partaking in a sport together will not only bring you closer as a team, it also offers both mental and physical stimulation that can be hard to come by in your daily routines. It can also be a way for your dog to live out its instincts in a safe and controllable setting.

A few months ago we introduced a new feature in the Breed Archive called Active in Sports, and although our list there includes almost 20 different sports, from Agility to Water Race, in this post we will focus on a few of the most popular.


Belgian Malinois in an agility parcour

On the top of our list is a dog sport most dog lovers have at least heard of. Or maybe you’ve seen kids freak out over it, trying to get their virtual Dachshund to run through that tunnel in Nintendogs. Agility has owner and dog navigating a course together, featuring obstacles like tunnels, weave poles and seesaws.

While your dog has to do the actual work of manoeuvring through the obstacles, your job is to guide it through the course in the right order, using only your voice and body language. Technically, most breeds can do agility, as the courses are matched to a dog’s size, although eager breeds that enjoy physical exertion, like the Border Collie, are the most suitable candidates. Very large and heavy dogs, as well as puppies should stay off the course, as this sport puts too much strain on their joints.
Click here if you want to see an eager Collie and a not-so-eager Husky do agility.


Obedience training with a dog

Next on the list, an activity that all dogs and their owners should have at least basic experience with: Obedience Training. Team work and communication lie at the centre of this sport, showcasing how well the two of you work together. Commands like Sit, Heel, and Down have to be executed by your dog quickly and precisely, so the sport is suited for all breeds, no matter how big or small. We’ll admit though, that some breeds are more eager to please than others, but don’t let that stop you from giving Obedience Training a go.

Dog dancing

Caught you smirking? Are you picturing a dog on Dancing With The Stars? If so, it’s time to
re-evaluate, watch some videos of Dog Dancing competitions and be absolutely charmed by the routines the owners and their dogs are putting on. Essentially, Dog Dancing is Obedience with music thrown into the mix, as different commands are arranged into a sequence. The routines can be tailored to your dog and its abilities, so there are no limitations as to which breed can do it.
Want to watch a lady and her two dogs perform to ‘Singing in the Rain’? Look no further and click here.

Dog frisbee

Whippet catching frisbee

The basic goal of this sport is pretty self-explanatory: you throw a frisbee and your dog catches it. In its beginnings, this was the main point of the sport, but it has developed into something a bit more eye-catching nowadays. Catching frisbees is still the basic requirement, but it is embedded into a routine of different tricks and moves, executed by the two of you as a team. The sport is fast-paced, exciting, and an absolute joy to watch. If that made you curious, have a look here.

Scent work

dog doing scent work

For dogs that enjoy sticking their noses as far into the ground as possible (and that includes pretty much all of them), Scent Work is a great activity for them. While your dog won’t be sniffing for bombs or cocaine (hopefully that’s not a dealbreaker for you), watching it figure out the puzzle is no less exciting. The goal of Scent Work is for your dog to find a specific smell and indicate to you where it’s located. Since this is not a physically demanding sport it is a great activity for all kinds breeds, including dogs with bodily limitations. Practicing at home requires no fancy equipment, so it’s easy to get a feel for this sport. The AKC explains how it’s done here.

Dock diving

If you’ve never heard of Dock Diving before, you need to know that there is one vital prerequisite for this sport: your dog needs to enjoy the water. In Dock Diving, the goal is for the dog to jump either as high or as far as possible from a deck into a pool. Most dogs have their eyes set on a toy to chase after, before splashing into the water below. There are no real limitations regarding breeds, except that some are physically able to jump higher than others. There are centres that offer the proper training facilities, but the pier at a nearby dog-friendly lake will do just as well for beginners.
Want to see a dog sailing through the air to pirate music? Don’t worry, we got you.

Lure Coursing

Salukis racing in a lure course

This sport is something for the tireless and fast-as-lightening runners. Some breeds, especially those of the Sighthound Group, have historically been bred to chase game over long distances. While this practice has mostly vanished in today’s world, the dogs’ instincts haven’t. Coursing gives them the chance to chase after a mechanically operated white plastic lure that simulates the unpredictable movement of game fleeing in the wild - all in a safe environment. This sport will guarantee you a happily tired-out dog, at least for the rest of the day. For an insight into how it works, click here.

With that, we complete our glimpse into the exciting world of dog sports. No matter if you want to pursue the sport on a competitive level, or just discover some new ways to spend quality time with your dog, there’s something in here for everybody. You can find out about sporting clubs and associations in your area if you don’t know how to get started, or just give things a go in your garden or local park. Just remember to enjoy your time and maybe we’ll see you at the Championship in no time.