What Is Flyball?
Flyball has been called "drag racing for dogs" – it is a team sport with 4 dogs per team, and 2 teams racing against one another at a time. The course consists of a starting line, 4 hurdles and a spring loaded tennis ball-throwing box. Each dog must jump the hurdles, hit the box to eject the ball, catch the ball, and bring it back over the hurdles to the line before the next dog can go. When all 4 dogs on a team have successfully completed the course, the team is done. The first team to have all 4 dogs run without errors wins the heat. While a team consists of only 4-6 dogs who consistently run together, a club may have an unlimited number of teams.
The height of the hurdles is determined by the shortest dog on the team: the "height dog." The hurdles are set 5 inches below the shoulder of the height dog, with a minimum of 7 inches and a maximum of 14. So a short but speedy dog can be worth its weight in gold to a team! The hurdles are spaced 10 feet apart and the box is 15 feet from the last hurdle, giving a course length of 51 feet. With all the running, jumping and excitement, Flyball provides a fantastic way to have fun with your dog while burning off excess energy!
Who Can Participate?
The North American Flyball Association (NAFA) is North America's largest Flyball organization. NAFA allows all dogs, regardless of pedigree, size, or age to take part in Flyball. Dogs must be individually registered with NAFA to enter their tournaments. NAFA tournaments are divided into divisions so that teams compete against other teams of equal abilities.
NADA, Inc. runs classes for dogs aged 6-months and older. NAFA tournaments (competitions) are restricted to dogs 15-months of and older, and requires that dogs are physically sound and are not aggressive towards people or other dogs.
NAFA recognizes multiple classes of competition, including Regular, Multibreed, and Veterans. Regular includes teams made up of any breed(s) of dog and/or mixed breeds. In the Multibreed class, each team running in a heat must consist of dogs of four different breeds, or three different breeds and a mixed breed. In the Veterans Class, every dog on the team must be at least 7 years old.
Punky practicing a recall - running straight to her handler at full speed is a fundamental skill in Flyball which all of our dogs practice, even at the highest class levels!
Ellie practically a swimmer's turn on the wall prop - this skill will eventually be transferred over to the Flyball box. Just like most humans are left- or right-handed, most dogs only turn comfortable to the left or the right!