What is Flyball?
Flyball is a fast-paced relay race for all dogs, whether mixed or purebred. Each heat is run with 4 dogs per team. The 51-foot-long course consists of a starting line, 4 hurdles spaced 10 feet apart, and a box. The dogs jump the hurdles and step on the spring loaded box, which shoots out a tennis ball. The dog catches the ball and runs back over the 4 hurdles. When the dog crosses the starting line the next dog goes. The first team to have all 4 dogs run without errors wins the heat. A race is normally the best three out of five heats. The height of the hurdles is set at 4 inches below the shoulder height of the shortest dog on the team, from a minumum heigh of 8 inches to a maximum of 16 inches. This gives the smaller breeds the chance to run with the big dogs!
Flyball was invented in California in the late 70's. Legend has it that Herbert Wagner first showed it on the Johnny Carson Show to millions of Americans, inspiring dog trainers and dog clubs to begin making and using flyball boxes. In the early 80's the sport became so popular that the North American Flyball Association (NAFA) was formed to govern flyball in the U.S. and Canada.
Here's an article from the Boston Globe that explains flyball very well.
For more information about flyball visit the NAFA home page at www.flyballdogs.com
Some Flyball Videos