The Best Dog Breeds for Obedience Sports
While nearly all dog sports require some level of training, obedience sports focus on the dog's ability to learn and respond to basic commands, especially when distractions are present. These types of sports offer an excellent way for both you and your canine to have fun while getting fit together.
What are Obedience Sports?
Obedience sports are competitive dog sports that require dogs to perform specific tasks when directed by their handlers. The goal of obedience training is for the canine to learn how to respond quickly and accurately, even in the presence of distractions. The most popular obedience sport is often called "show" or "conformation."
The handler must get his or her dog to properly walk on a leash, stand and sit at the handler's side, lie down, etc. Once the dog has performed each exercise perfectly, he or she can move on to more difficult tasks involving retrieving objects and jumping over obstacles.
Many obedience sports focus only on the basic commands of sit, stay, heel, and finish. However, there are also sports that require dogs to follow more complex commands.
Popular obedience sports include:
- Heelwork to music - This is where the dog walks on a leash alongside their handler and they perform different movements such as spins and leg weaves without tripping or bumping into their handler.
- Musical canine freestyle - Named as such because of the music that is traditionally played during this type of obedience. In this sport, handlers must perform a routine set to music with their dog which could include catching a frisbee or any other fun tricks.
- Obedience trial -The sport of obedience includes twelve different exercises which all require good accuracy and responsiveness from the dog. The obedience trial is one of the most complicated sports with handlers being required to have their dog perform a series of exercises that are both complex and detailed.
- Rally obedience - Rally obedience is a relatively new sport that has become very popular over the last decade. In this sport, handlers are required to complete a course with their dog in which they must perform different tricks at designated stations with the aim of getting the fastest time possible.
The Best Dog Breeds for Obedience Sports
There are many different breeds of dogs who excel at obedience sports however there are some in particular who have proven themselves time and again to be the best breeds for obedience.
Labrador Retriever - One of the most popular breeds in Australia, these dogs were originally bred as gun dogs and service dogs and they certainly excel at many different types of training and especially agility. Aussies love their labs and if you want to own one of these dogs then it will be worth your while looking into some of the best labradoodle breeders.
Rottweiler - The Rottweilers are a very powerful breed who can easily perform all of the obedience sports such as agility, canine freestyle, and even the demanding obedience trial which is one of the most difficult obedience sports. Rottweilers excel at any type of training and especially so during dog fight training.
Italian Greyhound - The Italian greyhound is another toy breed that excels at obedience sports such as agility, musical canine freestyle, rally obedience, and even Heelwork to music. They love performing tricks for their owners and may become a little frustrated if they are not let off the leash and unleashed every once in a while.
Bichon Frise - The Bichon Frise is another toy breed that excels at obedience sports such as agility, musical canine freestyle, and Heelwork to music. They are very intelligent dogs who love to learn new tricks, however, they can also become easily bored if their training is repetitive.
Great Dane - Great Danes are a large breed who is well known to be gentle giants. Danes excel at the more difficult elements of obedience including the trial and freestyle sports however they can sometimes become frustrated if their training does not allow for any variation.
Labradoodle - While not technically a breed in themselves, Labradoodles are mixes of labs and poodles who were bred specifically for their intelligence and trainability. They can excel at almost any type of training including protection work however may not be suitable if the owner prefers to own a large dog.
Maltese Shih Tzu - Another mixed breed, Maltese Shih Tzus are a cross between the Maltese and Shih Tzu breeds which were originally bred to be circus performers due to their intelligence and agility. They can excel at all types of training including protection work with some owners even choosing to have these dogs compete in obedience competitions.
Yorkshire Terrier - Yorkshire terriers are another popular dog breed that excels at all types of training. Used as entertainers in the past, they love performing tricks for their owners and especially love the more difficult elements of obedience sports such as agility.
Newfoundland - Newfoundland dogs are a large breed that is well known to be gentle giants. Newfies excel at all types of training however are particularly suited to water sports including canine freestyle, dock diving, and even the highly demanding water rescue events.
Pembroke Welsh Corgi - The Pembroke Welsh corgi is a popular breed in Australia that was originally bred as a working dog in Wales however these dogs have also proven to be incredibly intelligent which can definitely help improve their obedience abilities.
West Highland White Terrier - The West Highland White Terrier is another popular small dog breed that excels at most types of training. While not one of the more intelligent breeds, they are certainly trainable and love performing tricks for their owners.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel - Cavaliers are an affectionate dog breed who were originally bred to be lap dogs and companions for their owners. They excel at the more difficult elements of agility and musical canine freestyle and can also be trained to perform tricks and track.
Shetland Sheepdog - Shelties are another popular breed that has been used in the past for herding. These dogs excel at obedience and agility and can also be trained to perform tricks such as high-fiving.
Pug - Pugs are an incredibly popular breed that is well known for their affectionate personalities. These dogs can excel at any type of training when they are given the chance to show off their abilities and even enjoy performing tricks for their owners.
Pomeranian - Pomeranians are small, fluffy dogs that are skillful at obedience and agility competitions however can sometimes become bored if their training is too repetitive.
Schnauzer - Schnauzers are a popular dog breed that has been used for a wide variety of tasks however they were originally bred to be working dogs in Germany. These dogs excel at any type of training and typically enjoy performing tricks for their owners.
Shiba Inu - The Shiba Inu is a medium-sized dog breed that was bred to be companions for their owners. These dogs are incredibly intelligent and excel at all types of training including obedience, protection, agility, musical canine freestyle, dock diving, canine triathlon, and tracking.
Borzoi - Borzois are another dog breed with plenty of energy which is why they excel in agility competitions. These dogs can be trained to perform tricks and are loyal companions for their owners.
Many of these breeds were bred to perform with humans and most love to play games with their owners which is why obedience sports are so great for these dogs. They love it when you train them and most will even initiate training themselves by asking you to play obedience games with them.