Flyball is a team sport for dogs; the canine equivalent of a relay race. Dogs sprint over a series of hurdles, trigger a spring pad to release a tennis ball, catch the ball, and dash back. It’s a spectator-friendly sport, as popular with hobbyists as with serious competitors. Flyball is the perfect energy outlet for high-drive dogs like Border Collies and Terriers, but dogs of any type can participate, including mixed-breed. Small dogs are particularly sought-after, because hurdle height is based on the height of the smallest dog on the team. (The snag is, the dog needs to be heavy enough to release the ball.)
The idea behind flyball is to have a great time with your dog and other dog-loving people, an attitude reflected in team names like the Birmingham Bandits and Canine Conspiracy. But many are also serious athletes—the best teams run all four dogs through the 51ft course in less than 20 seconds. The current world record is 14.433 seconds, held by Caledonia-based flyball team Border Patrol, which set the record on June 5th, 2016 in Rockton, ON, Canada.
For more information, visit the North American Flyball Association at www.flyball.org.