The Best Dog Breeds for Flyball Sports
Part of the appeal of flyball as a sport is due to the fact that it is open to all breeds, mutts, and non-pedigrees. It is a competitive sport that any dog can enjoy, and there are plenty of dogs who do just that! A lot of the breeds that participate in flyball competitions are considered to be high-energy types. There are, however, some rather mellow dogs who participate as well.
However, if you're interested in competing at an advanced level in flyball sports with your canine companion, it's important to choose a breed that is well-suited for the task. While any dog can participate in flyball, there are certain breeds that make especially good candidates for this sport when played competitively.
How to Choose the Best Dog Breeds for Flyball Sports
When choosing the best dog breeds for flyball, consider these qualities:
- Energy Level - When you watch competitive flyball competitions, it becomes quite clear that the sport requires competitors to have very high energy levels.
- Endurance & Stamina - Even though the round-trip through the track is fairly short, training and competing in flyball is extremely demanding and requires an exceptionally high level of endurance.
- Speed - A dog's speed during a flyball run can make or break his team when it comes to winning competitions; the faster the team, the better.
- Trainability - Some breeds are simply more trainable than others, and this quality is essential when training a dog for flyball.
- Temperament - Some dogs have a naturally high-strung temperament that could make playing flyball too difficult if not properly managed.
- Athletic Build - Flyball races are short, but incredibly fast and demanding so breeds that have been selectively bred for this kind of build will have a competitive edge.
- Intense Interest in Pleasing Owner - A veteran flyball player will tell you that the competitiveness of the sport is only part of the equation. A dog's willingness to comply with all commands from his handler can often make or break a competitive team, and breeds that are naturally more responsive to their owner's praise are typically better at pleasing their handlers when it comes to flyball sports.
- Willingness to Work With Others - It goes without saying that being part of a flyball team is, at its heart, a cooperative effort between the dog and his handler. Any breed that's naturally "self-oriented" will have trouble adjusting to this kind of teamwork in sports like flyball.
Top Dog Breeds for Flyball Sports
The following breeds are excellent choices for flyball sports competitions. They are known for their very high energy levels, high trainability, and athletic builds:
Australian Shepherd - This very intelligent and versatile breed is one of the top dogs for flyball sports; he is also an excellent herding dog. Aussies are easily trainable, highly energetic, competitive, and intensely interested in pleasing their handlers.
Beagle - This small- to medium-sized breed is known for its speed and good nature. Beagles are easily trainable, responsive to praise, and eager to please their handlers in flyball sports.
Border Collie - This popular herding dog is widely hailed as one of the best breeds for flyball competitions due to his high energy levels, strong interest in pleasing his owner, and exceptional speed.
Boxer - This medium-sized athletic breed is known for being friendly, intelligent, and trainable. Although the Boxer has a naturally high energy level, he does not have a tendency to be overly sensitive or me-oriented, making him an excellent choice for flyball sports.
Doberman Pinscher - This medium-sized breed is known for its speed, endurance, and loyalty to its handler. Dobermans are highly intelligent, very trainable, and responsible around others; these qualities make them top candidates for flyball sports.
German Shepherd - Considered the definitive multipurpose working dog by many experts, the GSD's intelligence and trainability, combined with his endurance and stamina, makes him an excellent choice for flyball sports. This breed is known to have a dominant personality, however, so it's important to socialize early and establish yourself as the "alpha" quickly.
Golden Retriever - This medium- to large-sized breed is known for being very intelligent, athletic, and eager to please. Golden Retrievers have a strong desire to work with others, making them excellent choices for canine sports such as flyball.
Jack Russell Terrier - This small breed is known for its great speed, endurance, and energy. The Jack Russell Terrier is highly intelligent and eager to please; these qualities make him an excellent candidate for flyball sports competitions.
Labrador Retriever - This medium-sized athletic breed is known for its intelligence, trainability, and willingness to follow owner commands. The Labrador Retriever is an excellent choice for flyball sports; he's also known as a natural retriever, which comes in handy during play between rounds and practice sessions.
Papillon - This small- to medium-sized breed is known for his speed and willingness to please his owner and comply with commands. The Papillon is also known for being very agile, which makes him a top candidate for flyball sports.
Parson Russell Terrier - This small- to medium-sized breed is known for its high energy levels and willingness to work with others. The Parson Russell Terrier is very intelligent, making him an excellent candidate for flyball sports competitions.
Pointer - This medium-sized athletic breed is known for its speed, endurance, and love of the hunt. Pointers are highly intelligent and make excellent choices for flyball sports.
Poodle - This small- to medium-sized breed is easily trainable and very intelligent. Poodles are popular choices for flyball competitions due to their speed, agility, responsiveness to commands, and good nature towards other dogs.
Rat Terrier - This small breed is known for being very intelligent, competitive, and athletic. The Rat Terrier makes an excellent candidate for flyball sports due to his high energy levels, eagerness to please his owner, and willingness to work with other dogs.
Shetland Sheepdog - This medium-sized breed is known for its high energy levels, ability to work independently of other dogs, and strong desire to please its owner. The Shetland Sheepdog has a very friendly nature towards other dogs, making him an excellent choice for flyball sports competitions.
Staffordshire Bull Terrier - This small to medium-sized breed is known for its endurance, speed, and ability to follow through exactly when it is told. Staffordshire Bull Terriers are extremely intelligent and make excellent choices for flyball competitions due to their high energy levels.
Vizsla - This medium-sized athletic breed is known for being very energetic and trainable. Vizslas have a good nature towards other dogs, making them excellent choices for flyball sports.
Whippet -- This medium-sized breed is known for its endurance, speed, and responsiveness to owner commands. Whippets are excellent choices for flyball competitions due to their good nature towards other dogs and willingness to work with others.
Yorkshire Terrier - This small breed is known for its high energy levels and desire to please the handler. The Yorkie is very intelligent, making him an excellent candidate for flyball sports competitions.